For defendants who wish to make their mistake “disappear”, Nevada is one of few states with an option to do so through record sealing. Unlike expungement where records are destroyed, sealing criminal convictions hides them from public view, making it unnecessary to disclose the record on job applications or admit they even exist.
Under Nevada Revised Statute 179.245, those who have been convicted of felonies may seal their records provided certain criteria are met. With the exception of sex crimes, crimes against minor children (under 18) and felony charges of drunk driving (DUI) or drugged driving (DUID), virtually all felony charges will qualify for sealing.
To begin the process, a criminal defense attorney will obtain a verified copy of the criminal history which the defendant wants to seal, otherwise known as the “SCOPE”. Once obtained, the lawyer will look over the specifics surrounding the arrest and conviction. Should the criminal charges ended with a conviction, the defendant will also need to obtain their judgment of conviction and discharge. The defendant can obtain their discharge papers from the District Court Clerk in the county where their case was tried or plea bargained.
Once an affidavit and petition is prepared, the attorney will present it to the District Attorney. They can either sign off on it, or show cause why they believe the records should not be sealed.
Each crime will have a specific length of time that defendants must wait prior to petitioning the court for sealing. Note the times below start when the case closes, provided the defendant has met all other conditions of their sentencing:
For arrests without a conviction after dismissal or acquittal, there is no waiting period.
Defendants who successfully completed an approved reentry program sponsored by the Nevada Department of Corrections could become eligible to have their records sealed after four (4) years. Your criminal defense team could provide clarity on this.
Those who want their criminal records to stay spotless will receive the next best thing in records sealing: a permanent closure of their felony and misdemeanor convictions and arrests. Other benefits that are immediately realized when records are ordered sealed include:
Felonies can haunt your criminal record for decades, yet need not be disclosed to anyone if sealed.
Those who may be candidates for record sealing in Nevada should retain skilled legal assistance. District Attorneys are more receptive to the requests of an astute criminal defense attorney as opposed to an individual who was convicted by the DA they are requesting the sealing from.
Mistakes do not have to be permanent. Provided you met the conditions of probation, have paid your restitution and court costs, and have waited the mandatory period of time, there are few reasons why judges would oppose petitions for record sealing.