Everyone makes mistakes. But some mistakes might cost you more than others. And having a criminal record in your background? Well, that can be a costly error.
Indeed, having a criminal record in your background can cost you:
- A great job,
- custodial time with your children,
- the ability to buy a new house,
- or live in a specific neighborhood,
- or it might even cost you the ability to pursue your education or a professional license.
The good news? You can make your criminal record disappear through a process known as criminal record sealing or criminal expungement.
- What is record sealing?
- How does it compare to expungement?
- Am I eligible to have my record sealed, and is there a waiting period?
- What is the process for sealing my criminal record?
- How long will it take to get my record sealed?
- How much will it cost to seal my criminal record?
- Do I have to hire an attorney to seal my record?
Answers to these questions and more are available in this guide to criminal record sealing in Nevada. Keep reading!
What is Record Sealing in Nevada?
Nevada’s excellent news is that our State’s public policy gives people a second chance after a criminal conviction. This fact means that you can have a Nevada crime conviction removed from your record. This process is known as record sealing.
Having your record sealed in Nevada means that the conviction is purged from your background and will not show up in a background check.
People who have their criminal record sealed can legally deny having a criminal background. This fact is super helpful when applying for a job, particular housing, or even specific education or professional admissions.
More good news, you don’t have to be convicted of a crime to have your record sealed. If charged with a crime and your case was dismissed, you can also have your record sealed.
Here’s the bad news. Nevada does not allow for expungements. How is an expungement different from a record sealing, you might ask? Well, record sealing is just like it sounds. A person’s criminal background gets sealed so that it does not show up in background checks. And a person with a sealed record can legally deny having a criminal conviction in their background.
Expungements are like record sealing but not quite the same thing. Criminal record expungements mean different things in different States. To keep things simple for this guide’s purposes, a record sealing and a criminal expungement act the same way in Nevada.
Do I Have to Have a Conviction to Get My Criminal Record Sealed? If So, What is the Waiting Period?
The short answer is that sealing your criminal background does not require a conviction.
If your charges were denied or dismissed or you got acquitted of criminal charges, you can immediately be eligible for record sealings. Basically, without a conviction, there is no waiting period to have your record sealed in Nevada.
Suppose you are a victim of sex trafficking and are convicted of prostitution or involuntary servitude. In that case, you may also petition to have your criminal record sealed immediately without a waiting period.
It is essential for those with criminal convictions in their backgrounds to remember that not all convictions can get sealed. The waiting period for record sealing is different depending on the conviction. The table below identifies the type of conviction and the waiting period for each:
|Type of Conviction||Waiting Period Before Record You Can Get A Conviction Sealed|
|Category A felonies, certain crimes of violence, and burglary offenses||Ten years after the case closes|
|Misdemeanor DUI||Seven years after the case closes|
|Misdemeanor Domestic Violence||Seven years after the case closes|
|Specific Category B, C, and D felonies||Five years after the case closes|
|Misdemeanor TPO violations||Two years after the case closes|
|Misdemeanor Battery||Two years after the case closes|
|All gross misdemeanors||Two years after the case closes|
|Category E felonies||Two years after the case closes|
|All other misdemeanors||One year after the case closes|
Certain crimes such as crimes against children, and attempted crimes against children, kidnapping, sex trafficking, prostitution, and involuntary servitude are not eligible for sealing.
Likewise, certain sex crimes such as rape, indecent exposure, statutory seduction, battery with intent to commit sexual assault, child pornography, and other sex crimes also are ineligible to get sealed in the State of Nevada.
Other crimes such as felony DUI, third-offense DUI, and specific home invasion crimes will stay on your record too.
What is the Process for Sealing My Nevada Criminal Record?
BEWARE: Even the slightest error in your paperwork, from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, may cause delays in the record sealing process of weeks or even months. Therefore, individuals looking to seal their criminal records are
strongly encouraged to seek the assistance of an experienced record sealing attorney.
Knowing all the warnings and that the process varies, record sealing in Nevada generally follows the same steps regarding jurisdiction:
First, you need a copy of your criminal history, commonly referred to as a SCOPE. If you have criminal convictions in your background, you will also need the judgments of each case’s conviction.
Second, look at your SCOPE and figure out where your criminal convictions/charges occurred. If you have multiple charges in different jurisdictions, file your petition for record sealing in the Eighth Judicial District Court. Again, this part is tricky, so we suggest you talk to an attorney.
Third, you need to prepare your paperwork, including your petition for record sealing and the accompanying documents. Make sure to follow the exact protocols for completing the paperwork. For example, your petition must be typed and not handwritten. Failing to follow the correct procedures will result in your petition being denied or can lead to long delays in completing your record seal.
Next, mail or drop off your paperwork to the DA’s office. Be sure to include three copies and all the necessary documents. It can take quite some time for the DA to review the paperwork, so be patient.
What Happens Next?
Once the DA reviews the paperwork, the DA will either sign off on your order to seal or refuse to sign. If the DA signs the order, you will need to file your paperwork with the Court and submit the order to the judge for signature.
If the DA refuses to sign the order to seal your record, they will likely give you a short explanation as to why the order is not signed. This reason might include your failure to provide the correct paperwork or that your case is not eligible for record sealing.
If the DA rejects your paperwork because of a clerical error, fix the error and resubmit your paperwork. On the other hand, if the DA refuses to sign the order, you can ask the judge for a hearing to see if your record is eligible for sealing.
In cases where the DAs office refuses to sign the order for record sealing, we strongly encourage you to hire an attorney for assistance.
Again, the process listed here is quite simplified and depends on where your criminal conviction originates. More specific procedures for record sealing may require depending on the jurisdiction where you received your conviction.
How Long Does the Process Take to Get My Record Sealed?
There are two parts to the record sealing process. The first part is gathering the required information and filling out the paperwork that needs to get submitted to the DA’s office and the Court. The second part of the record sealing process is presenting all the paperwork, having it reviewed by the appropriate authorities, and, ultimately, obtaining the order to seal your records.
The first (information gathering and filling out the correct paperwork) can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. This fact is especially true if you have multiple convictions in multiple jurisdictions. And, let’s face it, Covid isn’t helping anything, so obtaining certified judgments of convictions from various courts is taking a bit longer than usual. Again, in our estimation, gathering the necessary documents and completing the paperwork should take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks but can take longer depending on your circumstances.
The second part (submitting your paperwork for review and ultimately, obtaining a court order sealing your record) depends on a few things. First, Covid is causing quite a few delays, and most of the government employees, including the DAs, are working remotely, even some of the time. Second, having a judge review all the paperwork and sign the order sealing your records largely depends on the judge. As you may know, some judges sign orders faster than others, and predicting how long it will take any specific judge to sign a record sealing order depends on the judge.
Overall, the Nevada Department of Public Safety indicates that it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 months to seal your criminal record, depending on the accuracy of the information submitted.
In total, we advise clients that the entire process generally takes six to eight months to complete. Some cases may take longer, and some may move faster. It depends on the facts of your specific situation and how many convictions are getting sealed.
How Much Will It Cost to Seal My Record in Nevada?
The cost for record sealing depends on:
- if you are planning on hiring a Las Vegas lawyer,
- how many convictions are getting sealed,
- and if multiple jurisdictions are involved.
Here are some necessary costs, not including attorney’s fees or court filing fees, for sealing your criminal record:
- $11 for obtaining the SCOPE from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (Note: SCOPEs from HPD, NLVPD, etc, may require different fees and requirements)
- Approximately $30 for fingerprinting
- $27.00 for obtaining your criminal history from the Nevada Department of Public Safety
- $74-$270 for various court filing fees, and this could be more depending on the jurisdiction
Most criminal defense attorneys charge anywhere from $750 to several thousand dollars to seal criminal records in Nevada. Again, the exact fees and costs involved with sealing your criminal record depend on the facts of your case.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Sealing My Criminal Record?
Record sealing is complicated, and getting rid of past mistakes comes with many questions. Below we answer more of your frequently asked questions about Nevada record sealing:
- Do I get my gun rights back if my record gets sealed? The short answer is no. If you lost your right to possess a firearm due to a domestic violence conviction or a criminal conviction, the only way to restore your rights is with a pardon.
- Can I be deported even if my record gets sealed? Unfortunately, having your criminal record sealed does not prevent you from being deported. We strongly suggest you consult with a qualified immigration attorney for more information if faced with deportation because of a criminal conviction.
- Can I get my right to vote back if my record gets sealed? The answer here is YES! Having your record sealed in Nevada means you can vote, hold public office, and serve on a jury.
- If my record gets sealed, can it be reopened? Under certain circumstances, having a record sealed in Nevada is not foolproof. In exceedingly rare instances, such as immigration proceedings, a sealed record might be required to be reopened. If faced with having your criminal record reopened, we strongly suggest you consult with an attorney to discuss your options.
- Will having my record sealed protect me from having my criminal history show up in any background check? The short answer here is no. Even with sealing records, individual agencies, like the FBI or Gaming Control Board may request to reopen your criminal record to look at your sealed records.
- Why should I get my record sealed? Won’t my charges “disappear” after a period? Most people choose to seal their records for employment purposes. Others decide to seal their records for housing or to pursue their education or professional license. While it’s nice to hope that a criminal conviction will magically disappear from your background, the reality is that they don’t just go away. Criminal charges remain in your background indefinitely, and individual employers, institutions, and government agencies require you to disclose your criminal convictions regardless of how much time has passed. This reason is the primary cause why most people choose to seal their records.
- Where do I find the Nevada laws about record sealing? The Nevada Revised Statutes explain record sealing is at NRS 179.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to Seal My Record?
While you don’t have to hire an attorney to seal your criminal records, we certainly recommend it. Like we’ve said before, completing the paperwork incorrectly or submitting the wrong documents can cause significant delays in your record sealing case. They can even lead to your request to seal your record is denied.
Finding a qualified, knowledgeable record sealing attorney can prove challenging. There are tons of advertisements for low-cost record sealing everywhere. BEWARE that the folks you hire are attorneys and not paralegals. Also, make sure you read the fine print. Like we said above, the costs alone for filing a record sealing case usually exceed $150.
In conclusion, criminal record sealing in Nevada allows people to move past mistakes and get a fresh start. The process allows certain criminal convictions to be removed from public records so they no longer appear on background checks. While sealing a record takes time, effort, and some costs, it can benefit employment, housing, education, and more. Key takeaways include:
- Not all crimes are eligible for sealing, and there are different waiting periods depending on the offense. More severe crimes often cannot be sealed.
- The process involves gathering documents, filing a petition, and getting approval from the DA’s office and a judge. It typically takes 6-8 months.
- Costs include fees for documents, fingerprints, filing, and potentially attorney’s fees. Overall expenses often total $750+
- Sealing a record does not restore all rights, like gun ownership or immigration status. But it does allow voting, holding office, and serving on a jury.
- Hiring an attorney is highly recommended to avoid errors and denials. The process is complicated.
With proper guidance and persistence, sealing a Nevada criminal record can help create new opportunities and a more positive future.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I get my record sealed, will my arrest still appear on my background?
Your arrest will still be visible even after your record is sealed, but it will show as dismissed or acquitted rather than as a conviction. The sealing prevents the conviction itself from appearing.
Can a private company access my sealed criminal records in a background check?
No. Private companies do not have access to review sealed records. Your sealed conviction will not show up in a background check done by a private employer.
Does sealing my record in Nevada also seal it in other states?
No, sealing your record only applies within Nevada. If you have convictions in other states, you must pursue sealing in each applicable state.
If my sealed conviction shows up on a background check, can I dispute it?
You can dispute it if a sealed conviction incorrectly appears on a background check. Contact the agency doing the check and the court where it was sealed.
Do I have to list my sealed conviction on applications that ask about criminal history?
No. You can legally respond “no” if your record has been sealed if asked about criminal convictions. The purpose of sealing is so you don’t have to disclose it.
Can a sealed conviction be used against me in court in the future?
Generally, no. But there are limited exceptions if it becomes relevant to a future case at the judge’s discretion. Consult an attorney for specifics.
Will getting my record sealed improve my credit score?
No, sealing your criminal record does not directly impact your credit score or rating. It remains separate from financial histories.
Criminal record sealing – The process of removing certain criminal convictions from public records and background checks.
Expungement – Similar to sealing a criminal record, but terminology differs by state. Nevada does not allow expungements.
SCOPE – Abbreviation for Statement of Charges from Police and Courts. It’s a document listing your criminal history in Nevada.
Petition – The written request filed in court to have your criminal record sealed.
Order to seal – The court order granting a petition to seal criminal records if approved.
Jurisdiction: The specific court or county where a criminal case was initially heard. Proper jurisdiction must be identified.
District Attorney (DA) – The county prosecutor reviews petitions for sealing and decides whether to approve/deny.
Waiting period: The mandated period must elapse before someone can apply for record sealing.
Application process – Refers to the steps involved in petitioning the court to seal your criminal records.
Background check – The review of someone’s criminal, employment, or financial records often done by employers, landlords, etc.
Restoring rights: Certain rights, like voting and jury duty, are restored after getting records sealed, but not all rights.
Disclosure: Revealing sealed criminal records is allowed in some exceptional cases, like immigration cases.
More Resources for You
Our lead attorney, Molly Rosenblum, Esq., has created a wealth of resources to assist you in your time of need. Each link will direct you to a page with relevant, detailed information about various aspects of criminal law and defense:
- Criminal Defense Attorneys: Learn about our experienced team of defense attorneys and how they can aid you in your criminal case.
- Felonies in Nevada: Understand the classification and potential consequences of felonies in the state of Nevada.
- Attorneys Answer Your Questions About Miranda Rights: Get clear, detailed responses to common inquiries about Miranda Rights from our attorneys.
- Firearms Defense Lawyers: If you’re facing firearm-related charges, our defense lawyers are ready to help.
- Theft Defense Lawyers: Facing theft charges? Our knowledgeable team can provide the defense you need.
- Winning Felony Cases in Nevada: Learn how our team has successfully defended clients facing felony charges.
- Drug Possession Defense Lawyer: If you’re facing drug possession charges, our experienced lawyers can provide the defense you need.
- Marijuana Possession Questions? We’ve Got Answers.: For any questions related to marijuana possession laws in Las Vegas, we’re here to help.
- Juvenile Defense Lawyers: Our team is experienced in defending juveniles facing criminal charges.
- Juvenile Charges: Legal Advice: Get legal advice for dealing with juvenile charges from our legal team.
- Charged with Solicitation? We Can Help.: If you’ve been charged with solicitation, our team can provide the defense you need.
- Nevada Traffic Tickets: Get help dealing with traffic tickets in Nevada from our team.
- Warrant Defense Attorneys: If you’re dealing with a warrant, our defense attorneys can provide the help you need.
- Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer for Misdemeanor Charges?: Learn when it’s necessary to hire a lawyer for misdemeanor charges.
- The Nevada Arraignment – Frequently Asked Questions: Get answers to commonly asked questions about the Nevada arraignment process.
- Sex Crime Defense Attorneys: If you’re facing sex crime charges, our defense attorneys can provide the help you need.
- Nevada Shoplifting Laws: Understand the Nevada laws related to shoplifting and how our lawyers can help.
- Gang Crimes Lawyer: If you’re facing charges related to gang crimes, our experienced lawyers are ready to defend you.
Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful
Here are seven offsite resources that provide information about sealing criminal records in Nevada:
FindLaw: This online resource provides free legal information, a lawyer directory, and other resources on a wide range of legal topics, including the process of sealing criminal records.
Justia: Justia offers free legal information, a directory of attorneys for various legal issues, and a specific section on the expungement of criminal records.
Avvo: This website provides a directory of lawyers, including those in Nevada, legal advice, and other resources on a broad range of legal topics, including the sealing of criminal records.
Nolo: Nolo provides legal information to consumers and small businesses, including articles, blogs, FAQs, and news on the process of sealing criminal records.
LegalMatch: This online legal matching service helps individuals find lawyers in their area, including Nevada, and provides advice and resources on criminal law matters, including the sealing of records.
The Nevada Bar Association: The official website of the Nevada State Bar offers resources for finding a lawyer, including those who specialize in sealing criminal records.
Nevada Department of Public Safety: The official website of the Nevada Department of Public Safety provides information on how to apply for the sealing of a criminal history in Nevada.
A Special Message from Our Lead Attorney
Molly Rosenblum, Esq.
Thank you for taking the time to read through these resources. I understand that facing legal challenges can be overwhelming and stressful. My team and I are here to provide your guidance and support.
At the Rosenblum Allen Law Firm, we pride ourselves on our commitment to our clients, providing diligent legal representation and navigating complex legal situations with experience and professionalism.
Please don’t hesitate to contact my team and me at (702) 433-2889. Let’s discuss your situation and see how we can best assist you. We’re ready to help you take the following steps on your legal journey.
Molly Rosenblum, Esq.