Misdemeanor Attorney Des Moines, IA
Representation for Misdemeanor Iowa Cases
In Iowa, a misdemeanor is considered to be a crime. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies and are usually punishable by fines, probation, or up to one year in jail, depending on the severity of the offense. Eventually, multiple misdemeanors may lead to a felony charge.
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer is the best way to protect yourself when facing misdemeanor charges. Your lawyer can provide invaluable guidance throughout the entire process, helping you understand your rights and ensuring that your interests are represented in court.
Here are some of the key benefits of hiring a criminal defense lawyer for misdemeanor charges:
Experienced Representation: A criminal defense lawyer is experienced in navigating the justice system and understands the ins-and-outs of local laws and regulations. They can help you build a strong case, present your side of the story to the judge, protect your rights, and try you get your entire case dismissed.
Strategic Advice: An attorney will help you develop a strategy for the best outcome possible. They can advise you on the right approach to take and what steps to avoid in order to ensure that your rights remain protected.
Negotiations: If a plea bargain is necessary, a lawyer will negotiate with prosecutors to minimize potential penalties and seek alternative sentences that are more favorable to you.
Access to Resources: A lawyer will have access to the necessary resources and contacts within the court system in order to help you build a strong case. They can also provide connections with key witnesses, research materials, and other evidence that could be beneficial for your case.
Get in touch with our Iowa misdemeanor lawyers for immediate assistance. Our Branstad & Olson team recognizes that your case is important to you, and we will handle it as such.
Types of Misdemeanor Charges in Iowa
Our Des Moines misdemeanor attorneys at Branstad & Olson has successfully addressed complex cases for clients facing a wide range of misdemeanors. Whether you’re facing a fine or incarceration, aggressively fighting the charge is crucial.
A vast range of misdemeanor offenses exist, including, but not limited to:
- Assault: Under Iowa Code § 708.1, a person commits assault when they intend to cause pain or injury to someone, make physical contact that would insult or offend another, place someone in immediate fear of physical harm, or points a firearm or displays a dangerous weapon at another. Assault can be charged as an aggravated, serious or simple misdemeanor.
- Child endangerment: A person may be charged with child endangerment for acting or failing to act in a way that causes harm to a minor. According to Iowa Code § 726.6, some instances of this offense are charged as aggravated misdemeanors.
- Disorderly conduct: Pursuant to Iowa Code § 723.4, this charge may be levied when a person fights in a public place; makes loud, raucous noises near homes or buildings, causing distress to occupants; uses language or gestures provoking a violent response; falsely reports a fire, epidemic, or other catastrophe; or shows disrespect for the U.S. flag. Disorderly conduct is a simple misdemeanor.
- Domestic abuse assault: A person who commits an assaultive offense on a family or household member may be charged with this crime. Under Iowa Code § 708.2A, it can be a simple misdemeanor, serious misdemeanor, or aggravated misdemeanor.
- Driving while license suspended: Per Iowa Code § 321J.21, a person who operates a vehicle while their driver’s license is suspended, revoked, or barred faces a serious misdemeanor charge.
- Drug possession: According to Iowa Code § 124.401, depending on the type of controlled substance involved, possession can be charged as a serious or aggravated misdemeanor.
- OWI / DUI: In Iowa, first and second DUI offenses are serious and aggravated misdemeanors, respectively.
- Prostitution: Under Iowa Code § 725.1, a person who offers to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for something of value commits an aggravated misdemeanor.
- Shoplifting / Theft: If a person unlawfully appropriates property of another and the value is $1,500 or less, they could be charged with a simple, serious, or aggravated misdemeanor.
- Trespass: Depending on the acts committed, unlawfully trespassing on another's property can be charged as a simple, serious, or aggravated misdemeanor (Iowa Code § 716.8).
- Criminal Mischief: According to Iowa Code § 716.5, if a person damages or defaces property valued between $750 and $1,500, they commit third-degree criminal mischief, which is an aggravated misdemeanor.
What Are the Different Classes of Misdemeanors in Iowa?
In Iowa, misdemeanors are classified as either simple, serious, or aggravated. Simple misdemeanors are considered the least severe and aggravated the most severe.
Examples of a Simple Misdemeanor in Iowa
Simple misdemeanors are the least serious of criminal offenses in Iowa, although, the penalties can be devastating, nonetheless.
With this in mind, examples of simple misdemeanors include:
- Assault without bodily harm
- First-time domestic assault
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Fifth-degree theft
What Is a Serious Misdemeanor in Iowa?
As implied in the name, serious misdemeanors are serious accusations and should not be taken lightly. Serious misdemeanor assault in Iowa, for example, is charged when a person causes bodily injury or mental illness against another.
Other examples of this crime include:
- First-time operating while intoxicated
- First-time drug possession
- Second-time domestic abuse
- Fourth-degree fraud
- Fourth-degree theft
- Serious misdemeanor
What Is Considered an Aggravated Misdemeanor in IA?
If you’re wondering what the highest degree of misdemeanors is, the answer is aggravated misdemeanors. These are the most serious misdemeanors you can get charged with, therefore, the penalties are harsh.
Aggravated misdemeanors involve a list of offenses, including:
- Indecent contact
- Assault with intent to inflict serious injury
- Second-time drug possession
- Second-time operating while intoxicated
- Carrying a gun without a permit
Even though misdemeanors are penalized with less incarceration time than felonies, any time behind bars can impact a person’s life. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you may also be assessed fines or sentenced to probation with requirements you must fulfill to avoid jail time.
Misdemeanor Penalties in IA
The penalties for each class of misdemeanor are as follows:
Simple Misdemeanor in Iowa
- Up to 30 days in jail and/or
- Between $105 and $850 in fines
Serious Misdemeanor in Iowa
- Up to 1 year in jail and/or
- Between $430 and $2,560 in fines
Aggravated Misdemeanor in Iowa
- Up to 2 years in jail and/or
- Between $855 and $8,540 in fines
Misdemeanors sanctions may also include:
- Mandatory classes or programs
- Loss of driving privileges
- Counseling or treatment programs (for drug and/or alcohol offenses and assault crimes)
Can You Go to Jail for a Misdemeanor in Iowa?
As you can see above, a misdemeanor conviction can result in a jail sentence in Iowa. However, not all misdemeanors carry the possibility of jail time. In some cases, an alternative sentence such as probation or community service may be imposed instead of a jail term.
The seriousness of the offense, as well as the defendant's criminal history, will influence the potential penalty. The court may also consider factors such as the defendant's age, employment history, and personal circumstances when determining the appropriate sentence.
What Are the Statutes of Limitations for IA Misdemeanors?
Statutes of limitations enumerate the amount of time a prosecutor has to bring charges for an alleged crime. If they do not take action within the specified period, the case against the accused will likely be dropped.
Below are the statutes of limitations for Iowa misdemeanors:
- Aggravated or serious misdemeanor: 3 years
- Simple misdemeanors: 1 year
Moving Forward After a Misdemeanor Charge in IA
You may feel like you are stuck in an inescapable rut after a misdemeanor charge, but you have options. At Branstad & Olson, we will discuss defense strategies with you. Backed by extensive experience, our misdemeanor attorneys in Des Moines, Iowa, have effectively reached favorable outcomes for past clients.
Indecent Exposure Not Guilty– Jury Trial
Drug Case Dismissal
Suppression of Evidence, Trial, Not Guilty Not Guilty– Jury Trial
Deal, Dismissal Dismissal
1st Degree Murder Not Guilty– Jury Trial
1st Degree Robbery Not Guilty– Jury Trial
Indecent Exposure Not Guilty– Jury Trial
Deferred Judgement After Charge of Multiple Felonies Deferred Judgement
Dismissal of Felony Drug Charges Dismissal
Robbery 1st Degree Not Guilty– Jury Trial