Nevada Criminal Defense Lawyers

DUI First Offense


Being accused of a DUI in Nevada is a serious criminal matter. Under Nevada DUI (driving under the influence) laws, you should be prepared to face some harsh consequences if found guilty of the charges. Whether you knew you were drunk when you got behind the wheel or if you thought you had things “under control”, the charges you now face stand to dramatically change your day to day life.

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Every day, people are arrested and charged with DUI. You may have been leaving a party or just had dinner and drinks at your favorite restaurant. In most cases, people do not realize they were legally intoxicated until it was too late.

From treatment to jail time and loss of your driving privileges, a DUI charge can have some dramatic effects.

In most cases, you face a DUI charge after you are found in operation of a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of more than .08% under the per se law.

However, if you were driving erratically, putting other people and property at risk but fell below the .08% limit, you can still face charges.

You can also be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of drugs if you are thought to be impaired by illegal drugs, marijuana, or even prescription medication.

Nevada DUI Penalties

A first time DUI charge is considered a misdemeanor. It carries several potential penalties including:

  • Jail time of not less than 2 days and no more than 6 months
  • 48 to 96 hours of community service
  • Drug/alcohol education classes
  • $400- $1,000 in fines

If your blood alcohol level is greater than .18% at the time of your arrest, you will be ordered to attend alcohol treatment in addition to these other penalties.

Ref: NRS §484C.400

Nevada DUI Driver’s License Suspension

When facing a DUI charge, the decision to suspend your license will not be made in the criminal courts, but rather an administrative hearing through the DMV. As your attorney, I can represent you at this hearing as well.

At the time of your arrest, your license will be taken. You have 7 days to request a hearing at this time. Typically, your license will be suspended for 90 days for a first time DUI.

Because we’re talking about your first offense, we may be able to work out a plea agreement with the prosecution. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could possibly serve probation rather than jail time.

Implied Consent Laws

As aa condition of being a licensed driver in Nevada (even with an out of state license), you are implicitly giving “implied consent” to agree to chemical testing of breath, blood, or urine to determine impairment.

Refusal to submit to a test is a crime punishable by a driver’s license suspension of at least a year.

Preliminary Breath Test

Despite having very questionable accuracy or scientific validity, Nevada police officers are allowed to give you a roadside “preliminary breath test” or PBT. Refusal to submit to a PBT means you will be almost certainly be arrested for DUI and subject to a 90 day license suspension.

Breath test refusal after a DUI arrest

Breath test devices at the station have serious flaws, but at least there is some scientific basis for the testing, unlike roadside PBTs.

If you are arrested, and asked to take a breathalyzer back at the police station, refusal of that test will result in at least a 1 year license suspension. If you are found to have refused a breath test or other chemical intoxication test within the last 7 years, then the driver’s license suspension is for 3 years.

Also, the fact that you refused the test IS admissable in a court case against you unfortunately. Nevada is not a big believer in the rights against self-incrimination.

In some circumstances, you can choose to agree to a blood test instead of a breath test for alcohol. But it cases of DUI with an injury resulting, the police can compel you to take a blood test, aka a forced blood draw. (Like I said – Constitutional rights against self-incrimination under the 5th Amendment of the Constitution – Nevada law says “meh!”)

Can I talk to an attorney before agreeing to a chemical or blood test for DUI intoxication?

Nope. There is no provision for this.

Can I fight a refusal to take a DUI test in court after the fact?

Sometimes. If you were not offered a choice, or if you didn’t really refuse but the officer says you did, we may have grounds to contest the alleged refusal.

DUI Marijuana Laws in Nevada

While marijuana has been legalized, driving while high on weed or any drug remains a crime in Nevada. And the statutes here have specific quantities of THC in your bloodstream. These can be measured in several ways:

  • Urine test: It is illegal to drive with 10 nanograms/milliliter (ng/mL) of THC in your urine, or 15 ng/mL of marijuana metabolite.
  • Blood test: It is illegal to drive with 2 nanograms/milliliter (ng/mL) of THC in your blood, or 5 ng/mL of marijuana metabolite.

These levels, if proven are per se evidence of guilt of the crime. They don’t have to prove you were impaired if they test you with these amounts.

And 2ng/mL via blood test is a really strict limit. Also not well supported by science that you are actually too impaired to drive. Especially if you are a regular smoker or medical user (which is not a defense).

Ref: NRS 484C

Knowing exactly how your case will turn out isn’t possible. Doing our absolute best to ensure you get the best results possible for your situation is.

Contact me today to discuss the details—I want to hear about your case. Together we can determine the best course of action for your individual case.