Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is a crime in Nevada. If you have been arrested for a DUI for the first time, it is essential to know the corresponding DUI facts for the state you were arrested in, what you can expect, and how you can protect yourself against the charges. Our Las Vegas DUI lawyer explains.
What Is a DUI 1st in Nevada?
According to Nevada law, a first-time DUI, or “DUI 1st”, occurs when a person is charged with driving with more than .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) or an illegal amount of a controlled substance in his or her blood and has not been convicted of a prior DUI within the last seven years. Tests used to determine this are field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, and evidentiary chemical tests, such as a blood test.
What Are the Penalties for a First DUI Offense in Nevada?
A first-time DUI charge in Nevada is a misdemeanor offense. If you are found guilty of DUI in Nevada, you can face fines, jail time, and other penalties that vary depending on your blood alcohol content level at the time of driving. According to NRS 193.150, there are several penalties you can face for this misdemeanor, including:
- Jail Time – Defendants convicted of DUI could face two days to six months in jail, although imposing the maximum penalty of six months is decided by the judge.
- Fines – Fines can range anywhere from $400 to $1,000, and defendants are responsible for additional court costs.
- DUI School – Some mandatory classes are required, including an eight-hour alcohol awareness and traffic safety course.
- Revocation of Driver’s License – The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revokes the driver’s license for 185 days. However, defendants may get a restricted license if they install a breath interlock device in their vehicle.
- SR-22 Insurance – In addition to the breath interlock device, defendants need a three-year SR-22 insurance policy to reinstate their license after a DUI charge, which can be very expensive.
- Community Service – A Nevada judge can also order the first-time DUI defendant to complete 48 to 96 hours of community service, particularly if that person did not complete at least two days of jail time.
There are some exceptions to the first-time DUI penalties. The driver could face harsher punishments in some circumstances, including if a minor under the age of 15 was in the vehicle at the time. To learn more about DUI penalties in Nevada and what you may be facing as a first-time DUI defendant, contact our team for a free consultation.
What If I Got a DUI More Than Seven Years Ago?
If you had a past DUI conviction but it was more than seven years ago, it does not count against your current case. If more than seven years has passed between your last DUI arrest and your current one, it will be treated as a first-time DUI charge. The above penalties will apply rather than second- or third-time DUI punishments.
What If I Have a DUI Conviction in Another State?
According to Nevada law, there is no distinction between a DUI charge in another state or in Nevada. That means if you were convicted of DUI in a different state then arrested for DUI in Nevada within seven years of the prior charge, it is not considered a DUI 1st. Because you have a previous DUI arrest in another state, you will face DUI 2nd charges and penalties.
Can I Get My First DUI Dismissed?
To get a DUI charge dismissed, you will need to have strong evidence that you were not driving while intoxicated. The first step to getting a DUI charge dismissed in Nevada is having a believable explanation for why your blood alcohol content appeared so high. If you are unsure whether your story would hold up in court, it is always best to consult with a lawyer before moving forward.
Keep in mind that there may be ways to get the charges reduced to reckless driving or dismissed altogether. Our experienced DUI attorneys know what details to look for and the proof needed to fight unfair DUI charges. Contact us to learn more about your rights and how we can help.
What Are Common DUI Defenses in Nevada?
There are three common DUI defenses in Nevada that can make the case against you insufficient. Those defenses include:
- Field Sobriety Test Mistakes – Some police officers may make mistakes or are insufficiently trained to administer a field sobriety test the right way, which could significantly affect the results.
- Medical Condition – Some individuals have medical conditions that could give inaccurate breathalyzer results, such as GERD and acid reflux. If a driver suffers from one of the conditions that affect test results, it could make the evidence inadequate for prosecution.
- Rising Blood Alcohol – This refers to the fact that BAC can rise after people stop drinking. If there was a delay between the time of being pulled over to when the chemical test was administered, this could be a reliable defense.
A strong defense is crucial to fighting first-time DUI charges in Nevada. However, it is also possible to get charges reduced from DUI to reckless driving with a plea bargain. Reckless driving is preferable to a DUI because it does not mean an automatic revocation of your driver’s license and the waiting time to seal the record is significantly shorter.
Can I Get My DUI Record Sealed?
First-time DUI offenders must wait seven years before they can legally seal records. This means that a DUI stays on your record for seven years after the case ends and is available to prospective employers, landlords, or any others who run a background check on you. If you are able to plea bargain down to reckless driving, you can seal records after one year.
Should I Hire a DUI Lawyer for a First Offense?
Absolutely. The penalties for a DUI conviction can be severe, so you should know what you are facing if you get pulled over. A skilled legal professional can help you build a solid defense by collecting vital evidence and finding holes in the case against you. With a DUI attorney by your side, you may be able to reduce charges or get them dismissed altogether. Contact our Las Vegas DUI lawyers for a free evaluation of your case today.