Can a Domestic Violence Conviction Be Sealed?
No one wants a conviction on his or her record for long. In the case of domestic violence, that sentiment is even more so.
In many situations, after some time has passed since someone has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, his or her conviction can be sealed.
When Can a Domestic Violence Conviction Be Sealed and What Does That Mean?
A domestic violence misdemeanor conviction can normally be sealed after seven years from the date the case was officially closed.
For those with a domestic violence felony on their records, the waiting period is ten years.
After that period of time has passed, to have the record sealed, the individual needs to go into court to acquire a court order for the record to be sealed.
What this means is after the record is “sealed,” the court order will demand that all reporting agencies officially remove that misdemeanor conviction from the individual’s record. For purposes of records, it is as if the person’s conviction never occurred if someone tried to find it later.
How Does a Domestic Violence Conviction Get on Someone’s Record?
Simply being arrested for battery that involves domestic violence in the State of Nevada means the arrest will automatically go on that person’s records.
The arrest will go on the individual’s record even if he or she is never charged for the incident or if the charges are later dismissed. If the person is then later convicted of that charge, a record of conviction will also go on the person’s record.
The only process that will take the arrest and/or conviction off the record is the sealing process.
Why Is It Important?
Criminal records are public record, which means a basic Internet search can pull the up.
Many employers will do these searches or background checks before choosing to hire someone. Having this conviction on a record can seriously hurt an individual’s chances at getting hired.
Further, it can be important to many people who wish to leave a bad mistake in the past behind them and having this erased from that person’s record can be a huge step in that direction. Note that having the record sealed is not the same as having a charge expunged from someone’s record, however.
Understanding the Timeline for Sealing
It can vary depending on the circumstances as to how and when someone can have his or her record sealed.
If the person was arrested for battery domestic violence but charges were never brought, the record sealing process can begin one year after the date of the arrest. If charges are brought but later dropped, the individual can begin the sealing process immediately.
Otherwise, if someone is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, he or she has seven years after the case has closed to begin. If the person was convicted of a category B or C felony domestic violence, the timeline is ten years.
However, if the defendant has an extensive criminal record, including charges brought after the incident for which the sealing process is being sought, he or she may not be eligible.
What Is the Process?
Because the process can be lengthy and complicated, it helps to have an attorney educated in DUI law assist in preparing the forms and handling the case.
The first step the individual needs to do is to get a printout of his or her police record. This is called a “SCOPE” and comes from the police agency where the individual was arrested. A fee may come along with this request.
After the record is obtained, the individual will need to file a petition for record seal, attaching the police record, sent to the prosecutor’s office where the charges were brought. A fee will accompany this, as well. Unless the person is ineligible for sealing the records, the prosecutor will rarely contest it.
Next, the petition will need to be submitted to the court where the case was heard. Again, this will also require a fee to file the petition. If the judge grants the petition, the order to seal the criminal record will be sent to all reporting agencies in Nevada that have a record of the conviction, including police stations and the Nevada criminal history repository.
Where it helps to have an attorney assist is in the details that are required in the petition. Prosecutors may deny them if the petitioner has made a minor procedural mistake, even if the merits of the petition are perfectly fine.
To avoid this hassle and ensure the process goes smoothly, it helps to have an attorney prepare and handle the case.
Contact Us Today
If you are interested in learning more about whether your domestic violence misdemeanor record can be sealed, let Dan and his team go to work for you. Call 24/7 to schedule a free consultation: (702) 848-5000