Nevada Court Records
Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records in Nevada
A criminal record, also known as a rap sheet, informs the viewer about an individual’s illegal activities and interactions with agencies in the criminal justice system. These agencies, which act as custodians of criminal records, in whole or part, are typically the Nevada Department of Public Safety and the Nevada Judiciary. Unlike arrest records, a criminal record provides definitive proof of guilt or innocence. These records are public information in Nevada, and interested members of the public may request the record from the official custodian or retrieve such records on independent repositories.
The Difference Between Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records
The terms sealing and expungement have come to refer to the same thing in Nevada. However, these terms are innately different. Expungement refers to the physical, and often permanent, destruction of a record. On the other hand, sealing is the removal of a record from public access. Nevada laws do not allow for the expungement of criminal records due to the permanent nature of the act. However, the law does allow courts to seal criminal records. If successful, the individual may regard the record as non-existent.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
Eligibility Requirements to Seal a Criminal Record in Nevada
The eligibility requirements to seal criminal records in Nevada are not set in stone. These requirements vary from county to county and change with time. Thus, the interested individual must visit or contact the office of the Clerk of Courts in the jurisdiction where the case was filed and tried.
There are, however, some statutory requirements (NRS 179.245) before an individual can file a petition and order to seal. These include:
- The court had dismissed the charges after a trial;
- The court had acquitted the individual after a trial;
- The individual had been a victim of wrongful conviction;
- The individual is not subject to criminal prosecution at the time of application;
- The individual had not been indicted or convicted within a specified period before applying;
- The individual is applying after an act of legislature decriminalized the offense;
- The individual has fulfilled all court-imposed sanctions, penalties, or programs;
- The individual has fulfilled all financial obligations as directed by the Clerk of Courts
How to Expunge a Criminal Record in Nevada
Nevada laws do not allow for the expungement of criminal records. However, eligible persons may apply to seal criminal records.
How to Seal a Criminal Record in Nevada
A criminal record can be discomforting to an individual as it often precludes employment or other socio-economic prospects. Thus, many persons apply to seal criminal records every year. The first step is to hire a qualified attorney who examines the case and acts on the clients’ behalf. As the procedure of sealing is quite nuanced in Nevada, hiring an attorney is pragmatic. Nevertheless, an individual armed with enough information may initiate and complete the process solo.
Every local jurisdiction in Nevada adopts a personalized protocol for sealing criminal records. These protocols, however, share certain similarities. First, the interested person must obtain a copy of their Nevada criminal history record from the Department of Public Safety. To do this, download and complete the DPS 006 request form. Then, attach a government-issued photo I. D., money order, or certified check for $27.00 to the completed form. As Nevada’s request for criminal records is fingerprint-based, the individual must also attach a standard fingerprint card FD–258. Enclose all items in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mail to:
Department of Public Safety
Records, Communications and Compliance Division
333 West Nye Lane, Suite 100
Carson City, Nevada 89706
Phone: (775) 684–6262
Fax: (775) 687–3289
Upon receiving the request, the DPS will process and send the criminal history record within 45 days. The individual can then initiate the petition to seal. The criminal history record information will determine which court(s) the individual submits the petition. Use the court finder to access the location and contact information of courts in Nevada. In cases where the charges resulted in a conviction, the individual must obtain a judgment of conviction and discharge from the Clerk of District Court.
Then, the individual must complete a Request to Seal form, which the District Court will provide. Otherwise, the individual must type a petition, affidavit, and order. These documents must state the arrests and dates of arrest, the arresting law enforcement agency, the criminal charges, and final dispositions. In cases where there is no final disposition, the individual must obtain documentation of the final disposition from the arresting agency or the court where the arrest was filed. The documents must also list the public agencies in possession of the criminal record. These are typically the Nevada Department of Public Safety Records Bureau, the local Police Department, and the District Attorney. The individual shall append his or her signature and date to the documents and make copies of each.
The individual must then serve all documents (criminal record, petition, order, and affidavit) upon the District Attorney in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Upon receipt, the District Attorney’s office shall review the petition and agree or object to the petition. The process often takes a few weeks, and the district attorney’s office will respond to submission via mail. If the District Attorney agrees, the individual must then forward the documents to the Clerk of the District Court, who shall forward the documents to the judge. The judge shall perform a revision and grant or deny the request to seal. In a case where the District Attorney objects, the same applies. However, the individual must contact the court to schedule a hearing. The success of a request to seal weighs heavily on the approval of the District Attorney. Thus, the individual must be meticulous about the process and documents to save cost and time. To avoid mistakes, ask the Clerk for a template for the petition or an official form. While the Clerk, or any court staff, cannot provide legal advice, they can provide established guidelines. The requester must not hesitate to use the official resources at his or her disposal.
What Crimes Can Be Sealed or Expunged in Nevada?
Individuals can request to seal most crimes in Nevada. However, statutory waiting periods apply and depend on the severity of the crime and the fulfillment of court requirements. Felony convictions typically have longer waiting periods compared to less serious misdemeanor convictions. Nevada courts will never grant requests to seal criminal records relating to sex crimes, crimes against children, felony DUI, and the use of a deadly weapon.
Do Sealed Records Show up In Nevada Background Checks?
No, sealed criminal records do not show up on background checks. Also, It is illegal for any independent background check agency to divulge sealed records in their possession without a court order. However, this restriction seldom applies to background check agencies outside Nevada.
Who Can See Sealed Criminal Records in Nevada?
Only the record custodian and the person named on the record can see sealed criminal records in Nevada. Public requesters, private employers, and most government agencies must obtain a court order to access sealed criminal records. In some instances, the court may order the unsealing of a criminal record.
How to Obtain Sealed Records in Nevada
Except otherwise provided by state statutes, the requester must petition the court to unseal a record before the record custodian shall grant access to such record. To accomplish this, the requester must demonstrate reasons that outweigh the subject’s privacy concerns or the statutory basis of sealing.