Anybody with a criminal record can tell you about the obstacles it imposes on your life. One minor mistake can cost you jobs, housing opportunities, and even the ability to take out student loans. With consequences like these, it’s clear why people would want to put their past behind them and start fresh. You can’t rewrite history, but you may be able to get the second-best thing and have your record sealed. If you’ve heard of this and are wondering what it means — or if you’ve never heard of it at all — consider the following information. Record sealing might be the best option for your situation.
What Does It Mean When a Criminal Record Is Sealed?
You’ve probably heard words like “expunged” and “sealed” before but may not know exactly what they mean. Though these words are often used interchangeably, they do mean different things. “Expunged” means that a criminal record is deleted completely, whereas “sealed” means that it remains in existence but is not available to be viewed by the public. To have a record sealed furthermore means that:
- Schools, landlords, and the public cannot see it.
- You cannot be denied any license because of it.
- Most non-federal employers will not be able to see it.
In short, when your record is sealed, you can deny its existence — legally and literally. This gives you the freedom to apply for jobs, housing, and opportunities without fear that your criminal record will hold you back. You can reclaim control over your life and move on from the mistakes of your past. You’ve worked hard to improve yourself, and sealing your records can give you the chance to reap the rewards.
Who Can Have Their Criminal Record Sealed?
If you’re interested in sealing your records, you might be wondering whether your specific case is eligible. It is true that only some convictions are eligible to be sealed, and in Nevada, you are eligible if you meet the following criteria:
- Your crime was a category A felony
- Your crime was a burglary
- Your crime was a misdemeanor
- Your crime did not involve children
- Your crime was not sexual in nature
- Your crime was not a DUI-related homicide
There are many other criteria to satisfy if you intend to petition for expungement, and an attorney can help you navigate all of the requirements to ensure that you qualify. Typically, though, if the aforementioned conditions apply to your case, you may have a good chance at getting your record sealed in the state of Nevada.
How Do I Get My Criminal Record Sealed?
Even if you’ve determined that you are eligible to petition to have your records sealed, navigating the process may seem overwhelming. If you are petitioning to seal a single record, you file your petition in the same court that convicted you, but if you are petitioning to seal multiple records, you may file with the Second Judicial District Court rather than filing in multiple jurisdictions.
To file your petition, you must complete the following forms required by your individual court. These forms vary based on jurisdiction, but the information generally required includes:
- Criminal history report
- SCOPE report from arresting police department(s)
- Justification for request
- Any supporting documents
Ensuring the accuracy of the information in these documents greatly improves the chances of your petition being approved. Errors can cause lengthy delays in the process, or in the worst-case scenario, a denial. Once you have gathered these documents and completed the individual petition paperwork required by your court, you may proceed with your request and start the process of having your records sealed.
What Happens After My Criminal Record Is Sealed?
Once your petition is approved, it’s smooth sailing, right? Yes and no. You can start to worry less and do more, but there are still a few details you should tend to before you put all of this behind you. You should be aware of the following:
- Some people and organizations, such as federal employers and any others that do FBI background checks, may still be able to see your sealed records.
- You should verify that records have been properly sealed by contacting the Nevada Office of Criminal Justice.
- You may legally deny the existence of your sealed records, unless you are applying for a gun or seeking employment at a bank or as a police officer.
These conditions are important to remember as you begin to move through the world with your newly sealed records. You’ll find that many doors are open to you that were closed before, and you can enjoy many opportunities that were unavailable when you have a conviction on your record.
What If I Can’t Get My Criminal Record Sealed?
Of course, not all petitions that are filed get approved. It is unfortunately true that some cases cannot be sealed, and even some convictions that may appear to be eligible are denied. This can happen for a variety of reasons. If you aren’t able to get your records sealed, you still have a few options:
- You may re-apply to have records sealed two years after the date of denial.
- You may apply to have records sealed as many as two times.
- By consulting with an attorney, you can develop a strategy for re-applying and succeeding.
These steps can help you succeed the next time you file a petition and ensure that you have all the resources you need to file a complete and compelling case for yourself.
Get the Legal Advocacy You Need and Deserve
The Law Firm of C. Benjamin Scroggins, Esq. represents individuals throughout Nevada who are looking to have criminal records sealed. Whether you have a misdemeanor or felony, or multiple convictions of different kinds, petitioning to get your records sealed may be the best way to move on with your life and put the obstacles of your past behind you. Schedule a consultation online or call (702) 328-5550 for more information on how you can move on from a past criminal conviction.