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Frequently Asked Questions

Criminal Justice

Q

Can charges be dropped?

A

No.

Charges are filed by the State of Iowa, not the victim.

  • It is the decision of the County Attorney to decide how the criminal charges are pursued.
  • The victim’s responsibility is one of a witness to a crime.
Q

Can I ask for pain and suffering?

A

No. In a criminal case, a victim is not entitled to receive a monetary amount for pain and suffering.

Q

How can I get a No Contact Order dropped or changed?

A
  • Contact the Poweshiek County Clerk of Court at 641-623-5644 for more information.
  • Issues involving No Contact Orders are handled by the Court.
  • You will need to fill out an application so your request will be scheduled for a hearing with the Judge.
  • ONLY a Judge can Cancel the Order.
Q

How long does the criminal justice process take?

A

The process can vary greatly. A lesser offense can come to conclusion in as little as a few months, with a more serious offense taking as long as 2 or more years.

Q

How will I receive my court ordered restitution?

A
  • Once the defendant has been sentenced and ordered to pay restitution, they will be required to make monthly payments to the Clerk of Court.
  • The Clerk of Court will then mail a check to you (the victim.)
  • If the defendant doesn’t pay the Clerk of Court, then there is no money to forward to you.
  • If your address changes you will need to contact the County Attorney’s office and the Clerk of Court immediately!
Q

I just wanted him/her out of the house. Why did he/she get arrested?

A

When a peace officer has probable cause to believe a domestic assault has occurred, they are required by law to arrest the person whom they believe to be the primary aggressor.

Domestic violence is a crime.

Q

I received a subpoena for a day/time that I must work.

A
  • Talk with your employer and show them your subpoena.
  • Employers are required to give you time to honor your subpoena, however, they are not required to pay you for the time you miss work.
  • If you do not appear as ordered, you may be subject to contempt of court proceedings.
Q

What is a deposition?

A
  • A deposition is an opportunity for the defense attorney to ask questions of the witnesses involved in a case in order to prepare for trial.
  • All depositions are taken under oath, normally in a conference room with the county attorney present.
  • The defendant may or may not be in attendance.
  • There is no judge or jury present for depositions.
Q

What is a subpoena?

A

A subpoena is a court order for a specific date and time that you are REQUIRED to appear to give testimony regarding a case you are a victim or witness.

It does not mean you have done anything wrong.  It simply means you may have information needed by the court.

A Subpoena is served to you by the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office.

Q

What is a Victim Impact Statement and what should I include?

A
  • At the sentencing hearing, victims have the right to make a Victim Impact Statement to the Judge.
  • The statement should be written out.
  • It should include how this crime has affected your life and what changes you have had to make.
  • It should also include what you feel is an appropriate punishment.
Q

What types of expenses can I claim for restitution?

A
  • Depends greatly on what the defendant is charged with but in general, you can claim losses directly related to the crime committed.
  • Only Out-of-Pocket expenses.
  • If you have filed an insurance claim, please include that information along with your deductible amount.
Q

Why have I not heard anything? How do I find out what is happening with the case in which I am a victim?

A
  • It is possible that NO trial date or sentencing date has been scheduled.
  • At the beginning of the case, our office will mail you a Victim Packet in which we ask you to register with our office.
  • If you choose not to fill out the registration form and/or return it to our office, you may not get notifications about the case.
  • If you have changed phone numbers, email address, or moved – contact the County Attorney’s office immediately at 641-623-5135.
  • You can contact the County Attorney’s office at 641-623-5135 to speak with the attorney handling your case.
  • The County Attorney’s Office encourages participation from victims, but the County Attorney’s Office represents the State of Iowa, not the victim.
Q

Why is the trial date being reset? Why is this case taking so long to go to trial?

A

Unfortunately, a trial date being reset is a common occurrence and happens for many different reasons. A common reason is trying to coordinate the schedules of everyone involved in the case (Attorneys, witnesses, judge, and the Court.)

If you have questions about a specific case you are involved in please contact our office at 641-623-5135.

Collections/Payment Plans

Q

When is a case eligible for a county attorney payment plan?

A

Thirty-one (31) days after your sentencing/disposition date

Q

What is a County Attorney payment plan for?

A
  • This plan is most often used to satisfy probation/parole requirements, help with vehicle registration holds and to avoid garnishments
  • This payment plan will NOT affect the status of your driver’s license
  • This plan will NOT prevent suspension of your driver’s license for non-payment of traffic tickets
    • For a payment plan for your driver’s license please apply for the Driver’s License Reinstatement Program (DLRP) payment plan
Q

How do I make payments?

A
  • Pay Online
  • Pay over the phone
    • If you have a debit or credit card, you can pay over the phone by calling 515-348-4788
  • Pay through the mail
    • You can mail a check or money order
    • Be sure to include at least one case number on your check or money order
    • Make payable to "Poweshiek County Clerk of Court"
    • Send to:
      Poweshiek County Clerk of Court
      PO Box 218
      Montezuma, IA 50171
  • Pay in person
    • Go to the 2nd floor of the Poweshiek County Courthouse located at 302 East Main, Montezuma, IA
    • Payment methods accepted: cash, check, money orders, debit/credit cards
  • The Poweshiek County Clerk of Court is open Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (excluding holidays)
  • We DO NOT accept payments at the Poweshiek County Attorney's Office
Q

There is a hold on my vehicle registration because of unpaid Iowa fines. How do I get that hold lifted?

A
  • The simplest solution is to pay all amounts due at the Clerk of Court’s office
    • Advise the Clerk that you need the registration hold lifted.
    • You will then need to take the zero-balance receipt(s) to the County Treasurer
  • If you are unable to pay in full – you will need to contact our office to arrange an acceptable payment plan: Credit/Debit Card Payment Plan, Wage Assignment/Garnishment, Voluntary Payment Plan
    • A down payment is required!
      • Contact the County Attorney's Office to discuss the minmum amount required
    • If you are already on a payment plan you must be current on all payments
    • You will need a Temporary Lift Notice
      • Contact the County Attorney's Office to have one sent to the County Treasurer
    • NO release will be given on a promise to pay
    • If you have unpaid fines in more than Poweshiek County, a lift will need to be arranged in each county
      • Poweshiek County Attorney can ONLY lift a registration hold which has been imposed for amounts due in Poweshiek County
Q

Can I start a new payment plan if I am delinquent/behind on my payments?

A
  • No – You must get your plan current by paying ALL unpaid payments
  • Not making payments will result in garnishment or other legal proceedings
Q

What is the lowest total remaining balance that you would put on a payment plan?

A

$300

Q

When does my payment plan end?

A

When ALL your cases are paid in full

Q

What if I get behind on my payments?

A
  • You must get your plan current as soon as possible
  • Unemployment and/or incarceration are not valid reasons for missing required payments
  • Not making payments may result in garnishment or other legal proceedings
Q

What if I have a change in employment or contact information?

A

If you have a change of employment, move, change phone number, or email address you should contact the County Attorney’s Office immediately at 641-623-5135

Q

Will my county attorney payment plan prevent the Iowa Department of Revenue from taking my Iowa tax refund?

A
  • No
  • Contact the Iowa Department of Revenue at 866-569-1077
  • The State of Iowa procedure to intercept any state income tax refund due to the Defendant, the State of Iowa procedure to intercept any vendor amounts due to the Defendant, or the clerk of court’s ability to intercept monetary amounts held by the clerk of court and payable to the Defendant based upon unpaid financial court ordered obligations are not affected by this payment plan/wage assignment.

General

Q

How do I evict someone from my property?

A
  • The Poweshiek County Attorney’s Office cannot help you.
  • Visit Iowa Courts website.
  • Seek a private attorney.
  • Contact Iowa Legal Aid at 1-800-532-1275.
Q

How do I file for a divorce?

A
  • The Poweshiek County Attorney’s Office cannot help you.
  • Visit Iowa Courts website.
  • Seek a private attorney.
  • Contact Iowa Legal Aid at 1-800-532-1275.
Q

How do I file for child custody or guardianship?

A
  • The Poweshiek County Attorney’s Office cannot help you.
  • Visit Iowa Courts website.
  • Seek a private attorney.
  • Contact Iowa Legal Aid at 1-800-532-1275.
Q

How do I get financial assistance for legal counsel for a NON-criminal matter?

A

Contact Iowa Legal Aid at 1-800-532-1275.

Q

How do I get my case expunged?

A
  • Contact the Attorney that represented you.
  • Contact the Clerk of Court office at 641-623-5644.
Q

How do I obtain items seized from me during my arrest?

A
  • Contact the Attorney that represented you.
  • File an Application for Return of Seized Property.
  • Contact the arresting agency for assistance.
Q

I am charged with a crime and need an attorney.

A

Contact the Clerk of Court office at 641-623-5644 to see if you qualify for a court-appointed attorney.

Q

I can’t make my court hearing / I missed a court hearing.

A

Contact the Clerk of Court office at 641-623-5644.

Q

I received a notice for Jury Duty.

A

Contact the Clerk of Court office at 641-623-5644.

Q

I want to report a crime / have charges filed against someone.

A
  • Call 911 if it is an emergency.
  • For Non-Emergency situations: Contact your local law enforcement agency.
    • If you live in the City of Grinnell contact the Grinnell Police Department at 641-236-2670.
    • If you live anywhere else in Poweshiek county call Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office at 641-623-5679.