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  • DUI & DWI in Nevada

    Across the United States, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is a serious offense and carries harsh penalties. It's no different in the state of Nevada. Beyond alcohol and illegal drugs, the DUI charge even applies to prescription and over-the-counter remedies when taking them impairs your ability to safely drive a car.

    Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit

    The illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Nevada is:

    • 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21
    • 0.04% for commercial license holders
    • 0.08% for everyone else

    The BAC applies only to alcohol. If any detectable amount of an illegal substance―like cocaine or marijuana―is found in your blood, you'll receive at least the same penalties as you would for alcohol, and perhaps even more.

    DUI Laws

    The Illegal Per Se Law simply means that driving with a BAC at or above the legally prescribed limit is an offense in and of itself. However, because the BAC limits are just a guide, you can also be arrested or cited for having a lower―but still detectable―amount of alcohol in your system.

    The Implied Consent Law means that you must submit to BAC testing when requested by a police officer. Getting into the car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol already "implies" your consent to being tested.

    If you resist, law enforcement has been given permission to use reasonable force. You can also be arrested immediately for resisting (this is the more likely result).

    The Open Container Law makes it illegal to drive a vehicle with opened alcoholic beverages anywhere in the car. It doesn't apply, however, to the living areas of a motor home or RV, or the passenger areas of buses, taxis, and limousines.

    If you are driving under the influence with minors under the age of 15 in your car, that will be considered an "aggravating circumstance" and will undoubtedly result in harsher penalties.

    If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you will be charged an extra $60 for the chemical tests, if any were done at the time of your arrest.

    The Penalties

    Getting a DUI comes with different types of consequences: administrative and criminal. The DMV will impose penalties on you and your license (administrative), and the courts may fine you and press charges (criminal).

    The DMV will suspend your license upon your arrest for DUI. To get your license back after both this suspension and the court-imposed suspension have elapsed, you will be required to do the following at the DMV:

    • Pay all fines and fees.
    • Retake the vision and written tests, and possibly also the skills test.

    First conviction:

    • Driver license revoked for 90 days. After 45 days, you may be eligible to apply for a restricted license that will enable you to drive to work and back.
    • Jail sentence of at least 2 days and up to 6 months, or 96 hours of community service.
    • Fine of at least $400 and up to $1,000.
    • Mandatory attendance at DUI school; average cost is $150 for tuition.
    • Possible order to attend a substance-abuse treatment program.

    Second conviction within seven years:

    • Driver license revoked for 1 year. You will not be eligible for a restricted license.
    • Jail sentence or home arrest of at least 10 days and up to six months.
    • Fine of at least $750 and up to $1,000.
    • One hundred to 200 hours of mandatory community service.
    • Possible car registration suspension.
    • Possible order to attend a substance-abuse treatment program or undergo clinical supervision for up to 1 year.

    Third (or more) conviction within seven years:

    • Driver license revoked for 3 years; you may be eligible for a restricted license under certain circumstances.
    • Prison sentence of at least 1 year and up to 6 years.
    • Fine of at least $2,000 and up to $5,000.
    • Possible car registration suspension.

    DUI causing death or serious injury (even on a first offense):

    • Driver license revoked for 3 years.
    • Prison sentence of at least 2 years and up to 20 years.
    • Fine of at least $2,000 and up to $5,000.

    If you are arrested for a DUI offense, you're in for some time at the police station and some time in court. You may wish to have a DUI lawyer by your side while you make the decision whether to plead guilty or not guilty. If you decide to fight the charges, you'll have your best chance of succeeding if you appoint a lawyer.

    Protect Yourself from Other Drivers

    Even if you aren't driving under the influence yourself, your life can be drastically altered forever by coming into contact with someone who is. When you see a car on the road that is driving erratically or otherwise makes you think the driver is impaired, stay away from it.

    The following are signs that a driver may be driving while impaired:

    • Turning too widely
    • Straddling the center line, or swerving between lanes
    • Near collisions with people or objects
    • Weaving or drifting from lane to lane
    • Driving off-road, or ignoring turn lanes and continuing straight
    • Driving too fast or too slowly
    • Stopping in the road for no reason
    • Tailgating
    • Erratic, uneven braking
    • Driving into oncoming traffic
    • Slow response to traffic lights or signs
    • Sudden speed changes
    • Driving at night without headlights

    Additional Resources

    The DMV has prepared an information sheet on DUI called Driving Under the Influence.


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