Your Legal
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Iowa City Criminal Defense Attorneys Defending Your Freedom And Future

At Johnston, Stannard, Klesner, Burbidge & Fitzgerald, P.L.C., our Iowa City criminal defense attorneys have more than 50 years of combined experience providing our community with excellent legal advocacy in criminal law. We’re thoughtful, skilled and resourceful legal professionals prepared to fight for your rights and protect your best interests wherever your case may take you.

The Criminal Cases We Defend Against

Our criminal defense lawyers have represented over 1,000 clients facing a wide variety of felony and misdemeanor criminal charges, including:

  • Public intoxication
  • Domestic abuse and assault, including violations of no-contact orders
  • Drug crimes, including possession and possession with intent to deliver
  • Violent crimes like attempted murder
  • Sexual offenses, including sex abuse and assault with intent to commit sex abuse
  • Property crimes, including burglary, robbery and theft
  • Felon in possession of a firearm
  • White-collar offenses, including embezzlement and forgery
  • College crimes, including OWI, underage drinking and underage possession

Located in Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa, we help college students charged with criminal conduct and mitigate its impact on their education.

A list of matters we’ve assisted clients with, including our recent successes, can be found here.

Fighting Operating While Intoxicated Charges

In Iowa, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with an alcohol content over .08%, under the influence of a controlled substance or while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or other drugs or combinations. This is what Iowa calls “operating while intoxicated” (OWI).

The penalties for OWI include jail time, fines and loss of driving privileges. The collateral impact of an OWI conviction may include being suspended from work or school suspensions, increased insurance costs and losing one’s vehicle. Many factors can drastically change the outcome of an OWI case, including:

  • Whether the individual was operating the vehicle
  • The basis for the police stopping the driver
  • The legality of any chemical testing
  • Whether the interaction with law enforcement was constitutional

Finding legal representation that will thoroughly and diligently review all factors and elements in an OWI case is crucial. Our Iowa City criminal defense attorneys review all reports as well as dashboard, body and police department camera footage. We will conduct depositions to determine if officers complied with state and federal laws while interacting with our client.

Representing Those Accused Of Possession Of Controlled Substances

In Iowa, a first-time possession of a controlled substance charge carries a mandatory 48-hour jail sentence. Possession of any controlled substance charge is enhanceable, and each subsequent offense is elevated to a more severe crime. The Johnson County attorney’s office in Iowa City instituted a diversion program for first-time marijuana possession. We can help you determine if that may be appropriate for your situation.

Generally, a first offense is a serious misdemeanor carrying up to one year in jail, a second offense is an aggravated misdemeanor and third or subsequent offenses are class D felonies. A conviction for possession of a controlled substance can have the collateral effect of loss of student financial aid and other government benefits. Depending on the amount of substance found and other factors, an individual may be charged with the intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance. Possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver carries a sentence anywhere from five years in prison to 50 years.

Being Convicted Of A Crime In Iowa Could Change Everything

Prosecutors often “stack” charges, making penalties even more severe. Take, for example, fines. The minimum fine for a first-time OWI conviction is $1,250, $1,875 for a second offense and $3,125 for a third.

Prison sentences also get longer. Prior OWI, possession of a controlled substance, public intoxication, theft, assault, domestic abuse and sex abuse convictions can be used to enhance the penalties of subsequent offenses. Prior felony convictions can cause an individual to be considered a habitual felony offender, requiring a 15-year sentence.

Certain crimes like robbery and sex offenses disqualify people from deferred or suspended sentences. Upon conviction, they carry a mandatory prison sentence. However, depending on the specific facts of a case, the charge can be amended to a different one, potentially making a deferred judgment or suspended sentence possible.

Consequences Of A Conviction Go Beyond Criminal Penalties

A criminal conviction can have negative consequences beyond the fine and jail or prison sentences. Depending on the nature of the charge, there are direct and collateral consequences. These consequences include suspension of a driver’s license, suspension of a professional license, suspension of a student’s financial aid, expulsion from school, loss of child custody or visitation and loss of employment.

Our criminal defense attorney fights for your rights, freedom and future to guard against both steep criminal penalties and collateral consequences.

What Sets Johnston, Stannard, Klesner, Burbidge & Fitzgerald, P.L.C. In Criminal Cases?

We will analyze your case from all angles. All evidence must be obtained to determine if there are grounds for suppressing evidence, violation of constitutional rights and other evidentiary issues. Today, too many criminal defense attorneys lack the skill or desire to ensure all available information has been collected. We will ensure any evidence available will be obtained, reviewed and shared with the client. We review all evidence, including videos from law enforcement, security camera footage, reports, witness statements, 911 calls, test results, dispatch logs, etc.

Contact An Iowa City Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have questions about a criminal defense issue, contact our firm at 319-359-6492 or complete a contact form to request a free initial consultation. Based in Iowa City, we serve clients throughout Johnson County and surrounding areas, including Cedar Rapids.

Notable Cases

Cedar County AGCR024516 — PLEA OFFER ACCEPTED — Attorney Shawn Fitzgerald’s client was accused of the crime of Operating a Motor Vehicle While License is Barred as a Habitual Offender §321.560/ §321.561/ §321.555 /§321.556 (An Aggravated Misdemeanor), as well as Failure to Use Child Restraint Devise §321.446 (A Scheduled Violation). Attorney Shawn Fitzgerald was able to secure a plea offer satisfactory to both client and state.

Notable Cases

Muscatine County AGCR057733 — PLEA ACCEPTED, CHARGE REDUCED — Attorney Shawn Fitzgerald’s client was accused of Domestic Abuse Assault §708.2A(2)(b) (A Serious Misdemeanor). An initial plea offer stated the client would have to plead guilty as charged, attorney Shawn Fitzgerald worked for a better offer for his client. The client was able to plead guilty to an amended lesser charge of Disorderly Conduct §723.4(2) (A Simple Misdemeanor).