If you have a criminal conviction on your record, you know that it can be problematic. You may have a hard time getting a job or even keeping a job once people find out about your record. You may simply be ready for a second chance and a clean slate, but your criminal conviction can seem like a dark cloud over everything.
Fortunately, Nevada lawmakers understand that good people make mistakes. They know that you can prove yourself and show that you’ve changed. After a period of time, lawmakers and the courts agree that you deserve a clean slate. That’s why there’s a procedure in Nevada called record sealing. You will want to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure you follow the correct protocol for record sealing.
What Is Record Sealing?
Record sealing is the process of removing a criminal conviction from the public record. The record still exists somewhere, but the public can’t see it.
Generally, criminal convictions are open to public inspection. Anyone can walk into a courthouse and request a copy. However, when the court seals your record, they remove it from the public record, so people can’t find it.
What Are Nevada’s Laws for Record Sealing?
Nevada law 179.245 outlines the rules for record sealing in Nevada. The law gives the rules for what types of cases qualify.
There are also rules for what a person needs to do to file a request. There may be waiting periods that apply to the case, and there’s a great deal of paperwork and official records that need to accompany a petition.
Does My Case Qualify for Record Sealing?
Not all cases qualify for record sealing. Types of cases that don’t ever qualify include:
- Crimes against children
- Felony drunk driving
- Sex trafficking
- Some criminal sexual offenses
If your conviction isn’t the type that’s always ineligible, you can apply for sealing after the applicable waiting period for your kind of case. If the state dismissed your case or you received a verdict of not guilty, you can apply for sealing right away.
In all other cases, there’s a waiting period. For minor misdemeanors, the waiting period is one year after you complete your sentence. For serious convictions, the waiting period can be as long as 10 years. Once you’ve made it through the waiting period without additional convictions, you can apply for record sealing.
Is Record Sealing Automatic If I Qualify?
Nevada law 179.245 says that the court “may order sealed all records” if a qualified person files a complete application. The court doesn’t have to seal your record if they don’t think it’s appropriate.
That makes it important to carefully make your case for why you deserve to have your record sealed. The state may have an attorney speak and try to convince the judge not to seal your record. An experienced lawyer can help you present a strong case.
What If Some of My Convictions Qualify and Others Don’t?
In Nevada, record sealing is all or nothing. If one of your convictions qualifies for sealing and another doesn’t, you can’t seal any of your records. An experienced attorney can help you determine if you are eligible before you file.
How Long Does Record Sealing Take?
Record sealing can take a few weeks or a few months. If you’re acquitted of charges before a conviction, the process moves quite quickly. But gathering the documents that you need can still take some time.
Once you file, you wait for a court date and prepare your legal arguments. Even though you can’t get rid of your criminal record soon enough, record sealing can take a few months from start to finish.
What Does It Cost to Seal My Record?
It costs about $75 to file a petition to seal your criminal record. There are also fees for getting your fingerprints and official copies of your conviction. In total, you can expect to pay about $150 in costs and related fees for a petition for record sealing.
Where Do I File My Case?
You file your case where your conviction occurred. For example, if your conviction occurred in the Clark County District Court, that’s where you file your petition for record sealing. Your attorney can help you identify the right court to file your case.
What Paperwork Do I Need to File?
There are a series of steps to follow when you file a request for record sealing. You need an official copy of your criminal history. You must have a record from Nevada’s central records repository as well as from the local court where your conviction occurred.
Is Record Sealing the Same as an Expungement?
Record sealing is similar to an expungement, but they’re not the same thing. Record sealing means removing a conviction from the public eye. Expungement means making it as though a conviction never happened. Nevada doesn’t have a procedure for expunging a record.
Instead, record sealing is your best bet. Record sealing has the effect of preventing your friends, enemies, and potential employers from finding your record. It’s only a few government officials that can see or use your criminal record after a record sealing.
How can an attorney help?
Filing for a record sealing is a complicated process with a great deal of paperwork. Even if you complete all of the paperwork correctly, your record sealing isn’t guaranteed. If you don’t succeed, you have to wait two years before you can try again.
When you work with a qualified criminal defense lawyer, they can help you determine if you qualify for record sealing. They will provide you with a step-by-step process to maximize your chances for success.