What are Nevada DUI laws?
A person commits the violation of driving under the influence if he or she is driving or is found to be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while one’s faculties are impaired or has a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above .08. Even if the driver is not impaired and is driving safely, it is still illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08 or above or with too much of certain drugs in his/her blood stream.
Nevada grades DUI offenses by the number of the offender’s prior convictions in the past seven years. If you have been convicted of two DUI offenses in the past seven years, a third violation exposes you to a felony DUI charge. Regardless of whether your previous conviction arose outside of Nevada, DUI convictions in another state or country will count against you if the conviction resulted from conduct that would constitute a DUI offense under Nevada law.
A DUI can also be charged as a felony if serious bodily injury or death results.
What does getting a DUI in Nevada mean?
It is a crime in Nevada for someone to have actual physical control over a motor vehicle under either of the following conditions:
• one’s driving is impaired by alcohol or drugs;
• one’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08; or
• one’s blood contains more than the maximum amount allowed of various illegal or prescription drugs
How will my DUI Attorney defend my DUI case in Nevada?
The best way to fight allegations of a DUI offense depends upon the unique facts of the case presented. This requires a detailed examination of the circumstances giving rise to the charges including the initial purpose of the stop, the confrontation and interaction between the driver and police, circumstances surrounding the arrest, the manner and timing in which the BAC was determined, and whether there were any witnesses to the individual driving.
What are the penalties to which I am exposed for a Nevada DUI?
DUI penalties in Nevada vary depending upon the severity of the DUI offense. Nevada utilizes a minimum-maximum penalty system for the primary DUI penalties. DUI penalties range from jail time to intervention counseling classes.
Mandatory and potential DUI penalties include: prison time (for felony DUI cases), jail time, house arrest, fines, online “DUI School,” victim impact panels, counseling, alcohol monitoring (breath ignition interlock devices, S.C.R.A.M. bracelets/anklets (“Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring”), in-home alcohol monitoring systems and random alcohol testing through the Courts), DUI Coroner’s Program, “Level II” traffic school, community service, administrative fees, victim fund assessments, loss of driving privileges, restitution and “stay out of trouble” terms.
What are the penalties for a first time DUI offense in Nevada?
A first time DUI with no death or serious injuries is a misdemeanor. Nevada first time DUI penalties can include:
• up to 6 months in jail, but the court typically imposes a suspended jail sentence so the defendant is not required to do jail time unless he/she violates a court order
• community service
• up to $1,000 in fines plus court costs (the court typically fines $585)
• DUI School (an alcohol awareness program at the driver’s expense)
• Victim Impact Panel attendance
• An order to “stay out of trouble,” meaning no new arrests or citations other than minor traffic tickets
• If the defendant’s BAC was 0.16 or greater, the judge will also order an alcohol/drug dependency evaluation potentially requiring participation in an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program, as well as the installation of a breath interlock device on the defendant’s car for up to 3 years
Note that the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles will also impose a three-month suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license. However after forty-five days the DMV usually allows drivers to receive a restricted license allowing commuting to and from work as well as other necessities.
What if I receive a DUI and am under 21 years old?
It is illegal for persons under 21 years of age to drive in Nevada with a BAC of .02 or higher. Doing so subjects one to criminal prosecution, driver’s license suspension, and possibly suspension from school.
What is the legal Blood Alcohol Level in Nevada?
Adults may operate a car in Nevada with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of less than .08 as long as they are not otherwise impaired. However, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with a BAC that exceeds .02 – regardless of any impairment.
Nevada has a “zero tolerance” policy for drivers under 21 years old. The NHP or local police will arrest any person under twenty-one for DUI for having a BAC of at least .02 even in the absence of any signs of impaired driving.
If I receive a DUI and am underage will I be prosecuted in Criminal Court or Juvenile Court?
Children under 18 who are arrested for misdemeanor-level DUI are usually prosecuted in Las Vegas Juvenile Court. Meanwhile, children under 18 arrested for a felony-level DUI in Nevada may be certified as an adult and prosecuted in Las Vegas adult criminal court, where the typical range of DUI punishment would apply. Finally, persons over the age of 18 who are arrested for DUI are charged in Las Vegas adult criminal court.
How long will my Nevada DUI case take?
It can take anywhere between several months to one year or more from date of arrest until trial. However, if you are convicted or plead guilty to the offense (or a lesser offense) then your Las Vegas DUI case can remain open for an additional period of time in order to complete the sentencing conditions imposed by the Court.
How will a Las Vegas DUI affect my driver’s license?
When you are arrested for a DUI, two separate proceedings may be initiated against you: (1) a criminal case; and (2) an administrative “DMV” case impacting upon your driving privileges. Usually, a DMV hearing will take place in advance of a criminal trial.
A DUI arrest coupled with a finding of BAC level of 0.08 or higher (or a proscribed level of a statutorily prohibited substance) will automatically result in your Nevada driving privileges being revoked. Quickly contacting a well-experienced DUI attorney, will enhance your chances of being able to continue driving pending the scheduling of a DMV hearing in order to challenge the revocation of your Nevada driver’s license. Be aware, even if the DMV hearing ends in your favor, there is still a chance that your license may be revoked depending upon the outcome of the criminal case. That is why it is vitally important to call a reliable and competent DUI attorney to assist you in successfully navigating through the proceedings.
What if I need to drive for work, child care, grocery shopping etc.?
A Las Vegas DUI arrest can result in an automatic license revocation. If neither you nor your DUI lawyer requests a DMV hearing or makes any other request to the DMV, the revocation will run for the length of time of any applicable revocation period. However, if your DUI lawyer requests a DMV hearing, your license revocation may be temporarily postponed or “stayed” pending conclusion of the hearing. If your DMV challenge is unsuccessful, you can still apply for a “restricted” or “hardship” license for work and other life necessities (after one-half of your applicable revocation period has expired).
What should I do if I am not a Nevada resident?
Even if you are not a Nevada resident, it is still vitally important to immediately address any criminal charges at the outset. A DUI is a serious offense and will not go away even if you leave the state of Nevada. It is in your best interest to immediately retain a Nevada DUI lawyer to protect your rights and represent your legal interests.