Nevada misdemeanors remain on a person's criminal record forever unless the person gets them sealed. Depending on the case, misdemeanor convictions may be sealed from a person's criminal record either one, two, or seven years after the case closes. And if the misdemeanor charge gets dismissed, the person can pursue a Nevada record seal immediately.
Note that the waiting period to get a record seal under NRS 179.245 begins after the case ends, not after the arrest and not after the conviction. A case ends when the defendant completes all the sentencing terms, and the judge officially closes the case.
Misdemeanor convictions with a 7-year record seal waiting period
People have to wait at least seven (7) years after the case ends in order to pursue a record seal for either of the following misdemeanor convictions in Nevada:
- driving under the influence (DUI), or
- battery domestic violence (BDV)
Note that getting a BDV conviction sealed does not restore the defendant's right to have firearms. Only a Nevada pardon can restore a person's gun rights.
Misdemeanor convictions with a 2-year record seal waiting period
People have to wait at least two (2) years after the case ends in order to pursue a record seal for either of the following misdemeanor convictions in Nevada:
- stalking, or
- violation of a protection order
Note that all gross misdemeanors also have a two (2) year waiting period.
Misdemeanor convictions with a 1-year record seal waiting period
People have to wait at least one (1) year after the case ends in order to pursue a record seal for any of the Nevada misdemeanor convictions not mentioned in the previous two sections above. Common misdemeanors with a 1-year record seal waiting period include:
- disorderly conduct, and
- solicitation of prostitution
Misdemeanor charges that get dismissed
There is no waiting period to pursue a record seal of a misdemeanor charge when:
- the prosecutor dismisses the charge, or
- the defendant is acquitted of the charge at trial
Note that sometimes a person gets arrested or cited for a misdemeanor, and then the prosecutors choose not to bring charges at all. In this situation, prosecutors have one year from the arrest or citation to change their mind bring charges after all. Therefore, defendants who were arrested or cited for a misdemeanor but never formally charged usually have to wait a full year after the incident to pursue a record seal.
Benefits of getting a record seal
Even though misdemeanors are more minor than felonies, having a misdemeanor on one's criminal record can greatly impede them from getting such things as:
- a job,
- a loan,
- a professional license,
- a green card, or
- a lease
Having a criminal record carries a social stigma, and people in a position of power often pass over otherwise qualified candidates for no reason other than they had a brush-in with the law. People who get a record seal are greatly increasing their prospects in nearly every area of their life. Once the record is sealed, the person can legally deny ever having a criminal case if asked about it under oath or during a job interview.
Getting a record seal can be extremely time-intensive and confusing, so people are advised to retain an attorney to take care of all the paperwork, legwork, and mailings. The entire process takes several months from beginning to end. One clerical mistake can set the person back weeks.