Las Vegas, Nevada First DUI Laws
The State of Nevada has a strict regulation when it comes to driving under the influence. First-time offenders, however, can expect to face misdemeanor penalties, which may not be much as far as punishments are concerned, but can still cause many problems later on. Seeking expert defense assistance from experienced Las Vegas DUI lawyer is essential even for a first-time DUI charge in Las Vegas to minimize the long-term effects it can have on a person’s life and career.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, a person can be deemed driving under the influence if:
- He or she is under the effect of alcohol or drugs;
- His or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is from 0.08 and up; or
- He or she is driving even after ingesting prescription narcotic drugs beyond the safe limit
These charges still count even if the defendant was driving within prescribed speed and safety limits. The deciding factor is that the defendant was driving with a blood alcohol level beyond prescribed limits.
Penalties for a First DUI charge
Nevada considers a first-time DUI in Las Vegas as a misdemeanor as long as no deaths or serious injuries were incurred. Most of the penalties handed out include:
- Suspended jail sentence up to a maximum of six months, which means the convicted does not have to face jail time unless he violates anything related to his sentence; or around 96 hours of community service
- $1,000 in fines, excluding court costs (Nevada courts charge around $585)
- Attendance at the Nevada DUI school for a whole program, at the defendant’s expense
- Attendance at a Nevada Victim Impact Panel lecture, also at the defendant’s expense
- Prohibition from the court from committing another DUI offense
- Alcohol/drug dependency evaluation that costs $100, possible entry into a rehabilitation program, and installation of a breath interlock device for three years if the defendant’s blood alcohol at the time of the arrest exceeds 0.18
- Suspension of driver’s license for 90 days by Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles, although a restricted license can be temporarily granted after 45 days if the defendant has not committed any further offenses
Defending Against First DUI
Defense attorneys dealing with a Las Vegas DUI case will studiously go over the particulars of the case, looking for inconsistencies or oversights that can turn the case proceedings in their favor. Often, the following defense tactics are employed:
- Misuse or malfunction with the blood testing equipment
- Lack of experience or certification on the part of the equipment handlers
- Lack of probable cause
- Improper procedure with the sobriety test
- Physical condition on the part of the defendant that can inadvertently alter the results of the blood test
Plea bargaining, sealing of records for First DUI
In some cases where an outright dismissal of the Las Vegas first DUI charge is not possible, the defense lawyer will aim to persuade the court to reduce a possible first DUI into a reckless driving conviction instead. While the defendant can still expect the same type of penalties for a first-time DUI with the reckless driving conviction, he or she can benefit more from the reduced sentence due to a number of factors:
- The reckless driving charge no longer counts as a first DUI; therefore, if ever the defendant is charged for another DUI, it will only have the penalties of a first-time DUI, and not a second DUI with harsher penalties.
- The stigma of being associated with a DUI conviction is avoided, ensuring that the defendant will not have to worry about missing any employment opportunities.
- Reckless driving charges do not merit an automatic license suspension, although the defendant will receive 8 demerit points to his or her license.
A reckless driving conviction can be petitioned for sealing after only two years. In contrast, a first-time DUI conviction would need seven years to pass before it can be petitioned for sealing.
Las Vegas DUI Lawyer of Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney
Dealing with a Las Vegas DUI charge for the first time can be daunting, especially for people who have not faced any other kind of conviction before. It is important that the services of a Las Vegas DUI Lawyer are sought immediately to get a better handle of the situation.