A criminal record can hurt your chances at finding work or being approved for a loan. Even a conviction for a minor criminal offense, such as petty theft, that occurred years ago can prevent you from being considered for certain types of jobs, credit and loans, and public benefits.
In today’s economic climate, it’s more important than ever to take the steps to seal your criminal record so that you will not be at a disadvantage when you look for employment or seek financial aid.
This article will discuss the process for sealing a criminal record in Nevada. Having your record sealed can be difficult and time-consuming. This post is not a substitute for legal advice.
What does it mean to have a criminal record sealed in Las Vegas?
A criminal record is a public record that is accessible by the public through government databases.
When you comply with the procedure for sealing a criminal record in Nevada, your criminal record will be removed from these databases. If a court issues an order that your criminal record be sealed, the general public will no longer have a way to find out about your past convictions.
When a court in Clark County, Nevada orders that your criminal record be sealed, the order will apply to the Las Vegas court as well as all other courts and agencies that may have your record on file. This includes federal agencies like the FBI.
It’s important to understand that this does not happen automatically. It’s your responsibility to make sure that other courts and agencies are informed of the court’s order to seal your criminal record.
What are the benefits of sealing criminal records in Nevada?
There are many benefits to sealing a criminal record. If you have a conviction on your record, you may have trouble leasing an apartment or finding a job. You may also be denied if you apply for credit or a loan.
Once you have your criminal record sealed, landlords, employers, and lenders will no longer be able to discriminate against you.
Sealing a criminal record has other benefits. Once your record is sealed, your right to vote may be restored, as well as your rights to hold office and serve on a jury. You will not have to tell anyone that you have a criminal record, even under oath.
Can a criminal record be reopened after it is sealed?
After a criminal record has been sealed, it can be reopened and investigated under very limited circumstances, including:
A court can allow you to inspect your own criminal record if you petition the court to do so.
If you were charged with an offense but the charges were dismissed, a prosecutor may reopen your criminal record if you are subsequently arrested for the same or similar offense.
If you were convicted of a criminal offense, a prosecutor or other criminal defendant may apply to reopen your criminal record in order to discover information about other people who were involved in the crime.
Certain agencies have the authority to inspect your criminal record for a specific purpose. For example, the Gaming Control Board may view your criminal record if you apply for a gaming license.
Does Nevada allow people to have their criminal records expunged?
Sealing a criminal record in Nevada makes it invisible to the public. Expunging a criminal record is like having it erased completely. For obvious reasons, having an expunged criminal record is preferable to having a sealed criminal record.
Unfortunately, Nevada has no laws that allow for the expunging of criminal records.
In Las Vegas (or Clark County), Nevada the best you can hope for is to have your criminal record sealed.
Who is eligible to have their criminal record sealed in Nevada?
Whether you are eligible to have your criminal record sealed in Nevada depends on a number of factors.
The category of the offense you committed, as well as when you were released from custody and/or completed probation, play a significant role in whether your criminal record is eligible for sealing.
Specific examples of cases where you would not be eligible to have your record sealed include:
If you were charged with an offense that is still pending, your criminal record cannot be sealed.
If you committed or attempted to commit a crime against a child or children under the age of 18 that involved kidnapping, false imprisonment, pandering, prostitution, your criminal record cannot be sealed.
Typically, felony sexual offenses against a child or children under the age of 18 cannot be sealed in Nevada.
By meeting the following criteria, you may be eligible to have your criminal record sealed in Nevada:
If your case was dismissed or you were acquitted of all charges, you may be eligible to have your criminal record sealed as long as you don’t have other criminal actions pending against you.If you were convicted of a criminal offense in Nevada, you may be eligible to get your record sealed if the required amount of time has elapsed. See the chart below for more information.
How long must you wait before you can have your Nevada criminal record sealed?
If you were convicted of a crime in Nevada, you must fulfill the terms of your sentence before you can request to have your criminal record sealed.
Once your sentence is complete and the case against you is closed, the clock begins to run on what is known as the statutory waiting period. You must wait the entire period before your criminal record can be sealed.
During the waiting period, you cannot commit other crimes or be indicted for additional offenses.
This chart represents that statutory waiting period associated with various categories of offenses. After the waiting period has elapsed, you may petition a court in Clark County Nevada to have your record sealed.
Must the court seal a criminal record that is eligible for sealing?
Unfortunately, courts can decline to seal a criminal record that is eligible for sealing. If the court denies your request, you must wait two (2) years before filing another petition to seal your criminal record.
What is the process for sealing a criminal record in Clark County, Nevada?
The procedure for sealing a criminal record in Clark County is a multi-step process that requires careful attention to detail.
Because your petition may be denied, requiring you to wait another two years before applying to have your criminal record sealed, you may want to hire a criminal defense attorney with experience sealing criminal records.
First, you must obtain a current, verified copy of your criminal history for the purpose of sealing your record.
Contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department at (702) 828-3475 for instructions and fee information.
If you were convicted, you must also obtain what is known as a “judgment of conviction and discharge.”
You can obtain discharge papers from the District Court Clerk:
200 Lewis Avenue Las Vegas, Nevada 89155
Next, you must write a stipulation, petition, affidavit, and order. Sample forms are available on the Clark County District Attorney’s website.
Both the petition and the order must include the following information:
All arrests you wish to be sealed,
Which police agency or agencies arrested you,The date(s) of your arrest(s),The criminal charge(s) that were brought against you, and
The final disposition of each arrest (whether you were convicted, acquitted or if the case was dismissed).
The petition and order must also list all the agencies that have copies of your criminal record.
Next, you must sign and date the stipulation, petition, affidavit, and order. You must make three (3) copies of the signed stipulation, three copies of the signed petition and signed affidavit, and three copies of the signed order.
You must then mail or drop off all your paperwork to the Clark County District Attorney’s office:
200 Lewis Avenue, Room 3303, P.O. Box 552212 Las Vegas, NV 89155
The Clark County District Attorney’s office will review your paperwork and determine whether or not they believe your criminal record should be sealed. If the District Attorney’s office signs your paperwork, it is almost certain that a judge will issue an order to seal your criminal record.
If the District Attorney’s office does not sign your paperwork, they will tell you why. At this point, you may bypass the District Attorney’s office and petition the court to have your criminal record sealed. You must inform the District Attorney’s office if you do so.
If the District Attorney’s office signed your paperwork, you must then go to the clerk’s office of the correct court. The Clark County District Attorney’s office can help you determine the proper court to which you should submit your paperwork.
The court clerk will tell how much you must pay in filing fees and how to get your documents certified. The court clerk will then submit your papers to a judge for final review.
Once the judge certifies an order that your criminal record is sealed and returns the forms to you, you will then be responsible for distributing a certified signed copy of the order to all agencies that may have a copy of your criminal record.
Can juvenile criminal records be sealed in Nevada?
Under certain circumstances, juvenile criminal records are sealed automatically when the person turns 21. This applies to juveniles who have not been convicted of a crime that would have been a felony had an adult committed the crime.
If a juvenile criminal record is not sealed automatically at age 21, a person may petition a court to seal his or her juvenile criminal record upon reaching age 30.
If you have questions about sealing your Nevada criminal record, contact the Law Office of Karen A. Connolly at (702) 678-6700 today.