Having a criminal record can make you feel like you’re carrying around a weight with you at best or that you have a bright neon sign pointing to your criminal history at worst. Even after you’ve served your sentence and are trying to move forward with your life, a conviction can come up on background checks and keep you from getting the job you want or affect other areas of your life. Luckily, depending on what your conviction was and how much time has passed, you may have options. Having your criminal record sealed can ensure that the past stays where it should be and doesn’t follow you as you focus on your future. Learn more about what the options are for erasing a criminal record in Nevada and how the attorneys at Benjamin Durham Law Firm can help.
Interested in discussing record sealing in Las Vegas, NV, and how it may apply to your situation? Our criminal defense lawyers from Las Vegas are standing by to assist. We will go over the details of your conviction, help you understand whether it qualifies to be sealed, how long you still have to wait, and what the process looks like when it’s time.
Is It Possible to Have a Criminal Record Erased?
It is possible to have a criminal record erased, and the process is referred to as expungement. Expungement is a legal procedure through which you can petition the courts to erase your conviction from your criminal record. However, expungement is not an option in the state of Nevada. Instead, defendants have the option of asking the courts to seal criminal records. The differences between these two options are explained in more detail below.
What Is the Difference Between a Criminal Conviction Expunged, Sealed, or Pardoned?
There are three main ways to deal with a criminal history: expungement, record sealing, and being pardoned. You can find more details on all three options below, but it’s important to point out that Las Vegas state law does not allow for those convicted of a crime to have their criminal record completely expunged. If you are trying to erase a conviction from your criminal history, you will need to talk to a criminal defense attorney about filing to have your record sealed.
As discussed above, having your record expunged is very similar to having it erased. If you are successful in petitioning the courts to have your record expunged, it is like the conviction never happened. The conviction won’t come up on a background check, and it is also not something that can be retrieved or put back by any court order. Forty-two out of 50 states currently allow for expungement, but unfortunately, Nevada isn’t one of them. If you have a criminal conviction in another state that does allow expungements, you may be able to go through that state to have the conviction erased.
If you are trying to get rid of your criminal history, record sealing is the closest option that Nevada offers. When you have records sealed, they are not visible on background checks, and you don’t have to tell an employer or anyone else that you were convicted of a crime. However, the conviction and documentation of the conviction aren’t actually erased. They can still be accessed with a future court order.
Getting a pardon is another option for some people. In Nevada, pardons are handled by the Pardons Board, and those wishing to receive a pardon must submit an application to the Executive Secretary of the Pardons Board. If the pardon is approved, you are free from any penalties that the conviction may have applied. For example, if you had a conviction that kept you from being able to work in certain areas, you would now be free to do that. However, a pardon doesn’t automatically seal your record.
Pardons can also be very hard to come by. Many people apply for pardons every year, but there are only a few who are actually granted this option, and pardons are largely granted at the complete discretion of the Pardons Board. If you can’t get a record sealed, a pardon may be an option, but it’s something you should discuss in detail with your criminal defense attorney to ensure you have a thorough understanding of how this process works and realistic expectations.
Are There Limits on What Criminal Records Can Be Sealed?
Because expungement isn’t possible in the state of Nevada, most people turn to the option of having their criminal records sealed. However, there are some limitations on record sealing and what offenses can be sealed, and the timelines that have to pass before you can have your record sealed.
To have a past criminal record sealed, you generally need to have fulfilled all of the conditions, such as completing your sentence. Completing your sentence also includes serving any probation period, successfully completing parole, or finishing any court-ordered substance abuse program or reentry program. Some offenses may have a higher rate of success when it comes to getting a record sealed. For example, if you were convicted of solicitation but were a victim of human trafficking and have since been able to break free, you are eligible to get your record sealed.
There may also be a waiting period, depending on the crime. Below are a few of the common convictions that are eligible for sealing and the associated waiting periods:
- Misdemeanor domestic violence: 7 years
- Non-felony DUI: 7 years
- Burglary: 10 years
- Violation of an order of protection: 2 years
- Class B, C, and D felonies: 7 years
- Class E felonies: 2 years
In most cases, the waiting periods start counting from either the date you finished your probation or parole obligations or the day you were released from custody. The courts go by whichever date is later as the start of the waiting period.
Some criminal convictions cannot be sealed. These include crimes that involved children, crimes related to sexual offenses, and felony DUI convictions.
Do I Have to Tell Employers About My Criminal Record?
Whether you have to let an employer or potential employer know that you have a criminal record isn’t a black-and-white issue. In the state of Nevada, employers are not allowed to ask if you have criminal convictions on the first application, but this doesn’t prevent them from asking at some point in the hiring process. If you are asked directly if you have a criminal conviction, and the answer is yes – assuming the conviction has not been expunged and you haven’t had your record sealed – it’s best, to be honest. In most cases, the employer is going to find out about the conviction when they run a background check, and dishonesty during the application process could prevent you from getting the job.
However, if you were simply arrested and never charged or were charged and found not guilty, you are under no obligation to give an employer this information. In most cases, having a criminal conviction won’t automatically take you out of the running for a job, but there are some specific offenses that can be a problem. For example, if you have been convicted of domestic violence, it can prohibit you from working around vulnerable populations, such as at a children’s hospital. If you have questions about how your criminal record may affect employment, an attorney can help. They can also talk to you about options such as expungement or record sealing.
Why Should I Hire Benjamin Durham Law Firm?
You already know that the right criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in whether you win or lose your case, but needing good representation doesn’t stop there. If you’re looking for a Las Vegas expungement attorney who can talk to you about record sealing and start that process, we’re here to help. The attorneys at Benjamin Durham Law Firm are extensively familiar with the rules and waiting periods associated with criminal record sealing, and we’ve been able to get records sealed for our clients successfully. When it comes to putting your past behind you and moving forward with your new life, we’re there to help.
If you have a criminal record in Las Vegas, NV, and you aren’t sure what your options are when it comes to expungement or record sealing, a criminal defense attorney can help. Call (702) 793-2326 to talk to a member of our team and find out more about our services and how we can help you protect your future.