Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Nevada is illegal and comes with serious consequences, including prison time, fines, and a life forever changed. If you have been charged with DUI with serious bodily harm or death in a Las Vegas traffic accident, you may want to secure legal representation as soon as you can.
Even if you are facing a charge of this magnitude, you have the right to fight your case and seek due process. The Vegas DUI attorneys at De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers are ready to help you review your legal options, possible defenses, and case outcomes. You can reach us for a free and confidential consultation today.
What a DUI with Serious Bodily Harm or Death Means in Vegas
A motorist who injures or kills someone while driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in Las Vegas or Clark County, Nevada can be charged with DUI with serious bodily harm or death. If the accident injures or kills more than one person, the motorist could be charged with each person’s death or injuries.
Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) § 484C.430 outlines the conditions of this charge and what it means to be impaired. The motorist must be:
- Under the influence of intoxicating liquor
- Have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or greater in their blood or breath
- Intoxicated within two hours after driving or being in the physical control of a vehicle while having a BAC of 0.08% or higher in their blood and breath
- Under the influence of a controlled substance (drugs) or a combination of alcohol and a controlled substance
Nevada’s DUI laws can be found under NRS Chapters 484.379 through 484.3947 of the section titled, “Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or Controlled or Prohibited Substance.” As noted above, a motorist with a BAC of 0.08% or higher is legally drunk in Nevada.
It should also be noted that the legal BAC level is 0.04% for commercial drivers and 0.02% for drivers under age 21, the legal drinking age. However, a motorist can be considered under the influence when substance use affects their ability to drive safely without harming themselves or someone else. A DUI lawyer in Las Vegas can explain these laws in more detail and how they affect a motorist’s case.
Defining ‘Bodily Harm’
Bodily harm is a legal term encompassing injuries that are serious enough to impair a person in any way. Examples of bodily harm include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Head and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Broken bones
- Broken limbs
- Loss of limbs or limb functioning
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Scarring and disfigurement
This is a partial list of injuries; others can appear in DUI cases.
DUI with Serious Bodily Harm or Death in Nevada Is a Felony
Any action performed while driving under the influence that results in injury or death is a category B felony in Nevada. A person convicted of this charge can face a two- to 20- year prison sentence after a DUI crash that caused great bodily harm to others in Vegas. They also could be ordered to pay fines of between $2,000 to $5,000.
Penalties Higher for Motorists with 3 Prior DUI Convictions
Motorists with three or more DUIs would face higher penalties if their current DUI charge resulted from a Las Vegas traffic accident that caused an injury or death. In this case, a person could be convicted on a vehicular homicide charge, which is a category A felony. Under this class of serious crimes in Nevada, a motorist can be sentenced to life in state prison.
How Our Las Vegas DUI Attorney Can Defend You Against Charges
Hiring a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney is often a crucial benefit in fighting a felony DUI case, especially one involving an injury or death. It is worth it to defend yourself. First, a charge does not automatically mean a conviction. Hiring an attorney to help you build a defense after a Las Vegas DUI accident causing great bodily harm is an investment in your future.
A felony conviction on your record for a Vegas DUI accident can bring consequences that affect you for a long time. Your life will likely change in many ways if you are convicted. You may have a hard time finding a job, a place to live, securing credit, and buying firearms, among other consequences. You could also lose your driving privileges.
You Deserve to Share Your Side of the Story
There is more than one side to a story, and we want to hear yours. During your private consultation with our legal team, you can explain how your accident happened. We will listen intently and ask questions to make sure we understand what took place. We can also begin developing your defense and outlining your case. Additionally, we will review the charges against you as well as the evidence the prosecution has.
We know Nevada criminal defense law and how to navigate the complexities of DUI cases in the state. We will use our years of experience to defend your rights and interests throughout the process, argue your case, and seek to minimize the charges against you. Our DUI lawyer in Las Vegas could negotiate for a plea bargain or another favorable outcome to your case. This could lead to reduced charges or having your case dismissed or dropped.
Once we bring you on as a client, a Nevada DUI attorney with our firm will do all of the following:
- Represent you in interviews with law enforcement, the prosecution, and other authorities
- Investigate the accident thoroughly and collect evidence for your defense (e.g., surveillance from a nearby traffic camera, witness statements, or a police report)
- Review the prosecutors’ evidence and look for weaknesses in it (such as a chemical test administered incorrectly)
- Review what happened before, during, and after your Vegas DUI arrest to see if your rights were violated in any way (e.g., if you gave statements before your Miranda rights were read, or if any procedural errors occurred during your arrest or afterward)
- Negotiate with the prosecution for a plea bargain or lesser charges
- Represent you at trial if your case goes to court
- Seek a fair judgment on your behalf from the court if you are convicted
We are available to help you and answer your questions and concerns. We will keep you updated on your case’s status and ensure you understand every law that affects your case and how.
Possible Defenses Against a Vegas DUI Involving Serious Bodily Injury or Death
You have a right to defend yourself against the charges in your Vegas DUI accident. The prosecution must prove that intoxicated driving on your part caused someone else’s injuries or death. Our DUI with serious bodily harm or death lawyer in Las Vegas will build the strongest case for you that is tailored to your situation. Here are some commonly used defenses in DUI cases:
- You were not driving at the time of the accident and, therefore, did not cause it.
- You were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.
- Law enforcement violated evidence and procedural rules during your arrest or while investigating your case.
- The chemical tests you took, such as a breathalyzer or blood test, were given incorrectly or were defective in some way.
- You lost control of your vehicle for another reason, such as a sudden medical event or a medical condition you have, or prescription medication you took as a doctor prescribed.
- The other party caused the accident in some way, such as a bicyclist who suddenly biked in your path and did not give you enough time to stop.
- The other party’s negligence directly caused the collision, not your alcohol or drug use.
If we can prove your DUI or impaired driving did not cause the Vegas crash, it might result in a reduced misdemeanor charge. If the party was injured, then the court could downgrade the charge to:
- Reckless driving causing an injury charge (Nevada Revised Statutes § 484B.653); or
- Vehicular manslaughter (Nevada Revised Statutes § 484B.657)
Our attorney can advise you further after reviewing your case. However, if you have three prior DUIs, then your situation is different; the felony charge would remain under the law. Our professional team will seek the most favorable outcome for your situation and advise you on your next steps.
Call Us to Discuss Your Vegas Serious Bodily Harm DUI Case
We understand that facing criminal charges after a DUI accident in the Vegas area is frightening. You may not be sure what comes next or what the future holds, but one thing is for certain — you deserve to look out for yourself and secure legal counsel. Your future is at stake. A criminal conviction for a DUI crash that caused great bodily harm is serious and can cost you everything.
The legal team at De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers will work hard to protect your rights and interests as we defend you against a DUI with serious bodily harm or death charge. Call us today at 702-805-2694 any time for a free consultation and case review. We’re ready to get to work for you.