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Sex Offender Laws in Iowa

Iowa’s Sex Offender Registry came into existence in 1995. The Department of Human Services, the Department of Corrections,  and the Department of Public Safety work together to determine the reoffending risk of sexual offenders required to register. Convicted sexual offenses include sexually violent offenses, criminal offenses against a minor with a sexual element, an aggravated offense with a sexual element or any other relevant offenses in Iowa or any other state, or in any federal, military, tribal or foreign court. Sexual offenders convicted of any of these offenses are required under law to register themselves with the registry.

Sexual Offender Registry in Iowa:

10-year registration – If during the ten years, the sexual offender is placed on probation, parole or work release, the time already served by the offender in the registry is not counted. On release from custody, he or she will have to register again with a fresh 10-year registration applicable. For sexual offenders who are put back into the prison system, the ten years is expunged and recalculated on release.

Special Sentence Registration – For convicted sexual offenders who receive special sentences for their sexual offenses, registration is required equal to the term of their special sentence.

Iowa Sex Offender Laws

Lifetime Registration – Sexual offenders who are convicted of aggravated offenses or who commit a second offense that requires registration, must be registered as sex offenders for life.

The Sex Offender Registry website is accessible to the public, except in the case of offenders under 20 years convicted of sexual abuse in the third degree with a minor. Information shared with the public includes the offender’s name, address, locations frequented, criminal history and any risk assessment.


Iowa Sex Offender Registry Process

Convicted sexual offenders required to register under the law, must register with the sheriff of the county in which they take up residence. They should do so within five days of establishing residence upon release from the prison system or within five days of any conviction not requiring incarceration. Those offenders who change their residence within the county or change their name have to also register with the sheriff.  Sexual offenders who do not reside in the state but who work full or part-time or those who are full or part-time students must also register.

Sex Offender Laws Iowa
For offenders who move residence outside the state, notification has to be given to the sheriff with the new residential details. The county sheriff, in turn, notifies the Department of Public Safety on all address notifications received. The offender provides verification of address to the department once a year. However, in the case of sexually violent offenders, address verification is provided once every three months.

Also, the offender must update his or her photograph on the Sex Offender Registry once a year. Failure to register within five days of moving, or a change in name or failure to verify address or update the photograph, is an aggravated misdemeanor for a first offense. Second and subsequent offenses are Class D felonies. Failure to register in a county where the offender is not a resident but a student or employed in higher education is a serious misdemeanor for a first offense. Subsequent offenses are Class D felonies.

Iowa Sex Offender Restrictions

Registered sex offenders whose criminal offenses involve minors are banned from residing within 2,000 feet of real property comprising a public or non-public elementary or secondary school or a childcare facility. It is a misdemeanor to violate this rule. An offender who established residence before July 1, 2002, and is subject to civil commitment as a sexually violent offender does not violate the 2,000 feet rule. If the offender is a minor or ward under guardianship, this rule does not apply as well. Several other restrictions apply as well.