Public News Service
By Suzanne Potter
CARSON CITY, Nev. – An eviction or a criminal conviction can follow a person for decades, making it difficult to get housing or a job.
But two new state laws that just took effect aim to help Nevadans get a fresh start.
Assembly Bill 327 shortens the time people with a clean post-conviction record have to wait to get their records sealed.
The wait goes from two years down to one for most misdemeanors, and from 15 years to five for certain Class B felonies.
Attorney Christena Georgas-Burns with Nevada Legal Services says this allows people to find housing, get work and support themselves and their families again.
"Oftentimes, the people that are sealing their records have already taken major steps to improve their lives and have committed to being law-abiding citizens,” she states. “So, this is one of the final steps in solidifying their progress from whatever past mistakes they may have made."
Georgas-Burns explains the law does not apply to convictions for sex crimes or felony DUI, and prosecutors have the right to contest the record-sealing request.
Another new law, which began as Assembly Bill 107, makes it much easier to get eviction records sealed.
Many apartment complexes refuse to rent to anyone with an eviction in his or her past. And before the new law, an eviction case would remain on tenants' records even if they won or the landlord didn't show up in court.
Attorney Ron Sung, also with Nevada Legal Services, says Assembly Bill 107 orders the courts to automatically seal eviction records in those types of cases.
"Without AB 107, there was simply very little that they can do, other than beg the old landlord to do a legal document to take it off their eviction record," Sung explains.
The new law also allows tenants who were legally evicted to ask a judge to seal the record, based on special circumstances or on what they believe to be "good cause in the interest of justice."