Nevada DUI laws make a third DUI in seven years a felony, carrying at least a year in state prison. But since 2007, third-time offenders have had the choice to go to DUI Court instead, a rigorous rehab program. In Douglas County, half of the participants have been successful and had their felony DUI convictions reduced to gross misdemeanors.
1. What is DUI Court?
Nevada DUI Court is an alternative sentencing program that allows eligible DUI defendants the opportunity to avoid jail by participating in intensive rehabilitation. Some of the terms that offenders must adhere to while in the program are:
- three-to-five years of close supervision,
- six months of house arrest,
- electronic monitoring,
- drug and alcohol counseling,
- a Sobrietor breath tester hooked up to their home phones,
- unannounced searches and seizures, and
- biweekly court appearances.
Upon successful completion of the program, an offender’s charge for driving under the influence may be reduced to a lesser offense.
Another benefit of the Nevada DUI Diversion program is more prison space and saved taxpayer money because the participants cover all the costs.
Over the three to five years that DUI Court lasts, students pay up to $14,000. Furthermore, participants may continue going to work, school, medical appointments, church, and counseling, even while they’re under house arrest. (See our related article, “Do I need a lawyer for my Nevada DUI case?“)
2. What if a person violates the terms of DUI Court?
If a participant is found to be in violation of the terms of the court, Nevada DUI laws require him/her to spend a month in jail.
A second offense removes the participant from the program completely and puts him/her in state prison.
Further, if a participant is convicted of a DUI after completing the program, it’s counted as a fourth drunk driving offense. Nevada DUI Laws mandate two to fifteen years in prison for a fourth-time DUI.