Expungement Law: Can Your Criminal Case Be Kept Confidential Now?
Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid
The public has online access to many court records. Some types of cases, like juvenile cases and divorces in progress, are confidential. Most types of cases are on the public list. A lot of people look at the online court docket to see what crimes may be on someone’s record. Employers, day care providers, parents of school children and anyone who wants to find out can see most court cases filed against a person.
When it comes to adult criminal records, the public can see all criminal cases in which a person was charged. Even if the outcome of the case was “not guilty” or “dismissed,” the public can still see it. A change in the law takes effect July 2013. Some types of cases will no longer be on the public list.
A deferred judgment is when the court:
- Does not make a judgment right away,
- Puts a probation order in place,
- Orders the person to pay restitution and/or costs, and
- Waits to see how the person does on probation.
The court will not enter judgment if the person:
- Has no more criminal charges during the probation, and
- Follows the court order.
- If the person violates his or her probation, the court will remove the deferred judgment and enter judgment.
Many people did everything the court ordered but the crime remained on the online court docket. Lawmakers saw this as unfair.
By July 2013, the court administrator must make changes. Cases where no judgment is entered must be removed completely from the online records. Potential employers, friends, family and others will not be able to see cases where a person received a deferred judgment, completed probation and judgment was never entered.