Drunk Driving Defense Laws in Nevada
Nevada is known for its looser-than-most laws regarding gambling and other activities, but when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it takes as strong, if not a stronger, stance against the activity than other states. A conviction will most likely result in a license suspension as well as possible fines and jail time. In the state of Nevada, drivers are considered under the influence if they have blood alcohol concentrations over 0.08, 0.04 if over 21 and driving a commercial vehicle and 0.02 if under the age of 21.
A person can still be charged with a DUI even with BACs under the legal level if the arresting officer thinks the driver is impaired. This means that people who have a low tolerance to alcohol could find themselves facing DUI charges even if they only had one drink. Nevada also has an open container law which states that no open alcohol can present in the vehicle while it is being operated. There is an implied consent law as well, which means that anyone who drives in the state consents to a blood alcohol test if one is requested. Refusal to take the test could result in the immediate surrendering of the driver's license and arrest.
What Can Get You Pulled Over for DUI in Nevada
Nevada law enforcement officers know what to look for to spot and stop drivers who are under the influence. If a driver is spotted driving erratically, stopping in the middle of the road for no apparent reason, or weaving in and out of lanes or off of the road, a law enforcement officer can pull that driver over. Once the officer has pulled over a driver, he or she will observe the person for even more evidence supporting a DUI charge:
- Alcohol is detected on the driver's breath
- The driver has slurred or thick speech
- The driver's face is red and flushed
- The driver displays a messy and disheveled appearance
Potential Nevada DUI Penalties
As soon as a driver is arrested, his or her license is suspended. If it is a first offense, a person could face:
- 90-day license suspension with the possibility of special driving privileges for driving to and from work after 45 days
- Up to six months in jail or 96 hours of community service
- $1,000 fine
- DUI school is mandatory
- A drug treatment program could be made mandatory
For a second offense:
- License is suspended for a year with no special privileges allowed
- Up to six months in jail
- A maximum of $1,000 fine
- 200 hours of community service
- DUI school
- A drug treatment program
Habitual offenders receive a three-year license suspension, between one and six years in prison, fines no less than $2,000 up to $5,000 and the possibility that the car registration could be suspended. And in the tragic event that a person is killed in an alcohol-related accident, the impaired driver could receive two to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $5,000 and lose one's license for three years.
Defending Against a Nevada DUI
Anyone charged with DUI has the right to mount a vigorous defense against the charges. Legal professionals know how to call the administration and accuracy of such investigations into question. For example, how the field sobriety test was handled, as well as the reasons the officer stopped the driver in the first place can be questioned. A legal professional also knows how to follow the chain of custody and determine if the BAC test was mishandled or tampered with.
Another approach is to offer a plausible defense for why the driver was behind the wheel. For example, fleeing a situation that was more dangerous than driving while intoxicated or being threatened with bodily harm if a person refuses to drive could be used as a defense.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.