Nevada allows records of DUI convictions to be sealed 7 years after the case ends for 1st offense DUI and 2nd offense DUI. But criminal records may never be sealed for felony DUI convictions, which include 3rd offense DUI and DUI causing injury or death.
DUI charges that get reduced to reckless driving may be sealed only 1 year after the case ends. And if the charge gets dismissed, then the DUI record may be sealed right away.
Having a criminal record with a charge for driving under the influence looks bad to potential employers. Even if the drunk or drugged driving charge gets dropped, the arrest still shows up in background checks. So defendants should seek legal counsel to try to get their DUI criminal records sealed as soon as possible.
In this article, our Las Vegas DUI defense lawyers discuss:
- 1. What is a DUI record seal in NV?
- 2. When can a conviction be sealed?
- 3. When can a dismissal be sealed?
- 4. When can a reckless driving case be sealed?
- 5. What is the record sealing process?
- 6. Are all record seal applications accepted?
- 7. How long does record sealing take?
- 8. Why should I get a record seal?
- 9. Who can see sealed records?
- 10. Is sealing the same as expungement?
Criminal records including convictions for driving under the influence are public information in Nevada. But when a state court "seals" a person's conviction for driving drunk or high, the record of that conviction gets hidden from all the government databases that store criminal records. Therefore, the general public can no longer see or access the DUI conviction information.
The main reason why defendants pursue record seals is to get a clean background check. Potential employers are more likely to consider applicants who do not have past criminal offenses on their record.
Defendants convicted of misdemeanor DUI need to wait seven (7) years after the case is closed before they may petition the court to get the record sealed. By contrast, defendants convicted of felony DUI may not get the record sealed at all.1
The table below illustrates the wait times for sealing DUI-related charges in Nevada:
|DUI offense in Nevada||Record seal wait time|
May never be sealed
7 years after the case ends
Misdemeanor Reckless Driving
1 year after the case ends
Dismissal of the entire DUI case
No wait time
Note that the waiting time to get a record seal starts when the criminal case ends, not after the arrest. A typical misdemeanor drunk driving case may be ongoing for several months or a year following the arrest. Henderson criminal defense attorney Michael Becker gives an example:
Example: Chuck gets arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana on January 1, 2010. He ultimately pleads guilty. On January 1, 2011, the judge closes the case after Chuck provides proof he completed all the sentencing terms. Therefore, Chuck can pursue a record seal starting January 1, 2018--seven years after the case ended.
For more information, see our article, How long does a DUI stay on your record in Nevada?
If the prosecutor drops the DUI charges -- and therefore the defendant never gets convicted -- the defendant may petition to get the arrest record sealed immediately. There is no wait.2
If a DUI defendant pleads to the Nevada crime of misdemeanor reckless driving as part of a plea bargain, he/she then has to wait only one (1) years after the case is closed to pursue a record seal.3 Moapa criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse explains:
Example: In 2011, Diana was arrested by the Henderson Police for driving under the influence of prescription drugs and is booked at the Henderson Detention Center. Diana's attorney then worked out a plea bargain whereby the DUI charges were reduced to reckless driving.
In 2012, the judge closed the case after Diana successfully completed all the sentence terms. Diana should have been able to get the record sealed one year later in 2013. Had she not gotten the DUI charges reduced to reckless driving, she would instead have to wait seven years until 2019.
It is time-consuming, complicated, and tedious, which is why it is recommended that defendants retain experienced counsel to handle all the paperwork. Otherwise, it is easy to make little mistakes that could jeopardize ever getting the record sealed. Read the step-by-step details in our article how to seal criminal records in Nevada.
Usually yes, if the record seal application is done correctly. If the court denies a record seal application, applicants have to wait another two (2) years before making a final bid to seal the record.4
Several months. Most of it is simply waiting to hear back from government agencies such as the Nevada Criminal History Repository.
The main benefit is that sealed records no longer appear on background checks. Therefore, prospective employers, landlords and creditors will not know about it. And people who have had their record sealed may legally say -- even under oath -- that they have never had a DUI.
Example: Allan got a conviction for driving under the influence of drugs in Las Vegas when he was younger but has since had the record sealed. His boss goes to him and says that he heard through a mutual friend that Allan once had a DUI. The boss then says that he does not want anybody with a DUI working for him. Since Allan had the record sealed, Allan can lawfully deny that he had a prior DUI.
Only under very limited circumstances. Certain agencies like the Nevada Gaming Control Board may access a person's sealed criminal record to determine his or her fitness to hold a gaming license. And prosecutors or other people involved in the DUI incident may petition the court to open the records to find information relevant to their case.5
It depends. The meaning of "expungement" varies state to state. In California for instance, an expungement updates a criminal record to show that probation is completed and the charge is dismissed.6
Nevada law never uses the word "expungement," only "sealing." But whether a criminal record is technically sealed or expunged, it can only improve the defendant's employment prospects in the future.
Accused of drunk driving? Call a lawyer for help ...
If you are facing a conviction of driving under the influence in Nevada, it is important to have your criminal records sealed as soon as possible. Phone our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation. We will take care of all the procedures and paperwork so that the DUI will not show up on your background check.
We represent clients throughout Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Washoe County, Reno, Carson City, Laughlin, Mesquite, Bunkerville, Moapa, Elko, Pahrump, Searchlight and Tonopah.
Arrested in California? Read our article on how to expunge California DUI records.
Arrested in Colorado? Read our article on how to seal Colorado criminal records.
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.255.
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.265.
- NRS 179.295; NRS 179.301.
- Penal Code 1203.4 PC.