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DUI’s are a Bigger Sin in the Sin City

With endless parties and unending booze, Las Vegas is the nation’s ultimate Sin City. And while what happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas, one stay locals and visitors do not enjoy is a stay at the local jail, which occurs if one is arrested for a DUI.

Though Las Vegas isn’t one of the top ten “drunkest” cities in the U.S., according to Men’s Health magazine’s 2010 list of America’s “drunkest” cities, the “city that never sleeps” ranks 11. It also, under Nevada law, ranks as one of the toughest states on drivers caught driving under the influence of alcohol. A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can help you navigate this legal stream.

Under Nevada law, a driver is deemed driving under the influence of alcohol and subject to arrest if the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is at or above the following minimums:
• 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21 • 0.04% for commercial license holders • 0.08% for everyone else.
And even if a driver’s BAC is below the Nevada’s Illegal Per Se Law limits, a driver with a lower but detectable amount of alcohol can also be arrested if they appear unable to safely drive a vehicle.

Most important, under Nevada’s Implied Consent Law, a Las Vegas driver “implies” consent to have their BAC tested (blood, breath, or urine) by a police officer the moment they get into a car and drive. Refusal to cooperate is implied as a resist and gives the police the right to make an immediate arrest or even, though less likely, use reasonable force to carry out the test.

Once arrested, under Nevada law there are two types of penalties for suspected DUI’s – administrative and criminal. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles handles administrative punishment and upon a DUI arrest in Las Vegas, a driver’s license can be suspended. If the driver’s BAC registers .08 or more, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles can revoke driving privileges and the police can take your license on the spot.

If found guilty of a DUI, criminal punishment is meted depending on whether it is your first, second, third, or more offense.
With a first DUI offense in Las Vegas, punishment can include:
• 2 days to 6 months in jail OR 24 to 96 hours of community service with a suspended jail sentence of up to 6 months.
• a fine of $400 to $1000, plus court costs.
• 8 hours of DUI school at the driver’s own expense.
• mandatory attendance at a Nevada Victim Impact Panel.
• a suspension of your driver’s license for 90 days, though a restricted driver’s license allowing driving to and from work or in the course of employment can be applied for after 45 days of the suspension has passed.
• installation of an “ignition interlock device” for 3 to 6 months and/or submission to alcohol abuse assessment, if the BAC is .18% or higher.

If a second DUI offense occurs in Las Vegas within 7 years of the first DUI conviction, punishment can include:
• 10 days to 6 months in jail.
• a fine of $750 to $1000, plus court costs.
• 1-200 hours of community service.
• mandatory attendance at a Nevada Victim Impact Panel.
• a suspension of your driver’s license for 1 year.
• an Alcohol Assessment Evaluation.
• installation of an “ignition interlock device” for 12 to 36 months and treatment in an alcohol abuse program, if the BAC is .18% or higher.

If a third or more offense occurs within 7 years of the first DUI conviction, the DUI conviction becomes a felony, instead of a misdemeanor for the first two offenses, and punishment can include:
• 1 to 6 years in jail.
• a fine of $2-$5,000, plus court costs.
• mandatory attendance at a Nevada Victim Impact Panel.
• a revocation of one’s driver’s license for 3 years or more.
• an Alcohol Assessment Evaluation.
• an “ignition interlock device” for 12 to 36 months and treatment in an alcohol abuse program.
If a suspected drunk driver causes injury or death to another person, additional punishment and penalties can apply.

The commentary is for educational and commentary purposes only. If you or someone you know has been arrested for drunk driving or feel your rights have been violated, and would like to be represented by a Nevada attorney, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.