Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal under Nevada law (see Nevada law 484C.110). In Nevada, the blood alcohol content limit is 0.08%. The blood alcohol limits are stricter for commercial drivers (0.04%) and even stricter yet for drivers under the age of 21 (0.02%).
- Are tourists treated differently than Las Vegas locals?Because booze is part of the gambling and party culture that sustains the tourism industry in Las Vegas, many locals mistakenly assume that tourists are doing most of the drunk driving. Not so, says Assemblyman Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas. Manenda said, “It’s not a case of tourists driving here and killing locals — it has been for the most part Nevadans getting drunk and driving and killing tourists and other Nevadans. Many tourists who come here use cabs and buses. This (drunken driving) is our problem that we needed to address.”Tourists and Las Vegas locals are equally culpable under Nevada law for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Is a first-time DUI going on my record?It depends on the circumstances. An accident injury attorney would be best qualified to answer this question based on your unique situation.
- What are the maximum penalties for a first-time DUI in Nevada?Nevada law states the maximum penalties for drunk driving are six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and 120 hours of community service. However, most offenders, especially first-time offenders, receive less than the maximum penalty. The penalties vary depending on the circumstances of the specific DUI, the criminal record of the offender (or lack thereof), and, frankly, the aggressiveness and motivation of the legal representation the offender retains.
- What are the typical penalties for a first-time DUI in Nevada?There is no rubric for determining exactly which penalties a first-time DUI offender will receive under Nevada law, but understanding some general patterns gives an indication of what penalties a first-time offender might expect.If an offender has a clean criminal record, didn’t resist arrest or injure anyone else in a car accident, then the typical penalty for a first-time DUI includes a fine to cover court costs (between $500 and $1000), a 3-month suspension of the driver’s license, and mandatory participation in a substance abuse prevention and treatment program. The DUI conviction for a first-time offender will stand for seven years before being sealed from the public record. Probation will likely replace jail time for a first-time offender with a relatively clean record.
Some DUI cases are even reduced to the lesser charge of reckless driving, a conviction which carries even fewer penalties for first-time offenders. For example, a conviction of reckless driving will only result in a one-year wait before the conviction is sealed from the public record, instead of seven.
- Will a first-time DUI result in jail time?Although the maximum penalties for DUI are set by law, most first-time offenders receive a mitigated sentence. For example, the maximum jail time for a first DUI is six months, but many courts will suspend the jail time entirely in favor of community service and substance abuse treatment programs.A judge may suspend a jail sentence entirely if the offender complies with the terms of probation. On the other hand, a judge may require jail time if the offender was involved in a car accident, had an exceptionally high blood alcohol content, resisted arrest, or is proven to be a repeat offender.
- Does the court require first-time DUI offenders to go to rehab?It is standard for a first DUI sentence to include some kind of substance abuse education and intervention program. The amount of treatment that is required depends on the offender’s blood alcohol or drug level at the time of the offense. On the lighter end, a person with a DUI conviction may be required to spend one day attending a DUI school in addition to attending a victim impact panel. A victim impact panel is a meeting in which victims of drunk driving share their stories.If the DUI situation was more extreme, the offender might receive a court-ordered substance abuse evaluation resulting in an individually-tailored program. More intensive education and intervention programs may include extended outpatient counseling or even mandate that the offender check in to an inpatient facility or rehab program. These consequences are usually triggered by a DUI that involves a BAC of .18% or higher when the legal limit is .08%.
- What difference can a lawyer make?Driving with a blood alcohol content endangers both the driver and the public. If you have driven with a blood alcohol content above the legal limit, a lawyer will not make your problem disappear or erase the incident. However, a good lawyer can help you understand the constitutional protections you have and help you form realistic expectations. A lawyer cannot undo the DUI event, but they can accompany you through the legal process and make sure that you are receiving the best outcome possible in your unique situation.Every person, no matter what choices they have made, deserves to be treated fairly under the law. A good lawyer will help ensure that your penalties are not out of balance with the offense. They will also ensure that you receive fair treatment under the law and will act as an advocate and advisor to guarantee that you are not judged unfairly because of skin color, police or public bias, or any other court failings. Your attorney will make sure that you don’t fall through the cracks of the legal system.