In Iowa, felonies are crimes that are punishable by incarceration in state prison for terms of two years or more. Felonies in Iowa are designated as class "A," "B," "C," or "D."
Iowa is distinct from most other states because in Iowa, misdemeanors (less serious crimes) are punishable by up to two years, rather than one year, in county or local jail. For more information on misdemeanors in Iowa, see Iowa Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
A class "A" felony is the most serious type of felony, punishable by life imprisonment. Sexual assaults that cause serious injury are class "A" felonies. (Iowa Code § 902.1 (2019).)
A class "B" felony is typically punishable by up to 25 years in prison. First degree burglary is an example of a class "B" felony. (Iowa Code § 902.9 (2019).)
Class "C" felonies are usually punishable by a prison term of up to ten years and a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000. For instance, thefts of property worth more than $10,000 are punishable as class "C" felonies. (Iowa Code § 902.9 (2019).)
A class "D" felony, the least serious type of felony in Iowa, is normally punishable by up to five years' imprisonment and a fine of between $750 and $7,500. Cultivation of up to 50 kilograms of marijuana is a class "D" felony. (Iowa Code § 902.9 (2019).)
Some criminal statutes also impose fines for specific crimes. For example, a court can, in addition to a prison sentence of up to 25 years, impose a fine of $5,000 to $100,000 on a person convicted of selling between 100 and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. (Iowa Code § 124.401 (2019).)
A statute of limitations is a time limit after which a prosecutor can no longer bring criminal charges. Usually, more serious crimes have longer statutes of limitations. In Iowa, murder has no statute of limitations, while most other felonies have a three-year limitation period.
A criminal record in Iowa can have extremely serious consequences that can endure long after a sentence has been served. The best way to avoid a felony conviction is to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. A good lawyer can help you understand the legal process and make the best arguments to protect your rights.