If you seal your criminal record in Nevada, this can stop prior arrests and convictions from appearing in background checks. Then when you apply for a job, you can legally deny ever having a criminal record, greatly increasing your employment opportunities.
Unlike expunging (which Nevada law does not offer) sealing does not physically destroy criminal records. Instead, sealing makes the record invisible.
It takes up to one year for Nevada criminal records to get sealed. If your charges were dismissed, you can petition the court for a seal right away. If you were convicted, you have to wait a year or longer after your case ends before beginning the record seal process:
|Nevada conviction to be sealed||Record sealing waiting period|
|Most misdemeanors||1 year after the case closes|
|Gross misdemeanors, category E felonies, and misdemeanor battery, harassment, stalking, or violation of a protection order||2 years after the case closes|
|Most category D felonies, category C felonies, or category B felonies||5 years after the case closes|
|Misdemeanor DUI and battery domestic violence||7 years after the case closes|
|Category A felonies, burglary of a residence, and felony crimes of violence||10 years after the case closes|
|Sex crimes, crimes against children, invasion of the home with a deadly weapon pursuant to NRS 205.067, and felony DUI.|| |
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss the 5 steps to seal records and answer the following questions:
- 1. How do I seal my criminal record in Nevada?
- 2. When am I eligible for a record seal?
- 3. Are there some records that cannot be sealed?
- 4. How much does it cost?
- 5. How long does it take?
- 6. Can I get a partial record seal?
- 7. What if my petition is denied?
- 8. Do sealed records show up on background checks?
- 9. Can I deny having a criminal record once it gets sealed?
- 10. Will a record seal restore my gun rights?
- 11. Will a record seal restore my right to vote?
- 12. Will a record seal help immigrants stay in the U.S.?
- 13. Can someone reopen sealed records?
- 14. Is sealing the same as expungement?
Each jurisdiction has its own record seal procedure. One minor error in the paperwork pushes the entire process back several months. Consequently, you are encouraged to seek legal counsel experienced in record seals to take care of the process for you.
This section discusses the record seal process in:
- Clark County (including Las Vegas)
- Other Nevada courts
- Federal court
- Juvenile court
1.1. Clark County District and Justice Courts’ record seal procedures
Clark County encompasses the Eighth Judicial District Court and the Justice Courts of
- Las Vegas,
- North Las Vegas,
- Boulder City,
- Moapa, and
- Moapa Valley.
Each court follows a nearly-identical 5-step record seal process:
Obtain a current, verified copy of your criminal history, called a SCOPE. Contact Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) at (702) 828-3475 for current instructions to obtain a SCOPE and fee information.
SCOPEs contain such information as
- Las Vegas arrest records,
- the date of arrest,
- criminal charges, and
If the criminal 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 from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Call the Clerk’s office at 702-671-4554 to confirm operating hours before going there in person.
Read the SCOPE to determine which court within the Clark County judicial system to petition:
- If all of the charges on the SCOPE are in only one court — such as Henderson Justice Court — then you would file the record seal petition in that court.
- If the SCOPE shows charges in more than one court — such as Laughlin Justice Court and Las Vegas Justice Court — then you would file the record sealing forms in the Eighth Judicial District Court of Clark County.
If you are having trouble determining which court to petition, consult an attorney and/or follow the guidelines at the Clark County District Attorney’s Record Sealing website.
Compose a petition, affidavit, and order. Document templates for these record seal forms are available for download at the Clark County District Attorney’s Record Sealing website:
- District Court sample petition, affidavit, and order
- Justice Court sample petition, affidavit, and order
These documents must be typed, not handwritten. Fill in the following information:
- All of your arrests
- The police agency or agencies that arrested you
- The date of the arrest(s)
- The criminal charge(s)
- The final disposition of each arrest (conviction, acquittal, or dismissal).
If the SCOPE (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 Nevada Department of Public Safety Records Bureau,
- the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and
- the Clark County District Attorney.
Finally, sign and date the petition, affidavit, and order. Then make three (3) copies of each document.
(Refer to the Clark County District Attorney Record Sealing Instructions to double-check the procedures.)
Mail (or drop off) all the 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 (SCOPE)
- the judgment of conviction and discharge (if applicable)
- the original petition, affidavit, and order, plus the three (3) copies of each
It will take several weeks for the Clark County District Attorney’s office to review the petition. They will keep one copy of everything, and they will eventually mail back the originals and excess copies.
If the D.A. signs the order to seal:
If the D.A.’s office mails back a signed order to seal, take all the paperwork to the court clerk. The court clerk will pass the paperwork to the judge. The judge will probably agree to sign the order to seal because the prosecutor already signed off on it.
After the judge signs the order to seal, the forms will be returned to you. Then you are responsible for distributing signed copies of the order to all the agencies that have copies of your criminal records. These agencies are then obligated to remove the criminal record from their databases.
If the D.A. does not sign the order to seal:
In the event the D.A.’s office does not sign the order to seal, they will mail you a short explanation as to why.
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 immediately.
But if the D.A. indicates that you are ineligible for a seal, you may try to bypass the District Attorney’s office and ask for a judicial hearing to argue for a seal. It is highly recommended that you hire a criminal defense attorney to appear for you at a record seal hearing because it is difficult to win without the D.A.’s approval.1
1.2. Other Nevada courts
The record seal procedure is specific to every Nevada court. It typically involves
- obtaining criminal records,
- submitting a petition to seal to the prosecutor and a judge, and
- mailing the order to seal to various government agencies.
In general, the court that presided over the criminal case is the one that may seal the record. For example, if you get a trespass conviction in Henderson Municipal Court, you would petition that the Henderson Municipal Court seal the record.
Some Nevada courts have posted online their record seal instruction manuals:
- Las Vegas Municipal Court record seals
- Henderson Municipal Court record seals
- Washoe County (Second Judicial) District Court record seals
- Reno Municipal Court record seals
If you have criminal cases in multiple courts, you may be able to submit just one record seal petition. For example, if you have criminal cases in both
you can file just one record seal petition in the Second Judicial District Court, which has jurisdiction over both those lower courts.
1.3. Juvenile courts
Nevada juvenile records are sealed automatically when you turn twenty-one (21) if you:
- Have not been convicted of a crime that would have been a felony had an adult committed it, and
- Have not been convicted of any other crime involving violence or lewdness with a minor.
Otherwise, you may try to petition the court to seal your Nevada juvenile criminal records upon turning thirty (30) years old. Nevada juvenile courts usually grant record seals as long as:
- You have not since been convicted of any felony- or misdemeanor crimes involving moral turpitude, AND
- You have been rehabilitated.
1.4. Federal cases
Under federal law, record expungements (similar to sealing) are permitted for first-time drug offenders convicted of simple drug possession while under age 21.
Federal court is extremely formal, so you are encouraged to hire an experienced Las Vegas federal court defense attorney to compose and file the petition to seal records.
For any other offense, federal seals or expungements are very rare. A Nevada record seal attorney would need to research whether a federal court would entertain a motion to seal.3
When you become eligible for a record seal depends on the case, and some offenses may never be sealed. (Scroll down to section 3 for a list of unsealable crimes.)
Note that if you are currently being prosecuted for a crime, you are automatically ineligible for a record seal. Depending on how the matter resolves, they may be eligible for a seal afterward.4
2.1. Dismissals and acquittals
You may petition the court for a record seal immediately in either of the following situations:
- The charge was dismissed, or
- You were acquitted (found “not guilty”) of the charges at trial
In short, Nevada law requires no waiting period to get matters sealed when there was no conviction.
However, note that the record seal process itself takes several weeks. So, for example, if you get your case dismissed in January and file a seal petition right away, the arrest will probably remain on your record until April or later.5
Note that victims of sex trafficking or involuntary servitude who were convicted of
- prostitution or
- any other crime not considered a “crime of violence”
are eligible to pursue a record seal right away.6
2.2. Sealable convictions
If you are convicted of a Nevada crime, you can usually get a seal after a statutorily-determined waiting period. The more serious the offense, the longer the wait.
Note that the waiting period begins only after the case closes. A case is considered “closed” in Nevada when the judge acknowledges that you have completed all terms of the sentence. This includes
- paying all fines,
- completing any required classes,
- serving jail time, and/or
- completing probation.
|Nevada misdemeanor conviction||Record sealing waiting period|
|DUI and battery domestic violence||7 years after the case closes|
|Battery, harassment, stalking, and violation of a protection order||2 years after the case closes|
|All gross misdemeanors||2 years after the case closes|
|All other misdemeanors||1 year after the case closes7|
|Nevada felony conviction||Record sealing waiting period|
|Category E felonies||2 years after the case closes|
|Non-violent category D, C, and B felonies||5 years after the case closes|
|Crimes of violence, burglary of a residence, and category A felonies||10 years after the case closes8|
Note that if you completed a program for reentry through the Nevada Department of Corrections, you may be eligible for a record seal usually after four (4) years.9
Also, note that if you have been honorably discharged from probation, you will have an easier time achieving a record seal than people who were dishonorably discharged. There is a “rebuttable presumption” that criminal records should be sealed for honorably discharged petitioners.
Dishonorably discharged probationers do not have this same advantage when petitioning for a record seal.10
2.3. Charges that were denied
If you get arrested or cited for a crime – and the D.A. chooses not to bring charges – you cannot seal the record right away. Instead, these “denied” charges may be sealed:
- any time after the applicable statute of limitations has run (see NRS 171),
- any time 8 years after the arrest, or
- pursuant to a stipulation between the D.A. and you
2.4. Decriminalized crimes
If you were convicted of charges that are no longer crimes, you can immediately petition the court to seal your records.
A common example is possession of an ounce or less of marijuana, which used to be illegal but is now legal in many circumstances. (See Nevada’s “Second Chance Act,” Assembly Bill 192 (2019)).
Convictions for the following types of Nevada offenses may never get sealed:
- Crime against children (under 18),
- Sex crimes,
- Felony charges of drunk driving (DUI) or drugged driving (DUID), and
- Invasion of the home with a deadly weapon pursuant to NRS 205.06711
3.1 Crimes against children (under 18)
Convictions of the following crimes against children can never be sealed in Nevada:
- Kidnapping (unless you are the child’s parent or guardian)
- False imprisonment (unless you are the child’s parent or guardian)
- Involuntary servitude (unless you are the child’s parent or guardian)
- Sex trafficking
Convictions of any attempts to commit the above offenses are also unsealable.
3.2 Sex crimes
Convictions of the following sexual offenses can never be sealed in Nevada:
- Open or gross lewdness (felony)
- Indecent exposure (felony)
- Statutory sexual seduction (felony)
- Battery with intent to commit sexual assault
- 1st degree murder if perpetrated during sexual assault, sexual abuse, or sexual molestation of a child less than 14.
- Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child
- Child pornography
- Lewdness with a child
- Sexual penetration of a human corpse
- Sexual conduct between teachers or school employees
- Luring a child or mentally ill person (felony)
- Administering drugs to a person to enable one of the aforementioned crimes13
Convictions of any attempts to commit the above offenses are also unsealable.
3.3 Felony DUI
Convictions for the following DUI offenses can never be sealed in Nevada:
Note that if you are charged with an unsealable offense that then gets dismissed, you may pursue a record seal petition right away. Any Nevada charge that does not result in a conviction is always eligible for immediate sealing, no matter how serious the charge.14
Also see our article, How long does a DUI stay on your record in Nevada?
3.4. Invasion of the home with a deadly weapon pursuant to NRS 205.067
Invasion of the home is when you forcibly enter a dwelling without permission of the lawful occupant or owner. It does not matter whether there are people physically present in the dwelling at the time of the alleged intrusion.
If you used a deadly weapon, a conviction cannot be sealed.
Learn more about invasion of the home (NRS 205.067).
Costs depend on the court presiding over the record seal. In Las Vegas Justice Court, if you attempt to seal your records without an attorney, you can expect to pay about $150. The break down of fees is as follows:
|Nevada record sealing task||Estimated Costs |
(Las Vegas Justice Court)
|Obtaining criminal history (“SCOPE”) from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department||$10|
|Obtaining criminal history from Nevada Department of Public Safety||$23.50|
|Fingerprinting service||About $25|
|Filing Petition and Order to Seal Records with Las Vegas Justice Court||$74|
|Obtaining four certified copies of signed Order to Seal (more or less may be needed)||$12 ($3 per copy)|
|Postage for mailing out Order to Seal to various government agencies||$3.57 ($1.19 per envelope)|
The sealing of records process takes a few weeks to a few months depending on the case. There are three reasons for the long wait:
- If you have a complicated case, it may take your defense attorney time to thoroughly research the matter in order to compose an accurate petition to seal;
- The D.A.’s office may take several weeks to review the petition to seal;
- The Nevada Criminal History Repository in Carson City is very backlogged, and it takes them months to comply with a court’s order to seal. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite this process.
No. Nevada courts will either
- seal your entire record or
- seal nothing at all.
For example, if you have been convicted of both
- drug possession (a sealable offense) and
- felony DUI (an unsealable offense),
you may not get the drug case sealed. Even though drug possession is normally sealable, having the felony DUI conviction disqualifies your entire record from being sealed.15
If you are convicted of sealable offenses, seek a record seal as soon as you are eligible for one. That way if you later get convicted of an unsealable offense, then at least your previous convictions would have already been sealed.
If the court rejects your petition to seal, you must wait two (2) years before trying again. You may not petition a Nevada court more than two (2) times to seal your record.16
Note that courts can always choose to deny a record seal petition even if you are eligible and the D.A. signs off on it. The sealing of criminal records is a matter of discretion with the court. Though in practice, courts almost always grant eligible record seals.
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 at the helm will significantly raise the odds of the court granting your petition on the first try.
Usually not. Therefore, once a court seals your record, you face less discrimination in every aspect of your life:
- Employers are more willing to offer a job,
- Creditors are more willing to grant loans,
- Landlords are more willing to lease property, and
- Prospective dating partners are more willing to consider having a relationship.
A criminal record is often a barrier to employment, even if you are otherwise qualified for the job. Getting a record seal levels the playing field, and you will have a much better chance of landing a coveted job.
However, state licensing boards may still be able to see sealed records if they run a fingerprint check through the FBI. The Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board may see your sealed criminal records if they are related to gaming.
If you are applying for a professional license, consult with an attorney about your options.17
Learn more in our article about disclosing criminal history on job applications in Nevada.
In most cases, yes. Once a court seals your record, you can legally deny having a record--even under oath.
Most employers are allowed to ask about your criminal history and can conduct a background check. They may use past convictions against you in hiring or promotion decisions.
Though once the court seals your record, the background check will turn up empty. Plus you can legally deny ever having had a record if asked.
As discussed above, there are certain situations where you may have to reveal a criminal record even if it has been sealed. A potential example is applying for certain professional licenses. So it is best to consult with an attorney about your options.18
No. A Nevada pardon is the only vehicle that can possibly reinstate your gun rights. If you lost your firearm rights because of a felony or battery domestic violence conviction, you cannot regain your gun rights through a record seal.19
Pardons are a government-issued “forgiveness” of your past crime. Pardons do not hide your criminal record from public view and government databases like sealing does.
Note that pardons are another way of reinstating your
- Right to vote and
- Serve on a jury.
Learn more about how to get a Nevada pardon.
Yes. Getting a Nevada record seal restores the following civil rights (if they have not been restored already):
- Serving on a jury, and
- Holding office20
Getting a record seal cannot prevent the deportation of aliens. ICE may access non-citizens’ criminal records whether they are under seal or not. However, there are various immigration post-conviction relief measures that might stop removal proceedings:
12.1. Motion to withdraw a plea
If you pleaded guilty or no contest to a deportable offense, you may be able to withdraw the plea. If the judge agrees, then your defense attorney can try to persuade the D.A. to reduce the charge to a dismissal or non-deportable offense.
Possible grounds for motions to withdraw a plea include:
- Ineffective assistance of counsel,
- Ineffective assistance of translator,
- You did not make the plea knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently,
- No one informed you that probation may be unavailable21
12.2. Motion for a new trial
Following a guilty verdict at trial, you may be able to get your verdict vacated and have a brand new trial. This would then give your defense attorney the opportunity to try to plea bargain the charge down to a dismissal or a non-deportable offense.
Possible grounds for a motion for a new trial include:
- Ineffective assistance of counsel
- Insufficient, new, wrongly admitted, or conflicting evidence
- Judicial error
- Prosecutorial or jury misconduct
- Loss of trial transcripts or records
You can always appeal your trial’s guilty verdict to a higher court. For instance, you may appeal your conviction in the Eighth Judicial District Court to the Nevada Court of Appeals, the Nevada Supreme Court, and (in limited circumstances) the U.S. Supreme Court.
If a higher court overturns the lower court’s guilty verdict, then you may no longer be deportable. Learn more about Nevada criminal appeals.23
12.4. Writ of Habeas Corpus
A last-resort measure, a writ of habeas corpus argues against the legality of keeping you in custody. If the court grants a writ of habeas corpus, then you can no longer be held in custody for the reason that originally landed you in prison.
There are nine main grounds to justify habeas corpus relief:
- The court overstepped its jurisdiction.
- The imprisonment is no longer lawful.
- The case is procedurally defective.
- The case is substantively defective.
- Law enforcement imprisoned the wrong person.
- There was no judgment or court order authorizing your imprisonment.
- Your indictment was without probable cause.
- Your indictment was pursuant to an unconstitutional law.
- You suffered a violation of your constitutional rights.24
12.5. Federal motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence
Immigrants in custody for a federal criminal conviction can try to file a “2255 motion” a.k.a. a “motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence.” If the court grants this motion, you may be able to avoid deportation.
Common grounds for a 2255 motion include:
- There was ineffective assistance of counsel.
- You suffered a deprivation of due process.
- The sentence was unconstitutional or longer than the legal maximum.
- The prosecutors committed misconduct.
- The court lacked jurisdiction.25
Very rarely. Once the court seals your criminal record, some prosecutors and agencies may still view it but under very limited circumstances:
- If the court dismissed your charges, a prosecutor may reopen your criminal record if law enforcement subsequently arrests you for the same or a similar offense.
- If the court convicted you, 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 criminal records for specific purposes. For instance, the Gaming Control Board may view your criminal record to determine your fitness to hold a gaming license.
Of course, you may petition the court to inspect your own sealed criminal records.26
Sealing a criminal record makes it invisible. The record still exists, but most people can never find it.
The meaning of “expunge” varies by state. In California, for example, an expungement updates a criminal record to indicate that probation is done and the court dismissed the case.
Some states such as California offer record expungments, but the state of Nevada does not.27
Practically speaking, there is little difference between sealing and expunging. They both prevent (most) potential employers and the general public from finding your criminal record.
¿Habla español? Más información sobre sellado de antecedentes penales en Nevada.
In California? Go to our article on California expungements.
To Colorado? Go to our article on Colorado record seals.
- Clark County District Attorney Record Sealing Instructions.
- NRS 62H.130.
- 18 USC 3607(c)
- NRS 179.245
- NRS 179.255.
- NRS AB 327 (2017).
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.259.
- NRS AB 243 (2017).
- NRS 179.245; see also Tiffee v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Ct., (2021) 137 Nev. Adv. Op. 20; see also Aragon v. State (In re Aragon), (2020) 476 P.3d 465, 136 Nev. Adv. Op. 75.
- NRS 179D.0357.
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.245
- NRS 179.265.
- NRS 179.301.
- NRS 179.285.
- Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners; NRS 213
- NRS 179.285.
- See NRS 176.165.
- See NRS 176.515.
- See NRS 177.
- See NRS 34.360.
- See 28 USC 2255.
- NRS 179.295
- California Penal Code 1203.4