DUI in Nevada

As of 2005, driving under the influence (DUI) was a major factor in over 37% of traffic related deaths in Nevada. In order to combat these statistics, Nevada adheres to strict DUI laws with harsh consequences for offenders.

Nevada observes two sets of penalties for DUI offenders. Administrative penalties are dispensed by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in association with an offender's driving license and privileges. Criminal penalties are dispensed by the criminal court system and can involve jail time and fines.

In the state of Nevada, an officer can make an arrest for the following drunk driving offenses:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving under the influence of controlled substances, alcohol, inhalants, chemicals, poisons, organic solvents, or any combination of these
  • Driving under the influence of any substance listed under Nevada statute 484.379
  • Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater
  • If under the age of 21, driving with a BAC of .02 or greater

Nevada DUI Penalties

Court Fines Potential Jail Time License Suspension
1st Conviction $400-1,000 2 days - 6 months 90 days
2nd Conviction $750-1,000 10 days - 6 months 1 year
3rd Conviction $2,000-5,000 1 year - 6 years
3 years

Determination of Guilt in Court

There are two sets of laws under which a person can be convicted of DUI in Nevada. The first set of laws concern the physical condition of the driver at the time of arrest. Driving pattern, field sobriety test results, and physical condition at time of arrest can be used as evidence to gain a conviction of DUI. Chemical test results do not necessarily need to be used as evidence in this case.

Alternatively, if chemical tests return results of a BAC of .08 or greater, a driver can be convicted under "per se" laws. Under per se laws, latin for "by itself", a person can be convicted based solely on his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) levels determined through chemical testing. No other evidence of driving impairment needs to be presented.

Consequences of Arrest and Conviction

Nevada courts impose stiff penalities on those convicted of DUI. First time offenders will receive between 2 to 6 days of jail time, fines up to $1,000, and 90 days of license suspension. A second conviction will result in fines up to $1,000, between 10 days to 6 months of jail time, and 1 year license suspension. A third conviction brings fines up to $5,000, up to 6 years of jail time, and 3 years license suspension. In addition to these punishments, offenders may have their car impounded and may be required to attend alcohol education classes. Community service may be substituted for jail time in some cases.

The option may be available to obtain a restricted license if the offender's license is suspended. In order to drive on the restricted license, an ignition interlock device (IID) will need to be purchased and installed. The IID forces a driver to pass a breath test with a BAC of no more than 0.02 per cent before he or she can start their vehicle and drive.

Administrative Hearing

You have a period of 7 days from the time of arrest to request a hearing with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This hearing is required if you wish to contest a license suspension. Failing to request a hearing or not attending the hearing may result in the loss of driving privileges for a lengthy period of time.

Chemical Testing and Implied Consent Laws

Under Nevada state law, any licensed person operating a motor vehicle automatically gives his or her consent to an approved test (blood, breath, or urine) for the purpose of showing intoxication. A Nevada driver may refuse the blood test if a breath test is available except in cases where the driver was in an accident involving serious injury or death, or if there are previous DUI convictions on record in the last seven years, or if the driver may be under the influence of controlled substances. Furthermore, it is permissable for reasonable force to be used to draw blood samples; however, within five hours of arrest, only three samples may be taken.

Refusing to take the chemical tests can result in up to 3 years license revocation and can be used as evidence in court. Refusing to take the Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) will result in a 90 day license revocation.

Chemical tests must by administered using equipment maintained by the Committee on Testing for Intoxication by certificated personnel. Blood tests must be carried out by a doctor, nurse, paramedic, or other medical personnel. In addition, a driver accused of a DUI offense has the right to request a second, independent, chemical test at his or her own expense.

If you are worried or unsure about a possible DUI conviction, consult with an attorney who can advise you on your particular circumstances.

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