Difference Between DUI and DWI in Nevada

Unlike states like Texas, where driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are two separate charges based on age and other factors, there is no difference between DUI and DWI in Nevada. Nevada officially uses “DUI” when referring to offenses involving drinking while driving, but you might still hear people saying “DWI.”

If you face DUI charges in Nevada and want a criminal defense lawyer to defend you, our legal team at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers is here. We offer the first consultation free of charge. During this conversation, we discuss your case and what options you have to negotiate lesser charges or a case dismissal.

Different Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits Exist for Certain Drivers in Nevada

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) states that drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level above the legal limit who are found in physical control of a vehicle may be charged with DUI. However, different BAC limits exist for different types of drivers. Per NRS 484C.110, these include:

  • General drivers: The BAC limit is 0.08 percent.
  • Commercial drivers: The BAC limit is 0.04 percent.
  • Underage drivers: The BAC limit is 0.02 percent.

Other legal limits exist if there are illegal substances found in a driver’s bloodstream, such as cocaine or even marijuana. 

If a police officer wants to test a sample of your blood for illicit substances, they must obtain a legal warrant or court order. If you refuse to submit a breath, blood, or urine test, you may face legal penalties for not cooperating with the officer, such as license revocation.

Penalties for a DUI Offense Depend on How Many Prior Offenses the Driver Has

If you get charged with DUI, the severity of your penalties will be based on whether this is your first offense or a repeated offense, with penalties increasing with each offense you make. 

Some examples of penalties for DUI offenses include:

  • A fine between $400 and $2000
  • Jail time ranging from two days to six months for first and second offenses, one to six years for third-time and additional offenses
  • License revocation that lasts between six months and three years
  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle for at least six months and up to three years
  • Fees, such as the Victims Compensation Civil Penalty fee, testing fees, and driver’s license fees
  • Mandatory DUI school or substance abuse treatment programs

If you decide to work with De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers, we may be able to negotiate a plea deal to reduce or eliminate your charges. Otherwise, our criminal defense lawyer will advocate for your innocence and your rights while representing you at trial.

How Long Is the “Look-Back” Period for a Driver?

Once you are convicted of a DUI, the offense permanently remains on your driving record. This is one incentive to hire a Las Vegas DUI lawyer—so that you may avoid having any conviction added to your driving and criminal record. 

That being said, Nevada instates a “look-back” period that lasts seven years. This period helps judges and juries determine whether your current offense is a second, third, or higher offense based on your driving record. 

Common Defenses Your Las Vegas DUI Lawyer Might Use in Your Case

There are many factors to consider when building a defense against DUI charges. Our legal team will conduct a separate investigation to review evidence that may contradict what the prosecution has submitted. We work hard to consider every facet of our clients’ cases so that we can create a comprehensive defense for them. 

These are some common defenses against DUI charges:

  • The law enforcement officer did not recalibrate the breathalyzer, which affected the driver’s test results and made them invalid.
  • The officer did not lawfully collect a blood sample for testing (e.g., they did not get a warrant or court order).
  • The driver did not test above the BAC limit and was unlawfully arrested or was arrested on different grounds.
  • The driver was not operating the vehicle (e.g., they were in the passenger seat).

Your case may involve other defenses not listed in this article.

The “Sleeping-It-Off” Defense Can Be Used if Certain Factors Apply

In some cases, a defendant may have had a BAC level that exceeded the legal limit but was not in “physical control” of a vehicle, meaning they were not operating the vehicle. This is a key distinction to establish in DUI cases in Nevada, as you may be able to use the “sleeping-it-off” defense if you prevented yourself from driving while intoxicated. 

Some defenses that fall under this category include:

  • Your vehicle was not turned on because you decided to sleep in your vehicle.
  • You were not seated in the driver’s seat, so you were not capable of driving it.
  • You parked your car legally or pulled over to the side of the road to avoid driving.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney from Our Team Can Help You With Your Case

If you decide to work with one of our lawyers, we offer the following legal services:

  • Private investigation to retrieve evidence and key information about your case, which may involve contacting and consulting witnesses
  • Administrative work for your case, such as filing subpoenas, responding to court notices, and preparing evidence for review by the court
  • Legal representation in all stages of criminal processing, from bail hearings to trial to appeals hearings
  • Legal counsel on decisions, such as whether you should agree to a plea deal based on the likelihood of you winning your case

Looking for a DUI Defense Attorney in Las Vegas? Call Our Law Office Today

At De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers, our criminal defense team handles cases involving various DUI offenses, whether you’re facing DUI charges for underage drinking or for driving drunk while operating a commercial vehicle. We also help clients facing multiple DUI charges, as well as individuals who live outside of Las Vegas or the state of Nevada

Call (702) 805-2694 today to get a free consultation. We can assign a criminal defense lawyer in Las Vegas from our team to represent you and manage your case all the way to trial if necessary. Learn your legal options today.