What Are Nevada’s DUI Laws?
If you are charged with driving under the influence – DUI – in or near Las Vegas, you’ll need to make the call at once to a Las Vegas DUI attorney. Do not try to act as your own attorney, and – this is important – do not plead guilty to driving under the influence.
What are your legal rights if you are charged with driving under the influence in this state? What is Nevada’s “two-hour rule” for DUI testing? When should you contact a Las Vegas DUI lawyer for legal advice and defense representation?
If you will continue to read this brief discussion of driving under the influence, the two-hour rule, and your legal rights as an accused DUI offender, you will learn the answers that every driver in the State of Nevada needs to know.
What is the Two-Hour Rule?
Under Nevada law, if your BAC (blood alcohol content) level measures at or above 0.08 percent within two hours of the time you were driving, law enforcement officers in this state may arrest you and charge you with DUI. The limit is lower for minors and commercial drivers:
- 0.04 percent for commercial drivers
- 0.02 percent for drivers under the age of 21
What this rule means is that even if you drive home safely, you could be arrested up to two hours later if a breathalyzer test indicates that you are over the legal BAC limit. While the police probably won’t come to your home in such a situation, it’s important to understand the law.
However, if the police arrest you for driving under the influence but fail to test you within two hours of the time you were driving, the results of your breathalyzer test almost certainly will not be admissible at a DUI trial.
What Happens When You Are Arrested for DUI?
There are several steps in a driving under the influence arrest. A law enforcement officer needs only a “reasonable suspicion” that you are driving while impaired in order to pull you over in traffic, but before they may arrest you, the police must have what the law calls “probable cause.”
Probable cause is the belief, supported by both circumstances and evidence, that a suspect is driving under the influence.
To establish probable cause, a police officer may conduct a roadside field sobriety test or a “preliminary” breathalyzer exam. If probable cause is established, the suspect will be placed under arrest and taken to the nearest jail facility.
At the jail facility, an “evidentiary” breathalyzer test will be conducted. These protocols must be followed precisely, and if it takes the police more than two hours (from the moment they stop you in traffic) to conduct an evidentiary test, the results will not be allowed in court.
What if You Refuse to be Tested?
In the State of Nevada, you have the legal right to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, but if you refuse to test, there are considerable consequences. In some cases, the police may contact a judge by phone to obtain a warrant to draw a blood sample, if necessary, by force.
Additionally, if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, your Nevada driver’s license is immediately and automatically revoked for a year, and the arresting officer may confiscate your driver’s license on the spot.
Even if the driving under the influence charge is eventually dropped or you are acquitted at trial, if you refuse to test, your driver’s license will be revoked for a year. The standard license revocation period for a convicted first-time DUI offender is much shorter – 185 days.
Furthermore, if you refuse to test and your driving under the influence case goes to trial, the prosecution will tell the jurors that your refusal is evidence that you in fact knew that you were driving under the influence.
What Are Nevada’s Penalties for DUI Convictions?
In Nevada, convicted first-time DUI offenders will be fined and must serve at least two days in jail (or up to six months) or perform up to 96 hours of community service.
Convicted first-time offenders also are required by the court to attend (and to pay for) alcohol and drug education classes, and they must attend a Nevada Victim Impact Panel, where the victims of impaired drivers speak about the consequences of driving under the influence.
A driver who is convicted of a felony DUI charge in Nevada – when that driver’s impaired driving results in someone else’s death or serious injury – may be sentenced to a lengthy prison term and a substantial fine.
What Are the Other Consequences of a DUI Conviction?
Even a first conviction for DUI will entail “extra-legal” consequences beyond the legal penalties. You will establish a criminal record that may make it difficult to find housing or employment or to obtain a loan. If your work involves driving, you may have to find other employment.
If you hold a professional license in Nevada, after a DUI conviction, you may expect disciplinary action from your state licensing board, and if you are not a United States citizen, you may expect a driving under the influence conviction to prompt a deportation proceeding.
How Will a DUI Lawyer Help You?
Your attorney’s first step will be seeking to have the DUI charge against you dropped or dismissed. If that’s not possible, and you believe you are innocent, you should insist on a jury trial.
At a trial, your attorney may cast doubt on the state’s case against you by challenging:
- the results of your breathalyzer test and the reliability of the breathalyzer device
- the credentials of the officer who administered the breathalyzer test
- the testimony of the arresting officer
- the reason you were stopped and whether the police had probable cause to arrest you
Let Goodwin Law Group Fight on Your Behalf
How should you choose a Las Vegas DUI lawyer? The right attorney should be able to answer all of your questions to your complete satisfaction. Goodwin Law Group has successfully represented scores of DUI defendants throughout the State of Nevada.
Las Vegas DUI attorney Charles Goodwin will examine the details of the charge against you, gather evidence and speak to witnesses on your behalf, protect your rights, and bring your driving under the influence case to its best possible conclusion.
If you’ve been charged with DUI or a related offense in or near the Las Vegas area, call the offices of Goodwin Law Group now at 702-819-8242. Put your DUI case in our hands, and we will fight effectively and aggressively for the justice you deserve and need.