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.
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 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.
At Rosenblum Law Offices, our staff and attorneys have over 35 years of experience handling sealing records. We have sealed hundreds of criminal cases, and we know what it takes to get your record sealed correctly and fast! We provide flexible payments and same-day consultations. Are you thinking about having your record sealed? Give us a call at (702) 433-2889, fill out our online form, or download The Seal Your Record Checklist. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.