In today’s electronic age it seems as though just about anyone can find out just about anything about you with the click of a few computer keys. Your criminal history record is certainly available to anyone who has a legitimate (and sometimes not so legitimate) request for it, including potential employers, landlords, even schools and government assistance programs. If you don’t have a criminal history, this may not be a concern. However, if you have been convicted of a felony, you are undoubtedly worried about people finding the record of your conviction. As such, you may be wondering if a Nebraska felony attorney can get your record expunged. Unfortunately, Nebraska is not a very liberal state when it comes to expunging a criminal record, so it may be an uphill battle.
What Does It Mean to “Expunge” a Record?
In many states, an individual who has been convicted of a criminal offense may petition the court after the fact to have the record of that conviction “expunged.” Although an expunged record is not truly destroyed or completely erased as a general rule, it usually means the record is not available to the general public. This means prospective employers and landlords, for example, will not find out about the conviction. What people often fail to realize is that even in states with fairly liberal expungement laws, an expunged conviction can still be viewed by law enforcement personnel, courts, and other government agencies with a need for the information. Moreover, it may still be able to be used against you for purposes of charging you with an aggravated offense if you are subsequently arrested or for purposes of determining an appropriate sentence if you are convicted of another offense.
Does Nebraska Allow Expungement of a Felony Conviction?
Unfortunately, the State of Nebraska does not, as a general rule, allow for the expungement of any criminal convictions, much less for a felony conviction. Nebraska Revised Statute §29-3523 governs the very narrow conditions under which you may petition to have your criminal history removed from the public record, as follows:
Except as provided in subsections (1) and (2) of this section, in the case of an arrest, citation in lieu of arrest, or referral for prosecution without citation, all criminal history record information relating to the case shall be removed from the public record as follows:
(a) When no charges are filed as a result of the determination of the prosecuting attorney, the criminal history record information shall not be part of the public record after one year from the date of arrest, citation in lieu of arrest, or referral for prosecution without citation;
(b) When charges are not filed as a result of a completed diversion, the criminal history record information shall not be part of the public record after two years from the date of arrest, citation in lieu of arrest, or referral for prosecution without citation; and
(c) When charges are filed, but the case is dismissed by the court (i) on motion of the prosecuting attorney, (ii) as a result of a hearing not the subject of a pending appeal, (iii) after acquittal, or (iv) after completion of a program prescribed by a drug court or any other problem-solving court approved by the Supreme Court, the criminal history record information shall not be part of the public record immediately upon notification of a criminal justice agency after acquittal pursuant to subdivision (3)(c)(iii) of this section or after the entry of an order dismissing the case.
Can a Felony Attorney Help Me?
The time to consider the consequences of a felony conviction is when the charges are pending against you. While it may be tempting to simply accept a seemingly favorable plea agreement, or save money by not retaining the services of an experienced felony criminal defense attorney, there is a very good chance you will pay for those decisions down the road because you will have a felony conviction on your permanent record which cannot be expunged.
If you are currently facing felony criminal charges in Nebraska, it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.