Sealing a criminal record removes the arrest, charge, or conviction from public view, meaning that a background check will no longer show any criminal events. A sealed record has tremendous benefits, such as denying that you were ever arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime. A sealed record may also no longer affect employment opportunities, interfere with housing or educational opportunities, enhance the penalties of future criminal activity, or endanger your reputation in the community. Sealing a criminal record may also restore some civil rights, such as the ability to vote or serve on a jury.
Sealing a record can be tedious and time-consuming if unfamiliar with the process. Sealing a record may also take four (4) to seven (7) months to complete, although it may take longer if the record is complex. A record seal begins by determining if a person is eligible. The time for eligibility varies for each record and some criminal convictions are ineligible for record sealing, such as felony driving under the influence and sex-based crimes. However, if a person is eligible, the next step is to contact all agencies that may hold a record of the arrest, charge, or conviction. This starts by contacting the police department to obtain a copy of the person's "scope" or criminal history. A record must also be obtained from the Nevada Department of Public Safety Central Repository.
Once all documents are obtained, a petition must be drafted that includes all eligible records. The petition is then sent to the prosecuting attorney for review. The prosecuting attorney may stipulate to the record seal or deny the petition if it is incorrect, the person is ineligible, or the prosecuting attorney simply objects to the request. If the prosecuting attorney objects to the request, a hearing may be conducted to determine if the person may seal the record over the prosecuting attorney's objection.
If the prosecuting attorney stipulates to the record seal, the petition must then be filed with each court where a record of the charge or conviction exists. In some cases, a single petition may be filed with the District Court to seal a record in multiple lower courts. In some cases, a hearing may also be required before the judge agrees to seal the record. After the judge agrees to seal the record, a copy of the final order is then sent to all agencies that hold a record of the arrest, charge, or conviction. This is the final and most important step. Until all agencies receive a copy of the final order and comply with the record seal, the record may still be available to the public and appear on most background checks.