The penalties for driving under the influence in Nevada are severe, and include incarceration, fines, license suspension, community service, and alcohol or substance abuse classes. After an arrest for DUI, the accused will face two proceedings: one for the criminal offense, and another for revocation of their driving privileges.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, it is imperative to contact an attorney immediately, as the accused must request a hearing to retain their driving privileges or else your license will be revoked automatically. Criminal penalties for a first offense DUI in Nevada include between 2 days and six months in jail, fines between $400 and $1000, administrative court fees, mandatory attendance of the DUI “victim impact panel,” and mandatory attendance of DUI school. Additional penalties for a first offense DUI can include court-supervised drug or alcohol treatment programs, community service, and the installation of a breath interlock device on your car.
DUI is considered an “enhanceable offense,” which means that the penalty for additional convictions increases. A second-offense DUI in a seven year period carries a penalty of between 10 days to six months in jail, a fine from $750 to $1000 plus administrative court fees, as well as mandatory attendance of the “victim impact panel” and the DUI school. Additionally, a second DUI offense in a seven year period can result in a one year suspension of your driver’s license.
A DUI third or subsequent offense in seven years is a felony offense carrying up to six years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. A third offense DUI can result in suspension of your driver’s license for three years. Although the law technically requires a prison sentence, a criminal defense attorney can sometimes arrange for you to attend a court-supervised alcohol treatment program and obtain a reduction of your sentence.
If you already have a felony DUI conviction on your record, any further DUI charge in the state of Nevada will be charged under the “once a felon, always a felon” statute. A “once a felon, always a felon” DUI carries a mandatory prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $5,000.
There are a number of potential defenses available to someone accused of DUI in Nevada. In some instances, the police make a traffic stop on a vehicle for an unlawful reason. If the police did not have a legitimate reason to pull over the vehicle, their observations and any evidence they seize, including the driver’s statements, is not admissible against the defendant at trial. A skilled attorney can review the arrest reports and evidence in the case to forge a cross-examination capable of exposing the illegitimate nature of a traffic stop. If this is done, a dismissal may be achieved regardless of the outcome of field sobriety and chemical tests.
In some instances, when a lawful traffic stop and arrest is made, a blood or breath test reveals that the blood alcohol content (BAC) is only narrowly above the legal limit. When this occurs, the defense team can highlight the margin of error in the testing device and argue that the accused may very well have been under the legal limit at the time the vehicle was being driven. In some instances, the defense can also argue that, even if the blood alcohol content is above the “margin of error” of the testing device, at the time the vehicle was driven, the driver’s blood alcohol content was below the legal limit, but increased after his arrest. This can occur when a driver drinks alcohol just before driving, typically on a full stomach as when leaving a restaurant or bar, so that, at the time of driving, alcohol was in the driver’s stomach, but not yet in his bloodstream. This defense is available when the police delay getting a blood or breath sample until after 2 hours from the time of the traffic stop.
Occasionally, someone will be arrested for DUI after they have already exited their vehicle, such as when someone reports a suspicious driver and the driver parks and enters a home or a business. In these circumstances, the police may not investigate the driver until after he has already consumed several drinks at his destination. In this circumstance, the defense can argue that the driver was under the legal limit at the time that he was driving and that he became impaired after he parked his car.
The above defenses are just a few of many possibly available to someone accused of a DUI. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, it is important to secure a defense team as soon as possible to ensure that there is adequate time to investigate all possible defenses before appearing in court.
If you are accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs involving an accident where someone is killed or severely injured you may be charged with DUI Resulting in Death or Substantial Bodily Harm. DUI resulting in Death or Substantial Bodily Harm is a felony with a mandatory prison sentence of up to 20 years. If you are charged with a DUI where a collision involving another person occurred, it is particularly important that you contact an attorney immediately, as the prosecution may investigate the injuries of the other party and enhance your charge from a misdemeanor to a felony offense. This can sometimes occur when the injured party exaggerates the extent of their injuries in anticipation of a large settlement from you or your insurance company.
Additionally, in order to prove that someone is guilty of DUI resulting in death or substantial bodily harm, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alcohol or drugs caused the accident. Typically, if there is an accident involving death or substantial bodily harm and there is a driver who has been drinking or using drugs, the accident investigation will develop an automatic bias towards pointing blame at the driver. However, thousands of traffic accidents occur each day across the United States that have nothing to do with driver impairment. Therefore, even if a driver who is involved in an accident had consumed alcohol or drugs, it does not necessarily mean that alcohol or drugs caused the accident. Mechanical failure, negligence of another driver, jaywalking pedestrians, distraction from a passenger, and an obstructed view of road signs are just a few of common independent reasons for traffic accidents. Due to the fact that evidence such as tire marks, witnesses’ memories, and roadside video cameras will not be preserved indefinitely, if you are charged with DUI resulting in death or substantial bodily injury, it is imperative that you immediately secure a defense team to build your defense before it is too late.