Regardless of whichever side of the court you sit on in a criminal lawsuit, you should go in armed with the knowledge of the Iowa criminal laws that are relevant to your case.
Use LawInfo's criminal law articles to help educate yourself about Iowa's laws and how they affect your case. You can learn about the difference between misdemeanors and felonies, intoxicated driving charges and many other state-specific criminal law topics. You can also use LawInfo to connect with an Iowa criminal law attorney in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport or elsewhere in the state.
County attorneys, district attorneys, and the Attorney General lead the prosecution in criminal cases heard in Iowa. Some people may believe that the police are responsible for prosecuting a criminal case, but most of their jobs are spent making arrests and gathering evidence for the lawsuit. The only times the police play a role in the actual trial proceedings are when they're called in to testify.
While the prosecution would be your opposition if the lawsuit is about your criminal charges, there are times when a prosecuting attorney can inadvertently or purposefully help your case. Your criminal defense attorney may be able to determine the prosecution's strategy and craft a counter-strategy. They can also work with the prosecution to create a plea deal that could reduce the severity of your penalties.
Every state has its own system of classifying crimes which also identifies the statutory punishments for each classification. Iowa has two main classifications of criminal offenses: felonies and misdemeanors. While felonies are the most serious offenses and misdemeanors are less serious, each type of offense falls under a specific degree of felony or misdemeanor that suggests maximum and minimum penalties.
Felonies carry the most severe penalties, including fines and years of imprisonment. They are subdivided into four degrees of seriousness:
Offenses that aren't classified as felonies are typically classified as misdemeanors. They are subdivided into three degrees of seriousness:
An arrest and conviction can change everything. Fines or time in jail are the immediate concern, but a conviction will also mean a criminal record that can make it harder to find a job and housing for years to come. If you are arrested or learn you are under investigation, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You can search LawInfo’s legal directory to find a local criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights, lay out your options, and help you determine the best way to proceed with mounting a defense and limiting potential penalties.