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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26797
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I would like my ex-husbands domestic charge to be expunged.

Customer Question

I would like my ex-husbands domestic charge to be expunged. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I'm sure this greatly affected our life. We've been divorced for almost ten years. Where should I start?
JA: In what state did this occur?
Customer: Iowa
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: No, no money for that
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 10 days ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 10 days ago.


I'm Zoey.

I'm reviewing your post. Please be patient as I may need to research for you, and it also takes time to compose and type a reply.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 10 days ago.

Iowa does not expunge criminal convictions, unfortunately, unless your husband was given a deferral -- a special sentence whereby after completing a term of probation his charges were dismissed. The only exception is that they will expunge a charge of public intoxication, which does not help you with your particular case.

That leaves him only two possibilities to reduce the effect of his criminal conviction. The first would be to seek a pardon from your governor.

Pardons are very rare, and the odds are heavily against him. You can read more about the pardon process here. However, they are easy enough to apply for and he would not need a lawyer to do it. Also, they are free.

The second possibility is also a longhot. It would mean retaining a lawyer because the petition would be complicated. That would be to have a lawyer reopen your husband's old case and petition for it to be dismissed in the interest of justice.

Judges have the power to dismiss a case under their powers of equity, even if the law won't provide for the dismissal. They are very cautious and sparing in their use of this power, and some will refuse to entertain a petition on these grounds at all. But others will do it to prevent an injustice.

He would need to talk to a lawyer about bringing the motion. The lawyer will have to draft it essentially showing why the law under which your husband was convicted should be ignored in his case. There may be opposition from the DA. So he might want to get some free or low-cost consultations to get a sense of how likely this is to work in his jurisdiction before paying a couple of thousand dollars to a lawyer to try to get this done.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 days ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.

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