A criminal conviction on a person’s criminal record can cause many problems. For example, criminal convictions may impact:
- An individual’s ability to employment;
- An individual’s right to obtain professional licensing;
- The right to vote; and/or
- An individual’s right to obtain or carry a firearm.
It is important to note that even if a criminal case does not result in a formal conviction, the record of the arrest and the criminal prosecution generally remain on the person’s criminal record. This causes similar issues.
There are specific circumstances in which many convictions and records of arrest can be sealed. This is so that they are off limits to everyone but law enforcement personnel. Alternatively, the person’s criminal record may be eligible for a process known as expungement. Expungement is the process in which a person’s criminal file is removed from public records completely.
The defining difference between record sealing and expungement is what happens to the criminal records. These records still “exist” if the records are sealed; meaning, files and records are still intact, but they cannot be accessed by employers and other such people. Generally speaking, a person’s juvenile criminal files are sealed once they turn eighteen years old, although they can sometimes still be accessed through a court order.
Alternatively, expungement results in the actual deletion or erasing of criminal charges and arrest files. The effect of this is as if they never occurred in the first place. It is imperative to note that certain charges are generally more difficult to have expunged than others charges. An example of this would be how misdemeanor charges are generally more easily expunged than felony charges.
Laws regarding criminal record sealing and expungement tend to vary widely from state to state. Additionally, eligibility for record sealing and expungement procedures largely depend on the type of crime involved.
How Is Eligibility For Record Sealing Or Expungement Determined?
Once again, eligibility standards for record sealing or expungement vary from state to state. Generally speaking, examples of such standards includes:
- The original sentence must have been served;
- The person is not facing any new charges at the time of application; and
- The applicant must prove that all probation requirements have been fulfilled.
When a person has met eligibility requirements, they will need to apply for record sealing. This must be done in writing, and it must be filed with the court in which the conviction occurred.
The petition for expungement is generally only good for one case; meaning, if the person wants to expunge multiple records, they will most likely need to file separate petitions. The judge reviews the petition in order to determine their eligibility. It is important to note that individual courts may have their own procedures for expungement, or for record sealing.
How Do I Expunge a Conviction In Nevada?
Generally speaking, Nevada criminal records cannot be expunged. However, there are some exceptions. Both juveniles and adults are able to seal their criminal history within some limitations. Because a sealed record is not available to the public, and generally does not need to be disclosed, it is important to understand how to have your record sealed in Nevada.
Doing so can help in the following areas:
- Finding employment;
- Obtaining housing; and
- Being accepted into college, vocational training schools, etc.
The majority of juvenile misdemeanor convictions in Nevada are automatically sealed once you turn 21 years old. However, there are some notable exceptions to this rule, as a criminal record will not be automatically sealed if it involves:
- Sexual offenses; and/or
- The crime could be considered a felony if it were committed by an adult.
In such cases, you may petition the court for record sealing once you turn thirty years, provided that you do not incur any other convictions from your 21st birthday-on.
In terms of sealing adult criminal records, you may seal a wide variety of criminal records in Nevada. This can include:
- Some adult felonies;
- Most misdemeanors; and
- Arrest records.
However, you cannot seal criminal records involving sexual or child-related offenses.
In order to begin the record sealing process, you must first file a petition with the court. Different counties have different procedures and evidentiary requirements, so it is important to determine your county’s process before beginning.
Misdemeanor And Felony Record Sealing
As previously mentioned, most misdemeanor convictions in Nevada can be sealed. Again, the exceptions for this include child abuse and sexual offenses. However, there are waiting periods involved in the process that need to be taken into consideration. Misdemeanor convictions may be sealed two years after your release, or your completion of probation or parole, whichever is later. A seven-year waiting period would apply to gross misdemeanors.
In terms of felony crimes in Nevada, adults can petition to have Class A, B, C, and D felony convictions sealed. Once again, notable waiting periods will apply. If you wish to have the aforementioned felony convictions sealed, you must wait for the following amounts of time:
- Class A or B felonies: Fifteen years from your release, or discharge from probation or parole, whichever is later;
- Class C or D felonies: Twelve years from your release, or discharge from probation or parole, whichever is later; and
- Class E Felonies: Seven years from your release, or discharge from probation or parole, whichever is later.
What Else Should I Know About Expunging a Conviction In Nevada?
In Nevada, it may also be possible to seal arrest and other such records if:
- The charges were dismissed;
- Your conviction was overturned on appeal;
- You completed a drug or alcohol counseling program, which satisfied the requirements of a court ordered diversion program; and/or
- You were acquitted of your charges.
Similar to adult convictions, these records are not automatically sealed. As such, you must file a petition with the court which requests record sealing.
In terms of associated fees and paperwork, filing fees and other such costs vary from state to state. If you choose to hire an attorney to pursue expungement or record sealing, you will need to prepare for attorney’s fees as well.
If the court grants your petition for expungement, or record sealing, you will be able to lawfully state that the expunged record does not exist. What this means is that when most Nevada employers search for your state criminal record, the charges will not be present and they cannot use them against you. However, it is absolutely imperative to remember that sealed records will still be available to various law enforcement agencies.
Do I Need An Attorney For Expunging a Conviction In Nevada?
If you are in Nevada and would like to have a conviction expunged, you will need to consult with an experienced and local Nevada expungement lawyer. A local attorney will be best suited to helping you understand Nevada’s eligibility requirements, what can and cannot be expunged or sealed.
An attorney will also be able to inform you what process you will need to go through according to what you wish to have expunged. A local lawyer will also be able to represent you in court, as needed, while protecting your rights.
To reiterate, having your criminal record expunged or sealed can mean a world of difference in terms of your housing and employment opportunities. This is just one reason why you should consider working with an expungement lawyer. Doing so can help you move on and pursue a better life post-conviction.