CRIMINAL LAW – FAQ
Should I hire an attorney?
In criminal proceedings, every person is entitled to an attorney and have a public defender represent them. Public Defender’s offices throughout Iowa can have good attorneys, but may lack the time necessary to research, investigate and provide the attention to detail a case requires. When you hire an attorney from Anderson & Taylor, PLLC, you know you’re hiring a skilled and experienced attorney who will put the time and effort into your case. With the potential fines, court costs, and loss in freedom in criminal cases, the smart move is to have Anderson & Taylor, PLLC on the case.
What are the levels of crimes?
Class “A” felonies are the most serious offenses under Iowa law and are punishable only by a mandatory life sentence, without possibility for parole or probation. A class “A” felon can be released from the custody and control of the Iowa Department of Corrections only through a pardon or commutation of the felon’s sentence to a term of years by the Governor. However, there are certain exceptions for juveniles facing charges that have a mandatory minimum sentence or were convicted as juveniles.
Class “B” Felonies. Class “B” felonies are punishable by confinement for no more than 25 years in most circumstances.
Class “C” Felonies. Class “C” felonies are punishable by confinement for no more than 10 years and a fine of at least $1,000 but not more than $10,000.
Class “D” felonies are punishable by confinement for no more than five years and a fine of at least $750 but not more than $7,500.
Aggravated Misdemeanors. The penalty for an aggravated misdemeanor is imprisonment not to exceed two years and a fine of not less than $625 but not more than $6,250. However, the court may impose a sentence of confinement for a determinate term of one year or less to be served in the county jail.
Serious Misdemeanors. The penalty for a serious misdemeanor is a fine of not less than $315 but not more than $1,875. Imprisonment for up to one year in the county jail may also be ordered.
Simple Misdemeanors. The penalty for a simple misdemeanor is a fine of at least $65 but not more than $625. Imprisonment for up to 30 days in the county jail may be ordered in addition to or in lieu of the fine. In addition to the classified misdemeanors, a class of offenses known as scheduled violations is created in Iowa Code section 805.8. A scheduled violation is a violation of state, county, or city statute or ordinance for which the applicable penalty is a specific fine amount, which is listed in Iowa Code sections 805.8A, 805.8B, and 805.8C. Persons who commit acts which are scheduled violations are generally issued a citation or ticket and do not serve any term of confinement.
How does a criminal case progress?
The typical hearings in a criminal proceeding are the following:
Preliminary Hearing: Preliminary Hearing: (Held 10 or 20 days after arrest) A preliminary hearing is a probable cause hearing to determine whether someone can be formally charged with a crime. However, even if the Court finds the prosecution lacks probable cause at the hearing, the prosecution may still file charges at later date.
Filing of Trial Information or Official Charging Document (within 45 days of arrest)
Arraignment. (Approximately 30 days after arrest) Arraignment is where a person pleads guilty or not guilty to their charges.
Pretrial Conference/Status Conference. (Approximately 30 days after arraignment) This hearing is where plea negotiations, evidence, and issues for trial are discussed.
Trial (within 90 days of Trial Information being filed) unless speedy trial is waived