Las Vegas DUI Laws: What Visitors and Residents Need to Know
Nevada has some of the toughest drunk driving and drugged driving laws in the country — and Las Vegas police aggressively enforce those laws. Whether you are a visitor or resident, even a first DUI conviction can have a significant adverse effect on your life, well beyond the penalties for the offense. If you face a charge of driving under the influence in Las Vegas, it’s essential to consult an experienced DUI defense lawyer before you decide what to do.
Las Vegas DUI / DUID Laws
State DUI laws make it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A BAC of .08% or more within two hours of driving constitutes DUI for alcohol. For drivers under the age of 21 years, the BAC limit is .02%. For commercial drivers, the limit is .04%. It is also possible to be arrested for DUI of alcohol or drugs without an evidentiary test.
While Nevada now allows the purchase of marijuana, driving under the influence of marijuana still constitutes DUID. If you drive under the influence of any drug, it does not matter whether the drug was legally prescribed or purchased. You can be charged and convicted of DUID under state law.
Penalties for a Nevada DUI / DUID Conviction
Nevada criminal statutes impose a range of penalties for a drunk driving or drugged driving conviction, including a first offense. Subsequent convictions carry even more substantial penalties.
The potential penalties for a conviction include jail time and substantial fines, as well as attendance at a DUI educational program and victim impact panel, as well as a requirement to use an ignition interlock device. You also face a 185-day driver’s license suspension. If you have previous DUI convictions within seven years, cause an accident in which a person suffers injuries or dies, your BAC is 0.18 or higher, you are under 21 years of age, or had a child under age 15 years in your vehicle, the level of penalties increases substantially. Commercial DUI is a different offense from DUI, with its own harsh penalties.
In addition to the statutory penalties for DUI, you may face additional and immediate driver’s license revocation if you refuse to consent to a preliminary breath or blood test when stopped for DUI or DUID. Nevada has an implied consent law, under which you consent to testing simply by driving in the state. A consent violation during a DUI or DUID arrest adds a complicating factor to the situation.
The impact of a DUI conviction on your life can be long lasting. A DUI or DUID conviction can affect your ability to get a job, housing, and certain types of financing. A conviction stays on your record for at least seven (7) years until you can petition to have your DUI record sealed.
Defending Against a Las Vegas DUI or DUID Charge
A knowledgeable DUI attorney has an array of strategies to use in defending against a Las Vegas DUI or DUID charge. You are unlikely to succeed in negotiating a deal without a lawyer, but with skillful legal counsel, your chances of minimizing the impact of the arrest improve considerably.
The best defenses in a particular case depend significantly on the facts surround the arrest, including the conduct of law enforcement before, during, and after the arrest. So, the right defense for your case will be specific to the facts, as well as how the laws apply to those facts. A DUI or DUID defense relies on substantially on your attorney’s ability to investigate and analyze the facts of your case. That is why experience with DUI and DUID cases is extremely important.
In some cases, law enforcement officers make mistakes during the process leading up to and following a DUI arrest. When that happens, your lawyer can challenge the evidence in your case. There are other circumstances that can affect the integrity of the prosecution’s evidence as well. Your attorney’s goal is to convince the prosecutor that the evidence is unreliable or inadequate to sustain a conviction.
When you have legal counsel in a DUI case, the facts determine whether there is a basis for getting the charges dismissed. Even when that’s not possible, your attorney may be able to negotiate a resolution that involves a reduced charge, such as reckless driving, which carries far less significant penalties and consequences than a DUI conviction. There also are situations when the prosecutor may agree to a resolution involving alternative sentencing.
Regardless of the circumstances in your case, you have the best chance of reducing the impact of a DUI arrest on your record and your life if you talk with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Las Vegas DUI Attorney
If you face a drugged driving or drunk driving charge in Las Vegas, including a first DUI offense, attorney Joseph Gersten is here to help. His investigative background, trial experience, and criminal defense focus significantly benefit anyone facing a DUI or DUID charge.
The Gersten Law Firm assists clients facing any state or federal criminal charge in Las Vegas, Henderson, and elsewhere in Clark County. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.