All Nevada drivers should be aware of the two-hour rule’s potential impact on them. As part of their DUI laws, Nevada has the two-hour rule (codified in NRS 484C.110(c)) that allows law enforcement to test drivers’ blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels within two hours of the time they stop driving.
The two-hour rule can directly affect potential DUI cases. Working with a qualified Nevada DUI defense lawyer can help you understand the potential consequences of a conviction. In contrast, they work to prevent a DUI charge from negatively impacting your record.
Nevada’s Two-Hour Rule
The legal BAC limit for most drivers in Nevada is 0.08 percent. The limit is 0.04 percent for commercial drivers, and for drivers under 21, it’s 0.02 percent. If the police stop you for drunk driving, they can administer a breathalyzer test anytime within the two hours after they’ve pulled you over. If the test registers a BAC level above the legal limit, you could face a DUI charge.
The two-hour rule extends the amount of time law enforcement has to test your BAC levels if they suspect you’re driving under the influence. The results carry less evidentiary weight if they fail to test you within two hours.
There are legal implications stemming from the two-hour rule. First, there’s a long testing window. Additionally, in Nevada, drivers should be mindful of their actions and drinking behavior even after driving or safely arriving at their destination.
If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test, you can be forced to take it later on. Law enforcement can ask for a warrant to collect your blood alcohol levels. You can also lose your driver’s license for a year if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test when initially asked. Your refusal may be included in the state’s case against you.
Some defenses to a DUI charge that can challenge the prosecution’s case include:
- Elapsed Testing Period – The court will usually disregard the results if law enforcement gives you the test beyond the two-hour window. Tests taken longer than two hours after driving are likely not indicative of the person’s BAC when they were driving.
- Incorrect Administration of the Test – Some rules and regulations must be followed when administering a breathalyzer test. If the rules aren’t followed, or the officer administering the test has an expired certification, the test can also be deemed inadmissible.
- High BAC for Medical Reasons – Some common medical conditions can affect a person’s BAC with little alcohol consumption. A person with these conditions might have one drink, and their body could respond as though they’ve had multiple drinks. This reaction could cause a person to fail a breathalyzer even though they’ve been drinking responsibly.
- Misplaced Responsibility – You might have been the passenger and didn’t operate the car. If you didn’t drive, your BAC levels, even if they’re above the legal limit, don’t matter.
- Damaged or Broken Equipment – Breathalyzer tests can be inadmissible if the testing device hasn’t been regularly maintained. The test isn’t valid if the equipment used for the breathalyzer test is demonstrably unreliable.
- Lack of Cause – The initial traffic stop might have been illegal, meaning any law enforcement actions during the stop are also unlawful and inadmissible in court. A skilled lawyer can point out potential police misconduct.
Impact on DUI Enforcement
Nevada’s two-hour rule can affect DUI enforcement by providing police officers with an incentive to get an evidentiary breathalyzer test performed promptly upon bringing the driver to the police station. With the two-hour rule in place, officers cannot keep a person in detention for extended periods without testing, which helps expedite the process. The test must be administered within two hours after the person has been in control of or has been driving a vehicle.
Additionally, because of the urgency the two-hour rule lends to getting a breathalyzer test performed, rushed procedures or errors can result that could potentially affect the admissibility of the evidence in court.
While the two-hour rule ensures a more immediate and potentially accurate measure of intoxication, it also brings challenges for law enforcement and opportunities for defense in DUI cases.
Public Awareness and Misconceptions
If you’re a Las Vegas driver, it’s essential to understand how this law can affect your driving habits. Nevada drivers should understand what law enforcement can do if they suspect you’re driving under the influence.
- Reasonable Suspicion – A law enforcement officer must have a reasonable suspicion or belief that you’re driving under the influence to pull you over for a traffic stop. This means they must observe you doing something that raises this suspicion, such as swerving in and out of traffic lanes.
- Probable Cause – The arresting officer must have concrete evidence before arresting you. For DUI cases, this can mean open, freshly used liquor bottles in the vehicle or failed field sobriety tests. A lack of probable cause can mean the judge dismisses your charge and declares that the arrest was unlawful.
Contact a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer
The consequences of a DUI conviction can be extensive and negatively impact your livelihood for years after. It can affect your job and future employment opportunities. Such charges can be overwhelming to fight on your own.
If you’re facing a DUI charge, you must talk to a Las Vegas DUI defense lawyer. An experienced criminal defense lawyer with the De Castroverde Law Group Criminal & Immigration can explain your legal options and protect your rights. We’ve helped many Las Vegas drivers fight DUI charges and avoid the harshest penalties. The Las Vegas Review has recognized our firm as “Best of Las Vegas,” and our attorneys have earned Preeminent Peer Review ratings from Martindale-Hubbell. We have the skills and know-how to provide a strong defense for you.
Are you facing DUI charges from Nevada’s 2-hour rule? Contact De Castroverde Law Group Criminal & Immigration for a free consultation.