Las Vegas sees 42.5 million visitors a year. And with the 24 hour party atmosphere, ease of purchasing alcohol and an abundance of traffic, it’s no wonder that out-of-state DUI arrests are very common. Visitors often misunderstand the law. They assume the laws are more lenient in Las Vegas than in their home state. For example, it is legal to carry an open beverage in designated areas, like the Strip. But, it is not legal to drive with one. Public intoxication is not a crime, however if the police determine that a person is intentionally being loud, acting aggressively or initiating fights, they can be arrested for disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct.
If you have been arrested for a DUI on a recent trip to Las Vegas, you’ll need an experienced Las Vegas DUI lawyer to represent you. Spartacus Law Firm can handle all aspects of your case on your behalf. This means you won’t be required to attend court dates or produce the required documentation yourself. You can go back home knowing you’re in good hands.
If you are convicted of a DUI offense in Las Vegas, the DMV will report the offense back to the proper government agency in your state. Each state handles the offense differently, but some actions you could experience:
• State will take action if the Nevada DMV suspends your license
• State will only take action if you are criminally convicted
• DMV Penalties will be as if you were convicted in your home state
• Penalties if your home state have the same or similar DUI statutes as Nevada
Facing legal charges of any kind can be damaging to one’s reputation, but a DUI charge can have significant impacts on a driver’s record and their lifestyle following the incident. To ensure that you get the best representation, and more importantly the best sentencing, you need the right defense on your side.
Thanks to their knowledge and experience of driving laws, the DUI lawyers at Spartacus are better equipped to assess your case and determine the best course of action based on the circumstances. By building a strong case in your defense, we’ll make it less likely that you’ll face such harsh charges from the court if and when it becomes necessary. And if you find the right DUI attorney in Las Vegas, you could end up saving thousands in legal fines and fees.
1. The Officer did not Administer the Field Sobriety Tests Correctly
The three standardized Field Sobriety Tests are:
1.) Horizontal gaze nystagmus (penlight test)
2.) Walk and turn
3.) One-legged stand
Most often, police are not trained properly in the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) procedures or fail to execute the tests properly. A competent Las Vegas lawyer can use this to your advantage. The NHTSA DUI manual clearly states that not following the procedures renders the results invalid.
2. No Probable Cause for the Traffic Stop
You cannot be pulled over if an officer merely suspects you’re under the influence. You must commit a traffic violation or be observed driving in an incompetent manner. A traffic stop without probable cause violates your rights in the U.S. and Nevada constitutions.
3. Mouth Alcohol Contaminates the Intoxilyzer 5000ENBreath Machine
Nevada police use a DUI breath testing machine called the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, which is designed to measure alcohol content in your deep lung tissue. However, if the Intoxilyzer 5000EN detects alcohol in the mouth or throat, it could give an incorrect and very high BAC reading. It could show a .15 from a person whose true BAC is a .05.
Burping, dentures, cavities, braces, recent use of cold medicine, mouthwash, etc. are factors that can cause mouth alcohol to trigger a false, high reading and render the results in-admissible.
4. Many of the Field Sobriety Tests are Unreliable
As stated above, there are only three Field Sobriety Tests that the Federal government has standardized for use in DUI investigations. Yet, you may be asked to perform a series of other FSTs during a DUI stop. Examples are: Estimating 30 seconds with your eyes closed, clapping hands backward and forward and touching the tips of your fingers to your thumb. There is no research to support them as correlating with BAC or impairment. There are also no standards as to how to administer these tests.
5. The Field Sobriety Tests Are All Highly Inaccurate
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration states that the one leg stand has a 35% error rate and the walk and turn has a 32% error rate. Based on the error rates, 1 in 3 DUI suspects could be wrongfully convicted using these tests.
6. Other Factors Can Affect Your Performance on the Field Sobriety Tests
Even when not drinking, there are several reasons someone accused of a DUI may not perform well on FSTs:
- Nerves, anxiety or intimidation
- Wearing boots, heels or hard-soled shoes
- Poor weather (like rain, extreme heat or cold)
- Uneven or slippery surface
- Distraction by onlookers, flashing lights and road traffic
- Obesity, age tired, injuries or poor coordination
7. There is no Baseline on Field Sobriety Tests if you Haven’t Been Drinking
Most police will say you failed or performed poorly if there are any imperfections in your FSTs. The issue here is that the police do not know your baseline when completely sober. People vary greatly in their ability to perform the tests, sober or under the influence.
8. Non-Alcohol Factors Can Explain Poor Driving
Police are quick to accuse drivers of being under the influence if they notice weaving, serving, riding the lane line or driving too slowly for the flow of traffic. There are several non-alcohol related factors can explain this driving behavior:
- Using a cellphone
- Reading a map
- Applying makeup
- Talking to passengers
- Driving around lost
9. Lack of Sufficient Evidence for a Nevada DUI Arrest
You cannot be arrested without probable cause that you were drinking and driving. In other words, when one views all the evidence, it has to be reasonable to believe you were driving under the influence. A lawyer can challenge the probable cause for the arrest and argue that you were coherent, alert and did reasonably well on the field sobriety tests.
10. You Were Never Read Your Miranda Rights
Las Vegas police are required to read a DUI suspect his or her Miranda Rights (1) after an arrest, (2) if they continue to interrogate the person.
Most often, police ask interrogative questions such as: “How much did you drink?” and “Do you feel the effects of the alcohol?” prior to arrest. In this case, there is no requirement to read the driver Miranda Rights.
However, if the police continue to interrogate the drunk driving suspect after the arrest, and without offering his or her Miranda Rights, this is a problem. A Las Vegas DUI attorney has an opportunity to get any of these post-arrest statements excluded from evidence.
11. Alcohol on the Breath Does NOT Mean You Were Drunk Driving
Often police will document the “smell of alcohol” as evidence one was drinking and driving. Studies show that it is impossible to determine a person’s intoxication level based on the odor of alcohol on their breath.
Non-alcoholic drinks like O’Douls can leave an alcohol scent on one’s breath leading an officer to believe that person has been drinking. The bottom line: the smell of alcohol doesn’t indicate if that person has been drinking or how much that person has consumed.
12. Acid Reflux or Heartburn Can Influence the Breathalyzer Test
In Nevada, the Intoxilyzer 5000EN measures alcohol from the deep lung tissue, not from one’s throat or mouth. The requirement is that officers are to observe a DUI suspect for 15 minutes prior to giving the breath test.
Suspects are monitored to make sure they don’t eat or drink anything during the 15 minute observation period. This will give the body time to absorb any alcohol residue from the throat or mouth and the Intoxilyzer 5000EN will deliver a more accurate reading from the lungs.
If the suspect suffers from GERD or acid reflux, partially digested alcohol can be regurgitated into the throat and mouth triggering an inaccurate test result. Discuss your condition with your Las Vegas DUI lawyer.
13. The BAC Test Result is Inconsistent with a Driver’s Behavior
If a driver appears to be sober, but the BAC comes back relatively high, that usually suggests a problem with the testing process.
If a suspect gets a test result of .22, but appears alert, coherent and does well on the field sobriety tests, there should be concern as to the accuracy of the BAC. And that result can be challenged by your Las Vegas DUI lawyer.
14. Possible Blood Sample Contamination
If a suspect’s blood sample is not collected, stored and analyzed properly, contamination may occur. For example, the vial used for the blood draw must have a very specific amount of preservative and anticoagulant or the blood may ferment, creating its own alcohol. In this case, a Las Vegas DUI lawyer can request a sample of the original blood draw and have it retested in an independent laboratory. The purpose of the retesting is to see if the lab gets a different result and to check for possible contamination. If either occurs, the BAC can be excluded from evidence.
15. High Protein/ Low Carbohydrate Diets Can Influence Breath Test Readings
If a DUI suspect is on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, it can cause the body to burn excess fat for energy, a process called ketosis. During ketosis, your body releases a substance called “isopropyl, ” which the breath machine may mistake as alcohol. Studies have shown that some high-protein, low-carbohydrate dieters have registered a positive BAC on the breath machines, even without consuming any alcohol. It’s important to discuss your diet with your Las Vegas DUI attorney, especially if you get an abnormally high BAC result.
16. You Were Mentally Sharp
Toxicology experts will tell you that “mental impairment precedes physical impairment.” Typically, the first signs of a suspect’s intoxication are cognitive, not physical: slower thought processes, confusion, speaking difficulties.
If a suspect is mentally alert and there are no signs of mental impairment, this is compelling evidence that he or she is NOT under the influence.
17. Speeding Does Not Equal Drunk Driving
Many officers will assume a driver is drunk if they are driving at excessive speeds and will initiate a DUI stop because of speed. However, speeding is NOT a symptom of being drunk.The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has compiled a list of driving behaviors that may suggest the driver is intoxicated. Speeding is not on the list. There is no correlation between speeding and impairment. In fact, the faster the driver is going, the more alert and coordinated he or she must be to operate the vehicle safely.
18. Appearance of Intoxication May Be Explained by Non-Alcohol Factors
If a DUI suspect has any of the following symptoms, an officer may use them as evidence the driver has been drinking: bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, a flushed complexion or an unsteady walk. These symptoms can certainly be caused by alcohol, but can also be explained by other factors.
For example, a person’s eyes may be bloodshot because of allergies, exhaustion or eye strain. Fear, intimidation and nervousness can cause abnormal speech and skin flushing. Fear, darkness and uneven surfaces and/or poor weather conditions can cause a person to be less surefooted.
19. Inherent Error Rate for DUI Blood and Breath Tests
Even if the breathalyzer is working properly and the police administer it correctly, an inherent error rate still exists. Most toxicology experts believe this range of error is +/- .01 to .02 BAC.
This issue is problematic when the breath reading is close to the .08 threshold. Someone with a .08 or .09 reading may actually have been below the legal limit if the error range is factored in.
The breath and blood tests are typically administered at least an hour after the person was driving. The time lag may cause a BAC test to show a higher reading than what the BAC was when the person was actually driving.
20. Sobriety Witnesses Can Help Your Case
You may have passengers who can be witnesses and attest to your sobriety. Or there could be other people you interacted with shortly before the arrest. The police may say you appeared drunk, but your witnesses can provide an opposing view. These witnesses can be a valuable asset to the defendant in a Las Vegas DUI case, especially If they are willing to testify.
If you or someone you know is facing charges of a DUI offense
, you need assertive and dynamic legal representation from the best Las Vegas DUI attorney. We have vast expertise and knowledge when it comes to DUI/DWI defense law in Nevada. Our DUI Las Vegas attorney, Chandon S. Alexander has been ranked in the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys under 40 in Las Vegas. He is a member of the Clark County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Nevada Justice Association.
Spartacus Law Firm will fight to make sure that your rights are protected. A DUI is a serious legal matter and should be handled by a serious legal defense team. We will aggressively represent you to avoid penalties, fines, and damage to your driver history. Contact us today for a free in-person or virtual consultation. We are available 24/7.
Home, virtual, and jail visits are available.