Most people charged with crimes fear prison time, but the thought of being
found not guilty and having a criminal charge on their record for the
rest of their lives is also an immediate concern. As their cases develop
and criminal defense attorneys better understand the details, clients
begin to think of the long-term ramifications of how being found not guilty
will affect their reputation, time, and finances.
In the past, Berry Law Firm has achieved dismissals or not guilty verdicts
for clients who still faced collateral issues that affected their employability.
For example, a criminal defendant whose charge is dismissed or is acquitted
may still lose a job and face damaged reputation. At the end of the day,
the fact that someone was arrested and criminal charges were brought against
them never goes away. In today’s fast-paced social media culture,
this type of information gets out quickly, regardless of what happens
in the court system.
Fortunately, some of that damage has been minimized. Pursuant to Nebraska
revised statute § 29-3523, all records, including any information
or other case data concerning any proceedings related to a criminal defendant
including arrests, taking into custody, petition complaint, indictment
information, trial hearing, adjudication, correctional supervision, dismissal,
or other disposition, are sealed when a criminal defendant in Nebraska
is found not guilty at trial. This means that as soon a person is found
not guilty at trial, their court filings and records are not part of the
public record and cannot be disseminated to anyone other than criminal
In the past, someone who was charged with a crime and won at trial would
still have a black mark on his or her record. Anyone making a background
check could easily find through courthouse records that the person was
charged with a crime but found not guilty.
Members of the Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorneys Association testified
several times in front of the legislature about this important issue and
lobbied to change the laws to protect the reputations of those found not
guilty at trial. Innocent persons charged with crimes watched their lives
fall apart; even if they had done nothing wrong, many opportunities were
closed to them forever.
At Berry Law Firm, we have represented people falsely accused of crimes
and have seen firsthand how criminal charges destroyed lives regardless
of the outcome. Often, our clients who enjoyed successful careers found
that unless criminal charges were cleared up immediately, they would lose
the ability to advance in their field or compete with their peers for
The advantage to getting a not guilty verdict, pursuant to Nebraska revised
statute §29-3523, is that after the defendant receives a not guilty
verdict and the case is complete, the court will seal the record.
While not everyone wants to take a case to a jury trial, it is important
to understand that getting an acquittal or dismissal will seal public
records which could lessen the collateral consequences of the criminal charges.
If you are facing criminal charges and are concerned about how those charges
could affect your future, please contact the Berry Law Firm.