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Understanding DUI Arrests & Investigation in Las Vegas, Nevada


How does one receive a Las Vegas DUI arrest? There are several circumstances where a driver can be charged with drunk driving, with most of the following also applicable to other states in the US. Before we proceed with the post, it’s important to keep the following DUI laws in mind.

Driving under the influence (DUI, or DWI in other states). Literally, this means a driver took control of a vehicle (driving) while influenced by alcohol or drugs. It has no defined limit. Generally, the most people will interpret this as driving while dangerously inebriated.

Illegal per se. This offense covers the weaknesses under the first law above by specifying a limit, even if the driver is not feeling the effects of drunkenness. Currently, the limit for all states in the US is 0.08% BAC (blood alcohol content) or higher for most drivers, 0.04% for commercial drivers, and 0.01% (or 0.02% in other states) for anyone under the age of 21. Some states have a lesser charge for driving with a BAC of 0.05%.

A person can be accused for both of these crimes, but can only be charged with one of them. If you have been charged with any of them, you should get a Las Vegas DUI Lawyer as soon as possible to give you the best chance.

DUI Investigation

Observed violation of the law

A witness or a police officer has observed someone driving under the influence, by witnessing a drunk person, getting into a car and then driving. If this happens, they are committing drunk driving.

Visual cues and driving patterns

The police may have observed or received reports of a motorist driving erratically. The police will then use that as a reasonable suspicion, allowing them to legally test these drivers through field sobriety tests or blood/breath analysis. Officers are taught to recognize several signs and the probabilities that a driver is drunk:

  • Problems maintaining proper lane position (50 – 75%)
    • Weaving
    • Weaving across lane lines
    • Straddling a lane line
    • Swerving
    • Turning with a wide radius
    • Drifting
    • Almost striking a vehicle or other object
  • Speed and braking problems (45 – 70%)
    • Stopping problems (too far, short, or jerky)
    • Accelerating or decelerating for no apparent reason
    • Varying speed
    • Slow speed (10+ mph under limit)
  • Vigilance problems (55 – 65%)
    • Driving in opposing lanes or wrong way on one-way
    • Slow response to traffic signals
    • Slow or failure to respond to officer’s signals
    • Stopping in lane for no apparent reason
    • Driving without headlights at night
    • Failure to signal or signal inconsistent with action
  • Judgment problems (35 – 90%)
    • Following too closely
    • Improper or unsafe lane change
    • Illegal or improper turn (too fast, jerky, sharp, etc.)
    • Appearing to be impaired
  • Post stop cues (> 85%)
    • Difficulty with motor vehicle controls
    • Difficulty exiting the vehicle
    • Fumbling with driver’s license or registration
    • Repeating questions or comments
    • Swaying, unsteady, or balance problems
    • Leaning on the vehicle or other object
    • Slurred speech
    • Slow to respond to officer or officer must repeat
    • Providing incorrect information, changes answers
    • Odor or alcoholic beverage from the driver

DUI roadblocks and checkpoints

Another method that you can get a DUI charge is through sobriety checkpoints. These are generally set up during the late or very early morning hours, as well as weekends. In these roadblocks, the police are legally allowed to give quick alcohol breath tests.

Automobile accidents

If a driver has been involved in an accident, there are chances that one of them has been driving drunk. The chances are higher for certain hours of the day, or rather, night, and at weekends.

Lesser traffic offense

You can still be arrested for DUI if you were stopped for a lesser offense. For example, a driver might have been speeding, which caused a police officer to stop them. After approaching the, they may notice the smell of alcohol emanating from the vehicle, as well as the driver’s behavior. Using these as a cue, they may perform field sobriety and breathalyzer tests to determine the operator’s ability to drive. If deemed unfit to drive, they may be charged with DUI, in addition to the lesser offense.

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