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Four ways DUI can be a felony in Nevada

Posted by Neil Shouse | Mar 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

There are four scenarios where drunk or drugged driving is a Nevada felony. One is DUI-third, where the defendant has two prior DUI convictions in the last seven years. Another is any DUI following a felony DUI conviction. DUI causing injury or death (NRS 484C.430) is always a felony. Finally, vehicular homicide (NRS 484C.440) - a fatal DUI following three prior DUI convictions - is a felony.

1. DUI-third

A third-time DUI in a seven-year span is an automatic felony in Nevada. It makes no difference if no one was hurt and there was no accident. Nor does it matter if the prior DUIs were in different states.

A DUI-third is a category B felony. The penalties include:

  • 1 - 6 years in Nevada State Prison;
  • $2,000 - $5,000 in fines;
  • Attendance at a victim impact panel;
  • A 3-year driver's license revocation;
  • 1 - 3 years of using an ignition interlock device; and
  • An alcohol and drug addiction evaluation

However, it may be possible to avoid both prison and a felony conviction. The defendant would need to successfully complete Felony DUI Court. This is an intensive rehabilitation program that takes three-to-five years. It includes six months of house arrest and wearing a SCRAM alcohol-detection anklet.

2. Prior felony DUI

Once a person has a felony DUI on their record, any successive DUI is a felony in Nevada. It makes no difference if no one was hurt and there was no accident. Nor does it matter if the prior DUI was in a different state.

A DUI following a felony DUI is prosecuted as category B felony. The punishment carries:

  • 2 - 15 years in prison;
  • $2,000 - $5,000 in fines;
  • Attendance at a victim impact panel;
  • A 3-year driver's license revocation;
  • 1 - 3 years of using an ignition interlock device; and
  • An alcohol and drug addiction evaluation

3. DUI with injury or death

A DUI accident that results in a fatality or substantial bodily harm is a felony in Nevada. It makes no difference whether the defendant has prior DUIs.

DUI causing injury or death is a category B felony. The sentence is:

  • 2 - 20 years in prison;
  • $2,000 - $5,000 in fines;
  • Attendance at a victim impact panel;
  • A 3-year driver's license revocation; and
  • 1 - 3 years of using an ignition interlock device

4. Vehicular homicide

Vehicular homicide is the most serious DUI crime in Nevada. It is reserved for people with three or more prior DUI cases who then cause a fatal DUI accident. It does not matter if the prior DUIs were in other states and caused no injuries.

Vehicular homicide is a category A felony. The penalty is:

  • 25 years or life in prison;
  • Attendance at a victim impact panel;
  • A 3-year driver's license revocation; and
  • 1 - 3 years of using an ignition interlock device

Parole is possible after 10 years.

Additional penalties

Transporting a child under 15 during a DUI is an "aggravating factor." This means that the judge may impose a harsher sentence than he/she would otherwise.

Even if a DUI charge gets dismissed in criminal court, the Nevada DMV can still impose a license suspension. The standard for proving DUI in the DMV is much lower than in criminal court.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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