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Getting a DUI in Nevada is not something to be taken lightly, as the state has severe penalties for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney may be able to get your charges dropped or lessened, DUI’s in Nevada can still come with significant punishments. Here are some things to keep in mind before you get in the car after having a few drinks.

What You Should Know

In the state of Nevada, driving under the influence is when an individual has consumed alcohol that exceeds the legal limit or has taken drugs before operating a vehicle. According to Nevada laws, a person can be arrested while operating an automobile while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a person is arrested for driving under the influence, then it is imperative he or she seeks an attorney who has experience and knowledge about driving under the influence laws.

If a Person is Arrested for Driving Under the Influence

When a driver is stopped by an officer for suspicion of being intoxicated, an officer may administer field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test. In the instance an individual fails a field sobriety test and passes the preliminary breath test, then the officer may have reason to believe an individual is under the influence of a substance other than alcohol. When this occurs, there is a chance police officials who are specialized in drug recognition evaluation training may be called to investigate the situation. If a driver is suspected of being intoxicated, then the person has “implied consent” to testing. However, if a person does not consent to a blood or urine test, an officer can administer reasonable force and restrain the driver until the test is administered. If a person refuses drug testing, then it could be used against him or her in court.

The Importance of Defense

If a person is convicted of driving under the influence, then Nevada laws state that it does not mean a person will automatically be convicted. There are a variety of defense lawyers in Nevada that know how to recognize when drug testing equipment was improperly handled or if there was not probable cause for stopping the individual.

The Importance of Obtaining a Reputable Defense Lawyer in Nevada

There are many serious consequences an individual faces if he or he has been accused of driving under the influence, which is why it is vital to seek the help of an attorney. A criminal defense lawyer knows how to handle DUI cases and can identify when an officer has violated the rights of the accused.

Penalties for DUI’s in Nevada

DUI’s are taken very seriously in the state of Nevada, with steep penalties for anyone found guilty of driving while impaired. For first time offenders, a fine of $400 to $1,000, two days to 6 months in jail, and a suspended license for 90 days are all possible penalties.

Second time offenders face more severe penalties and can anticipate paying $750 to $1,000, spending anywhere from 10 days to 6 months behind bars and their license may be suspended for a year.

For individuals that have three DUI’s on their record in a span of seven years, they should prepare to face hefty fines and harsh punishments. A third DUI within seven years in Nevada is a Felony. Third time offenders can be sentenced to pay $2,000 to $5,000, serve 1 to 6 years in prison and have their license suspended for three years. Additionally, an ignition interlock device will be required in vehicles of people that have obtained three DUI’s. 

How much alcohol is too much?

Depending on the age of the driver, one drink may be enough to land some people in the back of a cop car. For drivers under the age of 21, a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading of just .02% is enough to warrant a DUI charge. For those over the legal drinking age, a DUI can be issued to drivers with a BAC of .08% and higher.

To be safe, it is wise to avoid stepping behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have had anything to drink. Nevada is an unforgiving state when it comes to DUI’s, so find a designated driver if you plan on consuming adult beverages in Las Vegas.

Medication Can get You Into Trouble, Too

One thing that many people do not realize is the fact that Nevada has severe DUI penalties. When you use a medication that impairs your ability to drive, you may face the same criminal penalties that apply to a person driving under the influence of alcohol. Sedatives, pain medications and even antihistamines could be responsible for impaired driving. You will want to consider your choice of an attorney when you require a good defense very carefully.

Minimum Penalties

The minimum penalties for a DUI offense can be more severe than people often realize. On a first offense, an offender may face up to six months in jail, a three-month license suspension and a $1000 fine. In cases where there is a prior criminal conviction, related to a DUI for either alcohol or drug use, the penalties increase. All of these are reasons for you to make sure that you have a proper defense when facing such charges.

Marijuana DUIs in Nevada

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson advocated against Nevada’s current marijuana DUI laws, insisting that they are ineffective at accurately determining a motorist’s true level of impairment.

In Nevada, the legal limit for THC in the blood stream is 2 parts per billion, but many states have a zero tolerance policy. Wolfson believes that a standard blood test can’t accurately determine a driver’s level of impairment, because a number of factors influence how a driver behaves while under the influence of marijuana.

Wolfson said. “So much of it depends on the person and their tolerance level and the strain of marijuana.

He believes that Nevada should have a standard beyond just the blood test, such as a field sobriety test. Like in California, he would like to see the responsibility of determining a driver’s level of intoxication fall primarily on an officer’s discretion. If an officer in the field determines that a motorist is too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle, a blood test will then be administered. If blood tests positive for THC, the burden of proving that an individual was too impaired to drive falls on the prosecution.

Although Wolfson has been offering penalty reductions for individuals charged with felony and misdemeanor DUIs, he still maintains that his primary concern is public safety. He believes that in many cases, it is difficult to prove actual impairment of the driver.

“A DUI might go to a reckless driving if the only thing we can show is that they had marijuana in their system without other independent proofs of impairment,” Wolfson said.

A draft request bill to model Nevada’s laws after California marijuana DUI laws was recommended for the 2015 legislative session.

How to Avoid Criminal Conviction During a DUI Arrest

Don’t Give More Information than You Have To

Give the officer your name and your license and registration info. Nothing more. You have a right against self incrimination – that includes answering any information about how much you drank. Save the rest for after you’ve consulted with an attorney.

Don’t Submit to a Field Sobriety Test

You have the legal right to refuse a field sobriety test – use it. These tests are incredibly subjective and unreliable. Instead request a chemical test at the police station. Opt for the breathalyzer, which is much easier to dispute in court than a blood test.

Never, Ever Lie to the Arresting Officer

Under no circumstances should you ever lie during an arrest; it will only look incriminating later (and if you’ve followed the first two points, you won’t need to).

For more information on the best criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas, contact Gabriel L. Grasso today at (702) 868-8866. With over 25 years of experience helping people with DUI’s, let the top lawyer in Las Vegas put in the work to clear your name.