Although expungement options are unavailable in the state of Nebraska, relief is available in some situations. Setting aside a conviction or obtaining a pardon could help you move forward with your life. Although you cannot seek the assistance of a Nebraska expungement lawyer, an experienced defense attorney can evaluate your criminal record and determine the best course of action in your case.
If you are convicted of a crime, there is no way to erase the criminal conviction from your records, as you can do through an expungement in some states. However, you may be able to obtain formal forgiveness for a conviction or have the court void them in some situations. These mechanisms can add a notation to your criminal records showing that you have received a pardon or set-aside of your conviction. A well-versed defense attorney can work to get your conviction pardoned or set aside.
Setting Aside a Criminal Conviction in Nebraska
Under Nebraska Revised Statutes §29-2264, judges can order criminal convictions to be set aside or voided if it is in the best interests of the individual convicted and consistent with the public welfare. The decision of whether to grant a petition to set aside a conviction is up to the discretion of the sentencing judge. The judge may consider the following factors in deciding whether to set aside a criminal conviction:
- The type of any other criminal convictions a person had since the conviction he or she wants to be set aside
- Whether it appears a person will be a law-abiding citizen in the future
- The length of time that has gone by since an individual was convicted of a crime and the request for a set-aside
- Any other relevant information
It is important to note that only some criminal convictions are eligible to be set aside. Both misdemeanor and felony convictions may be eligible if the conviction resulted in a sentence of probation, a fine, community service, and/or a term of imprisonment of less than one year. To be eligible, the individual seeking a set-aside must have successfully fulfilled the sentence, paid all fines, and completed all community service before petitioning the court. Nebraska statute additionally requires that petitioners shall not be eligible if the individual has pending criminal charges in any court in the United States or is required to register Under the Sex Offender Registration Act.
Having a criminal conviction set aside has positive effects that go beyond having a notation on a criminal background check by prospective employers. For instance, a set aside prevents the conviction from being used to enhance a subsequent criminal charge or penalty. Setting aside a conviction may also restore gun ownership rights, as well as relieve individuals of sex offender registration requirements. It could also be helpful in applications for graduate school or other forms of education.
The Pardon Process
Nebraska law establishes the Board of Pardons, which is comprised of the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General. Upon receiving an application for a pardon, the Board can conduct an investigation and gather information as warranted.
A majority vote of the Board determines whether a pardon application is granted or approved. As with a set aside, a pardon restores rights lost due to a felony conviction. Once a person receives a pardon, he or she can petition to have his or her criminal records sealed.
Contact a Nebraska Expungement Attorney for Advice
Pardons and set-asides can be effective ways to remove criminal convictions from public view. These procedures can have other positive effects, as well. Although we cannot provide a Nebraska expungement lawyer, and experienced defense attorney from Berry Law could guide you through the process of seeking a pardon or set-aside. Contact Berry Law to schedule a confidential consultation and determine your best course of action.