Updated: Jul 11, 2019
If you have been charged with drunk driving in Nevada, there is a lot on the line. A conviction could mean that you get fired from your job, lose your driver’s license, pay heavy fines, serve jail time, and it could hinder other opportunities like applying for housing or finding another job, etc.
If you find yourself in this situation, hiring a defense attorney is the utmost importance and doing it as soon as possible is imperative. These are high stakes with potential incarceration or losing your license, Sgro & Roger is here to help you get your drunk driving charges reduced or even dismissed.
If You Are Pulled Over for a DUI
When pulled over for a DUI, you should cooperate with law enforcement. It is important not to resist arrest, do not lie to the officer or withhold any information that is requested. It is also important that you have the right to not incriminate yourself, so you can protect yourself by simply asking to speak with an attorney.
You may be asked to take a roadside breathalyzer, a field sobriety test, and/or blood alcohol content (BAC) test. Again, you should never be disrespectful or argue with a police officer, but you can respectfully request to meet with a lawyer first. It is your right to refuse to test at any time. Keep in mind, however, if you refuse the test, your driver’s license will automatically be revoked for one year. The officer may arrest you and they may have to get a warrant to obtain a BAC or drug test.
If You Are Arrested and Booked for a DUI
The BAC limit in the state of Nevada for drivers under the age of 21 is 0.02 percent, 0.04 percent for commercial license drivers, and 0.08 percent for drivers that don’t fit in the other two categories.
If you are over the legal limit and arrested for drunk driving, your license may be revoked by the DMV. You have only seven days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing to contest the revocation.
After the tests are administered, you will be booked, and your fingerprints and photos are taken. It is possible to be released once you have been booked. Whether you post bail or are given an own recognizance release, Nevada law requires the jail to not release you unless you are below a .02 BAC. Meaning the jail will continue to test you until you meet that criteria before you are released. If bail is set, a friend or family member can post for you. If the charge is a misdemeanor, the bail is set on a schedule. If it is a felony charge, bail is determined at a hearing.
Nevada DMV Administrative Hearing
The administrative hearing at the DMV is separate from your criminal case. A DMV hearing is to determine whether it was proper to revoke your driving privileges. The criminal case determines whether you are guilty of DUI.
The outcome of an administrative hearing at the DMV does not usually affect the criminal aspects of your drunk driving case, but it is worth your time to pursue. In some cases, the arresting officer may not show up and you may win the case by default.
The administrative hearing is also a good opportunity for your lawyer to cross-examine the officer on the record even if you end up losing the administrative case. The outcome can be used to contradict an officer’s testimony or used to plea bargain to a lesser charge in your criminal case.
The DUI Case and Trial
A DUI case and trial has several stages, including arraignment. The arraignment is where you enter a plea of either guilty, not guilty, or no contest to the charges. The other stages include negotiating and plea bargain and pre-trial motions. At any step of the process, your lawyer and the prosecutor will be able to negotiate the charges, or you may be able to plea to a lesser charge before your case goes to trial.
It is uncommon for a DUI case to go to trial. If it does, for a misdemeanor the Judge examines the evidence and decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of a DUI. After both sides present their arguments in court, the Judge makes a final decision and sentencing is handed down in the case.
If You Are Found Guilty
If you are found guilty of a DUI, you can face fines ranging from $400 up to $1,000. That doesn’t include expenses or costs that are incurred during completion of your sentence terms (mandatory alcohol classes, for example).
Any jail time can include two days or up to six months for a first offense in Nevada. If this is your second DUI, you may be incarcerated up to six months. However, for a felony DUI, or a third DUI conviction, you are looking at mandatory prison time that is one year or more.
Any convictions for the first offense DUI in Nevada will influence any future DUI arrests and charges for a seven-year period. After conviction, it is difficult to get a DUI expunged from your record without the assistance of a DUI defense lawyer.