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What are Iowa Juvenile Court Records?

The State of Iowa Juvenile Court Records contains information about a young person, youth or child, who is adjudicated, delinquent. According to the state’s statutes, a young person is a person below the age of 18. Such a young person can be referred to as a child or a juvenile. When a young person commits an unlawful act, such a person is charged to the juvenile court but cannot be found guilty; instead, such a child is found delinquent. The Juvenile Court in Iowa has constitutional jurisdiction over all matters of delinquencies in the state. The issues that concern young persons below 18 years of age that are not handled by the juvenile courts are criminal cases or very severe crimes like murder. It is the responsibility of the juvenile court to document and maintain all records concerning juvenile cases.

What information is contained in an Iowa Juvenile Record?

Official juvenile court records the personal information of the young offender, complaints against the offender, information concerning the arrest of the juvenile, and the arresting agency. This information also includes the case trial, disposition data, custody data, adjudication data, etc. Note that fingerprints and photographs are not included in the document unless the juvenile is found delinquent of a brutal criminal act or aggravated misdemeanor. The information contained in the juvenile record is meant to be confidential. The Iowa statutes code §232.147 expresses the confidentiality of juvenile court records that only minor, unlawful acts committed by a child are not meant for public perusal. Severe delinquencies for which if committed by an adult will be charged with a crime are subject to public perusal.

What Cases are Heard by Iowa Juvenile Courts?

Juvenile courts located in each county are charged with the responsibility of hearing two types of juvenile cases;

  1. Child in Need of Assistance (CINA): These are mostly cases involving abused, neglected, or abandoned children. CINA proceedings are divided into five stages: removal, adjudication, disposition hearing, review hearing, and parental termination rights.
  2. Delinquency Cases: These are cases concerning children who commit unlawful acts. The juvenile court is charged with hearing all matters that involve persons who are younger than 18years of age, irrespective of the severity of the crime. Meanwhile, there are some city violations, misdemeanor violations, curfew, and traffic violations committed by young persons but tried in the district court.

Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Iowa?

As expressed in the Iowa Code § 232.147, the confidentiality of a record restricts members of the public from accessing juvenile records. However, some persons are exempted from this law. They are:

● Law enforcement agencies

● School authorities

● Social agencies in charge of rehabilitating the juvenile offender

● Agencies collecting the records for research and statistics must obtain a court order to access the records.

● The victim

● Parent or guardian

● The child

The factors that determine whether a juvenile court will make a juvenile record available for the perusal of the public;

  1. The ability for the requester to prove that the public interest in viewing the record is greater than the juvenile’s interest in maintaining the confidentiality of the record
  2. The transfer of the juvenile case to a district court because of the severity of the crime

How to Find Juvenile Records in Iowa

There are two ways of finding juvenile records in Iowa. A requester can check with the county clerk’s office or the online platform provided by the Iowa Judicial Branch. to have access to the records. The confidentiality of juvenile records in Iowa is not strict. Therefore, a requester can obtain full records by seeking the court’s authorization. Once it can be proven that the document’s release is in the public’s interest and the defender, then the court can grant the requester access to the records.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

● The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile

● The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused of.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

Can you Lookup Iowa Juvenile Records Online?

Yes, records of juvenile cases that involve rape and murder are accessible online. On the other hand, minor delinquencies are immediately sealed. Requesters using the online search system may find cases by making a case search, paid search, or advanced search.

Do Iowa Juvenile Records Show up on Background Checks?

There is a high level of certainty that juvenile records will show up on background checks due to the number of different agencies accessing the records. Therefore a person needs to make sure juvenile records are sealed. Records of delinquencies for which a juvenile is not adjudicated may be sealed immediately. Other minor offenses may also qualify for automatic sealing.

Other eligibility requirements for juvenile records to get sealed are;

  • The child must have passed the age of 18
  • The child must not have pending cases of offenses in another court.
  • The child must have stayed for at least two years after the last sentencing for the delinquency.
  • The child must not have been found delinquent for another offense.

How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Iowa?

A juvenile automatically qualifies for records’ expungement at the age of 22 years. A young person can apply for the expungement of documents once the person turns 18 or two years after the child’s last date is found to be adjudicated, delinquent. The only records that are not eligible for expungement are records of delinquencies for an aggravated felony or misdemeanor perpetrated by young persons. Such documents are kept as part of a person’s criminal history and opened to public access.

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