In Iowa, misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by up to two years in local or county jail. Iowa is distinctive in this way; in the vast majority of states, misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail. Misdemeanors in Iowa are designated as aggravated, serious, or simple.
More serious crimes (felonies) in Iowa are punishable by more than two years in state prison. For more information on felonies in Iowa, see Iowa Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Aggravated misdemeanors are the most serious class of misdemeanors, generally punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of between $625 and $6,250. For example, carrying a gun without a permit is an aggravated misdemeanor. (Iowa Code § 903.1 (2019).)
A serious misdemeanor in Iowa is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of between $315 and $1,875. For instance, assaults that cause injury or mental illness are punishable as serious misdemeanors. (Iowa Code § 903.1 (2019.)
A simple misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of $65 to $625, or both. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a simple misdemeanor. (Iowa Code § 903.1 (2019).)
Statutes of limitations set forth time limits for beginning criminal prosecution. The statute of limitations begins to "run" when the crime is committed. Usually, less serious crimes have shorter statutes of limitations. In Iowa, the general statute of limitations for aggravated or serious misdemeanors is three years. Simple misdemeanors typically have a one-year limitation period. (Iowa Code §§ 802.3, 802.4 (2019).)
A criminal conviction, even for a misdemeanor, can have serious and lasting consequences. If you are charged with any crime, you should contact a local criminal defense attorney. A good attorney can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.