Under Nevada law, a felony is a crime that is punishable by death or incarceration in state prison for one year or longer. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor offenses. Everyone charged with a felony is entitled to a jury trial.
Even if a defendant avoids incarceration by probation or a plea, having a felony criminal record can hinder future employment and residential prospects. The waiting period to get a felony record sealed ranges from two (2) years to ten (10) years or sometimes never, depending on the crime.
Aliens convicted of certain aggravated felonies face deportation from the U.S. Therefore non-citizens charged with felonies should retain counsel to try to get the charges dismissed or reduced to non-deportable offenses.
In this article, our Las Vegas felony lawyers answer frequently-asked questions. We discuss definitions, penalties, record sealing waiting time frames, and immigration consequences. Click on a topic to go to that section:
- 1. What are felonies in Nevada?
- 2. What are the penalties in Nevada?
- 3. Can I get a jury trial in Nevada?
- 4. Can I get felonies sealed in Nevada?
- 5. Can I get deported?
Under NRS 193.130, Nevada has five categories of felony offenses. They are (ranging from the most serious crimes to the most minor):
- Category A felonies, such as first- or second-degree murder or sexual assault
- Category B felonies, such as reckless driving with substantial injury, robbery or home invasion
- Category C felonies, such as violating a protection order, domestic violence with strangulation, battery with substantial bodily harm, or internet stalking
- Category D felonies, such as involuntary manslaughter, forgery or unpaid casino markers
- Category E felonies, such as a first- or second offense of marijuana possession of more than one (1) ounce
Note that attempting to commit a category C, D or E crime is a “wobbler” crime that can be punished as either a felony or a gross misdemeanor. A criminal defense attorney would fight to get the charge treated as a gross misdemeanor.
The category of certain theft crimes like grand larceny depends on the amount stolen.
The punishment depends on the category.
Category A felonies carry:
- life in prison with the possibility of parole,
- life in prison without the possibility of parole, or
- death penalty (in first-degree murder cases)
Category B felonies carry:
- A prison sentence of one to twenty (1 – 20) years, and
- maybe a fine
Category C felonies carry:
- One to five (1 – 5) years in prison, and
- maybe up to $10,000 in fines
Category D felonies carry:
- One to four (1 – 4) years in prison, and
- maybe up to $5,000 in fines
Category E felonies carry probation and a suspended sentence, with a possible jail sentence of up to 1 year. (But if the defendant has two or more prior felony convictions, the court may order a prison term of one to four years of Nevada State Prison and a maximum of $5,000 in fines.)
Note that it may be possible to get even the most serious charges reduced to lesser offenses as part of a plea bargain or dismissed outright. The judge may also grant alternative sentences to prison, such as house arrest with electronic monitoring.
|Felony Category in Nevada law||Penalties (under Nevada Revised Statute 193.130)|
|E||Probation and a suspended sentence, with a possible jail sentence of up to 1 year. But if the defendant has two or more prior felony convictions, the court may order: |
Yes. The United States Constitution’s Sixth Amendment entitles people facing felony criminal charges to a jury trial. Defendants who do not want a jury trial may elect to have a bench trial, where the judge and not a jury returns the verdict.
It depends on the offense. Three types of crimes can never be sealed:
- Sex crimes,
- Crimes against children, and
- Felony DUI
Violent crimes as well as burglary of a residence may not be sealed until ten (10) years after the case closes.
Otherwise, crimes may be sealed after specified time periods depending on the category:
- Category A felony convictions may be sealed ten (10) years after the case is closed.
- Category B felony convictions may be sealed five (5) years after the case is closed.
- Category C felony convictions may be sealed five (5) years after the case is closed.
- Category D felony convictions may be sealed five (5) years after the case is closed.
- Category E felony convictions may be sealed two (2) years after the case is closed.
Note that there is no waiting period necessary to seal cases that get dismissed (which means there is no conviction). Also, note that the judge has final discretion over whether to grant a record seal request.
|Type of Nevada felony conviction||Waiting period to get a record seal|
|Category A felony |
Crime of violence
Burglary of a residence
|10 years after the case closes|
|Category B felony |
Category C felony
Category D felony
|5 years after the case closes|
|Category E felony||2 years after the case closes|
|Sex crimes |
Crimes against children
Possibly. Non-citizens in Nevada face deportation for being convicted of an aggravated felony or crimes involving moral turpitude. Examples of deportable crimes include:
- rape (including statutory rape)
- child pornography
- drug trafficking
- fraud or tax evasion involving more than $10,000
- theft or violent crime with a sentence order of at least one (1) year
Aliens arrested for any crime in the state of Nevada are advised to retain experienced counsel as soon as possible. They may be able to persuade the prosecutor to dismiss the case or reduce it to a non-deportable offense.
In California? Go to our page on California crime laws.
In Colorado? Go to our page on Colorado crime laws.