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Iowa Arrest Records

An Iowa arrest record contains information about persons apprehended by Iowa criminal justice agencies. It consists of identifiable descriptions and notations of arrests, detentions, formal charges like indictments, and disposition. Iowa arrest records are maintained by City Police Departments, County Sheriff's Offices, and the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS). Typically, arrest records are public information in Iowa, except those exempt from public disclosure.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety Arrest Trends Report shows that approximately 69,496 arrests were made in the state in 2022. Group A offenses totaled 36,744, while Group B offenses totaled 32,752. About 28,741 arrests were for crimes against persons, 27,781 were for crimes against property, and 45,076 were for crimes against society. 

Are Arrest Records Public in Iowa?

Yes. The Iowa Open Records Law gives members of the public the right to examine and copy arrest records maintained by law enforcement agencies in the state. For example, a person's prior and current arrest data are typically public in Iowa. However, the law restricts the dissemination of certain arrest records:

  • Juvenile arrest records
  • Peace officers' investigative reports.
  • Criminal identification files of law enforcement agencies. 
  • Some portions of law enforcement agencies' email and telephone billing records are confidential if that information is part of an ongoing investigation.
  • The time, date, specific location, and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding an arrest where disclosure would threaten a person's safety or critically jeopardize an investigation. 

What is Included in Iowa Arrest Records?

An Iowa arrest record is open to public inspection. It contains identifying information about the arrested person and details of the arrest. Record seekers should be able to find the following information in an Iowa arrest record:

  • Arrestee's full name and address
  • Arestee's sex, age, date of birth, and race
  • Arrestee's height, weight, and hair and eye color 
  • Code
  • Bond amount and type
  • Case number
  • Offense date
  • Crime class
  • Disposition 
  • Arrest time, date, type, and location
  • Arresting agency
  • Charge description
  • Incident and warrant numbers
  • Charge type description
  • Released date and reason for the release

Find Public Arrest Records in Iowa

Iowa does not have a general step-by-step guide on obtaining arrest records. This is because each law enforcement agency has its own unique method of receiving arrest records requests. However, individuals should be able to find arrest records by following this process: 

  • Step 1: Identify the record custodian: Iowa has different law enforcement agencies (City Police Departments, the County Sheriff's Office, and the Iowa Department of Public Safety) that handle arrest records. Therefore, individuals should be able to determine which law enforcement agencies maintain the desired record. They can contact the law enforcement agency to know if a record is in their custody or to direct them to the appropriate agency in charge.
  • Step 2: Determine the records request procedures: Each law enforcement agency has a unique arrest record request procedure. Individuals can review the process of requesting arrest records on a law enforcement's website. Alternatively, they can contact the agency to inquire about how to request arrest records.
  • Step 3: Submit the request: The most common way to submit arrest record requests at the city police department and county sheriff's offices is by phone. Other ways to submit arrest records requests in these agencies are by email, fax, or in person. For example, individuals can request arrest records from the Fort Dodge Police Department by phone at (515) 573-1424, fax at (515) 573-7788, mail, email at, or in person. Mail and email requesters must complete the Local Arrest History Request Form. Note that individuals can view arrest information on most city police departments and county sheriff's office websites at no cost. A complete arrest record can be retrieved at the Iowa Department of Public Safety Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). Requests can be made online, by mail, fax, email, or in person. Mail, email, and fax requesters must complete the Criminal History Record Check Billing Form.
  • Step 4: Pay the necessary fees: The fee schedule for arrest records varies by agency. For example, the DCI charges $15 per last name for arrest records, the Scott County Sheriff's Office charges $5, and the Marshalltown Police Department charges $13.

Case parties can request a court to issue a subpoena to a law enforcement agency to release non-public arrest records in their custody. The subpoena can be served by someone at least 18 years old who is not a party to the case. 

How to Lookup Arrest Records Online in Iowa

Most law enforcement agencies in Iowa make arrest records available to the public online. These records are published under various names like Arrest Blotter, Arrest Report, Arrest Information, and Arrest Logs. Individuals can find arrest records in the Jail or Corrections sections on the County Sheriff's Office websites. For example, to find an arrest record online at the Sioux County Sheriff's Office, go to the website, click on the DIVISIONS menu, and select Arrests Logs under the Correction Section. Record seekers can find daily arrest records online on City Police Department websites by checking the left navigation pane, locating the report menu, or scrolling through the homepage. For example, while the Iowa City Police Department has an Arrest Blotter at its left navigation pane, the Waterloo Police Department provides Arrest Logs through the Reports Menu at the top bar.

Alternatively, individuals can use third-party online portals to access Iowa arrest records. Most third-party vendors require individuals to conduct an arrest record search by first and/or last name. The search will return a list of all arrestees bearing the searched name. The search results can be narrowed by providing the arrestee's age and location. Individuals can search for a full arrest report on an arrested person by paying a small fee. 

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record in Iowa

According to the Record Retention Manual for Iowa Cities complied by the Iowa League of Cities, arrest records, arrest books, and investigation reports are permanent. This permanency is due to their continuing historical value. This simply means that arrests remain on a person's record throughout their lifetime. The best an arrested person can do is expunge their arrest records to ensure they become unavailable to the public. Note that the Iowa Department of Public Safety Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) does not include the following arrest information in their criminal history record:

  • Arrests that involve simple misdemeanors.
  • Arrests due to minor traffic charges like speeding,
  • Arrests where the DCI has not received a fingerprint card.
  • Any arrest where the DCI does not receive a disposition within four (4) years from the arrest date.

Expunge an Arrest Record in Iowa

Per Iowa Code 907.1(3), an expungement is the segregation of an arrest record in a secure area or database to make it inaccessible to the public. Arrest records are only eligible for expungement when the arrestees meet the following requirements (Iowa Code 901C.2):

  • Not-guilty verdicts and criminal-charge dismissals:
    • The criminal charges of the case were acquitted or dismissed. 
    • The arrested person has paid all financial obligations like court costs and fees ordered by the court or clerk of the district court.
    • At least one hundred eighty (180) days have passed since the criminal charges have been acquitted or dismissed. 
    • The case was not dismissed because the arrested person was found not guilty due to insanity. 
    • The arrested person was not found incompetent to stand trial in the case.
  • Misdemeanor offenses (excluding offenses outlined in Iowa Code 901C.3(2)):
    • A minimum of eight (80 years have passed since the conviction date. 
    • The arrested person has no pending criminal charges. 
    • The court had not granted the arrested person two deferred judgments previously.
    • The arrested person has paid all financial obligations like fines, fees, court costs, and restitution ordered by the court or the district court clerk.

Individuals with not-guilty verdicts and criminal-charge dismissals must file Rule 2.86—Form 1 with the District County in the county where the case was handled. In contrast, individuals who want to expunge misdemeanor convictions must file Rule 2.86—Form 2 with the District Court in the county where the conviction occurred. 

The District Court will not enter an order to expunge an arrest record with not-guilty verdicts or the case was dismissed unless all case parties have had time to establish that the eligibility criteria have been met. The Court only grants expungement for misdemeanor convictions once in a person's lifetime. However, the arrested person can request to expunge records of more than one misdemeanor offense in one application. This is only possible if the misdemeanor offenses come from the same occurrence.

How Do I Find Recent Arrests in Iowa?

Individuals can find recent arrests in Iowa online by viewing the daily arrest logs/reports on most City Police Department websites. For example, the Cedar Rapids Police Department provides a Daily Arrest Report that includes information on the arrestee, the charge, arrest date, time, and location, and case number. These reports are updated daily and only include arrests over the past 24 to 30 hours. Some County Sheriff's Offices also provide recent arrest information with the inmate records on their websites, while others specifically have arrest logs separate from inmate rosters. For example, the O'Brien County Sheriff's Office has an Arrest Log, while the Polk County Sheriff's Office merges arrest and inmate records in its Jail and Arrest Information page. Additionally, Dubuque City has a central portal where individuals can find Recent Arrest Information in the custody of law enforcement agencies. 

Alternatively, record seekers can visit law enforcement agency offices during business hours to view or copy records of recent arrests. Typically, most law enforcement agencies attend to in-person requests at any time from Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., excluding legal holidays.

Are Iowa Arrest Records Free?

Most Iowa law enforcement agencies provide access to arrest records without charge on their websites. Individuals can typically view arrest information on the City Police Department and County Sheriff's Office websites. Most city police departments provide a downloadable list of arrest information on their websites. Some have portals where individuals can easily search for arrest information by date, offender, or charge. Most sheriff's offices have specific pages dedicated to arrest logs on their websites, while others include them in the inmate search tools. Individuals can also check third-party platforms to find arrest records at no cost. Most third-party vendors allow requesters to access basic information about an arrested person in Iowa without charge. The search criteria are mostly by first or last name. Note that extensive services on third-party websites attract a small fee payable by credit card.

Iowa Arrest Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!