How long will a DUI stay on my record? If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state of Nevada, you are probably already aware that a conviction can come with very serious consequences – but you may be less sure of exactly what the terms of those consequences are going to be.
You are definitely not alone. Many people, particularly those who are facing their first offense or who may have been arrested for driving under the influence in Nevada but who don’t actually live in the state, find the experience of navigating our DUI laws to be a complicated and intimidating process. For this reason, we thought it might be helpful to address some of the questions that we hear the most often from those either facing charges or following a conviction for a DUI in Nevada.
Will a DUI Go On My Criminal Record?
If you are arrested and convicted of a DUI, then yes – it will be reflected on your criminal record. There is a common misconception that if your DUI charges are dismissed in court that your record will not reflect this, but that is actually not the case. If you are arrested for a DUI, that arrest will still appear on your record whether the charges are dropped or not. Because your criminal record is public information, even just an arrest on your record can be detrimental when you find yourself in a situation which will require a background check. A few common examples of this may include applying for a job, a professional license, admission to college, or renting an apartment.
How Long Will a DUI Stay On My Record?
This varies from state to state, but in Nevada, the factors that will determine the length of time that a DUI has to stay on your criminal or arrest record include the following:
- Were your charges reduced from a DUI to reckless driving or dismissed altogether?
- If convicted, was your crime classified as a misdemeanor or a felony?
- Was this your first offense? If not, was this a second or subsequent offense occurring within the seven years following your first offense?
For a standard, first time, misdemeanor DUI conviction in Nevada, your criminal record will reflect your arrest and conviction for at least seven years after the case is officially closed. Your DUI will remain on your criminal record unless you actively petition to have it sealed.
Can I Have My DUI Record Sealed / Exponged in Nevada?
This is something that many people find to be a little confusing, and for good reason. Though many states do offer this, technically speaking, Nevada does not expunge criminal records. Expunging refers to having a conviction dismissed and cleared completely from your record, which also includes the erasing of both the physical and digital record of that conviction. While Nevada does not offer a way to completely expunge your record, there is still a similarly beneficial option in the form of having your record sealed.
You can petition to have your DUI record sealed after the statute of limitations associated with your charge has passed. Having your record sealed serves the same basic purpose as having it expunged – meaning that the crime you were charged or convicted of will no longer be visible when someone runs a background check on you. Having your DUI record sealed also affords you the right to legally claim that you have not been arrested for or convicted of a DUI, though this obviously only applies if you have not been arrested or charged with any subsequent DUIs following your first offense. It is also important to know that while your DUI record will no longer be accessible to the general public, it may still be made available under relevant conditions to government and law enforcement agencies.
When and How Can I Have My Record Sealed Following a DUI Charge or Conviction?
The length of time you will have to wait before you can petition to have the record of your DUI sealed depends on the specifics of your case:
- Dismissal of Charge – If your charges are dismissed by the court, there is no waiting period and you may petition to have your record sealed immediately.
- Charge Reduced to Misdemeanor Reckless Driving – If a plea bargain results in your charge being reduced, you may petition to seal your record one year after the case is officially closed.
- Misdemeanor DUI – Petition to seal your record can be submitted 7 years after the case is officially closed.
- Felony DUI – If you are convicted of a felony DUI, you cannot have your record sealed.
If you have any questions or are in need of assistance in having your own DUI record sealed, we encourage you to contact our office today. The benefits of having your DUI record sealed are significant, but this is not something that happens automatically. The application process is complicated and may involve months of waiting, even in ideal conditions. The best way to avoid making the kind of mistakes that can result in a denial of your application – which can set you back another two years before you can reapply – is to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney who understands the process.