Record Sealing vs. Expungements: What Is Best For You?

Written by: The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata

In a world where background checks are routine for many aspects of life, from job applications to housing rentals, having a criminal record can significantly impact one's opportunities and quality of life. 

If you or a loved one is grappling with the consequences of a past conviction, understanding the differences between record sealing and expungements can be pivotal in moving forward with your life. 

Understanding the Differences Between Record Sealing & Expungements

Navigating the legal landscape surrounding criminal records can be daunting, especially when considering options like record sealing and expungements. At The Law Firm of Garrett T. Ogata, we believe in empowering you with knowledge and understanding so you can make informed decisions about your future.


Expungement refers to the process of erasing or removing a criminal conviction from one's record. Once expunged, the conviction is treated as if it never occurred, offering a fresh start for individuals who have completed their sentence and demonstrated rehabilitation.

Record Sealing

Record sealing, on the other hand, involves restricting access to a criminal record rather than completely erasing it. Sealed records are typically only accessible to law enforcement or under specific circumstances, such as court orders.

What Does it Mean To Seal Your Record?

Sealing a criminal record provides a layer of protection by making it inaccessible to the general public. This can be crucial for individuals seeking employment, housing, or educational opportunities, as it reduces the likelihood of discrimination based solely on past convictions.

The stigma that comes with past convictions can affect nearly every aspect of your life and make rehabilitation difficult. Record sealing and expungement can be life changing for those just trying to live their life without the shadow of their past looming over them. 

For the best chance at success, contact The Law Offices of Garrett Ogata today to speak with our legal team about your case. 

How To Seal Your Criminal Record

The procedures for sealing Nevada criminal history records vary from county to county. To petition a court to seal your criminal history record, you have to contact the court in the jurisdiction where the arrest occurred. To facilitate completing the court forms, you must obtain a copy of your Nevada criminal history record.

All of this can be done on your own, but you have a considerably better chance of success if you consult with an experienced attorney throughout this process. 

The process of sealing a criminal record generally involves the following steps:

  1. Determine eligibility: Not all convictions are eligible for record sealing. Consulting with a qualified attorney can help assess eligibility based on state laws and individual circumstances.
  2. Gather necessary documents: This may include court documents, proof of completion of sentence or probation, and any relevant certificates of rehabilitation or good conduct.
  3. File a petition: A formal petition must be filed with the appropriate court, detailing the reasons for seeking record sealing and providing supporting evidence.
  4. Attend a hearing: In some cases, a hearing may be required to review the petition and make a decision regarding record sealing.

What Crimes Can Be Sealed in Nevada?

In Nevada, the eligibility for sealing court records is based on specific time requirements. These time frames vary depending on the offense and are crucial to consider when petitioning to have a criminal record sealed.

For misdemeanors in Nevada, individuals can petition to have their record sealed after a certain period has passed following their release from custody or the completion of their sentence. 

Here is a breakdown of the time increments for different misdemeanor convictions:

  • Non-violent Misdemeanors: One year after release from incarceration or one year from the end of a suspended sentence
  • Misdemeanor Battery: Two years after release from incarceration or after the suspended sentence concludes
  • Misdemeanor Harassment: Two years after serving time
  • Misdemeanor Stalking: Two years after the sentence ends
  • Domestic Violence Battery: Seven years after release from incarceration or after the suspended sentence ends
  • Misdemeanor DUI: Seven years after completing the sentence

For felony convictions, the sealing eligibility timeline is also based on the severity of the offense:

  • Category E Felonies: Two years after release from incarceration or after probation/parole ends
  • Category B, C, and D Felonies: Five years after release from incarceration or after probation/parole ends
  • Category A Felonies: These serious convictions can be sealed ten years after release from incarceration, probation, or parole

Understanding these timeframes is crucial when considering the option of record sealing. Our team at The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata is here to provide expert guidance and support throughout the process, ensuring that our clients have the best chance of successfully sealing their criminal records and moving forward with confidence.

How Long Does It Take To Seal Your Record in Nevada?

The timeline for record sealing in Nevada can vary, but it typically takes several months from the initial filing of the petition to the court's decision. Working with an experienced attorney can help expedite the process and ensure all necessary steps are taken.

How To Request Record Sealing

Navigating the legal complexities of record sealing can be challenging, which is why seeking guidance from a knowledgeable attorney is highly recommended. A lawyer can help make sure your request is thorough and meets appropriate qualifications, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.

The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata

If you're considering record sealing in Nevada, Garrett T. Ogata & Associates is here to assist you. Our team of experienced attorneys have handled dozens of record sealing cases, offering you personalized guidance and advocacy every step of the way. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you seal your record and regain control of your future.

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