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DUI With Substantial Bodily Harm In Las Vegas, NV

DUI With Substantial Bodily Harm In Nevada

If you have been involved in DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm in Nevada, the potential consequences for a conviction can be staggering. Rarely in these cases is there any intent to harm or kill another person, usually, it’s the result of a terrible mistake. Regardless of the circumstances, if you’ve been charged with a DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm in Las Vegas, you’ll be facing a very serious offense. In Nevada, it’s considered a Category B Felony, carrying up to 20 years in prison if convicted. If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence and facing the potential of a substantial bodily harm charge, it’s critical that you speak with a Las Vegas DUI defense attorney as quickly as possible. If there is any chance to mitigate these charges to a less serious offense, you must take every opportunity to do so. Call the Spartacus Law Firm today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.

DUI With Substantial Bodily Harm Defined

NRS 484C.430 lays out the penalties for a Nevada DUI Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm or Death. Those elements are:

1. A person who:

(a.) Is under the influence of intoxicating liquor;
(b.) Has a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath;
(c.) Is found by measurement within 2 hours after driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath;
(d.) Is under the influence of a controlled substance or is under the combined influence of intoxicating liquor and a controlled substance;
(e.) Inhales, ingests, applies or otherwise uses any chemical, poison or organic solvent, or any compound or combination of any of these, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of a vehicle; or
(f.) Has a prohibited substance in his or her blood or urine, as applicable, in an amount that is equal to or greater than the amount set forth in subsection 3 or 4 of NRS 484C.110, and does any act or neglects any duty imposed by law while driving or in actual physical control of any vehicle on or off the highways of this State, if the act or neglect of duty proximately causes the death of, or substantial bodily harm to, another person.

To convict somebody in Nevada of DUI Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm or Death, the State needs to prove two things:

  1. A traditional DUI: The State must prove that the person driving was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The State can prove a DUI via the impairment theory or a per se DUI.
  2. A Breach of Duty: The State must prove that the person driving breached some duty while driving. Examples of a breach of duty could be speeding, failing to maintain the travel lane, running a stop sign, etc.

In order to be convicted of a DUI with substantial bodily harm in Las Vegas, the prosecutor must prove, that you were under the influence while driving and/or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle and that your actions while driving were the proximate cause of the substantial bodily harm of another. Additionally, the prosecutor cannot offer a plea bargain to reduce the charge. In many instances, if you are charged in Nevada with a DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm and the evidence is weighed against you, the conversation is more about stipulating a particular prison sentence rather than negotiating for reduced charges. Nevada takes this particular offense incredibly seriously, especially if the DUI resulted in wrongful death. It’s recommended that you speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney right away to plan the best possible defense and mitigate the harsh consequences of a DUI with substantial bodily harm.

Penalties For DUI Resulting In Substantial Bodily Harm

In Nevada, many violent crime charges can be enhanced when there is an allegation of substantial bodily harm. This can dramatically increase the range of punishment you may face under the law. That’s why it’s so imperative to have a skilled and aggressive DUI defense lawyer by your side defending you from this conviction. If you are convicted of a DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm in Nevada, you will be facing the following penalties:

  • A prison sentence spanning a minimum of 2 years to a maximum of 20 years
  • Fines ranging between $2000 to $5000
  • Required attendance at a victim impact panel
  • Court mandated a Breath Interlock Device for at least 12 months
  • License Revoked for 3 years following conviction

Unlike other first or second offense DUIs in Nevada, there are no treatment programs available if you are convicted of a DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm. Additionally, probation is also prohibited, and anybody convicted of a DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm or wrongful death in Nevada must serve their time in prison.

NRS 484C.430 Defines the penalties if death or substantial bodily harm results from a DUI:

Penalty if death or substantial bodily harm results; exception; segregation of offender; plea bargaining restricted; suspension of sentence and probation prohibited; affirmative defense; aggravating factor. [Effective until the date of the repeal of the federal law requiring each state to make it unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or greater as a condition to receiving federal funding for the construction of highways in this State.]

1. Unless a greater penalty is provided pursuant to NRS 484C.440, a person who:

(a) Is under the influence of intoxicating liquor;
(b) Has a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath;
(c) Is found by measurement within 2 hours after driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath;
(d) Is under the influence of a controlled substance or is under the combined influence of intoxicating liquor and a controlled substance;
(e) Inhales, ingests, applies or otherwise uses any chemical, poison or organic solvent, or any compound or combination of any of these, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of a vehicle; or
(f) Has a prohibited substance in his or her blood or urine in an amount that is equal to or greater than the amount set forth in subsection 3 of NRS 484C.110, and does any act or neglects any duty imposed by law while driving or in actual physical control of any vehicle on or off the highways of this State, if the act or neglect of duty proximately causes the death of, or substantial bodily harm to, another person, is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 20 years and must be further punished by a fine of not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000. A person so imprisoned must, insofar as practicable, be segregated from offenders whose crimes were violent and, insofar as practicable, be assigned to an institution or facility of minimum security.

Example Of DUI With Substantial Bodily Harm In Nevada

A man is driving home from Allegiant Stadium following a Raiders game. During the course of the event, he drank too much and should not have driven home. As a result, he lost control of his vehicle and caused a serious car accident. At the scene, Las Vegas police determined that he was under the influence of alcohol while operating the vehicle, and was immediately arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). A few days later, he was told that the passenger in the other vehicle sustained a broken leg and severe whiplash from a collision. This new evidence enhances his charge to DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm. This scenario would take what would otherwise be considered a misdemeanor DUI offense and upgrade it to a far more serious felony offense, punishable by 2-20 years in Nevada State Prison. Additionally, if convicted of the crime of DUI with Substantial Bodily Harm in Nevada, the sentence is non-probational, meaning the person charged cannot receive probation. This is just one example of many similar cases we see on a routine basis at the Spartacus Law Firm. The one commonality that all of these cases have is that the penalties are very serious and the prosecutor will not show mercy without a strong defense to convince them otherwise. It’s imperative to have an experienced DUI defense attorney in your corner when disputing these types of charges.

In Gibson v. State, 95 Nev. 99 (1979), The Nevada Supreme Court reasoned that the evidence supported the finding of substantial bodily harm where a victim’s nose had to be restructured and the prognosis for its functional recovery was uncertain, and the victim’s wrist required a period of traction before it could be set.

Bruises, scratches, a black eye, and a broken arm can constitute substantial bodily harm. Hardaway v. State, 112 Nev. 1208 (1996).

Defenses For A DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury Or Death

Faulty Testing Equipment-At first glance a blood test seems conclusive, but a test is only as reliable as the equipment and testing procedures. If the testing equipment was not up to date or in working order you can challenge the results of the blood test itself. If the blood sample was not stored correctly or in conditions that preclude the sample from fermenting this would cause the results of the blood sample to be dubious. Was there a break in the legal chain of custody? Was the person who drew the blood legally certified to draw blood? In Nevada, only licensed professionals such as registered nurses, physicians, phlebotomists, and physician assistants can perform an evidentiary admissible blood draw.

A higher blood alcohol content reading can result if your skin was swabbed with alcohol before the blood draw and this would make the result unreliable in your case. Questions and issues about the officer’s certifications and qualifications can cast doubt about the DUI arrest and blood draw. An individual charged with a DUI Substantial Bodily Harm can assert the affirmative defense that the person charged with the DUI consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after driving or being in actual physical control of their vehicle, and before their blood or breath was tested, which proximately caused the individual charged to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in their blood at the time of the blood test. These are a few of the defenses available to an individual charged with the serious offense of DUI with substantial bodily harm. Contact our office today to discuss all of your available options.

LAS VEGAS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ATTORNEY

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Considered Substantial Bodily Harm In Nevada?

NRS 0.060 defines substantial bodily harm as bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ; or prolonged physical pain. Substantial bodily harm refers not only to near-lethal or severe injuries but also to long-lasting cosmetic damage or chronic pain. Some examples of substantial bodily harm include the following:

  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Any injury needing stitches
  • Organ damage
  • Paralysis
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Severe burns
  • Concussions
  • Losing consciousness
  • Amputations
  • Scarring and other cosmetic injuries

What Are Some Of The Consequences Of A Felony DUI Conviction?

In addition to the immediate penalties of jail time, probation, and fines a person who has been convicted of a felony DUI can also suffer collateral consequences. These consequences include but are not limited to the loss of voting rights, the inability to possess or own a firearm, a conviction can also have an effect on child custody cases in addition to difficulties in finding employment and housing.

How Do Prosecutors Prove Substantial Bodily Harm?

After prosecutors allege that the defendant caused substantial bodily harm they then have the burden at trial to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did in fact cause substantial bodily harm while driving under the influence. The prosecutor usually relies on medical records and expert medical testimony in an effort to sway a judge or jury that the injuries warrant a sentencing enhancement. It’s essential to have a veteran attorney who has seen these tactics deployed in the past and can refute the evidence in your favor. Remember, all that’s needed is reasonable doubt for a charge of substantial bodily harm to lose it’s credibility.

Nevada judges and juries examine the evidence on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the injury in question falls under the legal definition of substantial bodily harm. Some factors they may take into consideration include:

  • How severe the injury is
  • The length of the injury
  • How much pain it causes
  • The amount of medical care it requires
  • How the injury was sustained

Contact A Las Vegas DUI Defense Attorney Today

If you were charged with a felony DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm in Las Vegas, you must retain legal counsel as soon as possible. An experienced DUI defense attorney at the Spartacus Law Firm can help review your case and determine the best possible defense strategies that can be leveraged. The Spartacus Law Firm has been recognized as a top-ranked DUI law firm and will fight to make sure that your rights are protected. 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.