Initial Court Proceedings in District Court (Felonies)

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Initial Court Proceedings in District Court (Felonies)

Information Filed

Once a case has been bound over from county court, criminal charges are filed formally in an information in district court, starting the six-month speedy trial clock. Informations are public record and are in the court file and available online on the JUSTICE website. A transcript of proceedings in county court also is in the file. 

In some cases the state may choose to file an information directly in district court, setting up a preliminary hearing in district court.

Motions Filed in District Court

Plea in Abatement

Essentially an appeal of the county court’s determination at the preliminary hearing that there was probable cause that a crime was committed and that the defendant committed it. Filed before arraignment. If granted, the charges are dismissed but can be refilled in county court later. Or the case proceeds to arraignment.

Motion to Quash

Challenges the legal sufficiency of the charges and may question the constitutionality of complaint or the jurisdiction of the court. Fairly rare.


Arraignments in district court are the same as arraignments in county court. But defendants are informed they face more potential civil penalties. For instance, if convicted of a felony, a defendant cannot serve as a juror or possess firearms. If convicted of some felonies, they may be subject to the Sex Offender Registration Act, which requires them to register their address continually with the Nebraska State Patrol for 15 years, 25 years or for life, depending on the conviction.

Written waiver of arraignment

Defendant may file a written waiver of arraignment, indicating he understands the charges, penalties and rights and asks the court to enter a not guilty plea on his behalf. Then no hearing will be held.            

Entry of Plea

If an arraignment goes forward, a defendant is advised of the possible pleas. The options are the same as in county court.



Revised 1/2019