A person acquires a criminal record in Nevada after they are first arrested for a misdemeanor or felony charge in the state. From then on, their criminal record will be updated with each subsequent arrest, and with the dispositions that follow.
Unlike in many other states, a person may only request a copy of their own criminal record in Nevada, not the record of another person. What’s more, there is a lengthy, somewhat complicated process for obtaining one’s own criminal record in the state, and there is no public database of Nevada criminal history information accessible to the general public.
What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is an official document detailing a person’s criminal convictions, pending criminal cases, prior arrests, and other interactions with law enforcement agencies. Additional names for a criminal record include criminal history record, rap sheet, and a police record.
As with marriage records and court records, criminal records are generally public records in the United States and can be accessed through a criminal background check. However, public access to specific criminal record information varies from state to state.
The State of Nevada Criminal History Repository is maintained by the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Records, Communications and Compliance Division.
What is included in a Nevada criminal record?
As criminal records are kept by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the United States, a Nevada criminal record may vary in format and content depending on the law enforcement database from which it is accessed.
Generally, a Nevada criminal record will include the following information:
- A person’s full name and possible aliases
- Personal information such as age, date of birth, sex, ethnicity, height, weight, and other physical characteristics
- Fingerprints and mugshot
- Misdemeanor criminal offenses and convictions
- Felony criminal offenses and convictions
- Past and outstanding arrest warrants
- Pending and dismissed charges
A Nevada criminal record does not include:
- Misdemeanor traffic violations
- Intelligence or investigative information
- Juvenile criminal information
Why would someone access a criminal record?
There are many reasons to access a criminal record.
- Most commonly, people search criminal records as a way to run a background check on a particular person.
- They’re also used by law enforcement to identify or locate people involved in unsolved crimes or by the court system to determine an appropriate sentence after a conviction.
- An individual may want to access his or her own record as well. It’s not uncommon for people to request their own criminal records to see what information is public.
- In some cases, a record could be inaccurate or include outdated information. If that’s the case, it’s important to have the record corrected.
What’s the difference between an infraction, misdemeanor, and felony?
Arrests and convictions listed on a criminal record are separated into three categories: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.
To give a better understanding of the information listed on a criminal record, here’s a quick overview of each category of offense:
- Infraction – An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is regulated at the state level. Punishment for an infraction is usually just a fine or a written warning, rather than a jail or prison sentence. Examples of infractions include minor traffic violations, public nuisance offenses, and littering.
- Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction, yet less serious than a felony. Generally, a misdemeanor punishable by a term of imprisonment of less than a year, or by a term of probation. An individual convicted of a misdemeanor is more likely to serve time in a county or local jail than in a federal or state prison. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, most drug abuse violations, and petty theft.
- Felony – A felony is the most severe type of crime, often characterized by the use of a weapon during a crime, serious injury to a victim, and/or holding a person against their will. Felony convictions typically result in a term of imprisonment of more than one year in a state or federal prison. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, and grand theft.
What is the difference between a Nevada arrest record and a Nevada criminal record?
While an arrest record is an official document including the details of a specific arrest, a criminal record is a more comprehensive document that includes a person’s entire criminal background known to law enforcement agencies.
How do I search for a Nevada criminal record?
Nevada only allows individuals to request a copy of their own criminal record and not the criminal record of another person. A criminal record must be requested by mail or in-person at the Department of Public Safety main office, as there is no searchable online database for criminal history information. Currently, mailing in the request is preferred due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Follow these steps to request a copy of a Nevada Criminal History Record Information:
- Complete an Identification File Request for Nevada Records of Criminal History Form.
- Visit the office of a local law enforcement agency and request an official fingerprint card (FD-258). Have your fingerprints taken on the card by a certified fingerprint technician and fill out the rest of the card with your personal and contact information. Copies of the official fingerprint card are not accepted.
- Prepare a check or money order for $27 made out to the “Nevada Department of Public Safety” in order to pay the required fee.
- Staple together the request form, fingerprint card, and form of payment.
- Mail the request, fingerprint card, and payment in an enclosed envelope to:
Department of Public Safety
Records, Communications and Compliance Division
333 West Nye Lane Suite 100
Carson City, Nevada 89706
A response may take up to 45 days. An individual will either receive a State Positive Record Response and a copy of their Nevada criminal record, or a State Negative Record Response indicating that the person has no Nevada criminal record on file.
How do I obtain a physical copy of a Nevada criminal record?
If you have a Nevada criminal record, a physical copy will be mailed to you following your request to the Nevada Criminal History Repository.
Why can’t I access a Nevada criminal record?
The Nevada criminal records of other persons are inaccessible to members of the general public. If your request for a copy of your own criminal record yields a negative response, it means that no record exists on file, or that it has been sealed or expunged.
How do I search for Nevada criminal case court records?
The Supreme Court of Nevada and the Nevada Court of Appeals offer a Find a Case search tool that the general public can use to look up cases by case number or participant.
If a specific court record cannot be found with this method, use the Find a Court tool provided by the Nevada Judiciary in order to find the contact information of the Nevada county or district court where the case was processed. Then, contact the court’s clerk of court and make a request to view the court record you are looking for.
Does Nevada allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged?
By Nevada statute, a person is eligible to request that their criminal record–or a section of their criminal record–be sealed by court order in the state. The process of filing a petition to have a criminal conviction may take up to 2-4 months, and if the petition is successful, it will be as if the criminal action never occurred and all previous rights will be restored to the individual.
Sealing of records is not the same as expungement, which means that the records are destroyed. Sealing means that the records will be removed from general information sources.
Visit this NV.gov page on sealing criminal history records to learn who is eligible or the process and how to file a petition to have a criminal record sealed in Nevada.
How can I have false information on a Nevada criminal record corrected?
The subject of a Nevada criminal record may challenge the accuracy of their own record if they believe certain information to be inaccurate.
In order to challenge the accuracy of a Nevada criminal record a person must:
- Complete a Request for Challenge form.
- Complete a Statement of Inaccuracy indicating which information is inaccurate. The Statement should include the arrest date, case number, charges, the responsible law enforcement agency, and other details.
- Obtain a fingerprint card FD-258 and have fingerprints taken on the card for proof of identity.
- Mail the form, statement, fingerprint card, and any supporting information strengthening the case to:
Nevada Department of Public Safety
Records, Communications, and Compliance
Criminal Records Unit
333 West Nye Lane Suite 100
Carson City, Nevada 89706
Allow 90 days for the request to be processed. If there are any questions or concerns about the challenge, contact the Criminal Records Unit at (775) 687-0196, or email [email protected].
How long are Nevada criminal records kept on file?
Nevada criminal records are kept on file indefinitely by the Nevada Criminal History Repository unless a successful petition to seal a criminal record is made.