DUI cases in Las Vegas are almost never cut and dry. Even if your breathalyzer or blood test came back over the limit, there are often many issues an experienced DUI lawyer can use to get the charges reduced -- or even dismissed.
Call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Las Vegas DUI defense attorneys. We can consult over the phone, or we can sit down with you at our office on Sahara near the I-15 freeway.
Las Vegas Defense Group is a 7-lawyer defense team that recently got awarded the "Best Criminal Defense Firm" by the Las Vegas Review Journal's Best of Vegas survey.
We've helped hundreds of clients have their DUI charges reduced to reckless driving or dismissed altogether, and to keep their driving privileges intact. To read more about specific topics, go our section on Nevada DUI offenses A to Z.
1. What are the penalties for a 1st time DUI in Nevada?
The typical penalties for a 1st-time DUI misdemeanor in Las Vegas are:
- $400 to $1,000 in fines plus court costs;
- 8-hour DUI School (which can usually be done online);
- Attendance at a Victim Impact Panel (such as MADD);
- 2 days to 6 months in jail (usually the judge suspends the jail sentence or orders 48 to 96 hours of community service); and
- A 185-day driver's license revocation (though it may be possible to get a restricted license with an ignition interlock device)
If the defendant's blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.18% or greater, the defendant will also have to submit to an alcohol/drug dependency evaluation, do rehab, and drive with a breath interlock device for one-to-three years.
2. Do I have to appear in court?
Usually, DUI defendants do not have to go to court as long as their Nevada attorney appears on their behalf. Defendants will have to show up in the rare event the case goes to trial (or a preliminary hearing in felony DUI cases). Some judges request that defendants attend their sentencing hearing. But most accept a notarized "written entry of plea" instead.
3. Can I avoid a driver's license suspension?
Each DUI arrest opens a criminal case as well as a DMV case, and defendants must win both in order to keep their license. The DMV case is actually tougher to win than the criminal case since the DMV demands a much lower burden of proof.
Fortunately, first-time DUI defendants who lose the DMV hearing can often obtain a restricted license right away.
4. Will the DUI show on a background check?
Yes, a misdemeanor DUI conviction stays on defendants' criminal records for seven years before it can be sealed. And felony DUI convictions remain on defendants' records forever. That is why it is so important to have an attorney fighting to get the DUI charges reduced to reckless driving or dismissed.
5. Can I beat a DUI even if I was over the limit?
There are many ways to cast doubt on a defendant's BAC results. Perhaps the breath or blood testing equipment was defective or mishandled. Maybe a medical condition or other external factors caused a falsely high reading. And even if the BAC results were accurate, judges can dismiss DUI cases over police misconduct alone.
6. Do I need to hire a DUI lawyer?
Nevada law forbids prosecutors from dismissing or reducing DUI charges unless there is insufficient evidence to get a conviction. Therefore, defendants need aggressive DUI attorneys to investigate every detail to weaken the state's case. And the fact is that prosecutors are more likely to negotiate a good plea deal when the defendant is represented by experienced counsel.
Fighting a Nevada DUI Case
Nevada prosecutors typically rely on four kinds of evidence when attempting to prove a drunk driving charge in court:
- the defendant was not driving in a regular, sober manner,
- the defendant smelled, spoke, walked and acted like an intoxicated person,
- the defendant was unable to perform the roadside field sobriety exercises correctly, and
- the defendant's breath test or blood test returned a blood-alcohol level above a .08%.
Each of these "pieces of evidence" can possibly be dismantled by a seasoned DUI attorney who knows the best ways to attack the state's case. For instance, did you know:
- University studies demonstrate that trained law enforcement officers are no better than average social drinkers at discerning whether a person is intoxicated...and they get it wrong most of the time!
- The federal government mandates a set of procedures for how police must administer the roadside sobriety tests...but the police almost never follow these processes correctly!
- DUI breathalyzers are prone to false positives and can be "tricked" into inaccurately high reading by common conditions like heartburn, acid reflex, braces, cavities, dental pockets, burping, diabetes, high-protein diets, and residual alcohol inside the defendant's mouth!
For a fuller discussion of these issues, refer to our article How to Fight a Las Vegas Nevada DUI Case.
Arrested in California? Go to our information page on California DUI laws.
Arrested in Colorado? Go to our information page on Colorado DUI law.
Contact us for help
Every day dozens of people plead guilty to Las Vegas DUI charges even though the state's evidence is highly problematic. DUI defendants are always advised to have a skilled attorney evaluate their case before taking a plea. The sentence may be lowered. Charges may be reduced or dismissed. The case may be won at trial.
The lawyers of Las Vegas Defense Group are experienced in fighting every type of Nevada driving under the influence case, especially first offense DUI, second offense DUI, driving on a suspended license charges, felony DUI, DUI of drugs, DUI of marijuana, DUI causing injury, and vehicular homicide.
We are pros at scrutinizing the prosecution's case, finding every instance that the Las Vegas police made a mistake, unearthing evidence that shows your innocence, and guiding you through the Clark County Court System. Our mission is to give you the greatest odds of avoiding the consequences of a conviction and a license suspension.
If you are facing DUI charges, we invite you to join us for a free case evaluation before making any decision as to how to proceed.