Elements of a Las Vegas, Nevada DUI
Being charged with a DUI in Las Vegas often feels like it's a foregone conclusion. It is designed and feels like a mechanical process from the initial traffic stop to the alcohol testing. That is because it is. A Las Vegas DUI is a very straightforward case. Unlike traditional criminal cases, there is rarely a question of if they have the right person or mental state to commit a crime. In most Henderson or Las Vegas DUI cases, the most fruitful attacks are against the State's methodology or conclusions. Those can include:
- Whether the officer administered field sobriety tests correctly.
- Whether a nurse collected a sample of your blood or breath within the statutorily required two-hour period.
- Whether the officer had enough probable cause to justify their conclusions
It is not uncommon for officers to arrest people in Las Vegas, then allow the courts and district attorneys to sort it out. As a result, it is not uncommon to find problems with how the officers conducted their investigations. While pointing out these problems will not always reduce the charges, it still provides options to people charged with DUI because a trial is still an option. In this article, we're going to be discussing:
- The elements of a DUI in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Prosecutor's duties concerning DUIs
- Why a Las Vegas DUI Lawyer is necessary
If you are being charged with a DUI in Las Vegas, contact Goodwin Law Group, PLLC today. We provide no obligation, free initial consultations. Contact us to speak to Charles Goodwin, a qualified DUI attorney in Las Vegas or Henderson.
DUI in Las Vegas - What the State Must Prove
When a Las Vegas DUI attorney like Charles Goodwin is analyzing your case, several things are looked at. These include:
- Probable Cause: A Las Vegas DUI is a criminal charge, which subjects it to the same standards as any criminal case. There are generally two levels of probable cause in a DUI case. The first one is what prompted the stop or police interaction with the driver. Sometimes the officer already suspects a DUI; sometimes, they do not. The standard here is not yet probable cause. An officer merely needs reasonable suspicion to make a stop. The second level of probable cause is required to arrest an individual. The officer must have evidence that makes it reasonable to believe that you were driving under the influence. Officers generally satisfy this through personal interactions, a standardized field sobriety test, and/or a preliminary breath test.
- Actual Physical Control: A key element of any DUI case seems obvious but can become a serious piece of any defense: Can the State prove that you were driving? In some instances, when the police arrive, you might already be outside of your car. Or you might have drunk alcohol, then rather than drive, fell asleep in your car. There are several instances where actual physical control of the vehicle might be difficult to prove for the State.
Impaired Driving: The final element is an either/or situation for proving impairment while driving. The State can prove impairment through what is called "per se" or through "impairment theory.
- Per Se DUI: A Per Se DUI is when the State shows that your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was above the legal limit of .08 within two hours of you being in actual physical control of the vehicle. This is generally done via testing through either a breathalyzer such as the Intoxilyzer or a blood draw.
- Impairment DUI: An impairment DUI is another avenue for a prosecutor. While .08 is an automatic DUI, the law also allows for convictions if you are too impaired to be driving. It is possible to get a DUI conviction for being at a .05 if you were too impaired to drive. Proving an impairment DUI is much more difficult but is possible. Often prosecutors will be relying on driving indicators and the Standardized Field Sobriety Test.
There are several ways a Las Vegas DUI Attorney can push back on these areas. If you've been arrested for a DUI in Nevada, contact Goodwin Law Group, PLLC today for a free initial consultation. We can discuss your case and go over some of these elements.
DUI in Las Vegas - Prosecutor's Duties
There are many reasons why DUIs sometimes happen. Oftentimes they happen at the lowest points in people's lives. Other times they occur when somebody feels sober and has underestimated how much alcohol they have taken. Other situations include a bad decision that was helped along by the alcohol already drank or believing the drive home will be quick, so no problem. DUIs also hit across the spectrum. Unlike a traditional crime, people charged with DUIs in Las Vegas are often those who have never had any other run-ins with the police. They are doctors, lawyers, nurses, mechanics, and truck drivers. Unfortunately, in Nevada, that is irrelevant. NRS 484C.420 states:
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, a person convicted of violating the provisions of NRS 484C.110 or 484C.120 must not be released on probation, and a sentence imposed for violating those provisions must not be suspended except, as provided in NRS 4.373, 5.055, 484C.320, 484C.330 and 484C.340, that portion of the sentence imposed that exceeds the mandatory minimum. A prosecuting attorney shall not dismiss a charge of violating the provisions of NRS 484C.110 or 484C.120 in exchange for a plea of guilty, guilty but mentally ill or nolo contendere to a lesser charge or for any other reason unless the attorney knows or it is obvious that the charge is not supported by probable cause or cannot be proved at the time of trial.
The statutes referenced are the Nevada DUI statutes for driving a personal car and driving a commercial vehicle. As this law states, the only way for a DUI in Las Vegas, Nevada to not be a DUI is if the prosecutor believes they cannot prove their case or based on weak probable cause. This is why a Las Vegas DUI Lawyer like Charles Goodwin is so important. For your defense, you need an attorney who knows the ins and outs of DUI science and has experience working on Las Vegas DUI cases. Charles Goodwin has resolved hundreds of DUI cases in Southern Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Laughlin.
A Las Vegas DUI Lawyer is Necessary
Whenever the issue of penalties comes up, a DUI Lawyer is necessary. Charles Goodwin, a Las Vegas DUI Defense Lawyer, can help. Here's why:
- Complexity: There is a lot of variation on DUI First penalties in Nevada and Las Vegas. Charles Goodwin knows how to navigate these complex issues to ensure that if you have a DUI, the penalties stay at the minimum sometimes regardless of BAC!
- Knowledge: lawyers not trained to handle DUIs will often recommend that you accept whatever the prosecutor offers - which is generally harsher than required. This is because the prosecutor is often much more knowledgeable about DUIs than the untrained lawyer. Don't let that be you! DUI Attorney Charles Goodwin understands DUIs and can help.
- Experience: Many lawyers who do not handle DUIs regularly may be unaware of the new requirements under the law, including breath interlock requirements being run concurrently, no more per se marijuana DUIs, and more. DUI Defense lawyer Charles Goodwin has resolved hundreds of DUIs, is a member of the National College of DUI Defense, and practiced in all Southern Nevada courts. He can help you.
Contact Charles Goodwin at Goodwin Law Group, PLLC today. He has the knowledge and experience to navigate your DUI offense's complexity and help you decide how to proceed when you are facing a DUI in Las Vegas or throughout Nevada. Don't chance your future. Call today for your free consultation!