What is a Set-Aside?
Nebraska offers "set-aside" for adult convictions. A set-aside is an order by a court that means you have successfully completed your sentence and you are rehabilitated. A set-aside does not remove a conviction on your record. Instead, Nebraska adds a notation that the record is set-aside.
Who is Eligible for a Set Aside?
In general, you are eligible to have a conviction set aside only if the court sentenced you to probation or to pay a fine. The court considers your behavior after the conviction, the likelihood of future criminal behavior, and any other relevant information about you. The court decides whether a set-aside is in your best interest and "consistent with the public welfare." You are not eligible for a set-aside if you were incarcerated.
If you were convicted of prostitution or another crime because you were a victim of human trafficking, you are eligible for a set-aside. Then once you get the set-aside, you can ask the court to seal that record.
If you get a pardon, you can ask the court to seal your record.
If you are uncertain whether you are eligible for a set-aside, consult with an attorney.
What Effect Does a Set-Aside Have?
Once a Nebraska court grants a set-aside, the court orders all state agencies to make an addendum to their records showing that your arrest or conviction has been set-aside. A set-aside removes all civil disabilities and disqualifications from the conviction. However, the arrest or conviction record is not sealed from public view and it is not destroyed.
Although a conviction is set-aside, all of the following remain in effect:
- The conviction can be used against you to enhance a later sentence.
- The conviction can be used to impeach you if you testify.
- The conviction can deny or revoke a law enforcement training certification.
- A set-aside does not take away an obligation to register as a sex offender.
When Can I Apply for a Set-Aside?
You can apply for a set-aside of a conviction only after you have completed your sentence. You must wait until you have completed probation or parole or other state supervision program, and after you have paid all fines, costs, and restitution.
If you were convicted of prostitution and you were the victim of human trafficking, there is no wait to apply for a set-aside or sealing.
How Do I Apply for a Set-Aside?
Here are the six steps to apply for a set-aside:
- Collect all of the necessary documents relating to your criminal history. Depending on the local rules of the district or county court where you were charged, you may have to provide certified copies of your charges, arrests, and sentences.
- Complete the set-aside petition form from the court clerk or online. To access the petition online, visit the Nebraska Supreme Court website here: Petition to Set Aside Criminal Conviction. For instructions on completing the petition, visit the supreme court website here: Instructions for Completing the Motion to Set Aside a Criminal Conviction. Note, check with the court clerk first to make sure you get the right forms.
- Make copies of everything.
- File your petition, with the supporting documents, with the clerk.
- Send another complete petition to the prosecutor. Nebraska law requires that the prosecutor is notified and has the opportunity to object to your set-aside petition.
- Pay the fee to the clerk, if required. Acceptable forms of payment include cash, credit card, money order, or certified check.
The court will hold a hearing on your petition. You must go to the hearing to get your conviction set aside. For helpful information about set-aside hearings, visit the Nebraska Supreme Court's website here: Nebraska Judicial Branch.
More Information About Set-Aside
For more information about set-asides in Nebraska, visit the related links: