If you have a criminal record, it is publicly available and can negatively impact many aspects of your life, including employment and housing. Fortunately, Nevada has laws that enable many people to ask a court to seal their records. The statutes and process are complex, but sealing a criminal record has considerable benefits.
Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten assists clients with determining eligibility and completing the court process of sealing a Nevada criminal record. At The Gersten Law Firm, your first consultation is always free. We welcome you to contact us to talk about sealing your record.
Some states have a process to expunge criminal records. Nevada does not have an expungement process. Instead, a person with a Nevada record may be able to have the record sealed.
Sealing a record does not remove it entirely, but the record is no longer publicly available. However, specific law enforcement and regulatory agencies still have access.
Several state laws govern eligibility to seal records. Some records are not eligible. Proceeding with assistance from a knowledgeable attorney is the best way to ensure that you comply with all the laws and requirements and succeed in getting an eligible record sealed.
Sealing a Nevada criminal record has a number of important benefits. Overall, a sealed record minimizes the impact of prior offenses on your life.
The stated public policy in Nevada favors giving second chances to rehabilitated criminal defendants. In furtherance of that policy, specific statutes establish a policy and process for sealing criminal records. One section, NRS 179.285, details the effect of having a record sealed.
If a court orders a record sealed, the statute provides that the proceedings addressed in the record are “deemed never to have occurred.” The person who is the subject of the record can answer any inquiry in accordance with that conclusion. That includes questions on all types of applications without limits, specifically including employment applications. The applicant does not need to disclose any of the events relating to arrest, conviction, dismissal, or acquittal covered by the record sealed by the court.
In addition, as soon as the court signs the order sealing the record, important civil rights are restored. They include the right to vote, hold office, and serve on a jury. The law requires that notification of restoration of these rights be provided. Importantly, sealing a record may not restore the right to own or possess a gun.
Prosecutors, law enforcement, and certain agencies may inspect sealed records in specific circumstances. However, a sealed conviction cannot be used to prove an element in a new crime or enhance the sentence for a new conviction.
Sealed records are available for inspection to Nevada agencies that handle gaming and insurance licensing. Except for gaming and insurance, a sealed record cannot be used as the basis for denying or revoking a professional licensing.
A sealed record may be used to deny gaming employment only if the crime relates to the applicant’s suitability or qualifications for the work permit. No similar requirement for insurance licensing currently exists. However, Nevada law allows professional licensing agencies to inspect sealed records of drug possession convictions to determine suitability for licensing or for disciplinary purposes.
Public and private employers are prohibited from considering a sealed record of conviction in making employment decisions. Failure to abide by this requirement is an unlawful employment practice. Enforcement authority rests with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission.
Nevada laws on sealing criminal records are complex. To complicate matters even more, those laws change fairly frequently. Even just in the last several years, there have been several very important revisions.
Additional information in our previous blog posts addresses the current eligibility requirements, the process for sealing records in Clark County, recent changes to the laws, and other aspects of sealing records. Details are available in these specific articles:
Criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten has extensive experience assisting clients with sealing Nevada and Clark County criminal records. He also represents Las Vegas residents and visitors in all types of criminal charges in state and federal courts. To discuss getting a record sealed or ask questions about sealing criminal records in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, contact Attorney Gersten to schedule a free consultation.