Additional Information

City Code

What is meant by a term in a city ordinance?

The City department charged with the day-to-day administration and enforcement of an ordinance can answer general questions regarding how the ordinances are enforced by the City. If the department is unable to answer your question, it can refer you to the City Attorney’s Office. While the City Attorney’s Office cannot provide legal advice, we will try to help any way we can. View City Ordinances

Filing a Claim

Information on filing a claim.

Criminal Simple Misdemeanor/Traffic and Civil Code Citations

How can I talk to a prosecutor about a crime I’ve been charged with?

The City only prosecutes criminal simple misdemeanors, traffic tickets, and civil code citations issued under the City of Dubuque Code of Ordinances. If your court documents reference a City of Dubuque ordinance, you may call the City's Attorney at 563-589-4381. If your court documents do not reference a Dubuque City ordinance, then you need to call the Dubuque County Attorney's Office at 563-589-4470. 

Criminal charges above a simple misdemeanor are prosecuted by the Dubuque County Attorney’s Office.  The Dubuque County Attorney’s Office is located at the Dubuque County Courthouse, 4th Floor, 720 Central Avenue, Dubuque, IA 52001 or call 563-589-4470.

Where do I go to appear on criminal charges, including traffic tickets?

The Dubuque County Clerk of Court is the custodian of criminal and traffic records. For information, please call 563-589-4418. The Clerk of Court is in the Dubuque County Courthouse, 720 Central Ave Dubuque, IA 52001.

Where do I go to pay a traffic ticket?

The Dubuque County Clerk of Court. For information, please call 563-589-4418. The Clerk of Court is in the Dubuque County Courthouse, 720 Central Avenue, Dubuque, IA 52001.

Human Rights / Civil Rights

The City Attorney’s Office investigates potential Human Rights violations on behalf of the Human Rights Commission. The Civil Rights Specialist investigates complaints filed on the basis of protected class in employment, public accommodation, housing, education, credit, and retaliation. The Human Rights Commission and the ordinance advance justice, promote equality, and ensure the protection of human rights for all people in the city of Dubuque through education, advocacy, community engagement and investigation of civil rights violation complaints.

How do I report a concern?

If you have experienced or witnessed a situation that you think was discriminatory, unfair, or disrespectful, please visit the human rights page for more information.

Legal Representation

The City Attorney's Office represents the City and City employees in matters related to their employment. We cannot represent private parties or provide private legal advice. 

What is the difference between the City Attorney and the County Attorney?

The City Attorney and the City Attorney's Office represent the City and City employees in matters related to their City employment and prosecute simple misdemeanor criminal charges and civil code violations issued in the city of Dubuque and under the City of Dubuque Code of Ordinances. 

The County Attorney and County Attorney's Office represent the County and County employees and all criminal charges and civil code violations issued under the Iowa Code. 

Public vs. Private Nuisance

The City of Dubuque regularly receives calls and requests related to “nuisances.” While the City has a public nuisance ordinance prohibiting many behaviors, in many instances the nuisances reported by citizens are private nuisances over which the City will not exercise any authority.

Public Nuisance

The public nuisance ordinance is applicable to enumerated nuisances when the public as a class is impacted. A public nuisance interferes with a communal right of the public as a class, NOT merely the rights of one person or a group of citizens.  A public nuisance may lead to pursuit of a civil injunction or a criminal prosecution. A public nuisance is an act or omission which obstructs, damages, or inconveniences the rights of the community.  Said another way, a public nuisance arises when the act or omission threatens the health, safety, comfort, convenience, or welfare of a community at large.

Examples of public nuisances:

  • Public health: Keeping of diseased animals, conditions conducive to the breeding of disease harboring pests
  • Public safety: Shooting fireworks into the streets, storing explosives, practicing medicine without a license
  • Public obstruction: Obstructing a highway, creating unsafe travel conditions

Items considered public nuisances when the public as a class is impacted:

  1.  Accumulations
  2. Diseased or Damaged Trees or Plant Materials
  3. Ditch, Drain or Stormwater Detention Basins
  4. Stagnant Water
  5. Vermin and Pests
  6. Private Sewer Facilities
  7. Unoccupied, Dangerous Buildings
  8. Hazardous Conditions
  9. Obstructing Public Ways and Property
  10. Depositing Mud, Dirt and Debris on Public Ways
  11. Unsanitary Accumulations
  12. Unwholesome Food or Drink
  13. Communicable Disease
  14. Animals
  15. Clear and Present Danger to Others
  16. Disorderly House
  17. Furniture
  18. Combustible Items
  19. Construction and Building Materials
  20. Appliances or Appliance Parts
  21. Burned or Partially Burned Buildings and Structures
  22. Miscellaneous: Any act done or committed by any person or any substance or thing kept, maintained, placed, or found in or on any public or private place which is annoying or damaging or injurious or dangerous to the public health, welfare, or safety and every action or thing done, permitted, maintained, allowed, or continued on any public or private property, by any person which is liable to or does endanger, annoy, damage, or injure any person or inhabitant of the city or property of said person or inhabitant.

For further information, please see City of Dubuque Code of Ordinances Title 6, Chapter 4.

Private Nuisance

A civil wrong based on the unreasonable, unwarranted, or unlawful use of one’s property that interferes with the private use and enjoyment of another individual’s property. A land owner is entitled to a certain level of comfort free from interference while on his/her private property. Private nuisance can come in the form of physical damage to the property or the disturbance of a person’s comfort.

Examples of private nuisances:

  • Interference with the physical condition of the land:
    • Tree falls across a property line onto private property
    • Vibration or blasting on nearby property which damages a home
    • Pollution resulting in the destruction of a property owner’s crops
  • Interference with the comfort, convenience, or health of an occupant:
    • Odors
    • Smoke
    • Dust
    • Excessive light
    • Loud noises (Neighbor’s dog barks all night long keeping individual awake) which impact an individual or group of individuals