The simple answer to that question is NO.  Nevada does not expunge criminal records but does allow for a process to have criminal records sealed.  Many people use the terms interchangeably, however there are legal differences between expungement and sealing, however, the net effects are roughly the same.

The relevant law regarding sealing of criminal records in Nevada is NRS 179.245.  Nevada law does not support expungement of records.  Sealing accomplishes much the same process and the effect is the same in regard to employer and other types of background checks.  The sealing of a record makes the record unfindable except in certain well-defined instances and only to a very limited number of people.

Sealing a criminal record is accomplished by petitioning the court in which the criminal action was originally handled, to order the sealing, and can only be done after a specified period of time has elapsed from the release from state custody, end of suspended sentence, or release from parole or probation, which ever date is later.  These time periods are specified in the statutes.  In general:

  • Misdemeanors may be sealed after one year from release from custody or end of a suspended sentence (whichever is later);
  • Misdemeanor Battery, Harassment, Stalking, and Violation of Protective Orders, 2 years from release from custody or end of a suspended sentence (whichever is later);
  • Battery Domestic Violence, Lying on a Medicaid Application, and Misdemeanor DUI, 7 years from release from custody or end of a suspended sentence (whichever is later) 
  • Gross Misdemeanor, 2 years from release from custody or end of a suspended sentence (whichever is later);
  • Category E felonies, 2 years after release from custody or discharge from parole or probation (whichever is later);
  • Category B through D felonies, after 5 years after release from custody or discharge from parole or probation (whichever is later);
  • Category A felonies, crimes of violence, or residential burglary, 10 years after release from custody or discharge from parole or probation (whichever is later).

Some criminal acts are not sealable.  These include:

  • crimes against children,
  • sexual offenses,
  • home invasion with a deadly weapon,
  • felony DUI, and
  • vehicular homicide while intoxicated.

What is the difference between Sealing and Expungement?

Expungement means the actual record of the criminal court action is deleted from all records kept by the state.  Nevada keeps all records of criminal actions in the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History but will place a seal on criminal court actions when ordered by the court of original jurisdiction.

Once a seal is ordered by the court, all proceedings are deemed never to have occurred, and the defendant may then answer “No” to any inquiry, including a job application, regarding arrest, conviction, dismissal or acquittal, or any other account of the sealed incident.

Civil rights including the right to vote, the right to hold office, and the right to serve on a jury are restored if they were lost due to the criminal action.  The right to bear arms cannot be restored by a sealing.  This can only be done via a pardon.

How is Sealing Done?

Due to the complexities of this area of the law, a lawyer should be consulted to assist with the sealing request.  Your lawyer will file the request for sealing with the court in which the arrest, conviction, dismissal or acquittal took place.  It is not a foregone conclusion that the court will issue the sealing.  The prosecutor must agree to the sealing and no other criminal actions, other than minor traffic offenses may have taken place since the original incident.  A sealing may take weeks to months to be finalized.  If a sealing is denied by the court, you must wait 2 years to file another sealing request for that incident.

Sealings for convictions for offenses which were decriminalized after the conviction, such as possession and use of marijuana, may be requested by filing a standard form with the court which convicted, and if the prosecutor files no objection within 10 days, the court shall order the sealing request.  This is done at no charge to the applicant.

The Defenders can request sealing with the courts

Sealings of criminal records can be a lengthy and complicated process.  The lawyers of The Defenders are well versed in this area of the law and are prepared to assist you in this process.  If you have a criminal record which you wish to have sealed, call our office today to discuss your situation at (702) 333-3333 or click the green button at the bottom of the page to request a call back.

Learn More:

NRS 179.245

Practice Areas