A DUI arrest can have a long-lasting impact on your life. It creates a stain on your record, which can show up whenever a prospective employer, loan provider or anyone else checks your criminal record. Although you cannot get the arrest off your record, you may be able to eventually get the DUI arrest and/or conviction sealed from public view.
At the Law Office of Joel M. Mann in Las Vegas, I dedicate a major portion of my practice to defending people charged with DUI. I am a member of the National College for DUI Defense and a former president of the Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice. I can help you with a DUI charge from start to finish.
A DUI Goes on Your Nevada Record Forever
A DUI conviction will go on your record. Convictions remain on file indefinitely with the court that handled the case and in state and local criminal history files. If you are sentenced for another DUI offense within 7 years, it will count against you and lead to harsher punishment.
Many people think that if they get a DUI charge dropped or obtain a not-guilty verdict, the whole matter will be removed from their record. This is not true. A DUI arrest will appear on your record regardless of whether the charges are dropped. Information about the most serious traffic violations on your record will be available to DMVs in all 50 states for 10 years after the conviction or reinstatement of your driver’s license.
Your Nevada driving record is also a public record, which many people or agencies (but not everyone) can look at. The release of Department of Motor Vehicles records to the public is governed by:
- Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 481.063
- Nevada Administrative Code 481.500-481.600
- The National Driver Privacy Protection Act (18 U.S.C. §§ 2721-2725).
Employers, banks and other lending institutions, school admissions offices, public housing officials, private landlords and others routinely obtain applicants’ criminal records. DUIs and most other violations are reported (in response to records requests) to insurance companies and employers for three years, as well. If your driver license is suspended or revoked, this will be reported until your driving privileges are reinstated. If your license is not reinstated, its revocation will remain on your record and be reported indefinitely.
You Can Seal Your Record
You may have heard that you can have a DUI removed, or “expunged,” from your record. Unfortunately, Nevada does not allow this relief. However, in some cases, NRS 179.245 allows a person to have his or her criminal record “sealed” after a certain amount of time.
Sealing your record means the contents pertaining to the conviction or arrest cannot be obtained through a standard background check. For legal purposes, it is considered to have never happened. Government agencies, including law enforcement agencies, may still access sealed information when it is relevant to their needs.
Once you are eligible, you may petition the courts to seal specific aspects of your criminal record, or information related to one conviction or arrest at a time. Eligibility for sealing a DUI record is as follows:
- First or second misdemeanor DUI — Seven years after the case is closed, meaning you have completed all aspects of any sentence / punishment.
- DUI reduced to reckless driving — One year after the case is closed.
- Dismissed DUI charge — Immediate eligibility.
- Felony DUI (third conviction or DUI leading to injury or death) — Never eligible for sealing.
Sealing Your DUI Record in Las Vegas
Obtaining a court order to seal criminal records in Nevada requires a lot of paperwork, including obtaining copies of all relevant records and signatures authorizing the request. The packet of information required to be submitted includes:
- Criminal history from the Nevada Criminal History Central Repository
- Current, verified copy of your criminal history (SCOPE printout) for the purpose of sealing records (SCOPE is the Shared Computer Operations for Protection and Enforcement system – an online records system used by local law enforcement agencies such as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
- Any additional records on microfiche or in other physical form
- Signed petition for the order to seal your records
- Signed order from a judge ordering records sealed
- Signed affidavit attesting to the authenticity of the above documents.
A Clark County (Las Vegas) District Attorney’s Office guide explains the necessary steps and documents, including specific requirements for:
- Wording of your petition and what information it must contain.
- The order in which documents should be presented when submitted
- Size and type of postage-paid, self-addressed envelope to submit to get your records back.
The DA’s guide also says, “You are encouraged to consult with private legal counsel.”
Petitions go first to the District Attorney for approval. If the DA approves the order to seal your records, you must then submit your packet to the Clerk of Court for a judge to sign. If the District Attorney denies your petition, your returned paperwork will include an explanation. You can either make the changes or corrections which the DA requests and resubmit it, or you can petition the court for a hearing before a judge. If you obtain a hearing, you must notify the DA’s office.
If your petition is denied, then under NRS 179.265, you must wait two years to petition for another hearing, or “rehearing.” The law also states: “No person may petition for more than two rehearings.”
Get Start-to-Finish Protection after a DUI Arrest
I can help if you have been arrested for DUI in Las Vegas, regardless of whether it happened last night or years ago. I am a veteran Clark County criminal defense attorney, and I can represent you if you are facing a new charge or if you need to have an old charge sealed. My goal is to keep a mistake from continuing to damage your life. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Joel M. Mann in Las Vegas today and talk directly with me about your case and your legal needs.