A criminal record can follow someone throughout their life, making it more difficult to obtain employment, housing, and government benefits. In some states, people can have their criminal record expunged, meaning the record will be erased and will no longer be accessible to the general public.
Expungement can be life-changing for people with certain convictions. However, not all states offer convicted people the possibility of expungement. Nevada is one of these states. Fortunately, there is an alternative—record sealing—that can help lessen the damage of a criminal record on someone’s quality of life.
Does Nevada Offer Expungement?
The short answer is no. The state of Nevada does not expunge criminal records. However, it does allow certain convicted people to petition to have their criminal records sealed. Some people think of expungement and sealing as the same thing. However, there are important differences between the two.
Sealing vs. Expungement
The differences between sealing and expungement are slight, and both legal processes achieve similar results for people convicted of crimes. When a criminal record is expunged, the record of the court’s actions against the person is deleted and no longer kept by the state. Nevada differs in that the state keeps records of criminal actions permanently in the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History. However, the state will agree to seal certain records when ordered by the court that initially handled the criminal action.
Seals and expungements are similar in that, when a seal is completed, the criminal proceedings are considered to have never happened. The person who was initially convicted or arrested can safely and legally refrain from disclosing the criminal history on important documents such as job applications, housing applications, and more.
Who Qualifies for Sealing?
A person is only eligible to have their court records sealed after a certain amount of time has passed. This could be an amount of time after release from custody, after the end of a sentence that was suspended, or after the completion of probation or parole. These time increments differ by offense, as indicated below.
- Misdemeanors: Someone with a non-violent misdemeanor conviction in Nevada can petition to have their record sealed one year after they were released from incarceration or one year from the end of a suspended sentence.
- Misdemeanor battery: A person can petition to have a misdemeanor battery conviction sealed two years after being released from incarceration or after their suspended sentence has ended.
- Misdemeanor harassment: This conviction is eligible for sealing two years after the convicted party has finished serving time.
- Misdemeanor stalking: Anyone convicted of misdemeanor stalking can petition the courts to have their records sealed two years after their sentence has ended.
- Domestic violence battery: A conviction for this crime can be sealed 7 years after the convicted person was released from incarceration or after the end of their suspended sentence.
- Misdemeanor DUI: This conviction can be sealed 7 years after the sentence has been completed.
- Category E felony: Category E felony convictions can be sealed 2 years after the convicted party has been released from incarceration or after their probation or parole sentence has ended.
- Category B, C, and D felonies: Felony convictions in these categories can be sealed 5 years after the convicted party is released from incarceration or after their probation or parole sentence has ended.
- Category A felonies: Category A felony convictions are very serious and can only be suspended 10 years after the convicted party has been released from incarceration, probation, or parole.
Convictions That Cannot Be Sealed
The opportunity to petition for record sealing is a privilege. That said, certain crimes are not eligible for sealing in the state of Nevada. Criminal convictions that cannot be sealed after a sentence has been completed include:
- Crimes involving children
- Crimes that are sexual in nature (sexual assault, rape, etc.)
- DUI at the felony level
- Invading someone’s home while in possession of a deadly weapon
- Vehicular homicide while under the influence
Contact Us for More Information
If you have completed a criminal sentence and want to learn more about sealing the related records, contact the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover. With more than 25 years of experience, Attorney Stover can help you fight for freedom from the social consequences of a conviction. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.