Common Iowa Criminal Charges
Des Moines Criminal Defense Attorney Jeff Mathias
Arson - The criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property. Iowa law also includes placing combustible or incendiary material or a bomb near property. See Iowa Code Chapter 712 Arson . Iowa Arson & Explosives Bureau. A surprising number of firefighters commit arson for the glory of putting out the fire.
Bribery - Giving money or value to a public official anticipating favorable treatment. See Iowa Code Chapter 722 Bribery Kent Sorenson was a well known bribery case here in Iowa . “The biggest thieves all wear suits”.
Burglary - Theft plus entry. In a typical burglary, someone enters a home or business without consent and commits theft. So while the shop a theft would only be shoplifting, but if the offense occurs after hours it is burglary. Even reaching through a window (smash and grab) is burglary. See Iowa Code Chapter 713 Burglary
Most Common Crimes in America
1. Drug Violations (legalization anyone?)
2. Property Crimes
See FBI Crime Statistics.
Conspiracy - An agreement to commit a crime with at least one overt act. See Iowa Code Chapter 706, Conspiracy
Criminal Appeals - Our appellate courts in Iowa are the Iowa Supreme Court and the Iowa Court of Appeals. Strict timelines apply to appeals, so contact an attorney immediately if you want to appeal an Iowa conviction.
Criminal Assault – Harmful or offensive contact with another person. See Iowa Code Section 708- Assault . Assault is also a tort, a civil offense.
Domestic Violence and Abuse – An assault or threat against someone with a special relationship like a family member or intimate. See Jeff’s page on Iowa domestic crimes.
Drug Crimes - Possession and delivery of prohibited drugs including marijuana are the two most common drug crimes. See Jeff’s Iowa Drug Offenses page.
Embezzlement – Theft of funds placed in the defendants trust, often from an employer. Iowa seems to have these things come up all the time, Iowa county clerks included. See Iowa county clerk embezzlement .
Extortion – Using coercion to obtain money, property or services, a more sophisticated form of robbery. See Iowa Code – Extortion Law.
Federal Criminal Appeals – Federal appellate courts include the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals and others. If you are in the federal system here in Iowa there is a very good chance you are involved in a drug offense.
Federal Criminal Defense – Bank robbery, tax evasion and kidnapping are all examples of Federal crimes although drug related cases often dominate the federal docket. See Federal Criminal Offenses .
Financial Crimes – These are usually Fraud cases like false medical claims, often generated by a shady medical office with bogus patients. See financial crimes.
Firearms/Weapons Offenses – Unlawfully carrying a weapon, see Iowa Code Chapter 724.
Forgery – Falsifying a document, signature, etc. See Iowa Code Chapter 715A.
Fraud –Deception intended to result in personal gain. Telemarketing fraud is a big problem.
Habeas Corpus Petitions – “Bring the person before the court”. If someone in custody wants to be seen by a Judge so the basis for their custody can be reviewed, a Writ of Habeas Corpus is how you get there. Corpus = Body.
Homicide – Deliberate and unlawful taking of the life of another. See Iowa Code, Murder.
DUI – Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. See Jeff’s Iowa OWI page.
Indecent Exposure - Intentionally showing sexual organs in public. I once drove up on a wet t shirt contest at a biker bar in Arlington. The women we removing their tops and I was about to pay a call when I checked the code and verified it is not illegal for women to go topless. It is an equal protection issue. See Iowa Code, Indecent Exposure. Well intended people have gone to far on this offense, even including people who were just urinating in public in the sex offender registry which can have devastating effects on their lives.
Iowa State Criminal Appeals – Appeals to higher courts in Iowa including the Court of Appeals and Iowa Supreme Court. See Iowa Rules of Appellate Procedure. Hint- Timelines really matter, solid appeals can be denied simply because of harsh filing requirements.
Kidnapping - Unlawful taking away of another person against their will. False Imprisonment is closely related, it involves restricting the person’s ability to leave. We do have an Iowa kidnapping statute although these are often charged in Federal Court.
Manslaughter – A killing which is short of the higher standard of murder. Generally this means without malice aforethought, without planning. See Iowa Code, Voluntary Manslaughter .
Marijuana Crimes - Primarily possession and sale. When I was on the police force, I would normally just have people pour out small quantities of marijuana if I found them in possession, sort of like minors with beer. I’m not sure if they ever tried to recover it after I left the scene. See Iowa Code on Marijuana.
Post Conviction Relief – Pretty much everything you can do after conviction, like getting a verdict set aside or getting a new trial. Iowa law on Post-Conviction Relief . See Iowa State Bar Assn, Post-Conviction Relief.
Probation and Parole Violations – There are lots of conditions of probation and parole like not getting any new charges. Iowa law on Probation and parole violations
Prostitution - More and more, enforcement is against the purchaser or “John” although the prostitute is normally charged too. Iowa code, Vice. See Des Moines Vice Unit. Police departments here in Iowa target purchasers of prostitution with using decoys advertised on Backpage and other websites. While transporting a prisoner for the vice unit when I was on the force in Texas, one of the defendants said “Damn, I knew she must be a cop, she was too good looking” People who engage in prostitution normally are not in peak physical condition, sometimes due to drug use.
Robbery – Taking with the use of force or threat of force. People often say “I’ve been robbed!” What they mean is I’ve been burgled or the victim of a theft. Iowa code on robbery.
Theft – Shoplifting is one of the most common thefts. Iowa code on theft.
Des Moines criminal defense attorney Jeff Mathias is a former police officer in Arlington Texas and also represents clients in bankruptcy and family law matters. Jeff’s office is located at 4800 Mills Civic Parkway, Suite 218 in West Des Moines, Iowa 50265, 515-261-7526, 1-800-997-1395. Take Exit 70 from Interstate 35.