A drunk driving offense in Nevada is a serious offense. Though most DUI’s are considered misdemeanors, the consequences and punishments are quite serious. Potential consequences range from up to 6 months in jail, up to 18 months of a breath interlock device on your vehicle, fines up to $1000 for each offense, mandatory classes and substance abuse evaluations that can last up to 6 months. No matter the level of the offense, you will need the appropriate legal representation to protect you from the most severe consequences.
A DUI in Las Vegas results in two separate proceedings.
Following an arrest for drunk driving, you are provided a paper that will indicate a future court date to appear in either Justice Court or Municipal Court. If you hire an attorney, and the charge is only for a misdemeanor, your attorney can appear for you and you will not have to go to court for the first appearance.
Once charges are filed, your attorney can obtain police reports, lab reports, and other evidence. Motions can be filed and negotiations can be made with the prosecutors in an effort to reduce the drunk driving charges. If there is no agreement with the prosecutor, you may choose to have a bench trial before a judge where it may be possible to get a not guilty verdict.
There are a wide range of penalties for DUI offenses in Nevada, but generally, if convicted, the penalties for DUI in Nevada on a first offense include:
- $400 to $1,000 in fines;
- 8-hour DUI School;
- attendance at a Victim Impact Panel;
- 2 days to 6 months in jail (judges usually suspend the jail sentence or orders 48 to 96 hours of community service); and
- a 185-day driver’s license revocation (though it may be possible to get a restricted license after 90 days with an ignition interlock device)
A Nevada DMV hearing will determine whether your driver’s license will be suspended. If you have a lawyer, he can represent you at the DMV hearing. It may be possible to win the hearing and avoid the license suspension altogether. If not, your Nevada driver’s license will be suspended temporarily.
Nevada prosecutors rely on four types of evidence in trying to prove a drunk driving case in court:
- the suspect was not driving in a normal, sober manner,
- the suspect smelled, talked, walked and behaved like an intoxicated person,
- the suspect could not perform the roadside field sobriety exercises correctly, and
- the suspect’s breath test or blood test showed a blood-alcohol level above a .08. or it showed high levels of marijuana or other narcotics.
Each bit of evidence that the prosecutors seek to use can be contested. An experienced DUI attorney knows how to attack each of them.
Many people plead guilty every day to Las Vegas drunk driving charges, despite highly questionable evidence. It is always advisable to have a competent attorney evaluate your case before taking this route. Penalties may be lowered. Charges may be reduced. The case may be won at trial.
Daniel Lippmann at LIPP LAW has years of experience fighting all types of Nevada driving under the influence cases, including first offense DUI, second offense DUI, driving on a suspended license charges, felony DUI, DUI of drugs, DUI of marijuana, DUI causing injury, and vehicular homicide.
We practice in all the local Clark County courts, including the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas.
Nevada DUI cases are rarely a slam dunk for the prosecution and conviction is not always inevitable. We know how to size up the prosecution’s case, take advantage of police mistakes, locate evidence favorable to you, and navigate you through the Court System to give you the best chance of avoiding the consequences of a conviction and a license suspension.
If you are facing charges in Las Vegas, call LIPP LAW for a free case evaluation before making any decision on how to proceed.