During these troubled economic times, possessing a criminal record can sabotage your efforts to get work or be approved for a loan. Even if the incident was as minor as petty theft and it occurred years ago, a criminal record will still prevent you from being considered for certain jobs, credit lines and public benefits. Now more than ever it is critical that you have your criminal record wiped clean so that you will not be at a disadvantage if and when you find yourself looking for employment or seeking financial aid.
Criminal records cannot be erased completely, but if your conviction was from a court in Clark County (Las Vegas area), Nevada, it may be possible for you to have your records "sealed." This means to clear and remove your Nevada criminal record from public view. On this page, you will find information about sealing criminal records in Clark County, Nevada.
If you are in need of criminal defense legal representation here in Las Vegas, contact our Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to schedule a free consultation.
Criminal records are considered public knowledge, and therefore anyone may search for your record through government databases. However, if the court orders that your criminal record be sealed, then it is removed from these databases, and the general public no longer has any way of finding out about it.
If a court in Las Vegas (or Clark County), Nevada orders that your criminal record be sealed, this order applies not only to the court but also to all other courts and agencies that may have your record on file, including the FBI. (it is your responsibility to make sure that these other courts and agencies are informed of the order to seal your criminal record.)
If you have a criminal record, you are at a significant disadvantage, especially during times of economic recession and record high jobless rates. Many employers will not hire you. Many landlords will not lease to you. Many creditors will not loan to you. By having your criminal record sealed, it will not come up in a background check, so you will not be as discriminated against.
There are other benefits as well. If your Las Vegas Nevada criminal record is sealed, you do not have to tell anyone that you have (or had) a criminal record. If anyone asks you whether you have a criminal record, you can deny it, even under oath. Moreover, having your Nevada criminal record sealed can restore your rights to vote, to hold office and to serve on a jury.
Once your criminal record is sealed, some people and agencies may still view it but only under very limited circumstances:
- You may petition the court to inspect your own criminal record.
- If your charges were dismissed, a prosecutor may reopen your criminal record if you are subsequently arrested for the same or a similar offense.
- If you were convicted of the charges, a prosecutor or other criminal defendant may apply to reopen your criminal record in order to find information about other people involved in the crime.
- Some agencies may inspect your criminal record for specific purposes. For instance, the Gaming Control Board may view your criminal record to determine your fitness to hold a gaming license.
Whereas sealing a criminal record makes it invisible, expunging a criminal record is almost like erasing it completely, so an expunged record is obviously preferable to a sealed one. Unfortunately, unlike other states, Nevada has no laws allowing expunging of criminal records. In Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada, the most you can hope for is to have your criminal record sealed.
If and when you may have your Nevada criminal record sealed depends on a variety of factors. Since each person's situation is unique, you will want to consult a criminal defense lawyer in Las Vegas to make an accurate determination of your eligibility.
If your case was dismissed or you were acquitted, you may petition to have your record sealed at any time as long as you do not have other criminal actions being brought against you.
If your Nevada criminal case resulted in your conviction, you may petition to have your record sealed depending on how much time has passed since you have been released from custody and probation. The most serious felonies require that fifteen years have passed while some misdemeanors (such as a Las Vegas trespass conviction) require only two years. During this waiting period, you cannot have been convicted or arrested of anything else other than minor traffic violations.
If you have completed a program for reentry through the Nevada Department of Corrections, you may be eligible to apply to have your record sealed earlier than the normal waiting period. However, if the crime you were convicted of was against a child or was a sexual offense, those Nevada criminal records can never be sealed.
6. If I am eligible to have my criminal record sealed in
Clark County, Nevada, is the court obligated
to seal it?
Unfortunately, no. Even if enough time has passed and you meet all the requirements when you petition the court to seal your Nevada criminal record, the court may still choose to deny the petition. The sealing of criminal records is always a matter of discretion with the court. It is highly recommended that you retain a criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada, to fight to seal your record and therefore maximize your chances of success.
If the court rejects your petition to seal your Nevada criminal record, you must wait two years before trying again. You may not petition a Nevada court more than two times to seal a criminal record. It is strongly suggested that you hire a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer to petition to seal your criminal record for you. Having an experienced Nevada criminal attorney speaking for you will significantly raise the odds of the court granting your petition the first time.
The entire process to seal your criminal record in Clark County, Nevada, may take several months and typically depends on how accurate the information is on the court order.
Petitioning to seal and clear your criminal record in Clark County, Nevada, requires that you pay filing fees with the clerk of the court. To up your chances of the court sealing your record, it is a good idea for you to hire a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney to petition the court for you...and then to ensure that the court order sealing your record is successfully carried out.
You may petition the Eighth Judicial District Court to seal all charges made within municipal, justice and district courts located in Clark County, Nevada. However, the specific township(s) where your case was prosecuted must be listed in the heading of the petition and order you file with the court. (Examples of townships are North Las Vegas and Henderson, etc.) You need only one (1) petition and order to seal records of charges made in multiple townships.
To help determine which court you should petition, visit the Clark County District Attorney's website.
Petitioning a court in Clark County, Nevada, to seal your criminal record is a multi-step process that requires close attention do detail (and you should strongly consider retaining a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney to ensure it is done correctly):
1) The first step is to obtain a current, verified copy of your criminal history for the purpose of sealing your record. Contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department at (702) 828-3475 for instructions and fee information.
If your charges resulted in a conviction, you must also obtain a "judgment of conviction and discharge." You can obtain discharge papers from the District Court Clerk at 200 Lewis Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89155.
2) The second step is to type up (not handwrite) a stipulation, petition, affidavit and order. (Sample forms can be found at the Clark County District Attorney's website.)
Both the petition and the order must include:
- all your arrests you wish to be sealed
- which police agency arrested you
- the date of the arrest(s)
- the criminal charge(s)
- the final disposition of each arrest (whether you were convicted, acquitted or if the case was dismissed).
If your Nevada criminal history (from step 1) does not include a final disposition, you must obtain documentation of the final disposition from either the law enforcement agency that arrested you or the court where the arrest was filed.
The petition and order must also list all the agencies that have copies of your criminal record, such as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Clark County District Attorney. (See a list of possible agencies at the Clark County District Attorney's website.)
You must sign and date the stipulation, petition, affidavit and order. Then make three (3) copies of the signed stipulation, three (3) copies of the signed petition and signed affidavit, and three (3) copies of the signed order.
3) The third step is to mail (or drop off) all your paperwork to the District Attorney's office at 200 Lewis Avenue, Room 3303, P.O. Box 552212, Las Vegas, NV 89155. The package should include:
- the criminal history printout
- the judgment of conviction and discharge (if applicable)
- your original stipulation plus the three (3) copies
- your original petition and affidavit plus the three (3) copies
- your original order plus the three (3) copies.
It will take more than three months for the Clark County District Attorney's office to review your petition. They will keep one copy of everything you send, and they will eventually mail back your originals and excess copies. If they sign your order, they agree that your criminal record should be sealed. If they do not sign your order, they believe your criminal record should not be sealed.
4) If the order that the Clark County District Attorney's office mails back to you is not signed, the D.A.'s office will include a short explanation as to why they believe your criminal record should not be sealed. If it is just because you neglected to fill out the forms correctly, you can fix the problem and resend the corrected paperwork to them. Otherwise, you may bypass the District Attorney's office and file the petition with the court for a judicial hearing (but you have to notify the District Attorney's office about the hearing).
If the order that the Clark County District Attorney's office mails back to you is signed by them, that means you are almost guaranteed that the judge will agree to seal your records, too. Now take all of your originals and copies of the stipulation, petition, affidavit and order to the clerk's office of the correct court. (To help determine which court you should go to, visit the Clark County District Attorney's website.)
The court clerk will inform you about what filing fees you owe and how to get your documents certified. Then the clerk will submit your papers to the judge for final review. Once the forms are returned to you, you will then be responsible to distribute certified signed copies of the order to all the agencies that have copies of your criminal records.
Call the Juvenile Records Division at (702) 455-5220 for detailed instructions.
Some juveniles may have their records sealed automatically upon turning twenty-one (21): This includes juveniles who have not been convicted of a crime that would have been a felony had an adult committed it, and who have not been convicted of any other crime involving violence or lewdness with a minor. Otherwise, you may petition the court to seal your Nevada juvenile criminal record upon turning thirty (30) years old.
If you are in need of criminal defense legal representation here in Las Vegas, contact our Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to schedule a free consultation.
To learn about California expungements, go to our article on California expungements.