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How do a felony and a misdemeanor differ in Iowa?

The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is enormous, especially in terms of penalties. Though troublesome to future prospects in terms of employment, housing, government subsidies and other fields, a misdemeanor conviction, as befitting a minor crime, carries less severe consequences than one for a felony. Rarely, if ever, do misdemeanors result in two or more years in local or county jail or a fine in excess of $1,875. On the other hand, a conviction for a felony will earn you years behind bars or a significant period of probation as well as substantial fines. You could spend decades, even the rest of your life, in prison if you sustain a conviction for certain felonies. Likewise, the fines could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As a convicted felon, you will lose the following rights:

  • The right to vote and/or hold public office
  • The right to purchase or own firearms
  • Your eligibility for welfare and federal or state grants
  • Your eligibility for federally funded housing

What are some examples of felony and misdemeanor charges in Iowa?


  • First OWI (serious misdemeanor)
  • Second OWI (aggravated misdemeanor)
  • Assault with no bodily harm (simple misdemeanor)
  • Assault with bodily harm (serious misdemeanor)
  • Disorderly conduct (simple misdemeanor)
  • First offense drug possession (serious misdemeanor)
  • Second offense drug possession (aggravated misdemeanor)
  • First offense domestic abuse assault (simple misdemeanor)
  • Second offense domestic abuse assault (serious misdemeanor)
  • Prostitution (aggravated misdemeanor)
  • Trespassing (simple misdemeanor)
  • Indecent exposure (aggravated misdemeanor)


  • Murder and attempted murder (class A felony)
  • Rape and attempted rape (class A felony)
  • Robbery and attempted robbery (class B felony)
  • Arson and attempted arson (class B felony)
  • Burglary and attempted burglary (class B felony)

No criminal proceeding is a laughing matter, regardless of how minor the crime is perceived to be. If you face any sort of criminal charge, you should reach out to one of our skilled Des Moines lawyers to discuss your next steps.

How can a Des Moines criminal defense lawyer help you?

Frankly, only a fool represents him- or herself. The Hawkeye State may not have the death penalty, but a conviction can cost you the rest of your life. That is why it is important you retain the services of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who will give your case the consideration and dedication it deserves. He or she will help uncover and present mitigating or exculpatory evidence that could lead to a reduction or outright dismissal of your charges. You can’t face this on your own, so please give us a call today.

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Herting Law, PLLC, is an Iowa-based law firm designed to help with all of your legal needs. Contact Herting Law, PLLC today for help.

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