If you have applied for employment or a professional license but were rejected, or have been terminated for unknown reasons, but have a criminal arrest, conviction, or parole in your background (other than minor traffic infractions), you may well have been turned down or let go due to a background check which found your previous criminal records. The laws of the State of Nevada allow that after enough time has elapsed with no further criminal activity, that you have a right to have your records sealed. This process is allowed under Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 179.

Wait Times Before Petition for Sealing

The State has established time limits based on the severity of the criminal activity. No sealing can take place before the time has elapsed from the time you have completed all penalties under the law for the arrest or conviction, and is measured from the time of release or completion of parole or probation, whichever is later.

Petit Misdemeanors generally require a two-year wait period, other than domestic violence, which requires seven years. Convictions for possession of drugs, other than for sale, require a three-year waiting period, or for abuse of alcohol (which requires successful completion of rehab) is done as soon as rehab is complete, unless the prosecutor asks the court for a hearing.

While this remedy is available to many, the State has established certain exceptions which can not be sealed. They are sex crimes, crimes against children, felony DUI, vehicular homicide, kidnapping, and murder.

Other than the exceptions noted above, the wait period before one can apply to have records sealed is largely set by whether the conviction is for a misdemeanor or a felony. Gross misdemeanors require a five-year waiting period, and felonies require seven, 12 or 15 years, depending on the severity of the sentence.

Filing a Petition to Have Records Sealed

Once the wait period has elapsed, and no other criminal procedures are pending (with exception of minor traffic violations), a petition for sealing may be submitted to the court. The court may grant the petition, set a hearing, or decline the petition. If the petition is declined a wait period of two years is required before petitioning the court again.

If a Petition is Granted

The effect is the immediate restoration of any civil rights lost as a result of the criminal activity, under which the State will consider the acts, “never to have occurred.” Voting rights are restored, if lost, as are rights to hold office and serve on a jury. In many cases, the right to bear arms is restored. The Nevada Central Repository of Criminal History is informed and the records are treated as sealed records.

The records are not destroyed and there are certain designated situations under the law, under which the records may be reopened and/or inspected, but these situations are highly controlled.

The Defenders Can Assist with this Process

You should consult with an attorney to determine your eligibility to have records sealed and to file the appropriate petitions with the courts involved. The Defenders is well qualified and will help you from start to finish. Contact us to discuss your situation at (702) 333-3333.


NRS 179.245 through 179.301 and referenced statutes.

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