Can You Get a Las Vegas DUI Conviction Removed from Your Record?
A DUI conviction on your criminal record can cause serious problems in your life. Prospective employers, lenders, landlords, and others who run a background check may decide not to deal with you because of the conviction. In Nevada, you can get some criminal records sealed, which means they are not publicly available. The applicable laws and process are complex. When you want to seal your DUI record, getting help from a knowledgeable attorney is strongly recommended.
Sealing Criminal Records in Nevada
Unlike some states, Nevada does not have a process to expunge or remove criminal records. Instead, the state allows individuals with eligible convictions to request sealing of the record. Complex laws apply to the Nevada record sealing process. Each county, including Clark County, has its own specific requirements for sealing records.
A sealed record does not completely disappear, but it is not publicly available. You do not have to disclose the record if you are asked about convictions on employment and other applications. Certain civil rights are restored after a record is sealed, including the right to vote, hold office, and serve on a jury. The right to carry a firearm is not restored by sealing a record.
Nevada laws do allow access to sealed records by certain government agencies and officials under specific circumstances. So, sealing a record does not completely erase all evidence of the conviction.
To learn more about the benefits of sealing a record, please read our previous blog post, Benefits of Sealing a Criminal Record in Nevada.
Records Eligible for Sealing
Many criminal record entries are eligible for sealing after a statutory waiting period, or immediately if a case is dismissed. However, there are some convictions that cannot ever be sealed. They include a felony DUI conviction, sexual assault, and a crime against a child.
The statutory waiting period for sealing eligible convictions varies, based on the nature and category of an offense. The waiting period for sealing a record ranges from one (1) year to ten (10) years, depending on the offense.
Several years ago, Nevada shortened many of the waiting periods to make it easier to seal criminal records. The revisions also create a presumption in favor of sealing a record when all requirements are met and the defendant was honorably discharged from probation. A person with a dishonorable discharge from probation may still request sealing of the record, but no presumption applies. The changes in the law also created a new process for submitting a single request for sealing records in multiple Nevada jurisdictions.
Sealing DUI Records
DUI convictions for a first offense or second offense may be sealed seven (7) years after the case ends. In cases where a DUI charge is reduced to a reckless driving charge, the record may be eligible for sealing one (1) year after the end of the case. However, felony DUI convictions are never eligible for sealing. Those convictions include third offense DUI and DUI causing injury or death.
The fact that the category of a DUI offense affects eligibility for sealing a record is an important reason for having representation by a DUI defense lawyer when you face any DUI charge. If your lawyer can successfully defend against a charge, it may make the difference between being able to seal the record and having the conviction on your record for the rest of your life — or having no conviction on your record at all if the case ends in dismissal. In the event of a dismissal, you can petition to have the record of the arrest sealed immediately. There is no statutory waiting period for sealing records of dismissed charges.
If your DUI record is eligible for sealing, you should take the necessary steps to get the record sealed at the earliest possible time. Removing the conviction record from public background checks provides substantial benefits. Potential employers, financial institutions, and others who run a background check will not know about your record, so the conviction cannot adversely affect those aspects of your life.
Process for Sealing Nevada Criminal Records
When a record is eligible for sealing, you must follow a specific process to accomplish the sealing. Numerous state laws apply. The process varies in individual counties. It is always tedious and complicated, with specific forms and steps. The process normally takes a few months, if everything goes smoothly.
While you are not required to have a lawyer help with the record sealing process, it is in your best interest to get legal help. If you make mistakes or don’t follow the process correctly, the court may deny the petition, which could jeopardize your ability to get the record sealed at all or at least cause a two-year delay before you can file another petition.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney About Sealing Criminal Records in Clark County
Criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten has extensive experience assisting clients with sealing Nevada and Clark County criminal records. He also represents Las Vegas residents and visitors in all types of criminal charges in state and federal courts. To discuss getting a record sealed or ask questions about sealing criminal records in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, contact Attorney Gersten to schedule a free consultation.