Many visitors come to Las Vegas looking to have a good time. Sometimes, things get out of control, and you might find yourself in trouble with law enforcement. Luckily, your criminal record does not have to follow you forever. A Las Vegas seal & expunge attorney from our firm can explain the Nevada laws that apply to your situation and guide you through the process of wiping the slate clean.
What Are Sealing and Expunging?
Sealing and expunging are two different processes, but many people mistakenly use them interchangeably. Sealing a criminal record involves making past offenses private to most people – the crimes still exist, but the public does not have access to them. Essentially, you will be able to say that you never committed the crime, per NRS 179.285. Expunging involves erasing a criminal record as if the crime never occurred.
Both sealed and expunged charges have different laws and rules depending on the state. For instance, Nevada does not allow records to be expunged, and sealed records can be re-opened or seen by certain agencies.
Sealing Nevada Criminal History Records
The Nevada Revised Statutes allow criminal records to be sealed if 1) certain conditions are met and 2) the court is satisfied that the convicted person has been sufficiently rehabilitated. This applies to all crimes except those involving felony DUI (driving under the influence), felony BUI (boating under the influence), certain crimes against children, and certain sex crimes.
Who Is Eligible for Record Sealing?
If you were arrested and the charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty in court, you can file for a petition at any time. If you were arrested and the prosecution chose not to file charges against you, you may be eligible for record sealing at a later time – either when the statute of limitations on your offense runs out (NRS 171), eight years after your arrest, or on a date decided by the prosecution (NRS 179.255).
Convictions are eligible for record sealing after:
- You complete probation (NRS 176A.265)
- You complete a reentry program (sex crimes and crimes against children are ineligible) (NRS 179.259)
- You complete a drug or alcohol program designated by the court and your conviction is set aside (NRS 458.330)
- Your conviction was set aside or excused (NRS 179.255)
- Your drug-related crime did not involve the sale of narcotics (NRS 453.3365)
- You were a victim of human trafficking or involuntary servitude and sought services for those crimes (NRS 179.247)
Those convicted of certain misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies are also eligible for record sealing in some cases. You must wait a certain number of years after you are released from custody, complete probation, or are no longer serving a suspended sentence.
How Do You Petition to Seal Your Record?
The process of petitioning to seal your record is completed in five steps:
- Obtain a copy of your criminal record history from the Nevada State Police. Your record will contain information about the arrest, the date of the arrest, any charges filed, and your conviction. If you were convicted of a crime, you must also obtain a “judgment of conviction and discharge” from the District Court.
- Read the record to find out which court you must petition.
- Type out and sign a petition, affidavit, and order that contains the information about your arrest (the police agency that arrested you, the date of the arrest, the charges, and the final disposition of the arrest).
- Mail this paperwork to the District Attorney’s Office.
- Obtain approval from the District Attorney for the record seal. If granted, it will be sent to a judge to sign as well and the paperwork will be returned to you. Once received, you must send copies of the signed order to any agencies that have your criminal record in their databases (courts, police, etc.).
If you have convictions in multiple districts or courts, you may still be eligible to submit one record seal request. A Las Vegas seal and expunge attorney can confirm if you qualify.
Nevada’s Second Chance Act
Some offenses have been decriminalized under a Nevada law called the Second Chance Act or Assembly Bill 192. This bill streamlines the process to help people with decriminalized convictions seal their records. It was written to address marijuana-related crimes in the state, which were stricter in past years. With new laws, it is now legal for people over the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of recreational marijuana in Nevada.
The process for sealing marijuana possession and other decriminalized crimes involves sending in a written request to the court that originally convicted them. No court fees are charged to those who request record sealing in this manner.
Can I Seal Records for Convictions in Another State?
Jurisdiction for sealing records lies in the state where you were arrested. Therefore, if you committed a crime in Nevada, you must follow the state’s procedures and laws for record sealing. Moving or living in another state will not change this fact.
Do Sealed Records Appear on Background Checks?
Most people cannot view a sealed record. For instance, employers, bankers, and landlords who run background checks will not be able to see your past offenses if your record is sealed. However, some government agencies will still have access to your criminal record history, including the Nevada Gaming Commission, FBI, CIA, and Nevada State Police.
Can My Petition to Seal be Denied?
Yes, your request may be denied in some cases, even if your record is eligible for sealing. Courts almost always grant eligible records their sealing, but it is at their discretion. A Las Vegas seal and expunge attorney can minimize your petition’s chances of being denied.
What Criminal Records Are Not Eligible for Sealing?
Convictions for the following offenses are not eligible to be sealed:
- Kidnapping a child
- False imprisonment of a child
- Involuntary servitude of a child
- Sex trafficking of a child
- Prostitution of a child
- Open or gross lewdness
- Indecent exposure
- Statutory sexual seduction
- Battery with intent to sexually assault
- 1st-degree murder if committed during the sexual assault, sexual abuse, or molestation of a child
- Child pornography
- Lewdness with a child
- Sexual conduct with a corpse
- Sexual conduct between school employees
- Luring a child or mentally ill person
- Administering drugs to a person to commit any of the above crimes
- Attempting to do any of the above crimes
- Third DUI or BUI within 7 years
- DUI or BUI that causes injury or death
- Vehicular manslaughter/homicide
- Home invasion with a deadly weapon
Can I Seal Part of My Criminal Record?
No, you must seal your entire record, or you cannot seal it at all. If you have one offense that is eligible for sealing but another that is not, you must keep both offenses on your record. Having any felony crime also disqualifies you from being able to seal your criminal history record.
How Can a Seal and Expungement Attorney Help Me?
The sealing process can be complicated and you get a very limited number of chances, which means that petitioning correctly is essential. Laws can change at any time, so it can be difficult to know if you qualify to have your record sealed in Nevada. A seal and expungement attorney can guide you through the process.
An attorney with our Las Vegas firm can help you obtain your record, obtain the right petition from the right court, and even fight for you in court if the petition is denied. You can only petition to seal your record twice, so time is of the essence.
Contact a seal and expunge attorney from De Castroverde Law Group today for a free consultation, so we can help you get a second chance and erase your past mistakes.