A third offense DUI conviction in a seven-year time span is prosecuted as a felony in Nevada even if no one was hurt. But a skilled Las Vegas drunk driving attorney may be successful in negotiating a favorable resolution where the defendant undergoes rehab in lieu of prison or where the charge is dropped completely.
This article describes the law behind 3rd time drunk driving offenses in Las Vegas, Nevada. Keep reading to learn the definition of DUIs, how a defense attorney can fight the charges, and what penalties a conviction may carry.
Definition of "driving under the influence"
Driving a car is illegal in Nevada under any of these conditions:
- the defendant's driving is impaired by alcohol or drugs, OR
- the defendant has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or more, OR
- the defendant's blood surpasses the maximum legal quantities of certain prescription and narcotic drugs (go to our article on the Nevada crime of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) for more specific information)
Put another way, it is unlawful in Nevada for someone to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Even if the driver is driving safely, it is still a crime to drive if his/her blood contains too much alcohol or drugs. People arrested for a third offense DUI in Las Vegas are booked at the Clark County Detention Center. Bail at the Clark County Detention Center is usually set at around $5,000.
Defenses to 3rd Time DUI in Nevada
Defendants are presumed innocent until the prosecution proves their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore a defense attorney will investigate every aspect of the case in order to find inconsistencies, insufficiencies and inaccuracies to create this reasonable doubt. Common strategies include that:
- the officer had no probable cause to signal the driver to pull over
- the officer did not correctly implement the field sobriety tests
- the blood or breath tests were not performed correctly
- the technicians who tested the blood (if the driver took a blood test) lacked proper certification
- a medical condition caused the driver's BAC to read higher than it really was.
Penalties for 3rd Offense DUI in Nevada
- 1 to 6 years in Nevada State Prison
- $2,000 to $5,000 in fines
- A Victim Impact Panel in Nevada
- An alcohol/drug dependency evaluation
- A Nevada breath interlock device in the defendant's car for up to 3 years
Note that the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles will also suspend the defendant's driver's license for three years.
To learn the penalties for 1st- and 2nd-time DUIs, go to our pages on first-time DUI penalties and second-time DUI penalties. And for a discussion of drunk driving punishments in general go to our article on Nevada DUI penalties. Also refer to our article on the Nevada crime of felony DUI based on prior convictions.
Felony DUI Court in Nevada
Some defendants who are accused of a third DUI may avoid prison by completing Felony DUI Court in Nevada. DUI Court is a rigorous rehabilitation program that lasts three to five years. It requires frequent court appearances and counseling, and the judge may sentence participants to jail for breaking the rules.
For further information on Nevada DUI laws, go to our article on Nevada DUI Laws.
Phone us if you have been arrested . . . .
If you have been accused of a DUI third in Nevada, call Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). They can consult with you free of charge about how best to craft a successful defense and whether you are eligible for DUI Court. And if you wish to take your case to a jury, they will fight zealously for your innocence.