Adult Record Sealing

Adult Record Sealing

In Nebraska, there are several options to seal a criminal record, depending on the charges and convictions.

Once a record is sealed, the events surrounding the matter are deemed to have never occurred and you may answer any public inquiry as if the case never existed.

All Nebraska records are available to the public unless they are sealed.

What does it mean to have your record sealed?

  •  Your record is not available to the public;
  • All information about your sealed record must be kept private;
  • You do not need to tell anyone that you have a sealed record ; and
  • When applying for things like jobs, licenses, or scholarships, you may answer questions as if no record exists.

A sealed record can still be seen by:

  • You (if you file a request to release the records).
  • Someone you allow (if you file a request to release the records to them).
  • Criminal justice agencies such as the courts, law enforcement, and prosecutor.

Sealing a criminal record is not the same as expungement. 

Sealing the record does not remove evidence of the charge or conviction from any privately maintained websites or from the databases of privately operated criminal background services.

Getting Started

Information About Sealing Records

I can file a request to seal a criminal record without an attorney.  If I do not have an attorney, I must file all the needed forms/legal paperwork myself.

Eligibility to have a criminal record sealed.

My charges must fall into one of the three categories:

  1. Conviction-less Charges - A conviction-less charge is when the prosecutor filed charges, but the charges were either:
    • dismissed, or
    • when the case resulted in an acquittal or being found not guilty.  

Cases with charges that were dismissed or resulted in an acquittal after December 31, 2016, will be sealed automatically.

If the dismissal or acquittal took place before January 1, 2017, you must file a motion to seal the record.

  1. Survivors of Sex Trafficking - If you have a conviction that occurred because of you being subjected to sex trafficking, you may be eligible to have that conviction set aside. If that conviction is set aside, you can ask to have the record sealed.
  2. Convictions that have been Pardoned - If you have obtained a pardon, you may ask to have the record sealed of the conviction that was pardoned.
What I Need to Know

To complete the forms and participate in the court hearing, I will  need:

  • My personal information:

    • My full name.
    • My email address.
    • My phone numbers.
    • My complete address, (house or apartment number, street name, city, state, and zip code).
  • Information about the case, including:

    • My case number.
    • The county where the charge was filed.
    • Whether it was filed in county court or district court.
    • The date of the charge.
    • The offense I was charged with.
    • The outcome of the charge (dismissed or acquitted.)

If you do not have the above information, you can obtain this information by:

  • Obtaining a copy of your criminal history through the Nebraska State Patrol. (There is a small charge to get your record.)
  • Doing a one-time court case search of Nebraska Court records. (There is a small charge to get your record, but it may not be a complete record.)
  • Going to the courthouse and using the public access terminal to get information on your record. There will be a charge for copies provided to you by the court.
How to File

Step by Step Instructions:

start here pin  First Step:

  1. Read the Instructions for and complete the Motion to Seal an Adult Criminal Record (CC 6:12).

file  Filing your request to have your record sealed 

  1. File your Motion in the court where the case was heard.
    1. Local court rules may apply in your case.
      1. Check with the clerk’s office where your case is located regarding any local rules.
      2. If you do not follow the local rules, it may affect your request.
    2. If you do not have an attorney, you may file the Motion in person, by mail, or by fax.
  2. The court will notify the county or city attorney of your motion to seal.

calendar icon  Before Your Hearing

  1. Prepare what you are going to say in court.
    1. It’s okay to write out what you want to say ahead of time and read it when you go to court.
    2. Practice what you want to say so that you won’t be too nervous when you go to court.
  2. Be prepared to tell the judge why you are asking to have your record sealed.

gavel  On Your Court Day

  1. You must go to the hearing and testify (talk under oath) in open court about your court record. Once you have testified, the judge will decide if you will get your record sealed.
  2. Try to arrive at your hearing at least 15 minutes before your hearing is scheduled.
    1. Once you arrive at the courtroom for your hearing, you should ask the Clerk of the Court how to let the judge know that you are there for your hearing.
  3. When the judge calls your name, approach the bench.
    1. The “bench” is where the judge sits. The prosecutor may also be at the bench.
      1.  You usually can tell who a prosecutor is because that attorney will be at the bench for every case called by the judge. 
    2. In district court, you may be instructed to sit at the table during the hearing – just mirror what the prosecutor does.
    3. When you approach the bench, be respectful. Do not argue with the judge.
  4. You will be asked if you are ready to proceed.
    1. You must tell the court that you are ready and would like to testify.
    2. You will be asked to take the stand and the court will give you an oath to tell the truth.
    3. You are then ready to go forward with your case.
    4. You must testify to the following:

Introduce yourself. Example: My name is (your full name). I live at (your current street address) , in (city and state where currently living), and I am requesting to have my record sealed in this case.

Explain that the charge was dismissed (or that you were acquitted of the charge, whichever the case may be), and that the record is still public, and is eligible to be sealed. 

Conclude by saying, I have nothing further your Honor.

  1. This is not a hearing to prove your innocence at the original trial. It is just a hearing to seal your record. 

    1. You are not asking for a re-trial.
    2. This is not your chance to argue about the original conviction or charges.
    3. This is your chance to ask the court to “seal” a conviction because it was dismissed or acquitted and is therefore eligible to be sealed.
  2. At the end of your presentation, the judge may or may not have questions for you.
  3. The judge will ask the prosecutor for his/her position on the matter.
    1. If the prosecutor does not want the court to seal your record, they will object and tell the judge why. DO NOT INTERRUPT THE PROSECUTOR WHILE HE OR SHE IS TALKING.
      1. If the prosecutor does have an objection, the judge will probably give you a chance to respond to the prosecutor’s stated objections.
      2. If the judge does not give you that chance, wait until the prosecutor has finished speaking and politely ask the judge if you can respond to what the prosecutor said.  Simply state “may I respond?”
      3. If the judge says “no,” the judge means “no.”
      4. If the judge says “yes,” politely explain why your request should be granted despite the prosecutor’s objections.
    2. The prosecutor may also express that they have no objection, and in this case no additional statements by you may be necessary. 
  4.   Before you leave the hearing, make sure to obtain a copy of the order. This is important because your record will be sealed, meaning you cannot access a copy of the order unless you file a request to release sealed records.

It may take a few days after the hearing for the computers to be updated and the record to be sealed in the court computer system.

Other tips:

  • On the date your motion is scheduled for hearing, it is encouraged to arrive early. But no matter what, do not be late, or the court may deny your motion by default and move on to the next case.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • It is likely that your case will be set on a court “call” calendar at the same time and in the same courtroom as many other cases are being called. There may not be a particular order in which cases are called. You may spend an entire morning or afternoon in court waiting for your case to be called. Be prepared to wait.
Laws & Rules

To All Persons Representing Themselves:

  • You are responsible for all steps.
  • You are responsible for all information provided.
  • Court staff cannot give legal advice. If legal advice is needed: click Legal Self-Help Center.
  • Court staff cannot complete the forms for you or on your behalf.
  • Court staff cannot correct any of the information you include on the forms.
  • Write clearly. Check spelling. Forms that cannot be read or are incomplete may result in the court denying your request or additional court hearings and possibly added expense.            
  • Courts may have additional local rules. The court staff will guide you through those extra steps.  You will be required to complete them.