How Do I Expunge My Criminal Record in Las Vegas?
How Do I Expunge My Criminal Record in Las Vegas?
Getting arrested or convicted of a crime can haunt you for the rest of your life. It can make it really hard to get a good job, rent an apartment, or get approved for loans. That’s why many people with criminal records in their past want to get their records sealed or expunged in Las Vegas.
Sealing or expunging your criminal record basically means hiding it from public view. Most employers and landlords won’t be able to see your criminal history if you’ve had your record sealed. It’s like giving your record a clean slate.
But how do you actually go about getting your record sealed in Las Vegas? The process can be confusing if you’ve never done it before. This article will walk you through all the steps so you can clean up your criminal record.
Step 1: Get Your Criminal History Report
The first thing you need is an official copy of your criminal record, also called a SCOPE report. This will show all of your arrests, charges, and convictions anywhere in Nevada.
You can get your SCOPE report from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Just call them at (702) 828-3475 and ask how to request it. There’s usually a small fee.
Make sure your SCOPE report lists the final outcome (conviction, acquittal, dismissal) for each arrest. If any are missing, you’ll need to track down records from the court or arresting agency.
Step 2: Check Your Eligibility to Seal Records
Not all criminal records can be sealed in Nevada. It depends on the type of crime and how long ago it happened.
Here are the most common waiting periods before you can seal a record in Las Vegas:
- Misdemeanors – 1 year after the case closed
- Gross Misdemeanors – 2 years
- Category E Felonies – 2 years
- Category C and D Felonies – 5 years
- Violent Felonies – 10 years
The clock starts ticking after you finish probation or are released from jail. If you have new convictions during the waiting period, you’ll have to start over.
Step 3: Get the Right Sealing Forms
The next step is to get the correct petition forms to request sealing your record. The forms you need depend on what court handled your criminal case.
- Justice court – If your case was in Las Vegas Justice Court, Henderson Justice Court, or another justice court, get forms from that court’s website.
- Municipal court – If your case was in Las Vegas Municipal Court, get the forms from the City Attorney’s Office.
- District court – If you have convictions from multiple courts, file in the 8th Judicial District Court. Get forms from their website.
The forms will include a Petition to Seal Records, Affidavit, Order to Seal Records, and possibly other documents. Make sure to get the right ones for your situation.
Step 4: Complete Your Sealing Paperwork
Fill out all the sealing forms accurately and completely. The petition and order should list each arrest, case number, charges, and outcome.
Also list all the government agencies that may have your criminal records, such as:
- Nevada Dept of Public Safety
- Las Vegas Metro Police Dept
- Clark County District Attorney’s Office
- Any courts or police departments involved
Attach your SCOPE report and any other required documents. Sign and make copies of everything.
Step 5: File Your Petition with the Court
File your completed petition at the court that handled your criminal case. You’ll have to pay a filing fee unless you get a waiver.
The court will send your petition to the prosecutor’s office for review. They need to sign off on sealing violent crimes and sex offenses.
For other records, the prosecutor might file a motion opposing the seal. Be ready to explain why your record should be sealed at a court hearing.
Step 6: Serve the Sealing Order
If approved, the judge signs your order to seal records. Get several certified copies of the order from the court clerk.
Mail a copy to every agency that has your criminal record. This seals it from public view so it won’t show up on background checks.
Other Key Things to Know About Sealing Records in Nevada
Here are some other useful tips for getting your record sealed in Las Vegas and statewide:
- You can seal records even if the charges were dropped or you were found not guilty. The waiting periods above are for convictions only.
- Sealing your record doesn’t destroy it. The record still exists but is hidden from public view and background checks.
- Government agencies like law enforcement can still access your sealed record in some cases. But employers and the general public cannot.
- If your record includes serious violent felonies, you may need the prosecutor’s approval to seal it even after waiting 10 years.
- Your driving record and DUIs cannot be sealed, only your criminal record. You’d need a pardon from the governor to wipe a DUI conviction.
- Federal criminal records can only be expunged in rare cases. An attorney can advise if you are eligible.
- If you move out of state, your Nevada record sealing order may not carry over. Some states treat out-of-state seals differently.
- Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer if your record includes serious or complicated charges. Mistakes in the sealing process can be disastrous.
Cleaning up your criminal record in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Nevada is very possible with the right legal strategy. This guide should give you a good starting point for understanding the record sealing process. But every case is unique.
Consult with a qualified attorney to make sure you pursue the best options for your situation. With their help, you can overcome the barriers of a criminal record and get a fresh start!