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Are Criminal Records Public In Nebraska?

According to Nebraska Public Records Law, Nebraska citizens and all other persons interested in inspecting or copying criminal records may have access to the required information. In line with this statute, a public request does not need to state the purpose of need or the use of the document after obtaining it. However, there are limitations to the criminal information accessible to the public. Certain criminal records are classified as confidential under NRS 29–3523 and are therefore not made available. Such exclusions include:

  • Arrest cases where the prosecuting attorney filed no charges. The statute mandates that the information be redacted one year from the date of arrest
  • Cases where an arrest was made, but no charges were filed due to completed diversion. The statutes mandates that the information be prohibited from public access after two years from the date of arrest
  • Cases of dismissed charges on the motion of the prosecuting attorney or after a hearing, or after a drug or other approved court order program

Although a complete criminal history will reflect all of the above, it can only be obtained by the record’s subject or anyone approved by the subject. Apart from the redacted portions, Nebraska makes the remaining portions publicly available to anyone who can demonstrate an “interest” in the subject. The state identifies “interest” by paying the relevant fee for obtaining the public criminal record.

Juvenile records are generally confidential in Nebraska and can only be viewed upon court order. Persons granted exceptions to view juvenile records in the state are:

  • Court personnel
  • Child
  • Child’s parent or guardian
  • Child’s attorney
  • Social service providers to the child or the immediate family of the child
  • Law enforcement agencies for use in an investigation upon a court order or consent of the child

What Is Included In A Criminal Record In Nebraska?

A criminal record is an official document stating the criminal activities of the subject within the state. It includes the subject’s contact with law enforcement agencies, courts, and correctional facilities. Hence a criminal record comprises arrest histories, indictment records, and incarceration information. A criminal record may also be referred to as a RAP sheet.

A Nebraska criminal record contains:

  • The subject’s full name and known aliases
  • Biographical information such as date of birth, age, and gender
  • Mugshot
  • A set of fingerprints
  • Arrest data and outstanding warrants
  • Conviction history
  • Pending dispositions

How To Look Up My Criminal Records In Nebraska?

The Nebraska State Patrol is the central repository of criminal history records in the state. The NSP provides for two types of criminal history reports; name-based criminal records and fingerprint-based criminal records. A name-based criminal record is the most accessible way to obtain a personal criminal record in Nebraska. Requestors may obtain their criminal records or the record of another person by paying a nominal fee to the NSP. The name and the date of birth of the subject must be provided to complete the request.

Fingerprint-based requests are more common when a nationwide criminal record is required. A fingerprint-based criminal record request searches both Nebraska and national criminal history databases based on the subject’s fingerprints. Note that obtaining a fingerprint-based criminal record is more expensive than a name-based criminal record search and is only available to authorized entities. Fingerprint-based criminal record requests will only be obliged if requested by a state or federal law. NSP maintains a list of entities authorized to request a fingerprint-based criminal record and the relevant fees.

To obtain a personal criminal record from the NSP, submit a completed Criminal History Record Request form and a payment of $12.50 in person or by mail to the Criminal Identification Division office. The processing fee is payable by cashier’s check, personal check, or money order. Criminal information for arrests made in other states is not reflected in the criminal records obtained from the NSP. The NSP responds to criminal record requests usually within three business days from the day the request was received in good order. A request is considered to be in good order after the relevant fee has been paid, the form has been appropriately completed and signed, and any other requirements are met.

In-Person requests

Investigative Service Center

Criminal Identification Division

3800 NW 12th Street—Suite A

Lincoln NE 68521

Phone: (402) 479–4971

Fax: (402) 479–4321

Mail requests

Investigative Service Center

Criminal Identification Division

PO Box 94907

Lincoln NE 68509

The Criminal Identification Division is open Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (excluding holidays). Fingerprinting appointments are only between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

How Can I Get My Criminal Records For Free In Nebraska?

The Nebraska State Patrol does not make any provisions for individuals to obtain a criminal record for free. Such records may be obtained by in person, by mail, or electronically from the NSP at a cost. The NSP charges a fee of $12.50 for individual requests by mail or in-person. Electronic versions cost $15.50.

How To Search Criminal Records Online In Nebraska?

The Nebraska State Patrol maintains an online portal for the public to make requests for electronic copies of RAP sheets. Nebraska RAP sheets include fingerprint-based arrests and the resulting dispositions. The online service costs users a non-refundable fee of $15.50 for each request, irrespective of the search outcome. The fee may be paid by MasterCard, VISA, Discover, or an American Express credit card. Note that redacted criminal records are also not available via the portal.

To search for a criminal record, follow this procedure:

  • Log on to the NSP criminal records portal.
  • Provide personal information such as the full legal name, address, and email of the requester.
  • Provide the full names, date of birth, sex, and race of the record’s subject. Additional information such as driver license number, social security number, and residence are not required but may be provided to expedite results.
  • Select payment and enter payment details.
  • Print the result.

Users that received a “Request is being researched” response may have to wait up to three business days to receive a response from the review of the NSP criminal records technicians.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Get My Criminal Records Expunged In Nebraska?

Nebraska has very stringent rules for expungements. Nebraska, under the Revised Statutes § 29–3523, only permits the expungement of non-conviction criminal records. Nebraska only offers expungement for arrests that did not result in conviction one year after charges were not filed, two years if the case was dismissed due to a diversion program, and three years if charges were filed but later dismissed by the court. Persons who can also prove by clear and convincing evidence that their arrests were the result of a law enforcement error also qualify to have such records expunged. Outside of these exceptions, Nebraska does not permit an expungement.

The state offers two other forms of record-relief to citizens. The Nebraska Board of Pardons may pardon persons with convictions in certain circumstances. Persons requesting for a pardon are expected to have undergone a substantial period of law-abiding conduct before the Board seriously consider granting a pardon. Individuals who have been granted a pardon may then petition to have their criminal records sealed.

Under the Nebraska Revised Statute § 29–2264, the state grants a record-restriction in the form of a set-aside ruling for eligible persons with criminal record convictions. A setting aside is the more common form of record relief in Nebraska. Nebraska statutes permit the court to order a criminal conviction to be set aside or voided if the judge determines it is in the best interest of the convicted person and consistent with the public welfare. Nebraska leaves the decision on expungement to the discretion of the judge involved, hence being eligible does not guarantee that a criminal record will be expunged. In deciding to grant or deny an expungement request, the judge considers:

  • Whether the individual involved will likely be a law-abiding citizen in the future
  • The length of time that has passed since the person was convicted of a crime
  • The type of other criminal convictions the petitioner has had since the conviction in question
  • Whether the petitioner has completed any required probation and successfully paid required fines
  • Any other relevant information

Both felony and misdemeanors criminal convictions may be set aside in Nebraska. However, the state does not permit a set aside for all kinds of offenses. Convictions for certain crimes such as child molestation, DUIs, theft, sexual battery, prostitution, and vehicular homicide are not permitted to be expunged. Misdemeanors can be expunged three years after the completion of sentence or probation, while felony crimes require ten years.

After determining eligibility, persons seeking an expunction are advised to obtain a copy of their court record or criminal history from the Nebraska State Patrol to verify what is on record and to complete the petition forms appropriately. Court records may be inspected or copied by conducting a one-time court case search on the Nebraska JUSTICE Search portal or using the public access terminal at the courthouse where the conviction occurred. Note that nominal fees are required to obtain either a criminal record from the NSP or a criminal court record from Nebraska courts.

Complete the Petition to Set Aside Criminal Conviction form and make two copies. Nebraska provides instructions for appropriately completing the petition form. Deliver the original petition in person or by mail to the Clerk of Court, where the original conviction was filed. Submit one of the copies to the prosecutor’s office and keep one copy as a personal record. The prosecutor is usually named on the original complaint, the criminal record obtained from NSP, or the court case. Upon receiving the petition and confirming that the prosecutor has received a copy, the clerk will schedule a hearing. The petitioner is notified of the hearing date and time by mail.

If the court is convinced about the request, the judge will enter an order made available to the petitioner after the hearing, usually by mail. Some courts in Nebraska may require the petitioner to provide an order for the judge’s signature. After a few days, “set-aside” will appear in the court records and other criminal records held by Nebraska law enforcement agencies. Many courts may have specific rules that apply to a set-aside request. Petitioners are advised to check with the clerk of the district court or county court in the county of conviction for variations in the petition guidelines. Failure to follow local rules may result in denial of a request by the court.

Who Can See My Expunged/sealed Criminal Record In Nebraska?

Criminal convictions that have been set aside in Nebraska will still reflect the related charges when publicly searched in any criminal history database held by law enforcement agencies. However, under the disposition section, instead of revealing the subject’s conviction and sentence, the criminal record will read “set aside.” In Nebraska, setting aside a conviction nullifies the conviction and removes all civil disabilities and disqualifications enforced due to the conviction.

Although a set aside does not fully erase a conviction from a person’s criminal record, such persons are not mandated to list convictions that have been nullified on a job application.

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