Nevada DUI Penalties while Driving a Child
(Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys)

Possible penalties for Nevada DUI convictions range from small fines and short classes to intensive rehab programs and lengthy incarcerations. But if the driver was transporting a child 14-years-old or younger at the time of the incident, Nevada judges will hand down harsher punishments than if there were no child passengers.

Below our Las Vegas drunk driving defense attorneys summarize the possible penalties for Nevada's DUI offenses. Note that courts consider having a child younger than 15 years of age in the car an "aggravating factor" that will result in the sentence being "enhanced" with more stringent terms and conditions. Also note that a DUI arrest does not guarantee a conviction, and that a good defense attorney may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

(Click on a Nevada DUI crime below to go directly to its penalties. Note that "BAC" stands for blood alcohol content.)

  1. Penalties for a "First-time misdemeanor DUI" in Nevada
  2. Penalties for a "Second-time misdemeanor DUI" in Nevada
  3. Penalties for a "Third-time misdemeanor DUI" (felony DUI) in Nevada
  4. Penalties for "DUI causing Injury or Death" in Nevada
  5. Penalties for "Vehicular Homicide" in Nevada
Woman_20driving_20child
DUI penalties are harsher in Nevada if a child under 15 was in the defendant's car.

1) Penalties for a "first-time misdemeanor DUI" while transporting a child 14-years old or younger in Nevada

The least serious DUI offense in Nevada is a first-time incident occurring at least 7 years since any previous DUI cases and with no injuries or death. It is a misdemeanor in Nevada, and the sentence includes:

  • 2 days to 6 months in jail or 24 hour to 96 hours of community service (often, the court imposes a 6-month suspended jail sentence where the defendant does no jail as long as he/she completes the other sentencing terms);
  • An alcohol awareness online class ("DUI School") that the defendant pays for;
  • Attendance at a "victim impact panel" such as MADD that the defendant pays for;
  • Fines of up to $1,000 and administrative/court costs;
  • A $100 alcohol/drug dependency evaluation for defendants under 21 or with a BAC of .18 or higher;
  • An alcohol or drug abuse treatment program for defendants with a BAC of .18 or higher;
  • A Nevada Breath Interlock Device in the defendant's vehicle for 12 months to 36 months if the defendant's BAC was .18 or higher. Otherwise, the court may order the Breath Interlock Device for 3 months to 6 months;
  • An order to avoid further arrests or citations (other than minor speeding tickets) while the case is open; and
  • The Nevada DMV suspends the driver's license for 90 days suspension and charges a $35 civil penalty fee (a restricted license may be available after 45 days)
Child_20car_20sleeping
First-time DUIs without injury carry the least serious penalties in Nevada.

So if a defendant gets busted for a first-time misdemeanor DUI while driving a child younger than fifteen (15), the judge will impose a harsher punishment than usual. Henderson criminal defense attorney Michael Becker gives an example:

Example: Kelly goes to a charity luncheon where she indulges in more champagne than usual. Afterwards she picks up her second-grader from school and begins driving her home. A cop from the Nevada Highway Patrol notices the car zig-zagging and soon arrests and books Kelly at the Clark County Detention Center for DUI. Kelly ultimately pleads guilty to a first-time DUI. Since Kelly was driving her child under 15 years old while under the influence, the judge enhances the standard penalty by ordering her to 5 days in jail when normally he would have imposed a suspended sentence.

Note that the same penalties apply if the driver was under the influence or drugs instead of alcohol. For more information about DUI 1st penalties in Nevada, go to our article on DUI 1st penalties in Nevada.1

2) Penalties for "second-time misdemeanor DUI" while transporting a child 14-years old or younger in Nevada

Each successive DUI conviction (that occurs within seven years of the first one) carry progressively harsher penalties in Nevada. But they are still misdemeanors in Nevada as long as no injury or death occurs. The sentence for a second-time DUI carries:

  • 10 days to 6 months in jail or residential confinement in Nevada;
  • Attendance at a "victim impact panel";
  • Fines of up to $1,000 and administrative/court costs;
  • A $100 alcohol/drug dependency evaluation;
  • A lengthy alcohol or drug abuse treatment program (Nevada Misdemeanor DUI Court);
  • A Nevada breath interlock device in the defendant's vehicle for 12 months to 36 months if the defendant's BAC was .18 or higher. Otherwise, the court may order the Breath Interlock Device for 3 months to 6 months;
  • An order to avoid further arrests or citations (other than minor speeding tickets) while the case is open; and
  • The Nevada DMV suspends the driver's license for 1 year, suspends registration for 5 days, and charges a $35 civil penalty fee
Car_20driving_20parents_20children
Nevada judges are mandated to hand down tougher penalties when a drunk driver drives a child under 15.

So when a child fourteen (14) or younger was in the car, the judge could likely order more than 10 days of jail (even up to 6 months total), order a fine on the higher range of the scale (up to $1,000 plus costs), and mandate that the driver keep a breath ignition device in the car for years. Note that the same penalties apply if the driver was under the influence or drugs instead of alcohol. For more information about DUI 2nd penalties in Nevada, go to our article on DUI 2nd penalties in Nevada.2

3) Penalties for "third-time DUI" in Nevada while transporting a child 14-years old or younger in Nevada

A third DUI conviction within a seven-year period in Nevada is a category B felony in Nevada even if no one got hurt or killed. The penalties for felony DUI include:

  • 1 - 6 years in Nevada State Prison (though the defendant will be segregated from violent offenders and in a minimum-security facility);
  • $2,000 - $5,000 in fines;
  • Attendance at a "victim impact panel";
  • An alcohol & drug evaluation;
  • A lengthy alcohol or drug abuse treatment program (Nevada Felony DUI Court)
  • A Breath Interlock Device on the defendant's car for 12 months to 36 months after release from prison;
  • An order to avoid further arrests or citations (other than minor speeding tickets) while the case is open; and
  • The Nevada DMV suspends the driver's license for 3 years, suspends registration for 5 days, and charges a $35 civil penalty fee

In felony DUI cases where a child younger than 15 was in the car, the judge could likely order a prison sentence and fine on the higher end of the range. Note that the same penalties apply if the driver was under the influence or drugs instead of alcohol. For more information about DUI 3rd penalties in Nevada, go to our article on DUI 3rd penalties in Nevada.3

4) Penalties for "DUI with injury or death" while transporting a child 14-years old or younger in Nevada

Drunk driving accidents that result in injury or fatality are automatic category B felonies in Nevada even if the driver never had a DUI before. The punishment includes:

What_20is_20the_20legal_20alcohol_20limit_20in_20las_20vegas
Nevada judges are not required to impose stricter punishments for DUI incidents with adult passengers.
  • 2 to 20 years in Nevada State Prison; and
  • $2,000 - $5,000 in fines

Since penalties are potentially very harsh in these types of cases, judges have vast discretion to impose extremely stringent sentences. Henderson criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse illustrates this scenario:

Example: Jack is convicted of DUI causing injury in Nevada after running a red light and slamming into another driver, injuring him. Jack's 14-year-old son was in the back seat at the time. Under normal circumstances, the judge would just sentence the driver to the minimum 2 years in prison since no one died. But because Jack endangered his under-15 child as well, the judge instead imposed 10 years in prison.

For more information about Nevada Laws for DUI causing injury or death in Nevada, go to our article on Nevada Laws for DUI causing injury or death.4

5) Penalties for "Vehicular Homicide" while transporting a child 14-years old or younger in Nevada

Defendants with three prior DUI convictions who then pick up a charge of DUI causing death face charges for Nevada vehicular homicide. It is a category A felony in Nevada carrying 25 years in prison or a life sentence, with the possibility of parole after 10 years. Defendants transporting kids under 15 at the time are more likely to receive life in prison.5

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Call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673).

Arrested for DUI with a child in Nevada? Call us....

If you are charged with DUI while transporting a child under 15 years old, call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys. We may be able to get the charges reduced or possibly dismissed without a trial. For a free consultation, dial 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673).

For information on California DUI with a child laws, read our article on California DUI with a child laws.

Legal References:

1 NRS 484C.400  Penalties for first, second and third offenses; segregation of offender; intermittent confinement; consecutive sentences; aggravating factor.

1.  Unless a greater penalty is provided pursuant to NRS 484C.430 or 484C.440, and except as otherwise provided in NRS 484C.410, a person who violates the provisions of NRS 484C.110 or 484C.120:

(a) For the first offense within 7 years, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Unless the person is allowed to undergo treatment as provided in NRS 484C.320, the court shall:

(1) Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (4) of this paragraph or subsection 2 of NRS 484C.420, order the person to pay tuition for an educational course on the abuse of alcohol and controlled substances approved by the Department and complete the course within the time specified in the order, and the court shall notify the Department if the person fails to complete the course within the specified time;

(2) Unless the sentence is reduced pursuant to NRS 484C.320, sentence the person to imprisonment for not less than 2 days nor more than 6 months in jail, or to perform not less than 48 hours, but not more than 96 hours, of community service while dressed in distinctive garb that identifies the person as having violated the provisions of NRS 484C.110 or 484C.120;

(3) Fine the person not less than $400 nor more than $1,000; and

(4) If the person is found to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.18 or more in his or her blood or breath, order the person to attend a program of treatment for the abuse of alcohol or drugs pursuant to the provisions of NRS 484C.360.

(b) For a second offense within 7 years, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Unless the sentence is reduced pursuant to NRS 484C.330, the court shall:

(1) Sentence the person to:

(I) Imprisonment for not less than 10 days nor more than 6 months in jail; or

(II) Residential confinement for not less than 10 days nor more than 6 months, in the manner provided in NRS 4.376 to 4.3766, inclusive, or 5.0755 to 5.078, inclusive;

(2) Fine the person not less than $750 nor more than $1,000, or order the person to perform an equivalent number of hours of community service while dressed in distinctive garb that identifies the person as having violated the provisions of NRS 484C.110 or 484C.120; and

(3) Order the person to attend a program of treatment for the abuse of alcohol or drugs pursuant to the provisions of NRS 484C.360.

--> A person who willfully fails or refuses to complete successfully a term of residential confinement or a program of treatment ordered pursuant to this paragraph is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in NRS 484C.340, for a third offense within 7 years, 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 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and shall be further punished by a fine of not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000. An offender who is imprisoned pursuant to the provisions of this paragraph 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.

2.  An offense that occurred within 7 years immediately preceding the date of the principal offense or after the principal offense constitutes a prior offense for the purposes of this section when evidenced by a conviction, without regard to the sequence of the offenses and convictions. The facts concerning a prior offense must be alleged in the complaint, indictment or information, must not be read to the jury or proved at trial but must be proved at the time of sentencing and, if the principal offense is alleged to be a felony, must also be shown at the preliminary examination or presented to the grand jury.

3.  A term of confinement imposed pursuant to the provisions of this section may be served intermittently at the discretion of the judge or justice of the peace, except that a person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offense within 7 years must be confined for at least one segment of not less than 48 consecutive hours. This discretion must be exercised after considering all the circumstances surrounding the offense, and the family and employment of the offender, but any sentence of 30 days or less must be served within 6 months after the date of conviction or, if the offender was sentenced pursuant to NRS 484C.320 or 484C.330 and the suspension of his or her sentence was revoked, within 6 months after the date of revocation. Any time for which the offender is confined must consist of not less than 24 consecutive hours.

4.  Jail sentences simultaneously imposed pursuant to this section and NRS 482.456, 483.560, 484C.410 or 485.330 must run consecutively.

5.  If the defendant was transporting a person who is less than 15 years of age in the motor vehicle at the time of the violation, the court shall consider that fact as an aggravating factor in determining the sentence of the defendant.

6.  For the purpose of determining whether one offense occurs within 7 years of another offense, any period of time between the two offenses during which, for any such offense, the offender is imprisoned, serving a term of residential confinement, confined in a treatment facility, on parole or on probation must be excluded.

7.  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, “offense” means:

(a) A violation of NRS 484C.110, 484C.120 or 484C.430;

(b) A homicide resulting from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance or resulting from any other conduct prohibited by NRS 484C.110,484C.130 or 484C.430; or

(c) A violation of a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct as set forth in paragraph (a) or (b).

NRS 484C.410  Penalties when offender previously convicted of certain felonious conduct or homicide; segregation of offender; intermittent confinement; consecutive sentences; aggravating factor.

1.  Unless a greater penalty is provided in NRS 484C.440, a person who has previously been convicted of:

(a) A violation of NRS 484C.110 or 484C.120 that is punishable as a felony pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection 1 of NRS 484C.400;

(b) A violation of NRS 484C.430;

(c) A homicide resulting from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance or resulting from any other conduct prohibited by NRS 484C.110,484C.130 or 484C.430;

(d) A violation of a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct as set forth in paragraph (a), (b) or (c); or

(e) A violation of NRS 484C.110 or 484C.120 that is punishable pursuant to paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of NRS 484C.400 that was reduced from a felony pursuant to NRS 484C.340,

--> and who violates the provisions of NRS 484C.110 or 484C.120 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 15 years, and shall be further punished by a fine of not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000. An offender 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.

2.  An offense which is listed in paragraphs (a) to (e), inclusive, of subsection 1 that occurred on any date preceding the date of the principal offense or after the principal offense constitutes a prior offense for the purposes of this section when evidenced by a conviction, without regard for the sequence of the offenses and convictions. The facts concerning a prior offense must be alleged in the complaint, indictment or information, must not be read to the jury or proved at trial but must be proved at the time of sentencing and, if the principal offense is alleged to be a felony, must also be shown at the preliminary examination or presented to the grand jury.

3.  A term of confinement imposed pursuant to the provisions of this section may be served intermittently at the discretion of the judge or justice of the peace, except that a person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offense within 7 years must be confined for at least one segment of not less than 48 consecutive hours. This discretion must be exercised after considering all the circumstances surrounding the offense, and the family and employment of the offender, but any sentence of 30 days or less must be served within 6 months after the date of conviction or, if the offender was sentenced pursuant to NRS 484C.320 or 484C.330 and the suspension of offender's sentence was revoked, within 6 months after the date of revocation. Any time for which the offender is confined must consist of not less than 24 consecutive hours.

4.  Jail sentences simultaneously imposed pursuant to this section and NRS 482.456, 483.560, 484C.400 or 485.330 must run consecutively.

5.  If the defendant was transporting a person who is less than 15 years of age in the motor vehicle at the time of the violation, the court shall consider that fact as an aggravating factor in determining the sentence of the defendant.

6.  For the purpose of determining whether one offense occurs within 7 years of another offense, any period of time between the two offenses during which, for any such offense, the offender is imprisoned, serving a term of residential confinement, confined in a treatment facility, on parole or on probation must be excluded.

7.  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, “offense” means:

(a) A violation of NRS 484C.110, 484C.120 or 484C.430;

(b) A homicide resulting from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance or resulting from any other conduct prohibited by NRS 484C.110,484C.130 or 484C.430; or

(c) A violation of a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct as set forth in paragraph (a) or (b).

2Id.

3Id.

4 NRS 484C.430  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.

2.  A prosecuting attorney shall not dismiss a charge of violating the provisions of subsection 1 in exchange for a plea of guilty, guilty but mentally ill or nolo contendere to a lesser charge or for any other reason unless the attorney knows or it is obvious that the charge is not supported by probable cause or cannot be proved at the time of trial. A sentence imposed pursuant to subsection 1 may not be suspended nor may probation be granted.

3.  If consumption is proven by a preponderance of the evidence, it is an affirmative defense under paragraph (c) of subsection 1 that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle, and before his or her blood or breath was tested, to cause the defendant to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath. A defendant who intends to offer this defense at a trial or preliminary hearing must, not less than 14 days before the trial or hearing or at such other time as the court may direct, file and serve on the prosecuting attorney a written notice of that intent.

4.  If the defendant was transporting a person who is less than 15 years of age in the motor vehicle at the time of the violation, the court shall consider that fact as an aggravating factor in determining the sentence of the defendant.

NRS 484C.430  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 on 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 0.10 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 0.10 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.

2.  A prosecuting attorney shall not dismiss a charge of violating the provisions of subsection 1 in exchange for a plea of guilty, guilty but mentally ill or nolo contendere to a lesser charge or for any other reason unless the attorney knows or it is obvious that the charge is not supported by probable cause or cannot be proved at the time of trial. A sentence imposed pursuant to subsection 1 may not be suspended nor may probation be granted.

3.  If consumption is proven by a preponderance of the evidence, it is an affirmative defense under paragraph (c) of subsection 1 that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle, and before his or her blood or breath was tested, to cause the defendant to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.10 or more in his or her blood or breath. A defendant who intends to offer this defense at a trial or preliminary hearing must, not less than 14 days before the trial or hearing or at such other time as the court may direct, file and serve on the prosecuting attorney a written notice of that intent.

4.  If the defendant was transporting a person who is less than 15 years of age in the motor vehicle at the time of the violation, the court shall consider that fact as an aggravating factor in determining the sentence of the defendant.

5 NRS 484C.440  Penalties for vehicular homicide; segregation of offender; plea bargaining restricted; suspension of sentence and probation prohibited; aggravating factor.

1.  A person who commits vehicular homicide pursuant to NRS 484C.130 is guilty of a category A felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison:

(a) For life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 10 years has been served; or

(b) For a definite term of 25 years, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 10 years has been served.

2.  A person imprisoned pursuant to subsection 1 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.

3.  A prosecuting attorney shall not dismiss a charge of vehicular homicide in exchange for a plea of guilty, guilty but mentally ill or nolo contendere to a lesser charge or for any other reason unless the attorney knows or it is obvious that the charge is not supported by probable cause or cannot be proved at the time of trial. A sentence imposed pursuant to subsection 1 may not be suspended nor may probation be granted.

4.  If the defendant was transporting a person who is less than 15 years of age in the vehicle at the time of the violation, the court shall consider that fact as an aggravating factor in determining the sentence of the defendant.

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