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New Law Helps Nevadans Seal Criminal Records Earlier

The time limit before a person's criminal record can be sealed will be cut substantially under a new Nevada law. (serggn/iStockphoto)
The time limit before a person's criminal record can be sealed will be cut substantially under a new Nevada law. (serggn/iStockphoto)
June 9, 2017

CARSON CITY, Nev. – A new Nevada state law will soon allow people convicted of certain crimes to seal their records much earlier, offering a better chance to get their lives back on track after completing their sentence.

Assembly Bill 327, signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval this week, halves the time people have to wait to seal a misdemeanor record, from two years down to one - but only if the person has maintained a spotless record in the interim.

Attorney Rita Greggio with Nevada Legal Services says the move will help people get jobs and places to live for themselves and their families.

"And of course, this is incredibly important for people who are looking for work, as many, many companies nowadays run background checks," she says. "And people with even minor misdemeanor records have an incredibly hard time finding employment."

The law also drops the wait time to seal records - from 15 years down to five - for certain 'Category B' felonies, including assault, identity theft and some drug crimes. Category B felonies typically carry sentences of one to 20 years.

Greggio says the records for some types of crimes can never be sealed, such as a DUI with grave bodily injury and certain sex crimes. But she says most of her clients have been prosecuted for relatively minor offenses.

"The bulk of what we see are small, misdemeanor petty crimes, possession of drug paraphernalia, things like that," she adds. "Those are very commonly and very easily sealed."

The law goes into effect on October 1, so Greggio says now's the time to consult an attorney.

Nevada Legal Services has a grant from AmeriCorps to provide free legal help in these types of cases. More information is online at NevadaLawHelp.org.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV