An individual acquires a criminal record in Nebraska after they are arrested and fingerprinted in the state. From then on, an individual’s criminal record, known as a RAP sheet (Record of Arrest and Prosecution) in Nebraska will include all subsequent arrests and dispositions that follow from these arrests.
Nebraska is an open records state, meaning that criminal history information is open to the public. The state provides an online service where members of the public can request a Nebraska RAP sheet in exchange for a fee. However, there are a number of circumstances in which criminal history information will be rendered inaccessible to the public.
What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is an official document detailing a person’s criminal convictions, pending criminal cases, prior arrests, and other interactions with law enforcement agencies. Additional names for a criminal record include criminal history record, rap sheet, and a police record.
As with marriage records and court records, criminal records are generally public records in the United States and can be accessed through a criminal background check. However, public access to specific criminal record information varies from state to state.
In the State of Nebraska, criminal records include information about arrests in which a person was fingerprinted, except in cases where charges were not filed or eventually dismissed.
What is included in a Nebraska criminal record?
As criminal records are kept by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the United States, a Nebraska criminal record may vary in format and content depending on the law enforcement agency that committed the arrest.
Generally, a Nebraska criminal record will include the following information:
- A person’s full name and possible aliases
- Personal information such as age, date of birth, sex, ethnicity, height, weight, and other physical characteristics
- Fingerprints and mugshot
- Misdemeanor criminal offenses and convictions
- Felony criminal offenses and convictions
- Pending charges
Why would someone access a criminal record?
There are many reasons to access a criminal record.
- Most commonly, people search criminal records as a way to run a background check on a particular person.
- They’re also used by law enforcement to identify or locate people involved in unsolved crimes or by the court system to determine an appropriate sentence after a conviction.
- An individual may want to access his or her own record as well. It’s not uncommon for people to request their own criminal records to see what information is public.
- In some cases, a record could be inaccurate or include outdated information. If that’s the case, it’s important to have the record corrected.
What’s the difference between an infraction, misdemeanor, and felony?
Arrests and convictions listed on a criminal record are separated into three categories: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.
To give a better understanding of the information listed on a criminal record, here’s a quick overview of each category of offense:
- Infraction – An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is regulated at the state level. Punishment for an infraction is usually just a fine or a written warning, rather than a jail or prison sentence. Examples of infractions include minor traffic violations, public nuisance offenses, and littering.
- Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction, yet less serious than a felony. Generally, a misdemeanor punishable by a term of imprisonment of less than a year, or by a term of probation. An individual convicted of a misdemeanor is more likely to serve time in a county or local jail than in a federal or state prison. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, most drug abuse violations, and petty theft.
- Felony – A felony is the most severe type of crime, often characterized by the use of a weapon during a crime, serious injury to a victim, and/or holding a person against their will. Felony convictions typically result in a term of imprisonment of more than one year in a state or federal prison. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, and grand theft.
What is the difference between a Nebraska arrest record and a Nebraska criminal record?
While an arrest record is an official document including the details of a specific arrest, a criminal record is a more comprehensive document that includes a person’s entire criminal background known to law enforcement agencies.
How do I search for a Nebraska criminal record?
Individuals can use a service provided by the Nebraska State Patrol in order to search for a Record of Arrest and Prosecution sheet (RAP sheet) for anyone with a criminal record in the state.
A search requires the requestor to pay a $15.50 non-refundable fee, which can be paid with a credit card. No refund will be available, even if the search yields no results.
Follow these steps to search for a Nebraska RAP sheet (criminal record):
- Submit your full name, address, and email address.
- Provide all required information for the person of interest, including first name, last name, date of birth, sex, and race. Additional information, such as social security number and driver’s license number, is optional but may yield improved search results.
- Enter payment information and submit a $15.50 payment.
- Receive your results in the form of a “No record” response or “Request being searched” response. Expect full results within three business days.
How do I obtain a physical copy of a Nebraska criminal record?
In addition to the option of obtaining a Nebraska criminal record online, individuals may also use two additional methods to request a Nebraska criminal record:
- Bring a completed Criminal History Record Request form and $12.50 payment (check, cashier’s check, or money order) in-person to the Nebraska Criminal Identification Division office at 3800 NW 12 Street, Lincoln, NE 68521. The office is open Monday thru Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. However, hours and services offered may be affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Mail a completed Criminal History Record Request form and $12.50 payment (check, cashier’s check, or money order) in an enclosed, self-addressed envelope to the Nebraska Criminal Identification Division office at PO Box 94907, Lincoln, NE 68521.
The Nebraska State Patrol also provides fingerprint-based national background checks for those with authorized reasons (Click here for a list of authorized reasons).
Why can’t I access a Nebraska criminal record?
There are a few reasons why a Nebraska criminal record may not be found or can not be accessed by the public:
- The most common reason is that the person was not fingerprinted during the arrest in question. A Nebraska RAP only includes arrests where the suspect has been fingerprinted and the resulting dispositions.
- The arresting law enforcement agency did not submit a fingerprint arrest card to the Nebraska State Patrol.
- The charge was a misdemeanor and not forwarded to the Nebraska State Patrol. Nebraska state law only requires felony arrests to be submitted, and in some cases, misdemeanors are not filed with the state’s central repository.
- The record has been expunged or sealed from public view. Click here to see reasons why a record may be sealed from the general public according to Nebraska Statute 29-3523. Certain redacted criminal history information can be accessed after submitting the report subject’s signed approval. The subject must sign before a public notary.
How do I search for Nebraska criminal case court records?
The Nebraska Judicial Branch: JUSTICE Search is a fee-based search that allows users to search a database of criminal, civil, traffic, and juvenile court records from all of the state’s 93 district and county courts.
A single search costs $15 and is payable by credit card. Information accessed with a search is available for 30 days. There is a 24-hour lag time between case information entering the system and becoming searchable by the public.
If the criminal case court records you are looking for cannot be located using the JUSTICE search, contact the court clerk of the court where the case was processed and make a records request. Use the State of Nebraska Judicial Branch Directories page to find contact information for a specific court in the state.
Does Nebraska allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged?
Unlike many states, Nebraska does not have a statutory expungement provision and the only way an arrest may be expunged is if it was the result of law enforcement error. In order to have this type of arrest expunged, an individual must file a petition with the District Court in the county where the arrest occurred.
How can I have false information on a Nebraska criminal record corrected?
Nebraska’s central repository of criminal history information, the Nebraska State Patrol, does not provide a means of correcting incorrect information on a criminal record. Instead, an individual must get in contact with the source of the information (i.e., the arresting law enforcement agency) and make a direct request. If the request is granted, the information source will send the updated information to the Nebraska State Patrol.
How long are Nebraska criminal records kept on file?
Nebraska criminal records remain on file indefinitely unless the charges are sealed or expunged under specific circumstances.