Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts lives at risk. It also carries serious legal consequences. In Nevada, an arrest and conviction on charges of driving under the influence can lead to jail or prison time, a significant fine, and the loss of your license for an extended period.
The best way to protect yourself is not to drive under the influence. Unfortunately, sometimes it does happen, and you may wonder: “what are Nevada’s DUI penalties?” The answer depends on the facts and evidence in your case and factors such as the level of the charges against you, the injuries or property damage you have caused, and your prior record. Repeated offenses are punished more severely.
If you have been charged with DUI, you need experienced legal counsel to help guide you. The defense attorney team at De Castroverde Law Group is ready to represent you at every stage of the court proceedings. To help you understand what you are facing, we have included this short overview of DUI penalties in Nevada.
Definition of Driving Under the Influence
DUI laws in Nevada make it unlawful to drive a car or other vehicle with a concentration of alcohol of 0.08% or more as measured via a blood or breath test. The measurement must be captured within two hours after driving. Commercial drivers and drivers under 21 faces stiffer standards; their BAC levels may not exceed 0.04% or 0.02%, respectively.
It is similarly illegal to drive under the influence of controlled substances, under the combined influence of liquor and a controlled substance, or after inhaling any chemical, poison, or solvent to the extent that it interferes with operating a vehicle.
The Nevada statute on DUI also specifies the concentrations of various controlled substances, such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine, that would lead to criminal charges if found in your blood within two hours of driving.
Is DUI a Felony?
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol becomes a felony in Nevada only if you are convicted of the offense multiple times over seven years or if the accident results in injury or death. Nevada gives you three strikes; felony charges may be filed for your third DUI within that period, and you will likely face prison. Most states have adopted similar approaches, where DUI charges escalate to the felony level upon repeated convictions in a compressed time frame.
First DUI Offense Penalties
You can also serve jail time with a first-time conviction. Under Nevada law, a first conviction is classified as a misdemeanor, and it carries the following potential penalties:
- Jail time in the range of two days and six months.
- A fine between $400 to $1,000.
- Successful completion of alcohol education classes at state-approved DUI School.
If your blood alcohol measures 0.18% or higher, you may be required to obtain an alcohol/drug evaluation and are subject to installing an interlock device on your vehicle. The interlock device prevents the ignition from starting if the device detects alcohol in your system. The device can be ordered and installed for one to three years.
A first conviction carries a 185-day suspension of your driver’s license. However, you may be able to obtain a restricted license right away by installing an ignition interlock.
Nevada offers a path to a second chance. You may be able to avoid a conviction if you complete Misdemeanor DUI Court, an intensive rehabilitation program.
Repeated DUI Penalties
Subsequent convictions within seven years will result in more severe sentences, including potential time in prison or fines. A second DUI is also a misdemeanor. However, possible punishment grows to between 10 days and six months in jail, a fine of between $750 and $1,000, a year’s license suspension, and six months with a breath interlock device on your car.
Similar to a first conviction, you will have to obtain an alcohol/drug dependency evaluation. If your BAC exceeds 0.18%, the breath interlock device may be ordered for between 12 and 36 months. And you may also be able to avoid a conviction with attendance at Misdemeanor DUI Court.
Third Conviction in Seven Years
If you receive a third DUI conviction, your case may be filed as a Class B felony with a prison sentence of one to six years and a potential fine of $2,000 to $5,000. Your license will be suspended for three years, and you will have to obtain an alcohol/drug dependency evaluation. As with the misdemeanor charges, under certain circumstances, you may be able to avoid the felony on your record by completing Felony DUI Court. Subsequent DUI convictions will automatically be charged as felonies, with an enhanced prison sentence of two to 15 years.
Penalties When DUI Causes Injury or Death
The most serious circumstance is when a DUI accident results in injuries or death. Regardless of your previous criminal history, a DUI involving injuries or death is also considered a Class B felony but with an enhanced sentence range.
A conviction under these facts mandates a prison sentence of between two and 20 years, and you are not eligible for probation. Fi es carry a range of $2,000 to $5,000, and you must attend a victim impact panel.
Someone with three prior DUI convictions involved in an accident causing death may be charged with vehicular homicide, a Class B felony. This carries a penalty of 25 years to life, with parole possible after ten years.
DUI Representation From De Castroverde Law Group
The attorneys at De Castroverde Law understand driving under the influence laws in Nevada and will provide you with a robust defense. Our team includes several former prosecutors who understand how the government structures a case and how to find its weaknesses. Facing criminal charges can be frightening, and we will take the time to explain what’s happening to make it easy to understand. The criminal defense attorneys at De Castroverde Law have extensive experience in all criminal practice areas. Call us or contact us online for a free consultation.