Many people understand that they cannot drive while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. However, the details of these cases are not always well understood. There are very specific guidelines that dictate what a DUI is and how the driver will be charged if they’re found guilty.
According to federal law, a person is too impaired to operate a vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher. If you are pulled over by a police officer and they discover that your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit, you’ll be charged with a DUI.
DUI laws apply to individuals who are under the influence of drugs as well. Though recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada for individuals 21 and older, it is still illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence. Any amount of drug intoxication qualifies you for a DUI.
DUIs are serious infractions. They are categorized as criminal offenses, meaning that you will have a criminal record if you are found guilty. What’s more, you face significant consequences even for your first offense. The law has very little lenience in this area, and your freedom and finances are both on the line.
If you try to fight your own DUI case, you will likely not succeed. Though it can be done, refuting a DUI charge is complicated and requires an expert hand. The laws are written to punish offenders as efficiently and frequently as possible, so the odds are not in your favor. Police use breathalyzer and field sobriety tests to prove that you are guilty, and refuting their claims requires an expert attorney.
When you hire a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer, you have the best chance of fighting your case and preserving your freedom and innocence.
If you are facing a DUI charge, it is important to be knowledgeable about what your punishments will be if you lose. As mentioned, the punishments for DUIs are severe and are not necessarily more lenient for your first offense.
With a DUI, you can expect jail time, fines, as well as other punishments. Nevada has a minimum jail time, meaning that most people who are convicted of a DUI charge have to spend time behind bars.
For your first DUI, you can be expected to be charged with a misdemeanor. Though this is not as severe as a felony charge, it still remains on your record and may have significant consequences for you down the road.
The jail time for a first DUI misdemeanor offense can range anywhere from two to 180 days. In some situations, a judge may offer 48 to 96 hours of community service in lieu of jail time, but this is not guaranteed. It’s best to expect jail time from your DUI offense.
First-time DUI offenders must also pay a minimum fine of $400.
Finally, you will have to put an ignition interlock device (IID) on your car. The length of time you have to keep it on your car varies depending on your BAC at the time of your arrest. If it was under .18%, the interlocking device will stay for 185 days. If your BAC was over .18%, the IID must stay for one to three years.
Consequences increase significantly for your second offense. In most cases, a second DUI offense within seven years is still categorized as a misdemeanor. However, all other consequences increase in severity.
You can expect jail time ranging from 10-180 days for your second DUI charge. In some situations, a judge may opt for house arrest instead of jail time. However, this isn’t necessarily common or expected. Second DUI offenders should prepare to face jail time.
The minimum fee for a second DUI within seven years is $750.
You can expect an IID for a second DUI as well. The length of time it remains on your car is the same as for a first-time offender: 185 days for individuals with a BAC under .18%, and one to three years for drivers with a BAC over .18%.
When a driver is convicted of a third DUI within seven years, punishments begin to increase significantly. This is because a third DUI is considered a felony in the state of Nevada. This has much more severe and permanent consequences.
For a third DUI, you may face anywhere between one and three years in prison. Judges do not replace this punishment with community service or house arrest.
Fines increase significantly as well. There is a $2,000 minimum fine for third-time DUI offenders. You will also have an IID for one to three years after a third infraction.
Though this is not the case in all states, Nevada accepts the “sleeping it off” defense in some situations. This may be applicable if you were sleeping or resting in your car when the police found you and tested your BAC. For this to work, the following criteria must be met:
Though this doesn’t work in all scenarios, it is helpful for people who try to do the right thing under the circumstances.
Can a DUI be Dismissed in Nevada?
DUIs are criminal charges, meaning that the government is charging you for breaking the law. This is unlike civil charges where another citizen is bringing charges forward. Criminal charges can be dismissed, but it’s rare. Usually, this only occurs if the prosecution discovers that a key piece of information against you is not true or that one of their witnesses lied.
What Are the DUI Laws in Nevada?
Just as at the federal level, any person who is caught driving with a blood alcohol content at or over .08% can be charged with a DUI. If convicted, the charges for a DUI are somewhat harsh in Nevada compared to other states. Any third or consecutive DUI within seven years constitutes a felony. First-time offenders often face jail time, and fines are more expensive than in many other states.
What Should I Expect From My DUI Lawyer?
When you hire a DUI lawyer, you should expect to be listened to and believed. Your side of the story is important, so you need to trust that your attorney understands you and is in your corner. You should also make sure that potential attorneys have extensive experience in cases like yours. Every case is unique, so niche experience is extremely important. Finally, you should make sure that your attorney has a history of winning their cases.
How Much Is a DUI Lawyer in Las Vegas?
DUI lawyers are all different, so there is no set amount that you can expect to spend. Many attorneys charge by the hour, so some of the cost will depend on how long your case lasts. It’s important to ask your attorney about their fees and costs before you hire them. If you don’t, you may run into issues down the road or lose your legal representation.
Our firm is proud to serve the Las Vegas area. We understand that DUIs are not as straightforward as many people assume them to be, which is why we fight diligently to make sure our clients’ voices are heard. Our track record is exemplary and speaks for itself. No other firm can provide you with our level of counsel and experience.
For more information about how Zentz & Zentz can help you with your Las Vegas DUI case, contact us online today.