Driving Under the Influence in Nevada
The entertainment capital of the world has more than its fair share of drivers operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and a high volume drunk driving accidents as a result. If you have been charged with an intoxicated driving offense in the Las Vegas area, time is not on your side. You need the representation of an established DUI attorney with decades of experience handling these types of cases. At Law Office of Kevin R. Hansen, we understand the nuances of Nevada’s drunk driving laws. Being charged with a DUI can mean the loss of your driving privileges and even potential jail time if you leave your case in the wrong hands. Contact us find out how our DUI attorneys can help you get the best possible outcome for your DUI charge.
Nevada Drinking and Driving Laws
There is a lot of confusion regarding drunk driving laws and open container laws in Nevada, mostly because people are under the impression that anything goes in Las Vegas. While it makes for good publicity, that is just not the case. Nevada enforces a variety of state laws regarding the consumption of alcohol. A DUI charge in Nevada can cover not only the use of alcohol or illegal narcotics. It can also include your own, legal prescription medicine if it has impaired your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Illegal blood alcohol levels in Nevada are:
- 02% for drivers under 21 years old
- 04% for commercial license holders
- 08% for everyone else
Laws Governing DUIs in Nevada
In Nevada, there are three types of laws that can affect whether or not you’re charged with a DUI. These three types of laws are the illegal per se law, the implied consent law, and the open container law.
- Illegal Per Se Law – Because the legal blood alcohol limit is .08%, law enforcement only needs to prove that your BAL was that or higher to charge you with a DUI. It does not matter if you didn’t swerve across a lane, fail a field sobriety test, or show any other visible signs of impairment. Your BAL alone is enough for them to charge you. If you do exhibit other outward signs of intoxication, those can lead to additional charges. Conversely, if your BAL is lower than the legal .08% limit but higher than 0%, you can still be charged with impaired driving if law enforcement can prove that you were demonstrating signs of driving while intoxicated.
- Implied Consent Law – If you have been lawfully detained by a police officer who has reasonable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence, then you must submit to a test so that law enforcement can accurately determine your BAL. Refusal to comply with this law will most likely result in your arrest and the revocation of your driver’s license for one full year.
- Open Container Law – In the state of Nevada, it is against the law to have an open container of alcohol anywhere in the car, including in possession of someone other than the driver. This law does not apply to the living spaces in a motorhome or RV, or the passenger areas of taxis, limousines, or buses.
Nevada Drunk Driving Statistics
1,025 people were killed in the state of Nevada in drunk driving-related accidents between 2003 and 2012. The 21-year-old to 34-year-old age group experienced the highest number of fatalities at 4.6 deaths for every 100,000 people. Surprisingly, this number is below the national average of 6.7 for every 100,000 people. The age group of 35-years-old and up is at 3.2 deaths for every 100,000 and is almost exactly on par with the national average of 3.1. Nearly four times as many men were killed than women. Data collected by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System reveals that in a 30 day period, 1.8% of Nevada residents of the nearly 7900 polled admitted openly to getting behind the wheel after they knew they had had too much to drink.
Penalties for a Nevada DUI
The exact outcome of your DUI case will be unique to you, your lawyer, and your situation. The details of the incident as well as how many times you have been previously charged with a DUI will all greatly affect the outcome. However, the typical penalties for a first time DUI offender in the state of Nevada are:
Jail – 180-day maximum sentence and mandatory two-day minimum
Fines – $400 minimum, this does not include any court costs or attorney’s fees
License Revocation – 185 days (six months) minimum
Ignition Interlock Device – 185 days (six months) minimum if blood alcohol level is less than .18%. Between one and three years if blood alcohol level is .18% or higher
If you have been charged with a DUI in Las Vegas, Nevada you should contact a professional DUI attorney at Law Office of Kevin R. Hansen as soo nas possible to discuss your options.
Common DUI Case Defenses
If you have been charged with a DUI in Nevada, you may have several options available to you when it comes to putting your defense together. Affirmative “even if” defenses for DUI cases do exist, but are less prevalent than the aptly named “common defenses.” Some of the better-faring affirmative defenses include:
- Necessity – “Stopping bad person made me do it.”
- Duress – “A threat of violence made me do it.”
- Entrapment – “The police made me do it.”
- Mistake of Fact – “I didn’t actually do it.”
- Involuntary Intoxication – “I didn’t know I was doing it.”
There is also a small medley of the more usual common defenses such as an improper stop, the administration or accuracy of a field sobriety test or a portable or a standard breathalyzer test, the administration or chain of custody of a blood test, and a rising blood alcohol level. Our thorough and seasoned DUI attorneys can determine which, if any, of these defenses is the best one to apply to your case.
No matter why you were pulled over by Las Vegas, Nevada law enforcement, you still have the right to a solid, well prepared legal defense. To have your best shot at keeping your driving privileges and avoiding jail time, you need to contact the team at The Law Office of Kevin R. Hansen as soon as possible. Proceeding in this type of case without a reputable, experienced attorney at your side is almost certainly setting yourself up for failure. If you have been charged with a DUI in Las Vegas and are ready to have somebody fight for your rights, give us a call at (702) 478-7777 for a free consultation.