If authorities have arrested you or someone you know, regardless of whether they filed no charges or dismissed the case, you possess a criminal record. Regrettably, the arrest does not vanish automatically from your record, even without a conviction. It becomes imperative to take the initiative to eliminate it. Prospective entities like employers, landlords, and even schools frequently conduct background checks. Eligible people are allowed by state law to seal or expunge their arrest from their record.

This blog post will tackle the difference between expungement and sealing a record.

What does it mean to have your record sealed?

The state of Nevada views criminal histories as public information. As soon as the police and your arrest fingerprints are taken, the state establishes a record of you. Your arrest will be noted on your criminal record, along with the outcome of your case, whether it resulted in a dismissal, acquittal, or conviction.

To make this document private, you must request the court to seal it. However, sealing the record implies that it partially recovers. A court possesses the authority to reverse any sealing of a criminal record. The record becomes inaccessible, but a court order could still be submitted to examine it.

Every county clerk in Nevada is in charge of keeping track of all matters filed in that particular court, including criminal records. You must file a request with the court clerk handling your case to have your record sealed, and you must make separate requests for each court in case you desire to seal records about multiple offenses.

Eligibility for Record Sealing

Jurisdictions and specific laws in place can determine the eligibility for record sealing. Although the requirements for record sealing vary, the following factors are commonly taken into consideration:

  • Eligible Offenses: Typically, minor offenses or certain non-violent crimes are more likely to be eligible for record sealing. Serious offenses, such as violent crimes or offenses involving sexual misconduct, may be ineligible for sealing.
  • Waiting Period: A waiting period must often elapse after completing your sentence, probation, or parole before you become eligible to apply for record sealing. The waiting period can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the offense.
  • Clean Record: Many jurisdictions require individuals to have a clean record after completing their sentences. It means that you should not have any new convictions or pending charges. Additionally, some jurisdictions may limit the number of previous convictions you might have to be eligible for record sealing.
  • Rehabilitation: The court will often consider your rehabilitation efforts and behavior since the offense. That may include completing probation, community service, or rehabilitation programs.
  • Discretion of the Court: Ultimately, the decision to grant or deny record sealing is at the court’s discretion. They will consider various factors, including the severity of the offense, the individual’s criminal history, and the potential benefit to the individual seeking record sealing.

It’s important to note that the process and eligibility criteria can vary significantly depending on the jurisdiction and local laws. It is advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in criminal law.

What is an expungement?

The legal procedure of expungement erases a criminal record and prohibits access to it by anyone, including judges and prosecutors. Unlike a sealing order, an expungement order directs the court to treat the crime as if it had never happened. If the court had granted your petition for expungement, the public record and criminal history would have been cleared.

Eligibility for Expungement

Each state’s laws are specified by the criteria for expungement eligibility differently. In some states, expungements are only allowed when charges are dropped before pleading guilty, such as when a deferred prosecution agreement has been completed. After a conviction, other states may allow expungements, but only for specific offenses categorized as misdemeanors or minor infractions. Serious felonies are rarely, if ever, eligible for expungement.

Criteria for qualifying for expungement could include the following:

  • Enough time has passed since the criminal case’s resolution or the indictment;
  • No new crimes since the case;
  • No convictions regarding certain offenses that disqualify you, generally including major felonies;
  • Minimal criminal history; 
  • Fulfillment of the sentence conditions, parole, probation, or postponed disposition.

Expungement Procedures

A petition for expungement must be submitted, frequently in the same court where the criminal prosecution was heard. There is only one criminal instance mentioned in the petition. A person must submit more than one petition to have the records of several cases expunged. The court must examine the petitioner’s file and decide if the petitioner satisfies the standards of that jurisdiction. Additionally, specific courts may have unique procedural guidelines for expungement cases.

Benefits of Expungement

Here are some key advantages of obtaining an expungement:

  • Employment Opportunities: One of the primary benefits of expungement is the enhanced ability to secure employment. Many employers conduct background checks as a standard part of their hiring process. A criminal record can significantly limit job prospects, as employers may hesitate to hire individuals with past convictions. Expungement removes or hides these records from public view, increasing the chances of finding gainful employment.
  • Housing Opportunities: Similar to employment, expungement can positively impact housing opportunities. Landlords and property management companies often conduct background checks on prospective tenants. A criminal record can make renting a home or apartment challenging. Expungement helps remove this barrier and gives individuals a better chance of finding suitable housing.
  • Professional Licenses: Certain professions, such as law, healthcare, education, and finance, require professional licenses or certifications. Regulatory bodies often scrutinize applicants’ criminal history, and past convictions can hinder granting licenses. Expungement can improve the likelihood of obtaining or retaining professional licenses, thereby expanding career possibilities.
  • Education and Financial Aid: Expungement can be particularly advantageous for individuals seeking higher education. Many colleges and universities ask applicants to disclose any criminal history. Having a clean record through expungement can increase the likelihood of acceptance. Furthermore, individuals with expunged records that would have otherwise been disqualified may become eligible for certain financial aid forms, such as federal student loans and grants.
  • Personal and Social Benefits: Expungement goes beyond the practical aspects and carries significant personal and social benefits. It provides a sense of closure, allowing individuals to move forward without constant reminders of past mistakes. It can restore a person’s reputation within their community, strengthen family relationships, and promote self-confidence and self-esteem.

What Is The Difference Between Expungement And Sealing A Record

The critical difference between expunging and sealing a person’s criminal record is that a sealed record “exists” physically and legally. In contrast, expungement eliminates any record where an arrest or criminal charge occurred. Documents of juvenile criminal proceedings and other criminal matters involving a juvenile usually are sealed once the person turns 18, although those documents are still available with a court order.

Request Consultation Now!

Request a consultation now and let our experienced team at Hinds Injury Law Las Vegas guide you through the record-sealing process. We understand the importance of privacy and a sealed record’s impact on your life. Our Las Vegas record sealing attorneys are here to answer your questions, assess your eligibility, and provide personalized solutions tailored to your unique situation. 

For more information or questions, please call us at (702) 940-1234.


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