If you have a criminal record, you may feel like it follows you wherever you go. Every job you apply for, every apartment you want to rent, every loan you try to get—all this may call for a background check.
Whether you were convicted of a crime or not, every arrest and case against you in the criminal court system stays on your record and can affect your life for years to come. Fortunately, there is a way to stop this by sealing your record with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Las Vegas Legal Networks team is eager to help guide you to wipe the slate clean. Call us today at 844-LAWYERS to start your preliminary record sealing process with a free consultation.
What is Record Sealing
Record sealing is the process by which criminal records become undiscoverable by people, companies, and even most government entities. Basically, we can take your record of an arrest, conviction, or incarceration, and make it virtually invisible so your record will appear clean. This does not mean that the record is permanently deleted, but it does ensure that it won’t come up during job interviews with the vast majority of employers, or while you are applying for a lease or loan.
You deserve to have your record sealed. You don’t want your long-forgotten mistake to remain visible for all the world to see. It is important to note, however, that not all types of cases are eligible to be sealed.
Records You Can Seal
It is possible to seal most convictions for criminal misdemeanors and even some felonies. A person may be able to accomplish this after completing a program of reentry. Also, those who have been acquitted of criminal charges or whose cases were dismissed can have their records sealed, no problem.
However, it depends on the exact nature of your case. What’s more, a certain amount of time must pass before your record may be sealed.
How soon you can seal your record
How soon a record may be sealed depends on the type of crime contained in the record. For all cases, a waiting period must pass before you may apply to seal the record.
This waiting period begins at the point of release from custody or discharge from parole or probation—whichever occurs later. For category A felonies, such as crimes of violence or burglary, you must wait 10 years. For other categories, the time period varies from 1 to 7 years. Meanwhile, arrests without convictions can usually be sealed immediately after dismissal or acquittal.
Please see the table below to see how long your waiting period may be:
Class of Offense Waiting Period
Category A Felony 10 years
Category B Felony 5 years
Category C Felony 5 years
Category D Felony 5 years
Category E Felony 2 years
Gross Misdemeanor 2 years
Misdemeanor 1 year
Misdemeanor DUI 7 years
Misdemeanor Domestic Violence 7 years
When you can’t get your record sealed
Some records are not eligible to be sealed, depending on the severity and type of crime. For example, if you were convicted of a crime against a child, your record is not eligible.
Some crimes, whether committed against children or not, are unable to be sealed under any circumstances. These include sex crimes, felony DUI, kidnapping, false imprisonment, pandering, and prostitution.
For more information about whether or not your record is eligible to be sealed, it’s important to speak with an experienced Nevada criminal attorney.
How to Seal Your Record
Record sealing rules and procedures vary from county to county and state to state. In order to get your record sealed, you must petition the court in the jurisdiction where the arrest occurred. It is also recommended to hire a criminal defense lawyer in the city where you were arrested to help you each step of the way.
If you were arrested in Las Vegas, Las Vegas Legal Network are eager to assist you throughout the process of getting your record sealed.
Starting the record sealing process
The process of sealing a record culminates with presenting the court with a specific set of documents required to request that your record be sealed. Yet, the exact requirements differ between counties and states. This is why you must present the record sealing documents to the same court where the original case took place.
After compiling your completed application along with all pertinent documents and submitting them to the court, you await the final decision. The court will determine whether or not to approve sealing the record.
Your best chance for success lies with a knowledgeable and thorough criminal defense lawyer to ensure that your documents match the courts’ requirements. A lawyer will help you compile all the necessary documents to make your petition.
Required documents to seal your record include, but are not limited to, the following:
Current criminal record from the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History
List of public or private agencies or companies that are known to have possession of the criminal record
Completed Petition and Order to Seal Records, which must include your date of birth, the specific conviction you want sealed, and the date of arrest relating to the record you want to have sealed
Even though preparing paperwork may seem straightforward, the process can be time-consuming and rather confusing. Mistakes in the petition or in the case information can easily cause the court to deny your petition. Therefore, it is recommended to work with an experienced Nevada criminal defense attorney with a history of success.
Finally, Your Record is Sealed! Now What?
Once your record is sealed, daily life may become a bit easier from then on. You will no longer have to feel the weight of your past on your shoulders as you march forward.
With a sealed record, you can rest assured that no one is going to be bringing up your past criminal record at an ordinary job interview or at the bank when you take out a loan. What’s more, if you are asked directly about your criminal record, you do not need to mention your sealed convictions or arrests.
Even more noteworthy is the fact that if you had been previously denied certain rights, these will be restored to you. Namely:
The right to vote
The right to hold office
The right to serve on a jury
Yes, you can live the adult life you want to, with youthful indiscretions and past mistakes behind you. A sealed record means that these no longer need to be part of conversations with strangers when trying to get a job or a place to live.
The peace of mind that comes from having a clean slate is one of the many reasons to get your record sealed. If you have not yet sealed your record, Las Vegas Legal Network would be more than happy to discuss your options with you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
The Difference Between a Sealed Record and a Pardon
A sealed record is not the same as a pardon. A sealed record is merely inaccessible to the public, including companies and some government agencies.
A record may be sealed but still exists, and if there was a conviction, that decision still stands. On the other hand, a pardon forgives a conviction and removes all the limitations placed on a person as a result of a conviction.
For example, a pardon is the only way that someone in Nevada can have his or her right to bear arms restored. However, a pardon does not overturn the judgment of the conviction, and the crime is still evident on the record.
If You Want Your Record Expunged Instead of Sealed
Expungement is where a record is permanently deleted or erased from existence. Though this may seem to be a better option to some people, expungement is not possible in every state.
Nevada, for one, does not have a law allowing expungement. Consequently, record sealing would be your only option to wipe the slate clean in this state.
Record sealing offers nearly exactly the same benefits of expungement. When potential employers and landlords run background checks after your records have been sealed, they will not find your convictions or arrests. You can even state—when asked—that you do not have a criminal record.
Essentially, your record is gone, yet not completely deleted as an expunged record would be. Sealed records may be seen on rare occasions by government entities, such as the FBI or the State Gaming Control Board.
Nevada Gaming Commission and Record Sealing—What You Need to Know
The gaming industry is vital to the economy here in Las Vegas. However, it is widely known that in order to work at a casino or in any position related to the gaming industry, you must pass a criminal background check.
Even if your records are sealed, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Nevada Gaming Commission, their employees, their agents, and their representatives are free to inspect any records sealed—that is, if the event or conviction was related to gaming. This is in accord with Nevada statutes.
For example, if you were convicted of money laundering, embezzling funds, or another financial crime, you may not pass the criminal background check for the job. Still, if your criminal record does not include financial crime, you may not pass the criminal background check for the job. Still, if your criminal record does not include financial crime, your record may not hinder your employment in relation to the gaming industry.
What to Do If You Have an Outstanding Warrant
If you become aware of an outstanding warrant in your name, it is vital to gather as much
information as possible. First of all, what sort of warrant is it? There are many different kinds, including search warrants, bench warrants, and arrest warrants. Each type of warrant serves a different purpose and allows the police to do specific things.
You should also know your rights when facing a warrant. A knowledgeable Nevada criminal defense lawyer can help you defend these rights and, in some cases, get the warrant removed.