Petition to Set Aside a Criminal Conviction
Filing a Petition to Set Aside a Criminal Conviction
These instructions and forms are a product of the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Implementation Committee on Pro Se Litigation and are provided as a public service to people who wish to handle their own court case(s).
THE SUPREME COURT DOES NOT GUARANTEE THAT THESE INSTRUCTIONS AND FORMS WILL BE APPROPRIATE IN EVERY CASE. ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE REGARDING THE USE OF THE INSTRUCTIONS AND FORMS SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO A LAWYER.
Although these instructions and forms were developed to assist people who are handling their own cases, the Supreme Court’s Implementation Committee on Pro Se Litigation urges anyone thinking of handling their own case to consider getting a lawyer to help with their case.
Many courts have specific local rules that may apply in your case. Check with the Clerk of the District Court or County Court in your county. If you fail to follow the local rules, it may affect your ability to obtain the desired outcome from your court case.
An adult’s criminal conviction cannot be “erased.” It can be “pardoned” or “set-aside,” but it WILL NOT be erased. Once there is a conviction on your record, it always will be on your record.
A pardon is a formal forgiveness granted by the Board of Pardons. Click here for information on the Board of Pardons and an application.
A set-aside is an order by the judge who sentenced you in a criminal case which voids the conviction. As part of the decision to set-aside a criminal conviction, a judge must believe that it is in your best interest to do so and that setting aside the conviction is “consistent with the public welfare.” The decision is “discretionary,” which means it is totally up to the judge. While the set-aside does not erase a criminal record, the order setting aside the conviction is added to the criminal record. Since a criminal conviction affects your ability to get a job, a potential employer doing a criminal background check will see both the conviction and the order which “sets aside” that conviction.
Facts About Filing for a Motion to Set Aside in Nebraska
Both felony and misdemeanor criminal convictions can be set aside. You are eligible to have your conviction set aside if you were placed on probation OR your sentence was a fine only, AND you successfully completed the terms of your probation or paid the fine.
Before setting aside a criminal conviction a judge will consider these factors:
- Whether you had any criminal convictions since the conviction you want the judge to set aside and the types of convictions.
- Whether it appears likely you will remain law-abiding in the future.
- The length of time between your last criminal offense and your request for a set-aside.
Getting a Conviction Set-Aside
You will need specific information regarding the conviction you wish to have set aside. You will need to gather the following information:
- Your name and date of birth
- The date of the offense
- The actual criminal charge
- The outcome of the criminal charge (guilty, not guilty)
- Your sentence (probation, fine, jail)
- Whether you completed your sentence
If you do not have copies of your court record, you can get information regarding your criminal history 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(s) where you may have convictions 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.
Sometimes there is only one conviction that is causing you problems. You can get that conviction set aside without having to get all of your convictions set aside. For example, you may have convictions for improper tags on your vehicle, improper restraint of animals, driving while your license is suspended and shoplifting.
If you are having trouble getting a job, the conviction that is causing you trouble is most likely the shoplifting charge. A potential employer will not be as worried about the fact that your license plate tags were expired as they will a shoplifting charge. You can get the shoplifting charge set aside even if you do not ask to get the other convictions set aside.
You need to file a separate motion for each conviction you wish to have set aside.
Forms and Filing
- For Filing in County Court
- For Filing in District Court