SPELLMAN LAW, P.C.
Based In West Des Moines, Iowa, Practicing In Central
Iowa And Throughout The State Of Iowa

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What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in Iowa?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2022 | Criminal Charges |

When someone is charged with a crime in Iowa, it will usually be labeled under one of two categories: a felony or a misdemeanor.

There are several key differences between a misdemeanor and a felony. The type of sentence a person faces following conviction will depend heavily on these differences.

Misdemeanor basics

Generally speaking, misdemeanors are considered to be less serious crimes than felonies and are usually punishable by shorter jail terms or monetary fines rather than lengthy prison sentences. However, this does not mean that misdemeanors aren’t serious. In fact, the penalties can be severe and life-altering.

In Iowa, misdemeanor crimes carry a penalty of up to two years in jail. The state further breaks down these offenses into three additional categories:

  • Aggravated misdemeanors
  • Serious misdemeanors
  • Simple misdemeanors

Examples of misdemeanors in Iowa include carrying a gun without a permit, possession of drug paraphernalia, assault, child endangerment, driving under the influence (DUI) and trespass.

Felony basics

On the other hand, felonies typically indicate more severe offenses and often result in harsher punishments, including life in prison and significant monetary fines. Additionally, those convicted of felonies may face additional restrictions on their rights and freedoms, such as being prohibited from owning firearms or voting.

In Iowa, felonies are punishable by a minimum of two years in prison. They are classified under the following categories:

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class C
  • Class D

Crimes in Iowa that are typically charged as felonies include serious violent acts such as sexual assault, burglary, homicide, kidnapping and arson.

Overall, there are many clear differences between misdemeanors and felonies. Anyone facing charges for a crime in Iowa should take these factors into account when determining their possible penalties.

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Sean P. Spellman
Mary K. “Molly” Spellman