Iowa Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences

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 Misdemeanor

Aggravated misdemeanors are the most serious class of misdemeanors, punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of $625 to $6,250. (Iowa Code § 903.1.) For example, possession of child pornography is an aggravated misdemeanor.

For more information, see Child Enticement Laws in Iowa.

Serious Misdemeanor

A serious misdemeanor in Iowa is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of between $315 and $1,875.(Iowa Code § 903.1.) For example, assaults (acts that cause pain, fear, or injury) that are hate crimes are punishable as serious misdemeanors.

For more information on assault penalties in Iowa, see Iowa Misdemeanor Assault Laws.

Simple Misdemeanor

A simple misdemeanor is punishable by:

  • up to 30 days in jail
  • a fine of $65 to $625, or
  • both.

(Iowa Code § 903.1.) Possession of drug paraphernalia is a simple misdemeanor.

For more information on penalties for crimes involving marijuana, see Iowa Marijuana Laws.

Statutes of Limitations

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.

For more information, see Iowa Criminal Statute of Limitations.

Obtaining Legal Assistance

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. With an attorney’s help, you can hopefully obtain the best possible outcome in your case.


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