Las Vegas DUI laws criminalize the act of driving under the influence of Vicodin or other pain killers even if you have a valid prescription. Whenever any drug impedes your ability to operate a vehicle safely in Nevada, you may be arrested and face serious punishments.
Below, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys explain how driving under the influence of Vicodin may violate Nevada DUI drug laws and how to defend against the charges.
Legal Definition of Nevada DUI Vicodin (NRS 484C.110)
Vicodin (hydrocodone) is a popular opiate prescription painkiller, but it comes with a warning about the hazards of driving after you have ingested it either by itself or in combination with alcohol or other drugs. Taking Vicodin or similar narcotic analgesics such as heroin, codeine and Demerol can impair your ability to drive safely and may cause the following symptoms:
- raspy, low speech
- droopy eyelids
- constricted pupils
- slowing reflexes, vital signs, and reaction times
If you take Vicodin, be mindful of its possible effects on you. If it causes you to drive less safely and a police officer witnesses your driving, you may be charged with breaking Nevada DUI Vicodin laws. (For general information on the Nevada crime of DUI of prescription drugs, see our article on the Nevada crime of DUI of prescription drugs. And for general information on the Nevada crime of DUI of prescription painkillers, see our article on the Nevada crime of DUI of prescription painkillers.)
Chemical Tests (NRS 484.180)
If a police officer does arrest you on suspicion of Nevada DUI with drugs, you are required to submit to a chemical test of your blood and/or urine. But you are allowed to request that a medical professional of your own choosing take a second, independent chemical test of you as well.
It will cost you extra money to have an independent party test your blood or urine. But it is usually a good idea. If the police department's chemical testers improperly administered the test or contaminated the results, having an independent party analyze your blood or urine could shed light on their mistake and potentially lead to your Nevada DUI case's dismissal.
If you are arrested for Las Vegas DUI with Vicodin, it does not necessarily mean you will be found guilty for it. If your attorneys conduct a thorough investigation of the facts and scrutinize the evidence, they may be able to find major holes and discrepancies in the state's case that might then prompt prosecutors to lower or dismiss the charges.
The following are some defenses that your lawyers may explore using in a Vicodin DUI case in Nevada:
- If you elect to have an independent chemical tester, your lawyer may discover that the police analysts made mistakes in either carrying out the test, storing the samples, or reading the results. If your attorney can show that the state's evidence is inaccurate, it should be excluded and cause the entire DUI Vicodin case to be dismissed.
- An expert medical witness may be able to offer testimony that the symptoms you displayed suggest that you were not driving under the influence of Vicodin and that any medicine in your system was at normal, therapeutic levels.
- Police are usually not allowed to pull you over unless they see you commit a traffic violation or they suspect you of having broken another law. So if your attorney can show that the officer in your case lacked sufficient probable cause to make a traffic stop, your case should be dismissed on constitutional grounds.
Penalties (NRS 484C.400)
Las Vegas Vicodin DUI cases are typically charged as misdemeanors, but prosecutors will instead bring felony charges if the incident caused a fatal or serious accident or if it is the driver's third DUI in seven years.
The standard sentence for a first-time Nevada DUI Vicodin conviction consists of the following misdemeanor penalties:
- fines of $400 to $1,000 in addition to court costs
- 2 days to 6 months in jail or 24 hours to 96 hours of community service in Nevada
- Nevada DUI School
- Nevada Victim Impact Panel
- 185 day driver's license suspension
- ignition interlock device installation
Penalties increase substantially for each successive conviction with felony DUIs carrying several years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. For more detailed information on Las Vegas DUI drug laws and Las Vegas DUI penalties, click on the following links:
Unlawful Vicodin possession (NRS 453.336)
Because Vicodin is a Schedule III drug, no one may possess it without a valid prescription. If you are arrested for DUI with Vicodin in Nevada and the cop finds Vicodin on your person or in your car, you face an additional charge of unlawful possession if you do not also have a prescription for it.
A first- or second-time conviction of possessing Vicodin without a prescription in Nevada carries Category E Felony penalties including one to four years of prison (which may be suspended) and up to a $5,000 fine. Subsequent offences are category D felonies carrying one to four years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.
Depending on how weak their evidence is, prosecutors may agree to reduce a charge for Las Vegas DUI with Vicodin to Nevada Reckless Driving. It is far less serious and can be sealed from your criminal records after only one year as opposed to seven years, which is the required wait time in misdemeanor DUI cases.
Call us if you are facing DUI Drug charges . . .
If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of Vicodin in Nevada, phone our Las Vegas DUI defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to have a FREE phone meeting to discuss your case. it is possible we may be able to get your case dismissed or reduced to less serious charges. And if you are not a U.S. citizen, safeguarding your resident status will be our first priority.
Read more in our article about DUI with meth in California.
For information about California DUI Vicodin law, go to our webpage on California DUI Vicodin law.