Iowa Department of Public Safety Division of Criminal Investigation
 
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1). Are Iowa criminal history records public?
2). Who maintains Iowa's criminal history records?
3). How far back are the criminal history records maintained?
4). What information is in the criminal history file?
5). What information is not in the criminal history file?
6). Are they Iowa records only?
7). How do I request an Iowa criminal history record check?
8). Can I phone in or email a request?
9). What is the basic information needed for a record check?
10). Can I legally ask for a date of birth?
11). Do I need a signed waiver from the subject of my request?
12). What if the subject refuses to sign the waiver?
13). Is there a fee?
14). What methods of payment do you accept?
15). What is the turnaround time for record check requests?
16). Can I get access to records in other states?
17). Who pays if my employer requires that a record check be done?
18). Is a deferred sentence a conviction?
19). Is a deferred judgment a conviction?
20). How do I help ensure the response is accurate?
21). What if the person tells me it is not their record?
22). What if my criminal history record is incorrect, how do I correct it?
23). Is there any liability for me in using these records?
24). Can I disseminate the results of the Iowa criminal history record check?
25). Can I go to the local sheriff or police department for a check?
26). How long is the record check good for?
27). Why did I get a "no record" response when I know there is a record?
28). How can I expunge my record?

1. Question: Are Iowa criminal history records public?
  Answer: Yes. Anyone can request an Iowa criminal history record check from the DCI by providing the necessary information and submitting the request on the required forms with payment.
     
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2. Question: Who maintains Iowa's criminal history records?
  Answer: The Iowa Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) maintains the records at 215 East 7th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. The DCI is the central repository for criminal history records for the State of Iowa.
     
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3. Question: How long are Iowa criminal history records maintained?
  Answer: The DCI's criminal history records are historic. Generally, the DCI maintains the record to age 80 of the individual or death. Depending on the seriousness of the crime some records are maintained beyond 80 years.
     
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4. Question: What information is in the criminal history file?
  Answer: Sheriff's offices and police departments in Iowa are required by law to submit fingerprint cards to the DCI for people who are arrested for serious misdemeanors, felonies, as well as some simple misdemeanors. The law also requires the start of the disposition process with the clerk of court electronically updating the DCI record when the case is complete. If DCI does not receive a fingerprint card a criminal history file cannot be created or added to. If the DCI does not receive the disposition information the arrest informaton must be purged from the DCI's files. This is why the DCI cannot guarantee or certify that a person has or has not, in fact, been arrested or convicted in Iowa.
     
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5. Question: What information is not in the criminal history file?
  Answer: Most simple misdemeanors. Arrests where DCI has not received a fingerprint card. In addition, if the DCI does not receive a disposition within four (4) years from the date of the arrest, it must be purged from the criminal history record. Minor traffic charges, such as speeding, would not usually be included since the Department of Transportation maintains that information. However, serious traffic charges such as operating while intoxicated (OWI) would be included.
     
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6. Question: Are they Iowa records only?
  Answer: Yes. DCI files do not inlude other states' records, FBI records or subjects convicted in federal court within Iowa.
     
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7. Question: How do I request an Iowa criminal history record check?
  Answer:

There are several ways to request an Iowa criminal history record check through the DCI.

You may make a request by mailing or faxing a completed request form and billing form, provided on this website, with your payment to DCI. Our address and fax number is provided on the forms.

You may make a request in person at our office located at 215 East 7th Street, Des Moines, Iowa. Requests made in person, if on yourself, may receive an immediate response, as allowed by law. However, requests made in person on someone else will be processed with all other requests.

You may make a request through our Iowa Criminal History Record Check website. Please note: The criminal history data obtained through the Iowa Criminal History Record Check website is limited to what is releasable without a signed waiver from the subject of your request, pursuant to Chapter 692.2 of the Code of Iowa. The Iowa Criminal History Record Check Website will not provide criminal history on any arrest information that is older than 18 months without a final disposition or any completed deferred judgment information. However, this website will provide all other arrest and conviction information on file with the DCI for that individual.

     
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8. Question: Can I phone in or email a request?
  Answer: No. DCI will not accept any requests for criminal history record information by phone or email.
     
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9. Question: What is the basic information needed for a record check?
    Last name, first name, date of birth and gender. Social Security numbers and middle names allow for resolution of common names and dates of birth, therefore including these assists in the process.
     
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10. Question: Can I legally ask for a date of birth?
  Answer: Yes. If you need the information for a legitimate purpose you can ask. In order to conduct a criminal history record check in Iowa you must have the date of birth.
     
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11. Question: Do I need a signed waiver from the subject of my request?
  Answer: No. Iowa law does not require a signed waiver. However, without a waiver, you will not receive arrest information over 18 months old if we do not have a disposition for that specific charge. You will also not receive completed deferred judgments if DCI has received notice that the subject has successfully completed probation. You would get that information, however, with a signed waiver. Please note: All requests for criminal history record information made through the Iowa Criminal History Record Check website are considered "No Waiver" requests.
     
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12. Question: What if the subject refuses to sign the waiver?
  Answer: Since no waiver is needed, proceed accordingly.
     
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13. Question: Is there a fee?
  Answer: Yes. The fee for an Iowa criminal history record check is $15.00 per last name requested.
     
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14. Question: What methods of payment do you accept?
  Answer:

We accept cash, check, money orders and MasterCard, Visa and Discover credit and debit cards. State agencies can pay through an inter-agency transfer process. For large volume users you may wish to open a DCI pre-paid payment account for convenience.

     
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15. Question: What is the turnaround time for record check requests?
  Answer: Turnaround time can vary significantly depending on volume of requests and staffing levels. The average turnaround time for mailed or faxed requests is 2-5 business days, excluding mail time. The results are immediate for requests made through the Iowa Criminal History Record Check website.
     
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16. Question: Can I get access to records in other states?
  Answer: Laws differ in each state. Some have open records while others are very restricted. You would have to call each state repository to obtain information about their access laws.
     
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17.

Question:

Who pays if my employer requires that a record check be done?
  Answer: Pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 692.2, if an employer requires that a record check be done on a potential employee, the employer is required to pay for the record check.
     
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18.

Question:

Is a deferred sentence a conviction?
  Answer: Yes. This disposition means that the judge deferred imposing a sentence after the person was convicted of or pled guilty to the charge(s).
     
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19. Question:  Is a deferred judgment a conviction?
  Answer: Not necessarily. If the subject successfully completes a probationary period they are not convicted of the charges. They should have been notified by the court that they have successfully completed probation and have a document to that effect. If the DCI receives notification of successful completion, the record is flagged and can only be given out to the public if a waiver is signed. If in doubt, ask the subject what their status is regarding the charges.
     
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20. Question: How do I help ensure the response is accurate?
  Answer: Be sure you obtain the subject’s correct name and date of birth. Middle/maiden names, known alias names and the Social Security number are also extremely helpful, although not mandatory. Enter the information (name and date of birth) accurately. The DCI’s search criteria is based on exact name and date of birth. If you enter the name or date of birth incorrectly we may not be able to locate a match or it may return multiple potential records. Therefore, potentially resulting in false-negative or false-positive responses.
     
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21. Question: What if the person tells me it is not their record?
  Answer: All of our records are supported by fingerprints. The subject would need to provide a set of fingerprints to the DCI for comparison. A fingerprint technician will compare the fingerprints submitted to those on file for verification.
     
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22. Question: What if my criminal history record is incorrect, how do I correct it?
  Answer: Please notify the DCI and we will take the necessary steps to correct any inaccuracies.
     
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23. Question: Is there any liability for me in using these records?
  Answer: Consult with your attorney. However, Chapter 692.2(3) gives limited immunity for reasonable actions taken assuming correct information was provided to the DCI. If your decisions are reasonable and you believe the results given to you by the DCI are complete and accurate, then some immunity applies.
     
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24. Question: Can I disseminate the results of the Iowa criminal history record check?
  Answer: No. Pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 692.2 only the Department of Public Safety may disseminate criminal history data maintained by the department to persons who are not criminal or juvenile justice agencies.
     
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25. Question: Can I go to the local sheriff or police department for a check?
  Answer: No. State law requires that requests for statewide criminal history record checks by non-law enforcement agencies must go through DCI.
     
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26. Question: How long is the record check good for?
  Answer: Criminal history record information changes continuously, with new information added as it is received. In theory, we could receive a record of arrest the day after providing a record check response of "no record". A criminal history file would be created once our office received the arrest information. In the end, the criminal history record check response would now be incorrect.
     
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27. Question: Why did I get a "no record" response when I know there is a record?
  Answer:

There could be several potential reasons:

    1. The subjects name was misspelled.
    2. The subject was arrested under a different name.
    3. You have or entered an incorrect date of birth.
    4. The arrest information was never reported to the DCI.
    5. The charge/arrest was dismissed.
    6. The arrest wasn’t a reportable offense (i.e. simple misdemeanor).
    7. A waiver wasn’t signed and the arrest was over 18 months old with no disposition or it was a completed deferred judgment.
The arrest was in another state or a federal agency; neither would be maintained at the DCI.
     
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28. Question: How can I expunge my record?
  Answer: Effective July 1, 2010, Iowa law provides a process to expunge a record for certain alcohol related offenses, specifically violations of Iowa Code chapters 123.46 and 123.47. The process for requesting to expunge a record of conviction for those offenses is identified in Iowa Code chapters 123.46(5) and 123.47(7).
     
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