The cost to seal your record in Nevada without the aid of a licensed attorney amounts to around $150 in associated costs and fees to file a Petition in the Eighth Judicial District Court (within Clark County) or in the appropriate District Court wherein the conviction lies. However, given the potential pitfalls in sealing your record without licensed professional help, we at Yampolsky & Margolis strongly recommend retaining qualified counsel to help guide you through the process of sealing and/or expunging your Nevada criminal history. The benefits to this are numerous and it can ultimately mean the difference between being able to find lucrative employment or being shut out of competitive positions in the labor market.
There are a handful of important reasons to consult with a licensed Nevada attorney before beginning the record seal process here because a qualified attorney can answer a lot of your initial questions including but not limited to:
(1) Are my convictions eligible for sealing?
(2) What forms do I file, what documents must I obtain, and which courts do I need to file them with?
(3) What are the mechanics of the documents themselves, i.e., the Petition to Seal Records, the Order granting said Petition, and the Affidavit in Support of Petition to Seal Records, and how are these documents supposed to look in final?
(4) The ease and efficiency of the process is almost certainly improved when an attorney is working with the law enforcement agencies, district attorneys, and courts/judges with whom they have extensive experience, as opposed to an uninitiated pro se Petitioner, who might encounter some difficulty obtaining the necessary assistance from the stakeholders involved.
(5) The multitude of steps involved can become confusing and cumbersome to those unfamiliar with the legal system and the entities involved in its administration.
The procedures for sealing Nevada criminal history records are largely standardized throughout the state, but they do tend to differ in some small ways from county to county. Generally, in order to clear a criminal history record, an individual must petition the District Court in the jurisdiction where your charge occurred. To speed up the process, and to facilitate completing the court forms, it is strongly encouraged to obtain a valid, current fingerprint card and also a clean copy of your Nevada criminal history record (i.e., SCOPE).
There are various statutes within codified Nevada law which address the record sealing process and I have included some of the most relevant ones below for your reference:
|NRS 179.245 Sealing records after conviction|
|NRS 179.255 Sealing records after dismissal or acquittal|
|NRS 179.275 Orders for sealing records – distribution, compliance|
|NRS 179.285 Order sealing records – Restoration of Civil Rights|
|NRS 179.295 Reopening sealed records|
|NRS 179.301 Inspection of sealed records by certain agencies|
|NRS 179A.160 Removal of records where case disposition is favorable to accused|
|NRS 453.3365 Sealing of records of persons convicted of possession of controlled substance not for the purpose of sale|
|NRS 484.379 Sealing of non-felony DUI arrests in conjunction with NRS 179.245|
The waiting period to seal your records in Nevada depends upon the nature of the charges you are seeking to seal. I have included some of the more major dividing lines in this regard below for your edification:
In order to seal your records you obtain a copy of your fingerprint card, your NCIC printout, i.e., your Nevada Criminal History Report or “Scope”, and you prepare a Petition to Seal Records for filing with the District Court for the county in which the charges, cases, and/or convictions occurred. In concert with the Petition, Nevada law requires that an Affidavit in support of the petition accompany it, as well as a proposed order granting the Petition to Seal Records. This is the process provided that the prosecuting entity has no objection to your Petition to Seal Records. The process becomes a bit more involved in the event the prosecuting entity opposes the sealing of one or more of your records. In most of those cases, one or more hearings will be necessary in order to obtain the desired result.
When an Order granting a Petition to Seal Records is signed, specified stakeholders in possession of the records have a statutorily prescribed period of time within which to remove any and all electronic and/or hard copies of the records from their publicly accessible databases. This effectively removes your record(s) from the view and access of the vast majority of the Nevada population. National law enforcement agencies will likely still have access to these records, if needed, but I have not once encountered such a scenario.
A record can be sealed by a highly motivated Nevada citizen for as little as $450.00 and some so-called “sweat equity,” although most practicing attorneys would dissuade you from attempting to do so yourself. The filing fee alone is about $300, and the costs of obtaining your fingerprint cards, SCOPE, and the running around attendant to obtaining them will probably cost another $100-$200. Firms throughout Clark County charge anywhere from $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 to do a Petition to Seal Records, the accompanying Affidavit and Order, and to appear at one or more hearings as needed.
Oftentimes, the process can take anywhere from 3-6 months, all the up to 9-12 months, depending upon the number of courts and cases that need to be purged from the electronic and hard copy databases of the Metropolitan Police Department, the local custodian of records, and other entities. Each entity has a statutorily prescribed timeframe within which to abide by the judge’s signed order granting the Petition to Seal Record(s).
Our firm charges a flat fee of $1,500.00 (not including costs) to complete a Petition to Seal Record(s), prepare the accompanying Order and Affidavit, and appear at the hearing set by the Court on the Petition, if such a hearing is deemed necessary. Ideally, a client with multiple prior convictions would wait out the longest statutory time period and file the Petition to Seal Record(s) only once, intending to seal or expunge ALL qualified records of arrest and/or conviction in the identified jurisdiction.
The process for sealing the record of a DUI is the same as that for sealing other crimes of conviction. The major difference lies in that the statutory waiting time to seal a garden-variety misdemeanor conviction is only one (1) year—the statutory waiting time for certain, specified, enhanceable misdemeanor offenses, namely DUI and Battery Domestic Violence, is instead a lengthy seven (7) years. This means that, whereas various records in other misdemeanor cases, records of arrests, jail visits, and/or convictions, are eligible to be sealed one calendar year from the date the case closes, in the case of DUI matters, the waiting period is instead seven years. That is the primary difference that is associated with sealing a record of a DUI.
For almost all felony charges in Nevada, the answer to this question is “yes”. However, in certain specified and named categories of felony cases, sealing the record is expressly forbidden by statute. In Nevada, the following felony crimes CANNOT be sealed and are INELIGIBLE for consideration with respect to Petition(s) to Seal Record(s):
(1) Crimes Against Children (NRS 179D.0357);
(2) Felony DUIs; and
(3) Sexual Offenses.
If a Petition to Seal Record(s) is granted within the State of Nevada, no court, law enforcement agency, district attorney’s office, city attorney’s office, or other entity that has come to obtain the record through ordinary procedures will be able to retain a copy, electronic, digital, or physical hard copy, following the statutorily specified date by which the Order signed by the judge indicates the records need to be destroyed. However, the Order sealing records does not bind agencies and courts outside the State of Nevada, private entities such as bail bonds companies and the like, or anyone else whom does not fall within the jurisdiction and/or control of the Court. Generally, a sealed record will only show up at higher, more guarded levels of clearance at the regional and/or national level. National agencies in receipt of your records would not be bound by a Nevada court order.
In a perfect world, no one, but that is simply too good to be true. As indicated in the above answer, sometimes records fall into the wrong hands, such as unscrupulous bail bondsmen, media companies, and the like. Oftentimes, these wrongdoers will not be dissuaded from trying to shake you down by the existence of a Nevada court order. That being said, these instances are relatively rare and the vast majority of our record seal clients safely answer “no” when asked if they have been arrested or convicted of a crime in Nevada, and encounter no issues.
Yampolsky & Margolis Criminal Defense Las Vegas
625 S 6th St, Las Vegas, NV 89101