Drunk Driving Defense Laws in Nevada

Nevada is known for gambling and other activities but the state takes drunk driving very seriously. A drunk driving conviction will most likely result in a license suspension, fines, and possible jail time. In the state of Nevada, drivers are considered under the influence if they have blood alcohol concentrations over 0.08%. If you have questions about your rights after a drunk driving arrest, a Nevada DUI defense attorney to help resolve your case.

Nevada Drunk Driving Laws

Nevada law states that a person may be charged with a DUI while driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle. Nevada defines “under the influence” as a BAC of .08% or more within two hours of driving or the driver is impaired to the degree that they cannot drive safely. Nevada lowers the BAC threshold for commercial drivers (.04% or more) and drivers under the age of 21 (.02% or more).

Determining “actual physical control” of a vehicle depends on factors like whether the key was in the ignition, if vehicle was running, or how the vehicle was positioned.

Implied Consent: Yes

Enhanced Penalties: BAC of .18% or more; driving while under the influence with a child passenger; causing an accident resulting in serious bodily harm or death; prior convictions

If convicted of a DUI in Nevada, the law dictates penalty minimums and maximums based on the number of prior convictions and how close the convictions are apart from each other. The judge also looks at any aggravating factors that may increase the penalties or any mitigating factors, or factors that reduce the culpability of the individual charged. Most sentences come with a form of alcohol evaluation or treatment program.

Typically, this crime is a misdemeanor, punishable by:

  • First offense: Two to 180 days imprisonment or 48 to 96 hours of community service; not less than $400 to not more than a $1,000 fine; 185-day minimum license revocation; ignition interlock device (IID) for 185 days upon license reinstatement
  • Second offense: 10 to 180 days maximum imprisonment or home confinement instead of jail; not less than a $750 minimum to no more than a $1,000 fine; one-year license revocation; ignition interlock device for 185 days upon license reinstatement

However, this is a felony crime upon a third offense or for offenses causing substantial bodily harm or death of another person. These penalties increase with the severity of the offense and may include:

  • One to six years imprisonment; $2,000 minimum fine; three-year license revocation; ignition interlock device for one to three years upon license reinstatement

Driving Under the Influence in Nevada

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 be 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 surrender 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 police officer can pull that driver over. Once the officer conducts a traffic stop, they will observe the person for even more evidence supporting a DUI charge:

  • The smell of alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath
  • The driver has slurred or thick speech
  • The driver’s face is red and flushed

Defending Against a Nevada DUI

Anyone charged with DUI has the right to a legal defense. A Nevada DUI attorney understands how to challenge a Nevada DUI case, including challenging field sobriety tests and chemical test results. It is important to discuss your specific case with an experienced Nevada criminal defense attorney and appear with an attorney the first time you go to court.

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