Criminal History Matters
One of the basic requirements in obtaining or renewing an alcohol license is completing an application. All information requested in the application is necessary for an applicant to be considered for an alcohol license. The local authority and the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (Division) review the contents of the application to determine if the applicant and the proposed premises meet licensing requirements.
One section of the application requires the applicant to report their criminal history. Why is this information being requested? Iowa law requires an applicant be a person of good moral character. When evaluating an applicant’s good moral character, the local authority and the Division are permitted under law to consider an applicant’s previous and pending criminal violations. In fact, Iowa courts have acknowledged that criminal histories are relevant in determining license eligibility.
Criminal History Application Questions
Below is a review of each criminal history question with a brief explanation:
Have you or has anyone listed in the ownership screen been convicted of a felony offense in Iowa or any other state of the United States? If yes, list on the next (Violations) screen.
Applicants should select “Yes” and enter the violation(s) on the violations screen if the applicant or any person listed on the ownership screen has been convicted of a felony at any time in their life, no matter which state the violation occurred in. It is important to note that a person convicted of a felony is not eligible to hold an alcohol license in Iowa, unless the felony conviction is more than five years old and the person’s rights of citizenship have been restored by the governor.
Have any of the owners listed in the ownership screen ever been charged, arrested, indicted, convicted or received a deferred judgment for any violation of any state, county, city, federal or foreign law? All information shall be reported regardless of the disposition, even if dismissed or expunged. Include pending charges. DO NOT include traffic violations, except those that are alcohol related. If yes, list violations on the next (Violations) screen.
Applicants should select “Yes” and enter the violation(s) on the violations screen if the applicant or any person listed on the ownership screen has been arrested, charged, indicted, convicted or received a deferred judgment for any state, county, city, federal, or foreign law violation.
- Report all violations, even those that have been dismissed or expunged.
- Report all violations, regardless of how long ago they occurred.
- Report pending charges, even those that don’t have a disposition.
- DO NOT report traffic violations, unless they are alcohol related. (I.e. OWI, open container, OWI related driving while suspended/revoked).
- Applicants should not rely solely on the results of a Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) background check or an Iowa Courts online search when reporting violations.
If no arrests, indictments, summons or convictions are applicable select “NONE”. Applicants should select “None” only if the applicant or any person listed on the ownership screen has never been charged, arrested, indicted, convicted, or received a deferred judgment for any applicable violation of any state, county, city, federal or foreign law.
Before an application is submitted to a local authority or the Division, an applicant is required to provide a signature. By signing the application, the applicant declares that all information provided in the application is true and correct. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the application, including the criminal history, is completed accurately.
Failure to report a criminal violation on an application is considered a misrepresentation of material fact. The law authorizes the local authority and the Division to suspend, revoke, or impose a civil penalty on applicants that misrepresent any material fact in the application. Likewise, misrepresentation of material facts in a new application is grounds for denial of the license.
It is easy to see the importance of accurately completing the criminal history section of an alcohol license application. After all, it could be the difference in the issuance of the license. When in doubt on how to answer a criminal history question, please contact a licensing specialist for guidance at 866.469.2223, option 1.