Simple Misdemeanors and Traffic Offenses
In Iowa, Simple Misdemeanors are the least serious criminal charges. Some simple misdemeanors charge a violation of state code. Other simple misdemeanors charge a violation of a city or county ordinance. The Polk County Attorney’s Office handles some simple misdemeanors and traffic offenses occurring in Polk County, but not all such cases. Polk County has agreements with most municipalities (cities) in Polk County regarding the prosecution of simple misdemeanors. These agreements assign responsibility for handling some simple misdemeanors to those municipalities. Copies of these agreements are on file with the Iowa Secretary of State (SOS) and are available for viewing on the SOS’s website. These agreements change at times, but currently, the Polk County Attorney’s Office handles the following list of simple misdemeanor and traffic prosecutions if the charge involves a violation of the Iowa Code or a Polk County (and not any city’s) Ordinance:
- All Simple Misdemeanor Domestic Abuse cases and any No Contact Order Violations stemming from those cases -- regardless of what police department filed the charge.
- Simple Misdemeanors charged by the Des Moines Police Department which involve a violation of the Iowa Code (and not a city ordinance); and
- All Simple Misdemeanors charged by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office or a Polk County Conservation Officer which involve a violation of the Iowa Code or a Polk County Ordinance; and
- All Simple Misdemeanors charged by Iowa State Patrol, the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation or the Iowa Department of Natural Resources which involve a violation of the Iowa Code.
- All Simple Misdemeanors charged by the West Des Moines Police Department or the Carlisle Police Department which occurred in Polk County and which involved a violation of the Iowa Code (and not a city ordinance); and
- Harassment in the Third Degree charged by the Windsor Heights Police Department which involves a violation of the Iowa Code (and not a city ordinance).
Simple misdemeanors that do not fall in one of the categories set out above are handled by the city prosecutor for the city where the violation allegedly took place.