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Iowa Statute of Limitations

A stylized image of the state of Iowa with the words statute of limitations overlaid on top of it

Statute of Limitations IA- Summary

Iowa’s statute of limitations establishes a deadline before which civil cases – such as lawsuits – must be filed in the state. In relation to criminal charges, it also prevents prosecutors from charging an individual with a crime after a specified period of time has passed. The statutes of limitations for different civil actions and crimes can vary from state to state, so read on for more information about how they apply in Iowa. 

Iowa Civil Statute of Limitations

Iowa’s civil statute of limitations sets deadlines under which lawsuits and other civil actions must be filed in the state. These limits typically range from two – twenty years, depending on the type of case or procedure. The date or discovery of an incident is usually when time starts counting down.

Be aware that if you fail to file your civil claim before the established deadline, the opposing party can use the statute of limitations in their defense and file a motion to dismiss the case on the basis that the time allotted to file it has already passed. Any legal claim will be lost forever once your case is dismissed. 

A summary of civil statutes of limitations in Iowa:

Code SectionIowa Code 614, et seq.: Limitation of Actions
Injury to Person2 yrs. §614.1(2)
Libel/Slander2 yrs. §614.1(2)
Fraud5 yrs. §614.1(4)
Injury to Personal Property5 yrs. §614.1(4)
Professional MalpracticeMedical: 2 yrs. from reasonable discovery; max. of 6 from act §614.1(9)
Trespass5 yrs. §614.1(4)
Collection of RentsIf rent agreement is in written contract: 10 yrs.
ContractsWritten: 10 yrs. §614.1(5); Oral: 5 yrs. §614.1(4)
Collection of Debt on AccountIf rent agreement is in written contract: 10 yrs.
JudgmentsJudgment of court of record: 20 yrs. §614.1; (6); Judgment of court not of record §614.1(5): 10 yrs 

State laws related to filing lawsuits can change often. While our goal is to provide the most current information available, please consider contacting an attorney in Iowa or doing legal research of your own to verify the state law(s) you’re researching. 

Iowa Criminal Statute of Limitations

Iowa’s criminal statute of limitations sets time limits on the filing of criminal charges in the state. As it is in most states, Iowa does not place a deadline on bringing charges for crimes considered especially heinous, including first and second degree murder. The law says prosecutors can charge someone with one of these crimes no matter how much time has passed. 

Most other felonies have a statute of limitations of three years in Iowa. Serious misdemeanors must be prosecuted within three years, while simple misdemeanors or a violation of ordinances carries a one-year limit.

A summary of criminal statutes of limitations Iowa:

Code SectionIowa Code 802, et seq.: Limitations of Criminal Actions
Felonies1st and 2nd degree murder: none; other felonies: 3 yrs.; 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree sex abuse committed on or with a person under 18: within 10 yrs. after victim turns 18; other 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree sex abuse: 10 yrs; incest with person under 18: within 10 yrs. after victim turns 18; sexual exploitation committed by counselor or therapist: 10 yrs. unless victim under 18 yrs. – then 10 yrs. after victim turns 18; fraud or breach of fiduciary duty: extension of maximum 3 yrs.
MisdemeanorsSerious misdemeanor: 3 yrs.; simple misdemeanor or violation of ordinances: 1 yr.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not RunIf an alleged criminal is in hiding or out of state.

State laws are always subject to change. While our goal is to provide the most current information available, please consider contacting an attorney in Iowa or doing legal research of your own to verify the state law(s) you’re researching. 

Iowa Recording Laws

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