It’s never a laughing matter. A conviction for DUI (Chapter 484C) will do much more than simply subject you to fines and possibly land you in jail. It will also appear on your criminal record, a place where it will remain in perpetuity and come to light in future background checks. Even if the charges themselves are later dismissed, the DUI arrest itself will remain publicly accessible, affecting your job prospects, your credit rating, your life insurance premiums and possibly even your social life.
The state of Nevada does not erase such charges. If you play your cards right, though, you can have your criminal records sealed. This will hide your conviction from the government’s databases and consequently also from public view. However, the chance to apply will not arise immediately. The severity of your crime determines the length of your waiting period.
The Impact of Your Crime’s Severity
In the state of Nevada, a third DUI conviction within seven years as well as one that follows a prior DUI felony conviction will always count as a felony. The same is true of DUIs that result in death or serious injury. All others, however, count as misdemeanors, and for those who want to seal their records in a hurry, the distinction will make a difference.
The waiting period to file the petition to seal begins on the day you complete your sentence. In cases of misdemeanor DUI, it will last for seven years. People convicted of felony DUI, on the other hand, will have to wait 15 years before they can so much as think of filing.
It doesn’t always have to take that long. If you are able to have your charges reduced to reckless driving, your waiting period will last for two years only, and if you’re lucky enough to get your DUI charges dismissed entirely, there will be no interval whatsoever. You can file your petition immediately.
The Process of Sealing Your DUI Records
As anyone who has done it will readily attest, the process of having any DUI criminal record sealed is often tiresome, inefficient and full of twists and turns. It will normally take several months, most of which will consist of waiting for responses from government agencies.
The actual filing consists of numerous steps. You will have to:
- Request a current copy of your criminal record from the Nevada Criminal History Repository.
- Obtain and fill out all necessary forms.
- Submit three typewritten, signed and dated copies each of your stipulation; your petition and affidavit; your original order; and, if applicable, your judgment of conviction and discharge.
Be sure to specify the details and final disposition of each arrest in question. There is currently no restriction on the number of criminal records that can be sealed at any point in time. All must, however, meet the requirements, and those are always subject to change. A qualified attorney can advise you in this regard.
Fortunately, when handled correctly, most applications for record sealing will be successful. If you make a mistake, however, you’ll have to wait two more years before making another bid, and the second chance to do this will be your last.
Benefits of Having Your Records Sealed
Once you have succeeded in getting your records sealed, your DUI conviction will no longer show on any background check. Creditors, employers and landlords will have no way of finding out. If your conviction happened to be for felony DUI, you will also regain your rights to hold office, serve on a jury and vote. Best of all, you will now be legally able to tell the world that you have never been convicted of DUI, even if you’re testifying under oath.
Despite the advantages, however, there are a few circumstances under which the sealing of your DUI conviction will fail to protect you. That’s because in Nevada, a criminal record never goes entirely away. The CIA, the FBI, the Nevada Gaming Commission and the State Gaming Control Board will always have access, and this could adversely affect your ability to retain or acquire certain types of license. In addition, if the prosecutor or anyone else involved in your DUI incident should choose to seek additional information about the case, they can legally petition the courts to have the records opened.
Why You Need Legal Assistance
You get only two chances to have your criminal records sealed, and if the first time around misses the mark, you’ll need to wait two years before trying again. This makes it all the more important to get it right the first time. The smallest mistake could endanger your chances, and a failure could affect the rest of your life.
Considering the ramifications of having your petition denied, it pays to have the assistance of qualified criminal attorneys at your side. The lawyers at Weiner Law Group are familiar with the ins and outs of having your DUI records sealed, and we know how vital it is that this be done correctly. If you or someone close to you is in need of having DUI records sealed in Nevada, call Weiner Law today for a free consultation at 702-202-0500. We will take immediate steps to set the process in motion.