By Henry Sotelo Esq. & Rachael L. Chavez
As a criminal attorney, I often get questions about criminal histories and how to get criminal records sealed or expunged. This has become especially true in light of the recent decriminalization trend regarding cannabis.
First, let’s explain what it means to “seal your criminal record”.
Sealing your records only removes them from public access, it does not “expunge”, or erase your records. Most law enforcement agencies will be able to access your sealed records. The good news is that when you get your records sealed, you can answer any job application question regarding previous criminal records as if you do not have a criminal record (See NRS 179.285(1)(a)). However, if you are filling out an application and it asks whether you have a sealed criminal record you should answer “yes”.
If you are unsure, you should consult with an attorney before answering these questions. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, certain agencies can “peek” into sealed records (See NRS 179.301). These agencies include:
The Nevada Gaming Control Board The Nevada Division of Insurance of the Department of Business and Industry The Nevada State Board of Pardons Commissioners and its agents and representatives can also inquire and inspect sealed records (See NRS 179.245 or NRS 179.255) If you are arrested for the same offense that you sealed, prosecutors have the option of opening sealed records to use against you (See NRS 179.245 or 179.255)
Finally, sealing your criminal records, does not restore your 2nd Amendment right to firearms. In order to get your gun rights restored you must receive a pardon from the Nevada Pardons Board (See NRS 179.285).
The process takes at least a year to complete. However, a recent expedited process has been created