Challenging a First Nevada DUI Driver's License Revocation
In addition to criminal penalties, a first DUI can subject you to revocation of your Nevada driver's license for 90 days – even if you are eventually acquitted of your DUI in court or you plead to a less serious charge as part of a plea bargain.
But our experienced Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada DUI defense lawyers can help you fight your DMV license revocation (as well as your criminal charges).
Mandatory Nevada DUI Driver's License Revocation
When you are arrested for DUI, the officer will ask you to take a chemical test to check your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). You will usually be offered the choice of a DUI breath test or DUI blood test. If the officer suspects drug use, you will be required to give a sample of your blood or urine.
The officer is required to take away your license and send it to the DMV if:
- You “blow” a BAC of .08% or greater on a DUI breath test, or
- You refuse to take a chemical test.
In such a case, you will be issued a temporary license that is good for 7 days. You have just 7 days to request a hearing from the Nevada DMV – in writing -- if you wish to contest your license revocation. Otherwise, your temporary license will expire and you will automatically lose your driving privilege for 90 days.
Note that if the officer does not take your license, it does not mean you aren't guilty of a Nevada DUI. You can still be convicted in court if the prosecutor can prove your were unable to drive safely because of the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. However, your license will not be revoked before your court case.
If you elected to take a blood or urine test instead of a breath test after your arrest, the 7-day period will not start, if at all, until the DMV receives and sends you notice of your test results. This can take up to 4 - 6 weeks in a crowded jurisdiction such as Las Vegas.
Once your test results come back, the DMV will notify you by certified mail if your BAC was .08% or higher or if you had a concentration of certain drugs that give rise to a Nevada DUID. If so, the 7-day period will start then.
As long as you request a hearing from the Nevada DMV within the applicable 7-day period, whenever it starts, you will be issued a longer temporary license that will allow you to keep driving until your hearing date.
If the 7-day period passes and you do not request a hearing, your 90-day revocation period will begin on the 8th day after you are issued your temporary license or your certified letter.
The Nevada DMV License Hearing for DUI
Hearings to challenge your DUI license revocation are heard by an administrative judge at the Nevada Office of Administrative Hearings.
Administrative hearings are civil – not criminal -- proceedings. The DMV does not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving drunk. Rather, you are there to show that your license should not have been revoked.
If you lose your DUI license hearing, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Nevada District Court. Otherwise, your 90-day revocation will start once the judge issues his or her decision (which might be at the hearing itself, but can be shortly after).
It can be difficult to win a DMV hearing but it is usually worth trying. Your criminal case may never go to court. An experienced Nevada DUI lawyer can often get a DUI criminal case dismissed or the DUI charge reduced to Nevada reckless driving. As a result, the DMV is frequently where licenses are kept or lost.
It is also important to remember that in Nevada, your license isn't just suspended for a DUI – it is revoked. Reinstatement of your driving privilege is not automatic at the end of the revocation period. When your 90 days are up, you will have to apply for a new license -- even if your criminal charges were thereafter dismissed or reduced.
For more information on what to expect when you contest the DMV revoking your license, please see our article on Nevada DMV Hearings in DUI Cases.
Can I Get My Nevada Driver's License Restored Early?
If it is your first DUI, you can apply for a Nevada restricted driver's license after 45 days without your driving privilege.
A restricted license allows you to drive to, from or while at work, and to/from school, the grocery store, medical appointments, child visitation court and similar necessary places.
Depending on factors such as how high your BAC was, your restricted license may be subject to certain conditions, such as your installing (at your own expense) an ignition interlock device (IID) or purchasing and maintaining SR-22 insurance for 3 years.
You may also be required to retake your written, vision, and driving tests and to pay a license reinstatement fee.
Call us for help…
If you are facing criminal penalties or revocation of your driver's license for a Nevada DUI, we invite you to contact us for help.
Our caring Las Vegas, Nevada criminal defense lawyers know that just because the police took your license, it doesn't mean you drove under the influence. DUI chemical tests often produce falsely high BAC readings. They can be challenged.
Don't lose your license without talking to us first. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or use the form on this page.
If your license was suspended in California, please visit our page on California DMV hearings.