Whether you live in Nevada or another state, a Las Vegas DUI conviction record — or even an arrest — can make your life difficult. Criminal records are public and available to anyone throughout the U.S. who does a background check. Your record can adversely affect your employment and housing opportunities, credit and loan applications, and school applications, among other important aspects of your daily life.
The good news is that Nevada law allows you to get your Las Vegas DUI record sealed in some cases. Experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten helps clients with all aspects of record sealing in Clark County. Here are his answers to five questions commonly asked by clients interested in sealing their DUI and other records.
While some states have a process for expunging (removing) criminal records, the State of Nevada does not have an expungement process. Instead, the state has a process for sealing criminal records.
Not all records are eligible for sealing, but many are. There are specific requirements and procedures for sealing a criminal record in Nevada.
Some — but not all — DUI records are eligible for sealing. However, even conviction records that are eligible have a waiting period before you can request sealing of the record.
If you were arrested for a DUI and the prosecutor dismissed the charge, you can petition immediately to seal the record. Some people think this happens automatically, but it does not. You need to petition the court where the charges were filed to seal your arrest record.
If your lawyer reached a plea agreement for you to plead guilty to misdemeanor reckless driving, you may petition to seal the record of your DUI arrest one (1) year after the case ends.
For a conviction on your first or second misdemeanor DUI charge, you must wait seven (7) years after the case ends to request sealing of the record.
The record of a felony DUI conviction is not eligible for sealing at any time. That includes a third DUI offense and a DUI causing serious injury or death.
All time calculations begin after all sentencing requirements or conditions are completed. The waiting period does not being until the case has fully ended.
If the court grants your petition to seal your DUI record, it no longer is publicly available. The effect is as if the conviction (or arrest) never occurred. You may say even under oath that you do not have a DUI record (or a criminal record, as long as you have no other arrests or convictions).
In addition, sealing your record restores your civil rights, including the right to vote, hold office, and serve on a jury. The right to own and possess guns is not restored.
While the record is no longer public, it is still available to certain law enforcement agencies, like the Nevada Gaming Control Board, who can inspect the record if you apply for a gaming license. Prosecutors can petition the court to inspect the record in specific circumstances.
Each Nevada county establishes its own process for sealing criminal records. In Clark County, the Las Vegas Justice Court and Eighth Judicial District (Clark County) have one process. Municipal courts use a different process.
For petitions to seal records of DUI convictions, the process involves initially submitting the request to the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. If the DA’s Office approves the request, the petitioner is responsible for submitting it to the clerk of the appropriate court. If the court approves the petition, following specific procedures completes the record sealing process.
The Nevada laws governing sealing of criminal records are detailed and complex. While it is possible for an individual to navigate the process without help from an experienced attorney, doing so has a significant risk.
Even a small omission or mistake in your petition may result in denial of your petition. If the court denies the petition, you must wait two (2) years to petition for a rehearing. The law permits only two rehearings on a petition to seal a record.
The best way to petition for sealing your record is to consult with an attorney experienced in Las Vegas record sealing. Typically, the process takes several months. If you try to navigate the process on your own and make mistakes, it can take a lot longer — and you can lose the ability to get your record sealed quickly (or at all).
It is always a good idea to pursue having your record sealed as soon as the waiting time is up and you are eligible to file the petition. Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten assists clients with DUI charges and has extensive experience in getting criminal records sealed. If you would like to explore your options or have questions regarding sealing Nevada criminal records in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Clark County, contact Attorney Gersten to schedule a free consultation.