Effective October 1, 2017, sealing your criminal record in Nevada was made easier by a new law – Assembly Bill 327

Also, the time period you have to wait to get your criminal record sealed has been reduced for some charges.  This article does two things.  First, it explains what this new law does and how it changes the current criminal record sealing laws and secondly, it will explain the process of sealing your criminal record.

I. Assembly Bill 327 – Changes the Current Record Sealing Statutes (NRS 176A.870, NRS 179.245, NRS 179.255, NRS 179.259)

 A. People Who Have Been Dishonorably Discharged From Probation Can Now Seal Their Record (if they meet the other sealing requirements)

The previously records sealing statute, NRS 176A.870, did not allow an individual who was dishonorably discharged from probation to seal their records relating to that charge.  This law law, Assembly Bill 327 changes that.  Now, if a person meets the other requirements to have their records sealed (discussed in the next section), they can get their record sealed for the criminal charge their were dishonorably discharged from probation from.

B. Major Changes Have Been Made To The Waiting Period

The waiting period that a person has to wait before their record is sealed has been drastically shortened by the new law. AB 327.  Specifically, the following list describes the crimes/offenses and the new shortened waiting period:

For conviction of :

  1.  Burglary – 15 year period shortened to 10 years
  2. Category B Felony  10 year period shortened to 5 years
  3. Category C, or D Felony – 12 year period shortened to 5 years
  4. Category E Felony – 7 year period shortened to 2 years
  5. Gross Misdemeanor – 5 year period shortened to 2 years

For an arrest of alleged criminal conduct and the District Attorney declined to prosecute:

  1. Time period of the applicable statute of limitations for the specific offense remains but the maximum waiting time of 10 years has been shortened to 8 years

For completion of program of  reentry:

  1. 5 year period shortened to 4 years

C. Other Changes

Additionally, AB 327 provides that if the prosecuting attorney stipulates (agrees to) seal the record and the court makes certain finding, the court can seal the record without a hearing.  AB 327 further creates a rebuttable presumption that the records should be sealed when the petition (request) to the seal records is filed (unless you were dishonorably discharged from probation).  This means that the district attorney has to prove that you do not meet the requirements to seal your record. AB 327 also streamlines the process for a person who wishes to seal their records for offenses committed in different cities or counties.  In this instance, a person can file their petition to seal their record in district court if they wish to have more than one record sealed that would otherwise need petitions to  be filed in more than one court (for example one crime in Reno and one crime in Sparks).

II. How to Seal Your Criminal Record

Now that you understand sealing your criminal record can be done earlier and easier this second part of this article will take you step by step through how to get your criminal record sealed. Although the new law makes this process easier and cuts the waiting times down, getting your record sealed is still a complicated legal process that can be very cumbersome and time consuming.  We advise that anyone wishing to seal their criminal record contact our office for a free consultation.  If we determine you are eligible to have you record sealed we can represent you through this whole process.

If you wish to proceed without a lawyer which we do not advise doing the following can provide you with some needed information.

A. Step 1 – Figure Out if Your Eligible to Seal your Record

The first step of the record sealing process is to determine whether you are eligible because there are a number of requirements you must meet to even apply to get your record sealed. We will take you through and explain each requirement to get your record sealed. Remember if you do not meet each requirement you record will not sealed.

Three things need to be assessed: 1) Is the crime you committed eligible to be sealed? (some crimes no matter how long it is has been can never be sealed); 2) has enough time passed between the last day of parole or probation or your suspended sentence date; and 3) have you been convicted of another crime in the time between the crime you want sealed and today.

  1. Is Your Crime Eligible to be Sealed?

First and most importantly you must importantly whether your crime is allowed to be sealed or not must be determined.  The sealing statute (law) is NRS 179.245 provides a list of crimes that cannot be sealed. NRS 179.245(6)(a)-(g).

Crimes that CANNOT be sealed are:

  • crimes against a child (defined by NRS 179D.0357)
  • sexual offenses
  • Felony DUI
  • DUI that resulted in death or substantial bodily harm (NRS484C.430)
  • vehicular homicide
  • Felony operation of water vessel while intoxicated
  • Operation of water vessel while intoxicated that resulted in death or substantial bodily harm

If the crime you wish to be sealed is NOT on the above list it is probably eligible to be sealed.  Unless you are absolutely sure that the crime or offense can be sealed we always recommend obtaining the advice of an attorney. You can call our office or email us for a free consultation.

2. Has Enough Time Passed to Seal your Record?

After determining that the crime you wish to seal is eligible to be sealed the next determination is whether enough time has passed (determined by statute). The length of time depends on the crime and whether you were convicted, the charges were dismissed, the charges were declined, you received an acquittal.  NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.

  • Charges were Dismissed or You Received an Acquittal

If you were arrested and the district attorney subsequently dismissed the charges you can immediately file for your record to be sealed. Also, if you went to trial and you were acquitted of the charges you can also file for your record to be sealed any time after the acquittal is entered.

  • The District Attorney Declined Prosecution

If the prosecuting attorney declines to prosecute the charges you were arrested for then after the statute of limitations for the specific charge you can file for the charges to be sealed or in eight (8) years, whichever is shorter.

  • Conviction of a Crime

If you were convicted of a crime either through pleading guilty with a plea deal or a jury finding you guilty the  waiting periods to seal your record are determined laid out in NRS 179.245.  Another thing to remember is that the waiting period is not from when the crime was committed but rather from the date of release from actual custody or discharge from parole or probation or when person no longer on a suspended sentence. This means the day you get off from parole or probation is when you can file to seal your record.The following is a list of common crimes and their waiting periods.  Drug related offenses have some different  time periods and those are noted below.

  1. Misdemeanor DUI – 7 years
  2. Misdemeanor possession of controlled substance not for purpose of sale – after release from probation (NRS 453.3365)
  3. Gross misdemeanor possession of controlled substance not of purpose of sale – after release from probation (NRS 453.3365)
  4. Category E Felony possession of controlled substance for for purpose of sale – after release from probation (NRS 453.3365)
  5. Category D Felony possession of controlled substance not for purpose of sale – after release from probation (NRS 453.3365)
  6. Category B Felony possession of controlled substance not for purpose of sale – 3 years
  7. Burglary – 10 years
  8. Misdemeanor Domestic Battery – 7 years

If the crime you are interested in is not listed above you can you go to NRS 179.245 for the time period.  Note – the crimes are mostly categorized by the type of crime.  In Nevada, there are three different types of crimes. Misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felonies.  Then felonies in Nevada are further broken down into Category E through A felonies with A being the “worst” felony and E being the “least worst.” If you find out what the crime you are inquiring about and google what type of crime it is you can usually figure out the type of crime.  If not, you can always contact our office for a free consultation.

3. You HAVE NOT been arrested or convicted of another crime

The preceding section regarding the waiting periods is ONLY if you have not been arrested or convicted of another crime in between the previous crime you wish to have sealed and the present time.  If you HAVE been arrested for another crime then the time period starts from the new arrest.  This is very important because the court will absolutely not approve a request to have your record sealed if the required time period has no elapsed.

4.So, What Do I Do Now?

Well, from what you have learned from this article although the new lake makes sealing your record “easier” that term is very relative as the entire record sealing process is complicated and lengthy.   We advise you contact an attorney to assist you with this process.  At Gezelin & Associates we  have extensive experience with the record sealing process and can help you to get your record sealed.  Please contact us for a free consultation.  Record sealing attorneys’ costs at our office start at $1,000.

If you do not want to hire an attorney to request to seal your record you now will have to draft the appropriate form to file with the appropriate court. The following are links to form packets corresponding to the different court:

For Reno municipal court:

https://www.reno.gov/home/showdocument?id=68537

For Reno Justice Court:

https://www.washoecounty.us/rjc/files/forms/form_records-seal-packet.pdf

For Las Vegas Justice Court:

http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/public-defender/Documents/Sealing%20Records%20Booklet.pdf

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