Iowa Public Records

Iowa State has public records law that guarantees that the general public has access to most of the records at all state and local government levels.

Enacted in 1967, Iowa’s first public records law is found in Iowa Code § 22 et?seq. The law states that “all public records” of any city, county, school, township, political subdivision, corporation, and all non-profit corporations that are supported by public funds are accessible to the public. There is no any restriction on who can access these records. There is also no limitation specified on how the records may be used once obtained.

There are many exemptions to this public records law. Actually, there are about 64 categories of exemptions and they relate things such as:

  • Trade secrets
  • Medical records
  • Personal records
  • Financial records
  • Investigatory records

Iowa Criminal Records

The administration of background checks in the state of Iowa is the responsibility of the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Criminal Record History Record Dissemination Unit. They provide a website that lets the public perform non-waiver, limited records check and anyone can run a search on any individual without their consent. The search will generate a background check that doesn’t include current arrests that have not had a financial disposition yet. For a detailed criminal records check, the requester must have a signed authorization.

Arrest records, jail and inmate records are made available to the public through the Department of Corrections. Information regarding offenders in Iowa is available at the Iowa Department of Corrections. To locate an offender, simply search online on the Iowa Department of Corrections or through It’s helpful to have more information about the offender, such as Last Name, First Name, Date of Birth, and the County where the offence was committed. You will receive information on the offender’s current location, estimated release date, and charges.

Iowa Court Records

Any information about courts in Iowa and court files is available through the state’s Administrator of the Courts. You can either perform an online search via the Iowa Courts Online Search or request the records on particular cases at the courthouse where the case was heard. For cases older than 1991, you should search directly at the appropriate courthouse.

Iowa Vital Records

The responsibility of recording vital events such as death, marriage, birth and divorce is given to the Iowa Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. Birth and death certificates are available from 1880 and can be found at the Bureau of Vital Statistics.

  • Birth records: You can obtain birth certificates through the county or the state recorder’s office. It is however important to note that county recorders cannot provide records for births between 1921-1941, single-parent births prior to 1995, or any other record preserved by a court of law. For such records, you will have to make your request through Iowa Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  • Death records: You can obtain death certificates through the county or state recorder’s office. However, you cannot obtain records of deaths before 1921 and after 1941 at the county recorders’ office.
  • Marriage records: You can obtain marriage certificates from the government agency or through the specific county where the marriage or death occurred. However, you cannot obtain copies of marriage and death certificates for marriages and deaths that occurred between 1921 to194.
  • Divorce records: marriage records are available at the Iowa Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. You can also request for copies of dissolution of marriage at through the particular county where the final decree was made.

If you know exactly where to look Access to public records, criminal records, court records and vital records in Iowa can be fairly simple. Knowing the Iowa public law in its entirety will help you know where to look and what records you may be granted access to.

Iowa State Court System

Understanding how the system of Iowa state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.

Iowa Courts Overview

The trial court system of Iowa State consists of District Courts. The trial court system of the state of Iowa is a unified one with District Court exercising the general jurisdiction over all cases.

To make your work easier, start searching for court records in Iowa by simply going to courts by county. The jurisdiction of the District Court is limited whenever original jurisdiction over a particular type of case has been assigned to another administrative agency, tribunal or type of court.

By reading this post, you will get the general information about Iowa court system and the type of cases handled in what type of court.

Iowa District Courts

Iowa District Courts have general jurisdiction to handle all criminal and civil cases, with some few exceptions.

Each District Court has divisions for Small Claims, Juvenile Court and Probate Court. In addition to these divisions, some District Courts in Iowa also have divisions based particularly on case type, such as Domestic Relations, Civil, Special, and Criminal. “Special” cases are simply some types of civil cases which do not actually involve the recovery of a penalty, the redress or prevention of private wrongs, or enforcement of private rights.

The cases that fall within the jurisdiction limits of District Courts may be heard by an Associate Juvenile Judge, District Judge, Judicial Magistrate, Associate Probate Judge, or District Associate Judge. Every type of judge has specific jurisdiction to handle certain types of cases. For example, A District Judge has general jurisdiction to handle all types of cases that District Court has the jurisdiction to handle. On the other hand, other remaining types of judges have limited jurisdiction to only handle certain types of cases depending on what court a judge presides over.

District Courts have Juvenile Court divisions with original jurisdiction to handle termination of parental rights, voluntary foster care placement proceedings, majority of juvenile delinquency, families in need of assistance, children in need of assistance, and cases that involve hearings of abortion notification waiver.

District Courts also have the Probate Court divisions with jurisdiction to handle trustees, trusts, conservatorships and guardianships, actions for accounting, the construction of wills, the estates of absentees and decedents, and other many probate cases.

District Courts also have Small Claims divisions. The Small Claims divisions provide a simplified procedure for certain civil claims that involve disputed money in limited amounts, including certain types of landlord-tenant cases.

The Official Website of Iowa County

Cedar Falls Cedar Falls, IA – Official Website
Marion City of Marion, IA
Bettendorf Bettendorf, IA The official website of the City of Bettendorf, Iowa
Polk County Polk County Iowa
Linn County Linn County, IA – Official Website
Scott County Scott County, Iowa |
Black Hawk County Black Hawk County IA | Official Website
Woodbury County Woodbury County, Iowa
Dubuque County Dubuque County
Story County Story County, IA – Official Website
Dallas County Dallas County, IA
Clinton County Clinton County, Iowa
Warren County Warren County, Iowa
Muscatine County Muscatine County, IA – Official Website
Marshall County Marshall County, Iowa—Marshall County, Iowa
Des Moines County Des Moines County, IA – Official Website
Webster County Welcome to Webster County Iowa
Jasper County Jasper County, IA | Official Website
Lee County Welcome to Lee County Boone County, IA! Official Lee County, Iowa website, the main site for all things related to County Government in Lee County, Iowa. Courthouse located in Fort Madison and Keokuk, Iowa.
Wapello County Official Wapello County Website
Sioux County Sioux County, Iowa – Official County Courthouse Website Welcome to the official Sioux County Iowa website, featuring news, information and links from the Sioux County government departments.
Marion County Welcome to Marion County, Iowa! Official Marion County, Iowa website, the main site for all things related to County Government in Marion County, Iowa.
Boone County Boone County, IA
Benton County Homepage – Benton County Iowa
Bremer County Welcome to Bremer County, IA
Mahaska County Welcome to Mahaska County, Iowa |
Washington County Washington County, IA – Official Website
Winneshiek County Welcome to Winneshiek County | Winneshiek County
Buchanan County Welcome to Buchanan County, IA
Fayette County Fayette County, Iowa
Carroll County Carroll County Iowa Government Website Home Page This is the home page for Carroll County Iowa local government. Information about all aspects of doing business witht he county can be found here.
Jones County jonescounty
Buena Vista County Buena Vista County
Henry County Welcome to Henry County Iowa! Official Henry County, Iowa website, the main site for all things related to County Government in Henry County, Iowa. Courthouse located in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.
Jackson County Welcome to Jackson County Iowa! Official Jackson County, Iowa website, the main site for all things related to County Government in Jackson County, Iowa. Courthouse located in Maquoketa, Iowa.
Poweshiek County Poweshiek County Iowa Poweshiek County Iowa – On this website, you will find information on some of the services provided by Poweshiek County. In addition, you will find state and county forms that you may need. The navigation bar on the left will take you to the main pages for various county departments or in some cases to other county websites. The community links will take you to the local website or map of the community.
Cedar County Welcome to Cedar County Iowa! Official Cedar County, Iowa website, the main site for all things related to County Government in Cedar County, Iowa. Courthouse located in Tipton, Iowa.
Clayton County Clayton County, Iowa Official Website of Clayton County, Iowa

Iowa Inmate Roster and Inmate Search

Who’s In Jail Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Locator
Bremer County Sheriff, Bremer County Sheriff’s Office Waverly, IA Jail Bremer County Sheriffs Office provides Law Enforcement throughout Bremer County, Iowa.
Buchanan County Correctional Division Constructed in 2010, the Correctional Facility is capable of housing up to 46 inmates. These inmates range from individuals brought in after arrest by Buchanan County Sheriff s Deputies, area police officers and State Troopers, inmates that are overflow from other county jails and inmates that are being housed for the Federal Government.
Sheriff’s Office – Cass County Iowa Cass County Sheriff’s Office
CGSO Jail – Online Population Report Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Inmate Population Report
Cherokee County, Iowa Sheriff Main Page Cherokee County, Iowa Sheriff enforces state, county and city ordinances within the county.
Inmate Search Dallas County Inmate Search
Jail Roster – Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office
Jail | Hardin County, IA The mission of the Hardin County Correctional Center is to provide a facility that is safe, clean, and sanitary for detainees throughout the time of their incarceration
Jail Roster Johnson County Jail Roster
Lyon County Sheriff Lyon County Sheriff
sheriff | Current Inmates Osceola County Sheriff Current Inmates
Inmate Roster – Plymouth County Sheriff IA Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Roster
Jail and Arrest Information – Sheriff’s Office – Polk County Iowa Polk County Jail & Arrest Information
Incarcerations – Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office Incarceration List
Inmate Listing | Scott County, Iowa Scott County, Iowa Jail inmates in custody currently and within the last seven days.
Shelby County Jail Shelby County Jail
Jail Inmate Roster Sioux County Jail Inmate List
Sheriff and jail ? ?Official Wapello County Website Wapello County Inmate List
In Jail Search Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Search
owa Department of Corrections Inmate Search Offender Search
Iowa Criminal History Record Checks Iowa Criminal History Record Checks
Iowa Courts Online Search Iowa Court Case Search
Iowa Sex Offender Registry The Iowa Sex Offender Registry became law on July 1, 1995 and is found in Chapter 692A Code of Iowa. This site allow members of the public a means to protect themselves from individuals who have committed an offense that requires registration.