A criminal record can cause a multitude of problems in your life. Fortunately, in many cases, the State of Nevada provides a process to minimize the effects of a record. Unlike some states, Nevada does not have a way to expunge records, but there is a statutory process through which you can seal a criminal record that meets certain criteria. Each county, including Clark County, has a specific procedure that must be followed. The record sealing process is detailed and complex. Getting help from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is strongly recommended.

Sealing a Criminal Record in Las Vegas

Nevada statutory provisions permit state courts to order sealing of a criminal record if specific conditions are met. Sealing is not the same as expungement. In some states, expungement involves actual destruction of the record. Sealing a record in Nevada does not allow for destruction of the record.

When a record is sealed through the statutory process, it is physically removed from the record system but not destroyed. Dissemination is substantially restricted. Record management employees may still access the record only for management purposes. Other parties or agencies may access the record only for limited purposes or as authorized by a court order. Sealed records may still be used in certain circumstances under the statute.

Each county in the state has a detailed process to petition for record sealing. The process that applies to Las Vegas criminal records is established by Clark County and administered through the District Attorney’s Office. The record stipulation process has very specific procedural requirements, in addition to the statutory requirements for eligibility.

Criminal Records Eligible for Sealing in Las Vegas

Generally, criminal records relating to arrest, conviction, acquittal, or dismissal are eligible for the sealing process. However, the record of some convictions cannot be sealed, including: sex offenses, crimes against children, home invasion with a deadly weapon, and felony DUI.

For eligible criminal convictions, there is a waiting period that must be met before a record can be sealed. Presently, the waiting periods after the end of a case are as follows:

There is no waiting period for sealing records relating to acquittal or dismissal. A streamlined process applies for sealing records of decriminalized offenses (primarily offenses involving possession of small amounts of marijuana) under the Second Chance Act.

Las Vegas Record Sealing Process

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office administers a stipulation process for sealing eligible criminal records. The process is detailed and complex. The basic steps include:

  • Getting a complete copy of your criminal record
  • Identifying the proper court for filing the petition
  • Properly completing the appropriate petition and accompanying forms
  • Securing approval from the District Attorney’s Office
  • Submitting the petition to the proper court
  • Addressing any issues that arise during the process

When the process is correctly followed for eligible records, it usually can be completed within a few months, although complicated situations may take longer. However, mistakes along the way can derail the process or result in denial of the petition. Getting help from a knowledgeable attorney before you begin the process is strongly advised. At The Gersten Law Firm, criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten does not charge for your initial consultation. You can contact him about record sealing for no cost or obligation.

Effect of Sealing a Criminal Record

After a record is sealed, you can legally deny having a record, even under oath, in most situations. Your record will not show in a background check conducted by a prospective employer or a similar person inquiring about your criminal history. The sealed record is not destroyed but is hidden from the view of the general public. Sealing a record does not prevent government officials from viewing the record for legitimate governmental purposes.

There are situations in which you may be required to disclose a sealed record, such as an application for some professional licenses. If you are not sure whether you need to disclose a sealed record, it is best to ask for advice from your lawyer.

Record sealing restores your civil rights, including the right to vote, serve on a jury, and hold political office. However, it usually does not restore gun rights lost as the result of a criminal conviction. A sealed record also does not protect an immigrant from deportation, since sealed records are available to immigration officials.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney About Sealing Criminal Records in Clark County

Criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten has extensive experience assisting clients with sealing Nevada and Clark County criminal records. To get help with sealing a record in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, contact The Gersten Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.