A defendant can sometimes be better served by treatment, rather than incarceration. Nevada law recognizes that mentally ill defendants should not necessarily be jailed for the conviction of criminal offenses but instead should be provided with help so they can return to being productive members of the community. As a result, there are provisions under Nevada law which allow for defendants to be sentenced to probation conditioned upon undergoing treatment as an alternative to being incarcerated. When a defendant is sentenced to one of these programs and successfully completes it, Nevada law also requires that the defendant’s records be sealed.
Mr. Wooldrige provides help to defendants who are being sentenced, including defendants who may suffer from mental illness. We can provide guidance on convincing the court that treatment is a preferable alternative to incarceration, and we also offer help in complying with treatment program requirements in order for discharge and dismissal of the charges to occur. To make sure that you can move on with your life without the criminal conviction hanging over your head, we also help you to ensure that your records are appropriately sealed. To find out more about how we can assist you, give us a call today to talk with an experienced Las Vegas defense lawyer.
N.R.S. 176A.250 gives courts the authority to create programs that provide treatment for mentally ill defendants. It must be clear what a defendant has to do to complete the program, and there must be specific requirements for progress reports in order to determine when a defendant is on track.
N.R.S. 176A.255 sets forth a process by which defendants in justice or municipal court can have their cases transferred to district court if they would benefit from being sentenced to complete a program for the treatment of the mentally ill. N.R.S. 176A.260 details the conditions and limitations on exactly when courts can sentence someone to probation and condition that sentence on successfully undergoing treatment for mental illness.
N.R.S. 176A.260 also mandates what happens when a defendant successfully fulfills the terms of his probation and meets the requirements for a successful treatment. When the defendant has completed the program in accordance with the court’s requirements, the court has to discharge the defendant and dismiss the criminal proceedings. The conviction will not count for public purposes or private purposes, so the defendant will not need to worry about having a conviction on his record when getting a job, when exercising his civil rights or when applying for licensing. The only time the conviction will matter is if the defendant commits another criminal offense in the future.
Since defendants who successfully complete programs for the treatment of mental illness will not have their convictions count against them, steps must be taken to protect them. N.R.S. 176A.265 establishes requirements for sealing the records of a defendant who has completed the treatment program.
According to N.R.S. 176A.265, when a defendant has been discharged from the treatment program, the court has to order all documents sealed that are connected to the case, such as minute book entries and court dockets. Documents related to the case which are in custody of other law enforcement agencies and officers also should be sealed.
The court should take this action and order the records sealed without a hearing unless the Division of Parole and Probation requests a hearing and shows cause.
You need to know your rights when it comes to probation, treatment programs, and sealing of your records. LV Criminal Defense can help with this and other legal matters. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation and find out how our Las Vegas defense attorneys can help you.