When Can You Get Your Las Vegas Criminal Record Sealed?
A criminal conviction on your record — or even an acquittal or dismissed charge — can negatively affect your life in many different ways. Under Nevada law, you may be able to seal your record. If you get your Las Vegas criminal record sealed, it is no longer publicly available. The negative impact on your life diminishes considerably.
What Does It Mean to Seal a Criminal Record?
Nevada law provides a process for sealing criminal records. In October 2017, the state legislature made it easier than ever before to get records sealed. Unlike some states that provide for expungement of records, Nevada’s only available process seals the records but does not expunge them. A sealed record is no longer publicly available. If your record is sealed, you can legally deny having a criminal record, even when you are under oath.
Law enforcement and certain government agencies, including the Nevada Gaming Control Board, still have access. But after your record is sealed, it is not available to prospective employers, landlords, credit companies, or anyone else — other than excepted agencies — who does a routine background check.
After the court seals a record, you also regain a number of important rights that you may have lost because of your record, including the right to:
- Serve on a jury
- Hold office
- Obtain a license from a state licensing board
Once a record is sealed, there are limited circumstances when the prosecutor can reopen it. If the sealed record involves dismissed charges, the District Attorney can reopen the record if the person is arrested subsequently for the same or a similar offense. For a conviction, the District Attorney may apply to reopen the record to obtain information about other people involved in the offense.
Is Your Record Eligible to Be Sealed?
Some criminal convictions are not eligible to be sealed, including crimes against children under age eighteen (18), sex offenses, and felony drunk driving (DUI) or drugged driving (DUID) charges. If your record includes any ineligible offenses, your entire record is ineligible for sealing. In addition, your request may be denied if you have an active warrant or case in Clark County or elsewhere in Nevada, or if your record includes repeat offenses.
In most other situations involving misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and felonies, you can file a request to seal the record after the statutory waiting period has expired. If your record includes an acquittal, a charge that was dismissed with prejudice, or a conviction that was set aside, you may file a request to seal that record as well.
Before October 2017, anyone who received a dishonorable discharge from probation was ineligible to have the record sealed. Since the changes in the law, a person who received a dishonorable discharge from probation may now petition to seal the record — however, the court reviews those cases by stricter standards than honorable discharge cases.
Statutory Waiting Periods for Requesting Record Sealing
Nevada law sets statutory waiting periods that apply to convictions and must be met before a request to seal a record can be filed. Those periods are as follows:
- Ten (10) years: Category A felony, Crime of violence (NRS 200.408), Burglary (NRS 205.060)
- Five (5) years: Category B, C, or D felony
- Seven (7) years: Enhanceable misdemeanors (including non-felony DUI and non-felony domestic battery
- Two (2) years: Catagory E felony, gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor battery(NRS 200.481), harassment (NRS 200.571), stalking (NRS 200.575), violation of a temporary or extended order for protection
- One (1) year: All other misdemeanors and traffic violations
The waiting period is calculated from the date you complete parole or probation.
For charges that were dismissed, honorable discharges under NRS 453.3363, convictions that were set aside, and acquittals, there is no waiting period. For charges that the District Attorney declined to prosecute or dismissed with prejudice, you may request sealing after the statute of limitations for the offense expires, or eight (8) years after the arrest, or if the District Attorney agrees to sealing the record.
Clark County Record Sealing Process
In any petition for sealing a record, the law states: “There is a rebuttable presumption that the record should be sealed if the applicant satisfies all statutory requirements for the sealing of the records.” However, that presumption does not apply to a petition for sealing a conviction for which the defendant received a dishonorable discharge.
Each county sets its own process for record sealing. In Clark County, there are two different processes. One applies to cases from the Las Vegas Justice Court and Eighth Judicial District (Clark County) Court. A different process applies to cases from a municipal court.
The record sealing process is complex and detailed. Any flaws, mistakes, or omissions could lead to denial of the petition.
If you have Nevada records that are eligible to be sealed, your best strategy is to consult with an attorney who understands record sealing petitions and proceedings. Being represented by experienced legal counsel provides your best chance for success in having your record sealed.
The best time to file a petition to seal your record is as soon as you become eligible.
Talk With an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to Get Your Las Vegas Criminal Record Sealed
Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten has extensive experience getting criminal records sealed. If you would like to explore your options or have questions regarding sealing Nevada criminal records in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Clark County, contact Attorney Gersten to schedule a free consultation.