How Can I Get a DUI Off My Record?
After being arrested or even convicted of a driving under the influence (DUI), one of the first questions a defendant may have is “Can I get this off my record?”.
No one wants that blemish showing a criminal conviction on his or her record for all future employers, landlords or other individuals to see. How can a DUI-related conviction in Nevada be taken permanently off someone’s record?
Expungement Versus Sealed Records
When it comes to having a criminal offense taken off of someone’s record, the term expungement normally comes up. Expungement refers to the legal process by which a person’s arrest or conviction can be permanently erased from his or her record. In the State of Nevada, no law exists that provides for actual expungements of criminal convictions, including DUIs.
That being said, the law does allow for records to be sealed after a certain length of time has passed for certain offenses.
Under Nevada law, a petition under Section 179.255 must be filed and must:
- Include a current and verified record of the person’s criminal history received from the county or city local law enforcement agency in which the person appeared in court;
- Include a list of any other agency, company, or official who has records of the arrest or proceedings leading to the dismissal or acquittal of the charges and to whom the order to seal records will be directed; and
- Include any information that identifies the records that need to be sealed.
The ability to seal records is completely within the court’s discretion. If the petition is granted, the court will order the person or agency listed in the petition and will notify them that the records need to be sealed.
Why Is It Important?
When someone has his or her records regarding a conviction for drunk or high driving sealed, that conviction will be hidden from all government databases that store criminal records.
Up until this point, all criminal convictions, these included, are public record. After they are sealed, the public can no longer see or access this information.
If a defendant worries that a conviction will hurt his or her chances of getting a future job or simply wants the conviction off his or her record, having the record sealed can prove to be helpful.
How Long Does the Defendant Need to Wait?
A defendant who was convicted of a misdemeanor DUI will need to wait seven (7) years after the case is closed before he or she can file a petition to get the record sealed. If the defendant was convicted once or twice of a DUI, this seven-year limit applies.
However, a defendant convicted of a felony DUI may not get the record sealed ever. Similarly, defendants may not be able to have their records sealed if they were convicted of three or more DUIs or a DUI that resulted in serious injury or death.
A defendant who was convicted of a misdemeanor reckless driving charge must wait one year until after the case ends to file to seal the records.
If the entire DUI case was dismissed, the defendant will not need to wait for a period of time at all before filing to have the record of the arrest sealed. It can happen as soon as the prosecutor drops the charges.
What Does “After a Case Ends” Mean?
It is important to note that the waiting time for getting records sealed begins after the criminal case ends, not after the arrest. Criminal cases can take months or even years following the arrest before they officially “end.” Usually if a conviction is issued, the “end” date signifies when terms of the sentencing are complete.
What to Expect
The process to get a DUI record sealed can be complicated and time-consuming. It is for this reason that an attorney is almost always recommended to complete the paperwork as it is detail-oriented and requires complete accuracy.
Even the smallest mistake can hold back the record from being sealed. If the court denies a record seal application after it is made, the applicant will have to wait at least two (2) years before making another bid to seal the records.
The process will normally take a couple of months as a lot of time is spent waiting on hearing back from government agencies, including the Nevada Criminal History Repository. The defendant will need to pay a series of fees, usually totaling to about $150, to get everything submitted properly for the request.
Contact Us Today!
If you have been arrested for a DUI while visiting Nevada, it is important you contact the Hill Firm today. We can meet with you to discuss your rights and all potential legal consequences from your arrest. Contact us today at 702-848-5000.