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Are Nebraska Records Public?

Documents and files owned by government bodies in Nebraska are generally considered public as long as they are not rendered confidential by other statutes. The Nebraska Public Records Act governs access to public records in Nebraska and defines records that are open or non-disclosable to the public.

Who Can Access Nebraska Public Records?

Nebraska Public Records Statutes authorize all Nebraska citizens and other interested persons the right to examine or make copies of public records in the state. Access to Nebraska public records is open to everyone except when expressly restricted by statute.

Do I Need to State My Purpose and Use When Requesting Public Records in Nebraska?

Under Section 84-712 of the Nebraska Public Records Statutes, requesters need not state their reason for requesting a public record. The right to access is granted regardless of the requester’s purpose for seeking the record. However, government bodies may require requesters to state their purpose of requesting a record, especially one that is restricted by law. Examples of valid purposes include:

  • Consensual use with the subject’s notarized consent
  • Employment, enrollment, or official use
  • For mass media or public interest
  • Historical or genealogical use
  • Legal use
  • Personal use

What Records are Public in Nebraska?

Various government-owned documents are subject to disclosure under the Nebraska Public Records Statutes. Examples of these records include:

  • Court records 
  • Justice of the Peace dockets that contain judgment details
  • Fishing and hunting permits
  • A county’s agricultural society records
  • Lottery records maintained by the Nebraska State Treasurer
  • Inmate records
  • The State Tax Commissioner’s records of official actions
  • Sex offender information
  • The Nebraska State Treasurer’s list of uncashed warrants

Nebraska Public Court Records

Nebraska court records refer to materials and documents of a Judicial Department or court in the state. Usually, each court maintains records of its judicial proceedings and actions and issues these through the court’s clerk in line with the Nebraska Public Records Statutes. However, under the same statute, disclosure of court records is subject to the court’s rule. Hence, some court records like juvenile records, adoption records, victim information, and sealed files are unavailable to the public. When opened, a Nebraska public court record may contain the following details:

  • Case number, name, or type
  • Party names
  • Judge’s and attorney details
  • Charges, pleas, and motions
  • Case status or summary (findings and disposition)
  • Filing date, sentence date, and other scheduled dates
  • County or court’s name

Nebraska Public Criminal Records

Nebraska criminal records are official documents that summarize an individual’s criminal activities in the state. The Nebraska State Patrol maintains the most comprehensive criminal history information gathered from different criminal justice agencies in the state. An NSP criminal history report may contain the following details:

  • Subject’s full name
  • Fingerprints
  • Photograph or physical description
  • List of adult arrest fingerprinted in the state
  • Offense or incident reports
  • Charges
  • Prosecution, disposition, or conviction details

The range of information in a criminal record depends on the type of background check done. The NSP provides name-based criminal record searches and fingerprint-based national background checks, and the former may not provide details of juvenile arrests, misdemeanors, dismissed or acquitted cases, or crimes committed in other states. However, fingerprint-based national background checks are more expensive and can only be requested by authorized parties

To obtain a criminal record in Nebraska, interested persons may conduct an online request or send completed request forms and $15.50 fees to:

Nebraska State Patrol, Criminal Identification Division
PO Box 94907
Lincoln, NE 68509-4907

Note that local police departments can provide information on local criminal histories, and criminal court case information may be available at the court where the case was filed. 

Nebraska Public Arrest Records

Criminal justice agencies in Nebraska create and maintain records of arrests carried out under their jurisdictions and make these records available in line with Nebraska Public Records Statutes and other state laws

Hence, interested persons may obtain adult arrest records from the arresting agency but may be unable to access exempted information like juvenile arrest details and arrest information on dismissed or acquitted cases. Alternatively, arrest information may also be included in criminal records, inmate records, or court case files. 

Nebraska Public Bankruptcy Records

Nebraska bankruptcy records are court materials and documents created, collected, or filed in relation to a bankruptcy case. These records may contain information such as:

  • Type of bankruptcy filing (Chapter 7, 11, or 13)
  • Names of the individual, couple, or business that filed for bankruptcy
  • Filing date
  • Case number
  • Total assets and liabilities
  • Court and judge details
  • Attorney(s) names
  • Creditor names
  • Debt, liquidation, and repayment details
  • Final report, discharge, and disposition information

Like with other court records, the Clerk of Court is responsible for maintaining and issuing Nebraska bankruptcy records. However, in line with Public Records Law and court rules, certain information like Social Security numbers and financial information may be inaccessible to persons not mentioned in the record (non-parties).

To obtain public bankruptcy records in Nebraska, interested persons should direct their requests to the court where the party filed for bankruptcy. There is only one U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Nebraska with two courthouses located at:

Omaha: (Court Clerk)
Roman L. Hruska
United States Courthouse
111 South 18th Plaza
Suite 1125
Omaha, NE  68102
Phone: (402) 661-7444


Lincoln: (No mail)
460 Robert V. Denney Federal Building
United States Courthouse
100 Centennial Mall North
Lincoln, NE  68508
Phone: (402) 437-1625

Nebraska Public Birth Records

Nebraska birth records are official documents that provide information on the births that occur in the state. Details contained in a Nebraska birth record may include the subject’s name, sex, birth date, birth location, and parents’ names. It may also include sensitive details like the parent’s Social Security numbers, which is why access to certified copies of these documents is restricted to the record subject, close relatives, legal representatives, and others with “proper purpose.”

The DHHS Office of Vital Records maintains records of births registered in the state since 1904. Eligible persons may obtain a Nebraska birth certificate by ordering it online or by mailing a completed request form, a $17 fee, a self-addressed envelope, and proof of identification or qualification to:

Nebraska Vital Records
PO Box 95065
Lincoln, NE 68509-5065

Nebraska Public Death Records

Death records in Nebraska provide information concerning deaths that occur and are registered in the state. These include the decedent’s name, date of birth, date of death, and location of death. However, state laws (Neb. Rev. Stat. SS 71-612) restrict access to certified copies of Nebraska death records to eligible parties like the decedent’s child, parent, spouse, and others with a proper purpose. 

Nebraska death certificates are available at the DHHS Office of Vital Records. Interested persons can order the record online or mail completed request forms, $16 fees, and other requirements to:

Nebraska Vital Records
PO Box 95065
Lincoln, NE 68509-5065

Nebraska Public Marriage Records 

Records of marriages that occurred in Nebraska since 1909 are available at the DHHS Office of Vital Records. However, access to Nebraska marriage records is restricted by law to the record subject, a subject’s child, or others with proper purpose. Eligible persons may order Nebraska marriage certificates online or send completed request forms along with fees and other requirements to:

Nebraska Vital Records
PO Box 95065
Lincoln, NE 68509-5065

Nebraska Public Divorce Records

Nebraska divorce records are documents that provide information on the dissolution of marriages that occurred in the state. These documents can include information like the party names, marriage dates, divorce dates, and other details surrounding the divorce. Nebraska divorce records are available at the DHHS Office of Vital Records and the court where the divorce was granted. However, certified copies containing sensitive details are restricted by law to the record subject, close relatives, and those with proper purposes.

To obtain Nebraska divorce certificates from the Office of Vital Records, eligible persons  can make an order online or mail completed request forms, fees, and other requirements to:

Nebraska Vital Records
PO Box 95065
Lincoln, NE 68509-5065

Alternatively, persons seeking copies of the divorce decree or divorce case information should direct their requests to the Clerk of the Court where the divorce was granted.

Nebraska Public Inmate Records

Nebraska inmate records are files that provide information on persons who are - or have been - incarcerated in a state facility. These records are publicly available through the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS), which maintains statewide inmate records and provides an online search tool to find incarceration records. Interested persons may search for inmates by last name or DCS ID number to get a list of matched results and each offender’s details, such as:

  • Committed name
  • Legal name
  • DCS ID
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Current status
  • Facility name and location 
  • Race
  • Sentence dates
  • Parole or release details
  • Offense description

For further information, individuals may contact the NDCS at:

Nebraska Department of Correctional Services
P.O. Box 94661
Lincoln, NE 68509-4661
Phone: (402) 471-2654

Victims of crimes may access the Nebraska Victims of Crime Alert Portals (NEVCAP) provided by the Nebraska Crime Commission to search for an offender and receive notifications concerning the offender’s inmate status.

Note that the NDCS incarceration records only provide information on inmates in state facilities. Hence, persons may have to contact or use search tools provided by the county Department of Corrections to find inmates in county facilities. 

Nebraska Public Sex Offender Information

Nebraska’s Sex Offender Registration Act requires offenders convicted of certain sex crimes to register their personal, residency, and vehicle information with law enforcement agencies in the state. The Nebraska State Patrol gathers these details and makes some publicly available through the Sex Offender Registry. With this registry, individuals can search for sex offenders by name, region, or mile radius location and find sex offender’s details such as:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date of birth or age
  • Physical description
  • Vehicle information
  • Offense and conviction summary

However, persons who use the information found on this site to threaten, harm, or retaliate against offenders can be arrested and prosecuted. Interested persons may also send public records requests to the Nebraska State Patrol at: 

Nebraska State Patrol
Legal Division - Public Records Request
PO Box 94907
Lincoln NE  68509

Nebraska Public Property Records

Public property records in Nebraska include deeds, liens, and assessments that provide information on properties in the state, such as:

  • Parcel maps
  • Property assessment value
  • Building sketches or photographs
  • Property owners
  • Property characteristics
  • Property purchase or sale listings

Such records may be available from the Nebraska Department of Revenue, but records like deeds or property assessments are mostly accessible at the county level with the Register of Deeds or County Assessor. Interested persons may visit the custodian’s website for any available online directories or search tools or send requests containing property or owner details to the custodian. However, note that some property information may be exempted by Nebraska Public Records Law.

What is Exempted Under the Nebraska Public Records Act?

Under the Nebraska Public Records Statutes, exemptions refer to the exceptions to disclosure of government records or sensitive information contained within that may invade personal privacy or harm public safety. Examples of records or information exempted by the Nebraska Public Records Law include:

  • Medical records
  • Pre-sentence reports
  • Financial account numbers and credit/debit card numbers
  • Identifying information on victims in sex trafficking or sexual assault cases
  • Personal identifying details like Social Security numbers
  • Ongoing academic and scientific research, 
  • Personal student information
  • Records subject to attorney-client privilege or other privileges
  • Trade secrets, commercial, and proprietary information
  • Other records exempted from public disclosure by law or court order

Individuals may still access exempted records if they are expressly mentioned as having an interest in the specific record. For instance, record subjects having access to restricted birth, marriage, or divorce certificates. Additionally, requesters may choose to view or obtain record copies with the redacted information. 

How Do I Find Public Records in Nebraska?

Finding public records in Nebraska may involve the following steps:

  1. Identifying sought information or record type: Establishing what type or form of document or information you need is the first step to getting a Nebraska public record. For instance, if you want information about a divorce, you may have to choose between a divorce decree, divorce certificate, or case files, depending on the information needed. You should also decide whether to request certified paper copies or view the information provided on government databases, if any.
  2. Determining the record custodian: A record custodian is a public officer responsible for maintaining and providing access to an agency’s public records. Knowing who does this for the record you seek is important, especially for future requests. In the divorce record example above, the requester has to determine whether to request a divorce certificate from the Office of Vital Records or a divorce decree or case files from the court that granted the divorce.
  3. Confirming record availability: After knowing what record to get and who maintains it, individuals should confirm if the record is public, accessible to the requester, or restricted from disclosure. For instance, a divorce certificate may be inaccessible to the public, but you may still have access if you are the record subject or the couple’s child. 
  4. Finding resources: Prospective requesters can visit the custodian’s website to get resources or information like request forms, request requirements, or links to online databases, if available. It is also useful to gather record details that will make finding the record easier. 
  5. Conducting the search or making requests: Using details gathered from previous steps, individuals can access records by using open government indexes like the NDCS inmate roster or directing requests to the record custodian. Submit or send request letters or forms through the accepted means and include requirements like fees and proof of identification. 
  6. Receiving a response or completing requests: In some cases, requesters may have to wait to receive a response from the custodian stating if the record is available before paying fees and completing the request process. Requesters should then receive the requested record through the mailing address provided in the request or other indicated medium.

Can I Find Free Public Records in Nebraska Using Third-Party Sites?

Yes, third-party sites may serve as an alternate source for finding free public records in Nebraska. However, users should be wary of unreliable sources which may pose risks such as:

  • Inaccurate information
  • Unreliable sources
  • Shallow databases
  • Stressful request or search processes.

Nevertheless, reputable third-party sites offer large databases and advanced search or request features that help individuals easily obtain records.

How Much Do Public Records Cost in Nebraska?

The cost of public records in Nebraska may vary depending on the custodian, record type, and record size. As per the Public Records Law, government agencies in Nebraska can charge a fee for providing copies of public records, but the law does not fix any standard price or a maximum charge.

Nevertheless, copying fees should not exceed the actual cost of providing the record, and custodians can only charge reasonable labor costs if the research takes longer than four hours. Additionally, custodians can demand payment beforehand if the copies cost more than $50.

What Happens if I Am Refused a Public Records Request?

The Public Records Law grants individuals denied the right to access Nebraska public records the following avenues for remedy:

  • File for a writ of mandamus against the public officer who refused the request at the District Court where the agency is located. 
  • Petition the Attorney General to review the decision and determine if it was valid or a violation of the Public Records Statutes. 
  • File a suit at a trial court with general jurisdiction or demand that the Attorney General files the suit for the state. 

To do any of the above, individuals will need to provide a letter or response containing the public officer’s explanation for denial and citation of the specific law under which the exemption falls. The individual seeking disclosure may have to show that the requested record is public, after which the custodian has to defend the denial and prove that it was not a violation of the law. 

If the Attorney General determines that the public officer violated the public records law, they can order the custodian to disclose records and provide reasonable attorney and other legal fees. The public officer may also face removal, impeachment, or misdemeanor charges.

Nebraska Public Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!