What are Nebraska Public Traffic Records?
Nebraska public traffic records refer to official documents that contain a motorist's traffic history. For example, a driver's violations and convictions. As such records are deemed public, it follows that anyone with interest can request them from their lawful custodians - which, in the state, are mostly the courts. However, this access is not absolute. Parts of a record, or an entire record, may be restricted from public viewing if considered sensitive or barred from public access by law.
It is worth noting that the Department of Motor Vehicles also maintains traffic records in Nebraska, but these records have restricted access.
Are Traffic Records Public in Nebraska?
It depends. In Nebraska, traffic records maintained by the courts can be examined and copied by the public under the state's Public Records Law, except in cases where disclosure is prohibited by law or court rule.
However, traffic records in the Department of Motor Vehicles' custody are governed by the Nebraska Uniform Motor Vehicle Records Disclosure Act and the Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act. Under these laws, such records are accessible only to their owners, people who have a subject's written consent, and entities who qualify for exempted usage - not the general public.
What do Nebraska Traffic Records Contain?
A Nebraska traffic record contains extensive information about a motorist's traffic history. This includes:
- Traffic accidents
- Traffic tickets that resulted in a conviction, including the following information:
- Date of issuance of the ticket
- Type of ticket
- Date of judgment
- Points assessed (these are no longer effective once two years have passed from the violation date, but they remain on one's record for five years)
- The hearing court and its location
- Any restriction on a motorist's license or driving privilege
- Administrative adjudications and withdrawals
Note that the above information only relates to a traffic record held by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles. A traffic record in the court's custody does not only contain information about a traffic incident but also the ensuing court case - for example, details about an offender's sentencing and fines.
Furthermore, because the traffic records in the DMV's custody are maintained within driving records, information about a motorist's identity and driving privilege will also be included. For example:
- The motorist's identification data: name, address, county of residence, date of birth, physical description, license status, etc.
- License/ID card/permit data: license class, issuing county, expiry date, restrictions, license/ID card/permit number, etc.
Does a Citation Go on Your Record in Nebraska?
Yes. The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles reports citations (traffic tickets) on the driving records of Nebraska driver license holders. This can lead to higher insurance premiums, as insurance companies often consider a person with multiple citations a high-risk driver. Again, the citation can lead to the suspension/revocation of a person's driving privileges if the underlying traffic offense is serious or led to the accumulation of a specific number of points (12 points within two years of a previous traffic violation).
If a clean driving history is a prerequisite for employment, an offender can also lose their job or career prospects because of a citation on their record.
Types of Traffic Citations in Nebraska
Police officers can issue two types of citations in Nebraska. The first is waiverable traffic citation. This kind of citation allows an offender to waive certain rights, plead guilty, and pay the predetermined fine for an offense, all without appearing in court.
Typically, if the "waiver allowed" box at the bottom of the ticket is ticked, then what was issued is a waiverable traffic citation. Examples include citations for seat belt violations, speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign, and other minor traffic offenses. Nevertheless, although no court appearance is required for waiverable citations, an offender can still choose to appear in court to contest their ticket.
The other type of citation that Nebraskans can receive is a "court appearance" citation - one that indicates that a waiver is not permitted. This citation is released because of a serious traffic violation (e.g., driving under the influence, driving while suspended) and can only be resolved upon an offender's appearance in court.
Nebraska Traffic Citation Lookup
Section 1-119 of the Nebraska legislature defines a citation as any summons, ticket, or other official document issued by law enforcement for a traffic violation containing an order which requires the motorist to respond.
Anyone who wishes to look up a citation in Nebraska must contact or visit the court having jurisdiction over their traffic offense. The presiding court will be indicated on the citation/ticket, but usually, it is the county court stationed in the area where the violation occurred. When calling or visiting the court, it is good to have one's citation number and date to enable the staff to retrieve information about the citation faster.
Another method by which an individual can look up a citation issued in Nebraska is to order their driving record from the state DMV, as described below.
How to Lookup my Nebraska Traffic Records
One way for an individual to look up their Nebraska traffic record is to request it from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Requests can be submitted online, in person, and by mail.
To obtain a traffic record online, an individual must navigate to the One-Time Driver License Search Application site. The DMV provides this site to enable Nebraska driver license holders to retrieve their records instantly. However, this service is not free, nor is it accessible to anyone without specific details about a Nebraska driver. Typically, before any record can be viewed on the site, one must first search with their name, social security number or driver's license number, and date of birth. The individual must also pay a $7.50 fee via credit card or electronic check.
Alternatively, a Nebraska driver license holder can order their record by mail or in-person with the Application for Copy of Driving Record form. Each record costs $7.50 (payable by check to the Department of Motor Vehicles if requested by mail), and a requester has the option of ordering a 5-year or complete record. Below is the address to mail or hand-deliver a traffic record request:
Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles
Driver and Vehicle Records Division
301 Centennial Mall South
P.O. Box 94789
Lincoln, NE 68509-4789
People who require assistance or have inquiries about the application process can call the DMV at (402) 471-3918.
Nebraska traffic case records may also be available from third-party websites since they are considered public records. Unlike government sources or websites, third-party websites do not have geographical limitations. Hence, interested parties may access these websites from anywhere in the world. However, some third-party websites may require registration or subscription to access traffic record
Nebraska Traffic Violations
A traffic violation in Nebraska refers to any offense that contravenes the state's traffic laws. These violations can range from minor infractions, like speeding, to major crimes, like DUI.
The most common traffic violations in Nebraska include:
- Speeding: Speeding is one of Nebraska's most commonly committed traffic violations. The nature of the offense determines fines and penalties. If the offender is caught speeding in a school zone or construction zone, they may be subject to enhanced penalties.
- Running a red light: Running a red light is a serious traffic offense that can result in severe penalties depending on the nature of the crime. Persons involved in an accident while running a red light may be subject to additional penalties, including points on their license and/or a driver's license suspension.
- DUI: DUI is a serious traffic offense in Nebraska that can result in jail time, a driver's license suspension, or a fine.
Nebraska License Plate Lookup
In Nebraska, interested persons may look up Nebraska license plates using the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website.
To look up a license plate on the DMV website, enter the license plate number into the search bar and click "Search." The DMV website will then provide the vehicle's registration information, including the name of the registered owner, the address of the registered owner, and the make and model of the car.
To conduct a license plate lookup for official purposes, such as investigating a traffic accident or ticketing a driver, requestors can contact the Nebraska DMV directly. The DMV can provide the requesting party with a copy of the vehicle's registration information and any other information that may be relevant to your inquiry.
How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in Nebraska
The Nebraska Public Records Law allows residents and other interested individuals to access records in the physical custody of government entities. This includes records held by the courts and, consequently, traffic case records. For this reason, any member of the public can visit the court where a traffic record is kept (the court where a case began) to examine the record at the custodian's office.
Per the law, inquirers are not charged a fee to search for or examine a traffic case record, only when they require copies or certification.
How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in Nebraska
In Nebraska, traffic offenses can appear on an offender's public record. However, when the record pertains to one's driving history (i.e., a driving record), such offenses do not remain listed forever. According to the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, traffic offenses remain on someone's driving record for five years.
Regarding public criminal records, the Nebraska legislature does not mention any retention period for traffic offenses. As such, the records are typically retained permanently, even if the court approves a set-aside order for the offender. Nevertheless, there is one scenario where a criminal traffic record will be removed from public view: if it qualifies for exclusion under Neb. Rev, Stat. § 29-3523 (3). For example, if the court dismissed the charges or acquitted the offender.
How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in Nebraska
Because the Nebraska statutes permit public access to traffic records, the records are obtainable from their legal custodians and accessible on public websites.
Ordinarily, there are two kinds of websites where someone can find a public record in Nebraska:
- A government agency's website. For example, the courts' JUSTICE Case Search site, the DMV's One-Time Driver License Search Application site, and the Nebraska State Patrol's Online Criminal History Repository.
- A privately-run website. For example, a people finder or background check site.
For public records retained on a government agency's website, individuals have few options to restrict their records from public inspection. Typically, unless the subject receives a set-aside order from the court, a statute or supreme court rule prohibits disclosure, or the record's retention period passes, it is virtually impossible to hide such records from public review.
On the other hand, most privately-run sites provide online opt-out tools to persons who wish to stop the dissemination of their public records. The opt-out process is quite simple and can be completed in a few minutes, but one may need to repeat the process frequently. This is because the removal only occurs on the site and not at the official custodian's office. Therefore, a record may reappear after an update.
As a last resort, the owner of a public record can attempt to alter or redact information from their record. This requires visiting or contacting the custodian's office. Since privately-run sites often refresh their records, it follows that when a publisher (the custodian) amends a record, the information may be removed during a site's next update. In cases where the information still appears, the record owner can notify the site's administrator.
Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in Nebraska?
Yes, but it depends on the offense. As a general rule, motoring or traffic offenses only affect criminal records in Nebraska when licensed motorists are charged with or convicted of serious traffic violations, i.e., traffic misdemeanors or felonies.