Pretrial Release | Iowa


State legislatures consider and enact laws that address all aspects of pretrial policy, including citations, release eligibility, conditions of release, commercial bail bonding, victims’ rights and diversion. These legislative policies have an important role in providing fair, efficient and safe practices carried out by law enforcement and the courts.

Below is a synopsis of this state’s pretrial release laws as of March 2013 and any relevant legislative reports or audits. Recent enactments modifying these provisions can be found in NCSL’s pretrial enactments database.


Citation in Lieu of Arrest

Issuing a citation is not presumptive. However a citation can be issued when the crime is committed in the presence of a police officer or there is reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has been committed except for offenses not eligible for pretrial release; stalking; and domestic violence offenses resulting in injury, if there was intent to inflict injury using a dangerous weapon, or where there was pressure applied to throat or neck, or obstruction of nose or mouth.  Citations can be issued at any time during the arrest process by peace officers. (§ 805.1)

Pretrial Release Eligibility

State constitution and statute provide a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for capital offenses. (Const. art. 1 § 12; §811.1)

Guidance for Setting Release Conditions

State statute provides a presumption of pretrial release on personal recognizance or unsecured appearance bond. Law requires the court to impose conditions as enumerated in § 811.2(1). (§ 811.2)

Pretrial Release Conditions

Law allows release on personal recognizance or an unsecured appearance bond. Common conditions of release include: commercial surety, cash deposit, property bond, supervision and additional requirements. (§ 811.1; § 811.2; § 811.3)

Bail Forfeiture Procedure

After notification of their client’s failure to appear, a bail agent has 10 days to produce the defendant or provide an adequate reason why the defendant did not appear. Statute addresses standards for remission process. (§ 811.6)

Recovery Agents

Recovery agents are required to apply for and maintain licensure. They are required to wear identifying clothing. (§ 80A.3A; § 80A.9)

Victims’ Rights and Protections

Victims have the right to notification of pretrial release and of conditions of release. Pretrial release hearings are required for stalking and a violation of a protection order. (§ 915.16; § 708.11(5); § 664A.3(2))

Pretrial Diversion

Domestic relations diversion programs are authorized. Diversion is also authorized for offenses enumerated in §907.3. (§ 708.2B; § 907.3)


Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.