Set Aside a DUI Conviction
With more than 80 percent of employers conducting criminal background checks, clearing your record can be the key to a better paying job. Clearing your record can be a great investment.
A misdemeanor or felony DUI conviction can have far reaching effects beyond the penalties imposed by the Court. Consider that almost every employer has access to background reporting tools at little or no cost and may use these tools to consider offers of employment, advancement and retention. Quickbooks offers integrated criminal history checks right into their payroll package and free services such as Been Verified are springing up in the business community. Get ahead of this trend by considering cleaning up your past criminal history.
I believe in rehabilitation and that good people make mistakes. Cold criminal history reports just classify you as good or bad without any opportunity for explanation. However, there are methods for cleaning up old criminal offense.
Nebraska’s Set Aside Law
Nebraska allows for individuals to file a Motion to Set Aside a conviction including DUI convictions. You must have completed probation or received a fine only. A Motion is filed with the sentencing Court which will then schedule a hearing at which you must appear. The Court receives evidence usually consisting of:
1. Past criminal record with a focus on any record occurring after the offense sought to be set aside.
2. Letters of recommendation showing good conduct and moral character since the conviction.
3. Employment since the conviction especially employment that requires trust.
4. Volunteer or community service work.
5. Any other evidence which tends to show current lawful behavior.
That Judge then considers the following factors when deciding to grant or deny the set aside:
(a) The behavior of the offender after sentencing;
(b) The likelihood that the offender will not engage in further criminal activity; and
(c) Any other information the court considers relevant.
Generally good employment history, participation in AA or other rehabilitation organizations, and lawful conduct since release from probation are useful issues to address with the Court.
Set Aside Effects
Obtaining a set aside order from the Court “removes all civil disabilities and disqualifications imposed as a result of the conviction” according to Nebraska Revised Statutes § 29-2264. It sounds nice but it doesn’t really mean what it says. A set aside order does not:
1. Prevent the set aside DUI conviction from being used to enhance a subsequent offense to a second or greater DUI.
2. Obligate any employer to restore employment lost due to the conviction.
3. Restore gun ownership or possession rights.
4. Preclude use of the conviction to impeach you during testimony.
5. Preclude use of the conviction when considering applications for certain licenses.
6. Relieve you from sex offender registration obligations.
There are many exceptions to the set aside statute but it is highly beneficial for people seeking employment. The main benefit is that potential employers won’t see the prior conviction and your resume won’t get thrown in the disqualified pile.
If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to call our office. We have handled hundreds of motions to set aside a conviction with a perfect success rate. If I don’t think you will qualify, I will generally advise you not to spend the money and give you free advice on how and when you will be eligible to get a set aside.