Tis the season to be jolly brings an increase in drivers driving under the influence. 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. However, punishment for a DUI in the state of Nevada depends on where the DUI occurs.
In Nevada, DUI laws on federal National Park Service land, such as Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and DUI laws on state land, such as the Las Vegas Strip, are different. The former is controlled by federal law, the Code of Federal Regulation, while the latter is controlled by Nevada state law.
If arrested for a DUI on federal park land, the first time offender is charged with a Class B misdemeanor. Punishment includes:
1. Up to $5,000 in fines,
2. Suspension of the driver’s drivers license, and
3. A prison term up to six months.
Under Nevada state law, a first time DUI offender can receive:
1. From 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,
2. A fine of $400 to $1000, plus court costs,
3. 8 hours of DUI school at the driver’s own expense,
4. Mandatory attendance at a Nevada Victim Impact Panel,
5. 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, and 6. 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.
Under both federal and Nevada state law, a person is generally guilty of a DUI if his or her blood alcohol concentration is at or above .08%. Most important, under Nevada’s Implied Consent Law, and federal law, Nevada 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. Proof of refusal can also be admitted into any subsequent court proceeding.
If you are stopped for a DUI, call an attorney immediately. The Las Vegas law office of Lagomarsino Law did not represent anyone involved in any cases that may be referenced above. This commentary is for educational purposes. If you would like to be represented by an attorney in our Las Vegas office, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within 24 hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.