Drug and alcohol-related driving charges are deemed serious crimes in just about every state in the nation, especially in Nevada. Being convicted of a DUI has an adverse affect on every aspect of an individual's life, including their chances of finding or keeping a job, their reputation, and their ability to commute and live freely. Laws that once granted motorists with a “slap on the wrist” in the past have consistently evolved into laws with severe penalties if violated. This article will reference DUI laws in Nevada, consequences for offenses, and the significance of the advocacy of a skilled and seasoned Las Vegas DUI Attorney when facing these charges.
DUI Laws in Nevada
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
The illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Nevada is:
- .04% for commercial drivers
- .02% for motorists under 21
- .08% for anyone else
Besides the enforcement of common DUI legislation (like driving with a BAC over the legal limit), there are several other regulations many motorists may not be aware of that could result in a conviction. The implied consent law along with the open container law are regulations that are heavily imposed by police, but may not be familiar to regular citizens.
Implied Consent Law
The violation of this law occurs when a motorist refuses to submit a BAC by request of a police officer. Drivers are not permitted to verbalize their consent in Nevada. If an individual decides to operate their vehicle while intoxicated, consent for testing is assumed or implied. Resistance to law enforcement immediately reinstates the use of reasonable force, if needed, and constitutes the arrest of the individual for resisting.
Open Container Law
Laws in Nevada prohibit citizens from driving a vehicle containing opened alcoholic beverages. Driving with an open container (and in some instances, walking with an open container) is a misdemeanor offense.
Penalties for a DUI in Nevada
There is a myriad of penalties one facing a DUI charge could potentially be pinned within the state of Nevada. Fortunately, stricter penalties are not enforced unless prior offenses have accrued. But an individual's time, finances and freedom will still be at stake whether he/she is considered a first time offender or has experienced a preceding conviction. For example, a mere accusation of driving under the influence demands a standard fee of $60 for chemical tests, which is just one of the many payments motorists may be obligated to pay if found guilty in a court of law. And as run-ins with law enforcement increase over time, the more harsh and expensive penalties and payments become. Just how severe sentences become is influenced by a number of elements, such as the jurisdiction one is under or the nature of the case.
Here is a list of the standard punishments (based on the accumulated number of offenses) a person may garner if convicted of a DUI:
First DUI offense
- Time spent in a jail ranging from two days to six months
- 96 hours of community service
- A fine of $400 t0 $1,000
- A revoked driver's license for 90 days along with a $35 civil penalty fee
- Mandatory DUI classes
- An order to attend a substance abuse class (if BAC was .18 or higher)
- A Nevada breath interlock device in vehicle for one to three years (if BAC was .18 or higher)
Second DUI offense (within seven years of the first incident)
- Time spent in jail from 10 days to six months
- Residential confinement from 10 days to six months
- A fine of $750 to $1,000
- Revoked driver's license for one year
- A suspension of vehicle registration
- Mandatory attendance in substance abuse treatment or clinical supervision for up to one year
- 100 to 200 days of community service
- A breath interlock device in vehicle for one to three years (if BAC was .18 or higher)
Third or more DUI offense (within seven years of initial incident)
- Imprisonment ranging from one to six years
- A suspension of vehicle registration
- A fine of $2,000 to $5,000
- Revoked driver's license for three years
- A breath interlock device in vehicle from one year to three years after release from prison
- A drug and alcohol evaluation
- Three-year suspension of driver's license
- A suspension of vehicle registration for five days along with a civil penalty of $35
Individuals Under 21
The federal government has implemented legislation forbidding citizens under the age of 21 from consuming alcohol altogether, and drugs that result in substantial impairment are most likely illegal for minor consumption. So, those apprehended on charges of a DUI will not be provided with lenient alternatives to repercussions like other offenses involving minors and young adults. If a person under the age of 21 is convicted, they too will be subjected to the penalties addressed above. In fact, since statistics reveal those under 21 actually cause more accidents than other age demographics, consequences may be even stricter.
Nevertheless, there may be exceptions regarding the circumstances in which the consumption of alcohol is lawful in Nevada. These exceptions are:
- Religious purposes (drinking wine for a ceremony or festival)
- Medical purposes
- A legal guardian consented to the consumption in a private location where alcohol is not sold or purchased
A DUI Causing Death or Serious Injury in Nevada
Whether an injury or death caused by an intoxicated driver is intentional or unintentional, the consequences of partaking in an accident involving either of these afflictions are dire. This offense is considered a class B felony in the state of Nevada, punishable by two to 20 years in prison with fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. Those who are found guilty of these allegations also get their driver's license revoked for three years. State law restricts the ability of the accused to receive a plea bargain - which would reduce this charge to a less serious offense - unless the evidence presented was not sufficient or solid enough to make a viable case.
Experienced Las Vegas DUI Attorneys
As the information stated in this piece reveals, penalties for anyone facing DUI charges in Nevada are incredibly strict. But the most unsettling part of a drunk driving conviction are the repercussions you will encounter after an incident. With a DUI on your record, vehicle insurance premiums will skyrocket and potential job prospects will be reluctant to hire you. It would be in your best interest to hire an attorney who is capable of identifying the defenses and leverage in your case to keep this charge from affecting your future.
If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges, contact the Jacks Law Group for a consultation.