Las Vegas Dui Attorney

Fighting DUI Charges In Las Vegas

DUI cases in Las Vegas are almost never cut and dry. Even if your breathalyzer or blood test came back over the limit, there are often many issues an experienced DUI lawyer can use to get the charges reduced – or even dismissed. We understand how stressful this time can be, but it’s critical that you take control of your DUI defense as quickly as possible. Contact the Spartacus Law Firm now to get help from our experienced Las Vegas DUI defense attorney.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges can be severe and penalties are often not favorable for the accused. There is much to consider when determining the penalties, fines, and charges of the driver cited, causing the consequences of a DUI to vary by case. In order to see that your case gets the best defense possible, it’s crucial that you work with a criminal defense lawyer that will aggressively fight for you.

DUI Penalties, Fines, And Charges In Nevada

A person is considered under the influence if they are impaired by drugs or alcohol to the degree that they are driving recklessly. NRS 484B.653 criminalizes reckless driving, making it a much more serious offense than simple negligence. A driver will face DUI charges in Las Vegas if they display a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more at the time of the accident. The same goes for drivers under the age of 21 who display a BAC of 0.02% or higher and for commercially licensed drivers who display a BAC of 0.04% or higher.

DUI penalties in Nevada will vary depending on whether the incident was the first, second, or third offense. In DUI cases that result in a fatality, the driver will be charged with a Category B felony and will face much harsher punishment.

Possible penalties of DUI charges include criminal arrest, vehicle impoundment, jail or equivalent community service hours, hundreds to thousands of dollars in fines, DUI school or substance abuse treatment, Victim Impact Panel, and permanent damage to your driving record. In some cases, a DUI offender may be able to avoid spending time in prison if a Misdemeanor or Felony DUI Court program is completed. This is an intensive rehabilitation program that is not available to everyone and eligibility is often determined by a judge.


Understanding First, Second & Third DUI Offense

1st DUI Offense

A first DUI offense in 7 years will result in a misdemeanor charge which carries a mandatory 2-day hold in jail (or equivalent in community service hours) with a maximum hold of 180 days, a $400 minimum fine, and license revocation for at least 185 days. The offender may also be required to attend DUI school, which is typically an 8-hour class that can be completed online, as well as a Victim Impact Panel. If the person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is greater than 0.18%, an alcohol/drug dependency evaluation will be recommended and an ignition breath interlock device will be installed in their vehicle for 12-36 months at their own expense.

2nd DUI Offense

A second DUI offense in 7 years will result in a misdemeanor charge which carries a mandatory 10 days in jail or home confinement with a maximum hold of 180 days, a $750 fine, and license revocation for 1 year. An alcohol/drug dependency evaluation will be performed and a breath interlock device will be installed in the offender’s vehicle for a minimum of 185 days at their own expense. If the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is greater than 0.18%, an ignition breath interlock device will be installed in their vehicle for 12-36 months.

3rd DUI Offense

A third DUI offense in 7 years will result in a Category B felony. Offenders of a 3rd DUI charge will spend 1-6 years in prison, pay a $2,000 minimum fine, and have their license revoked for 3 years. An alcohol/drug dependency evaluation will be recommended and an ignition breath interlock device will be installed in their vehicle for 12-36 months at their own expense. Punishment for multiple DUI offenses can be severe and it’s recommended that you seek representation from a qualified Las Vegas DUI defense attorney.

Nevada Revised Statutes Regarding DUI

The Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) are the most up-to-date codified laws in Nevada. Several statutes discuss DUI offenses and reckless driving charges. Below is a list of DUI and other driving-related Nevada statutes to review:

NRS 484B.657 - Declares vehicular manslaughter caused by simple negligence (i.e. distracted driving, failure to use a turn signal, speeding slightly, etc.) a misdemeanor and requires an offender to be punished as such.
• NRS 484B.653 - Criminalizes reckless driving (i.e. running a red light, speeding in excess, aggressively weaving in and out of traffic, etc.) resulting in more severe charges and penalties ranging from large fines to potential prison time.
• NRS 484C.150 - (Replaces the previous statute NRS 484.382) States that a driver or person in physical control of a vehicle on a public road gives their consent to a preliminary test of their breath to determine their alcohol concentration level at the scene of a vehicle crash or in the location and time that the police officer stopped the vehicle.
• NRS 484C.160 - (Replaces the previous statute NRS 484.383) States that a driver or person in physical control of a vehicle on a public road gives their consent to an evidentiary test of their blood, urine, breath, or other bodily substance to determine the concentration of alcohol or presence of another controlled substance, chemical, poison, or prohibited substance at the time that the test is administered
• NRS 484C.400 - Lists the penalties for first, second, and third offenders of DUI charges. Each penalty will be determined upon consideration of the circumstances of the accident.
• NRS 484C.430 - Declares that the driver of a fatal vehicle accident will be charged with a Category B felony and will face serious charges including prison time, hefty fines, and more.

Nevada’s Implied Consent Law in DUI Cases

If you are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence, Nevada has laws which control the testing used to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs or marijuana. The standard tests used include blood testing, breath tests and urine tests. The results of these tests can prove if you are intoxicated and to what extent you are intoxicated. There is a misconception that you can’t be convicted of a DUI without the results of a blood, breath or urine test, and therefore you should refuse the testing. Nevada statute 484C.160 states that “any person who drives or is in actual control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to an evidentiary test of his or her blood, urine, breath or other bodily substance to determine the concentration of alcohol in his or her blood or breath…”

Before 2013, the police were able to force a blood draw under Nevada’s implied consent laws. In Missouri v. McNeely, 569 US 141 (2013), the United States Supreme Court addressed states implied consent laws head-on and ruled that the police can no longer force driving under the influence suspects to give a blood sample, unless they have a search warrant.

Most recently however, In Mitchell v. Wisconsin, 139 S.Ct 2525 (2019), the United States Supreme Court, ruled that police may, without a warrant, order blood drawn from an unconscious person suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. The Supreme Court did state they were addressing a narrow category of cases, however, one can not deny that the ruling in Mitchell allows for an easier time justifying warrantless blood draws of intoxicated drivers by law enforcement.

If you choose not to take a breath, blood or urine test you could have your driver’s license revoked for one year. And your refusal may be seen as evidence of guilt at your DUI hearing. By law, Nevada drivers are required to submit to a PBT (preliminary breath test) when an officer suspects them of DUI. It’s important to note that refusing to take the PBT has consequences as well, such as:

• DUI Arrest
• Confiscation of driver’s license
• The refusal may be used as evidence against the driver

However, while it is the law to consent to the PBT, the police cannot force you to take the test. If you’ve made the decision to forgo a preliminary blood test, speak with a DUI lawyer in Clark County as soon as possible.

Fatal DUI Accidents In Las Vegas

In a DUI case that results in the wrongful death of another person, the offender will be charged with a Category B felony spending 2-20 years in prison (away from violent offenders). Other penalties of a fatal DUI accident include facing fines ranging from $2,000-$5,000, are required to attend a Victim Impact Panel, and must have a breath interlock system installed in their vehicle at their own expense for at least 1 year upon release. An alcohol/drug dependency evaluation will also be performed at this time. Find out more about DUI accidents and if you can go to jail for a car accident here.

Tourist DUIs in Las Vegas

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

20 Ways To Fight A DUI In Las vegas

1. The Officer did not Administer the Field Sobriety Tests Correctly

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 DUI defense lawyer can use this to your advantage. The NHTSA DUI manual clearly states that not following the procedures renders the results invalid. The three standardized Field Sobriety Tests are:

1.) Horizontal gaze nystagmus (penlight test)
2.) Walk and turn
3.) One-legged stand

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. When you’re pulled over by the police and you see the flashing lights in your rear view mirror, it’s natural to be uneasy. Just because you may have performed a Field Sobriety Test poorly, does not automatically mean that you were drunk while behind the wheel. Our Las Vegas DUI attorney will walk through the series of events before, during, and after your encounter with the police and determine the best defense to refute their claims. Common reasons for a failed field sobriety test other than being drunk include:

• 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 DUI attorney in Clark County 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 defense lawyer, 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.

Sobering DUI Statistics In Las Vegas

While efforts to reduce and prevent alcohol-impaired driving have proven to be quite successful over time, there are still thousands of DUI accidents occurring statewide. Between the years 2009 and 2018, 842 Nevadans have lost their lives due to alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. Since then, the state, specifically Las Vegas, has been working towards a “Zero Fatalities” initiative that has caused a soaring rise in DUI arrests.

A recent 2021 report from the Las Vegas police revealed that DUI arrests are up 9.7% from 2020. Shockingly, there have been 2,349 arrests in 2021, compared to 2,141 last year. That means that Las Vegas police made an average of 15 DUI arrests every day so far in 2021. It’s clear that COVID has changed a lot of driving patterns both last year and this year, but it’s also evident that local police are cracking down on drunk driving in Clark County.

Nationally, an estimated 1.7% of drivers report getting behind the wheel after having had too much to drink. That number is 1.6% in Nevada, which is remarkably close to the national average. Even the slightest increase in blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels can affect a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.

• Every day, 30 people in the US die in a car accident caused by someone driving under the influence. This equates to one death every 50 minutes. (CDC)
• In 2020, roughly 290,000 were injured in DUI related accidents. (NHTSA)
• Drivers with a Blood Alcohol Content of over 0.10 are 7 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than sober drivers. (Responsibility.org)
Ridesharing has reduced alcohol-related traffic deaths in the US by 6.1% and decreased overall US motor vehicle deaths by 4%. (National Bureau of Economic Research)
• Roughly 25% of all traffic-related deaths are the direct result of alcohol impairment. (NHTSA)

At just 0.02% BAC, which is the equivalent of one 12 ounce beer with an alcohol concentration of 5%, you may feel dazed or confused, be at risk for making poor decisions, and have a hindered ability to see clearly. It’s important to understand these statistics to keep yourself and others safe. However, there is a fine line between being buzzed and being impaired. At the Spartacus Law Firm, our skilled Las Vegas DUI defense attorney has worked with countless clients in similar situations. With the right representation, you can mitigate DUI penalties, or even have the charges dropped altogether.

las vegas dui statistics 2021 infographic

Frequently asked questions

How Is Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Defined in Nevada?

You can be charged with a DUI in Nevada if you were operating any type of motor vehicle, including a motorcycle or moped while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Nevada, there are generally two types of DUI charges that you can be facing, DUI with alcohol or DUI with drugs.

DUI with Drugs indicates that you are under the influence of a controlled substance that impairs your ability to drive. While DUI with alcohol means that your BAC is 0.08 or higher (0.04 if driving a commercial vehicle) and a field sobriety test has determined you are impaired. Unfortunately, the arresting officer has a significant amount of control when determining if you are drunk or not. For example, even if your BAC is below .08 and the officer believes you are unable to drive, you can be arrested. Having an experienced Las Vegas DUI attorney in instances like these are critical for proving the officer’s assessment was wrong.

What Are The Penalties For A DUI In Nevada?

DUI charges in Nevada typically result in a misdemeanor. However, under certain circumstances, you could be facing a felony DUI offense. It’s important to understand that the penalties that you may face for a DUI largely rely on whether you have a prior DUI conviction within the past seven years. Additionally, the potential penalties you may face for a misdemeanor DUI conviction include:

• A minimum fine of $400 (plus court and administrative costs)
• 48 hours in jail or 48 to 96 hours of community service
• Attendance at a course on the abuse of alcohol or drugs
• Appearance before a victim impact panel. A victim impact panel consists of victims/survivors of DUIs and drunk driving accidents who share the impact the crime has had on them and their lives.

What Is A Misdemeanor DUI?

Most people who are charged with a DUI will be given a misdemeanor conviction, which is considered to be the standard DUI charge in Nevada. However, there are circumstances that would elevate a misdemeanor DUI to felony DUI. Some of those circumstances include causing serious injury or death of another person, severe property damage, or leaving the scene of an accident while under the influence. While a misdemeanor DUI is better than a felony DUI, it still comes with serious penalties such as:

Mandatory fines ranging from $400 to $1,000
• Possible jail time (up to six months) or 96 hours of community service
• Driver’s license revocation for 90 days
• Installation of a breath ignition interlock device
• Attendance at a Nevada DUI school
• Alcohol and substance abuse treatment program

Contact A Las Vegas DUI Defense Attorney Today

If you or someone you know is facing charges of a DUI offense, you need assertive and dynamic legal representation from a skilled Las Vegas DUI attorney. We have vast expertise and knowledge when it comes to DUI/DWI defense law in Nevada. Our DUI 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. The Spartacus Law Firm has also been recognized as a top-ranked DUI law firm and will fight to make sure that your rights are protected. A DUI charge in Nevada 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.

For a FREE initial consultation, call (702) 660-1234.

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