In Iowa, your juvenile record can be more easily accessed by the public than in many other states. In most cases, however, your record will be automatically expunged when you reach the age of twenty-one. You may be able to have your record sealed before that time, if you meet the requirements below.
If your record is sealed or expunged, it is as though it no longer exists. You are not required to disclose its existence to others.
Does Your Juvenile Record Qualify for Sealing?
After you turn eighteen, you may ask the juvenile court to seal your record. Your request will be granted if the court finds that:
- at least two years have passed since your juvenile case ended
- you have not subsequently been convicted of a felony or aggravated misdemeanor, or adjudicated delinquent for an act that, if you were an adult, would be classified as one of those offense; and no proceedings for such offenses are pending against you, and
- you were not placed on youthful offender status, transferred back to the district court after you turned 18, and sentenced for the offense.
If you were adjudicated delinquent for an offense that, if you were an adult, would have been classified as an aggravated misdemeanor or a felony, your records may still qualify for sealing if you meet the requirements of the first two bullet points above and the court finds that sealing the record would be in your best interests and the best interests of the public.
(Iowa Statutes § 232.150.)
Will Your Record Be Automatically Expunged?
When you turn twenty-one, your juvenile record will be automatically expunged unless you were convicted of or pled guilty to a serious or aggravated felony or misdemeanor between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one. In either of those cases, your record will be treated the same as an adult record. (For information about clearing an adult record, see Expunging or Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Iowa.)
(Iowa Statutes § 692.17.)
How to File
You must file a petition for sealing with the juvenile court that handled your case. For more information, including the forms you’ll need, contact the court clerk’s office.
Getting Legal Help
Clearing a juvenile record can be complicated. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for expungement in Iowa -- or for help completing the necessary paperwork -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.