"DUI Court" in Las Vegas, Nevada

Nevada DUI Court is an alternative sentencing program that allows eligible DUI defendants to avoid jail by participating in intensive rehabilitation. Upon successful completion of the program, their charge for driving under the influence may be reduced to a lesser offense.

Most Nevada courts offer two types of rehab court programs, depending on whether the defendant is facing a misdemeanor or felony for driving under the influence:

Expectedly, Felony Court lasts longer and is more costly than Misdemeanor Court. Both are geared for defendants suffering from substance abuse. And people who fail to finish the program will be incarcerated.

In this article, our Las Vegas DUI defense attorneys discuss:

gavel alcohol dui court
DUI Court is an opportunity for DUI defendants suffering from addiction to get help and avoid jail.

1. What is DUI Court in Nevada?

Nevada DUI Court is a diversion program that allows eligible drunk or drugged driving defendants to enter an intensive rehabilitation program in lieu of incarceration. The program is time-consuming, intrusive, and costly. But upon successful completion, the DUI charge may be reduced to a lesser offense.

Following a Nevada arrest for driving under the influence, the defense attorney will first attempt to get the case dismissed or reduced to a reckless driving. But if the prosecutor refuses to negotiate -- and if going to trial seems too risky -- then Nevada DUI Court may be a good option to explore.1

2. Can anyone do DUI Court in Nevada?

No. The following DUI defendants are automatically disqualified from the program:

  • anyone who is not addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • anyone who has seriously harmed or killed another person while driving under the influence
  • anyone with more than two (2) DUI misdemeanor convictions in the past seven (7) years
  • anyone with a past felony DUI conviction2

Note that nobody is automatically assured a spot in the program. The program is very selective, and each participant is accepted on a case-by-case basis.

3. How are the Misdemeanor and Felony DUI Courts similar?

The formats of the Serious Offenders Program and the Moderate Offenders Program have a lot in common. Both require the following:

4. How are the Misdemeanor and Felony DUI Courts different?

Predictably, the Serious Offenders Program program is longer and harsher than the Moderate Offenders Program. Specifically, the ways the programs differ include the following:

Misdemeanor DUI Court

(For DUI 1st and DUI 2nd defendants)

Felony DUI Court

(For DUI 3rd defendants)

Program lasts 6 months to 3 years

Program lasts 3 to 5 years

Possibly up to 90 days of house arrest

6 months of house arrest

Program costs approximately $4,500

Program costs approximately $11,000 - $15,000

For a DUI 1st, 1 day in jail or 24 hours of community service

For a DUI 2nd, 5 days in jail and up to 50 hours of community service

As long as the defendant is compliant, no incarceration other than the 6 months of house arrest

Upon completion, the defendant's charge may get reduced to reckless driving or other lesser charge.

Upon completion, the defendant's charge gets reduced to a DUI 2nd, which is a misdemeanor

The Moderate Offenders Program program has been around in some form as a specialty court program since 1983. The Serious Offenders Program came into existence only in 2007.4

5. How do I apply?

The application process requires the following steps:

  1. The defendant appears in court and pleads guilty or no contest to the DUI charge he/she was originally charged with.
  2. The defendant submits to the court 1) a completed application to the rehab program, and 2) a substance abuse evaluation completed by a certified counselor or doctor that declares the defendant is addicted to alcohol or drugs.
  3. The judge and prosecutor may request a court hearing within ten (10) days to debate whether the defendant should be accepted into rehab.
  4. If the defendant gets accepted into the rehab program, the judge will suspend the defendant's original DUI sentence and transfer the case to DUI Court.5

6. What if I do not finish?

Then the judge will impose the defendant's original sentence, which always involves incarceration. People expelled from the Moderate Offenders Program face up to six (6) months in jail. People expelled from the Serious Offenders Program face one to six (1 - 6) years in Nevada State Prison.6

Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...

If you have been arrested for "driving under the influence" in Clark County or elsewhere in the state, call our Las Vegas criminal defense defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation. We have decades of experience in persuading prosecutors to reduce or dismiss Nevada "driving under the influence" charges so your record remains clean.


Legal References:

  1. NRS 484C.320 Application by first-time offender to undergo program of treatment; sentencing of offender and conditional suspension of sentence; notice to Department.

          1. An offender who is found guilty of a violation of NRS 484C.110 or 484C.120 that is punishable pursuant to paragraph (a) of subsection 1 of NRS 484C.400, other than an offender who is found to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.18 or more in his or her blood or breath, may, at that time or any time before the offender is sentenced, apply to the court to undergo a program of treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse for at least 6 months. The court shall authorize that treatment if:

          (a) The offender is diagnosed as an alcoholic or abuser of drugs by:

                 (1) An alcohol and drug abuse counselor who is licensed or certified, or a clinical alcohol and drug abuse counselor who is licensed, pursuant to chapter 641C of NRS, to make that diagnosis; or

                 (2) A physician who is certified to make that diagnosis by the Board of Medical Examiners;

          (b) The offender agrees to pay the cost of the treatment to the extent of his or her financial resources; and

          (c) The offender has served or will serve a term of imprisonment in jail of 1 day, or has performed or will perform 24 hours of community service.

          2. A prosecuting attorney may, within 10 days after receiving notice of an application for treatment pursuant to this section, request a hearing on the question of whether the offender is eligible to undergo a program of treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse. The court shall order a hearing on the application upon the request of the prosecuting attorney or may order a hearing on its own motion. The hearing must be limited to the question of whether the offender is eligible to undergo such a program of treatment.

          3. At the hearing on the application for treatment, the prosecuting attorney may present the court with any relevant evidence on the matter. If a hearing is not held, the court shall decide the matter upon affidavits and other information before the court.

          4. If the court grants an application for treatment, the court shall:

          (a) Immediately sentence the offender and enter judgment accordingly.

          (b) Suspend the sentence of the offender for not more than 3 years upon the condition that the offender be accepted for treatment by a treatment provider that is approved by the court, that the offender complete the treatment satisfactorily and that the offender comply with any other condition ordered by the court. If the court has a specialty court program for the supervision and monitoring of the person, the treatment provider must comply with the requirements of the specialty court, including, without limitation, any requirement to submit progress reports to the specialty court.

          (c) Advise the offender that:

                 (1) He or she may be placed under the supervision of a treatment provider for a period not to exceed 3 years.

                 (2) The court may order the offender to be admitted to a residential treatment facility or to be provided with outpatient treatment in the community.

                 (3) If the offender fails to complete the program of treatment satisfactorily, the offender shall serve the sentence imposed by the court. Any sentence of imprisonment must be reduced by a time equal to that which the offender served before beginning treatment.

                 (4) If the offender completes the treatment satisfactorily, the offender's sentence will be reduced to a term of imprisonment which is no longer than that provided for the offense in paragraph (c) of subsection 1 and a fine of not more than the minimum fine provided for the offense in NRS 484C.400, but the conviction must remain on the record of criminal history of the offender.

          5. The court shall administer the program of treatment pursuant to the procedures provided in NRS 458.320 and 458.330, except that the court:

          (a) Shall not defer the sentence, set aside the conviction or impose conditions upon the election of treatment except as otherwise provided in this section.

          (b) May immediately revoke the suspension of sentence for a violation of any condition of the suspension.

          6. The court shall notify the Department, on a form approved by the Department, upon granting the application of the offender for treatment and his or her failure to be accepted for or complete treatment.

          (Added to NRS by 1997, 1744; A 1999, 1882, 3070, 3418; 2001, 127, 133, 435, 1886; 2001 Special Session, 149; 2003, 448; 2005, 141, 609; 2007, 3089; 2009, 1870; 2015, 754) — (Substituted in revision for NRS 484.37937)

          NRS 484C.330 Application by second-time offender to undergo program of treatment; sentencing of offender and conditional suspension of sentence; notice to Department.

          1. An offender who is found guilty of a violation of NRS 484C.110 or 484C.120 that is punishable pursuant to paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of NRS 484C.400 may, at that time or any time before the offender is sentenced, apply to the court to undergo a program of treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse for at least 1 year. The court shall authorize that treatment if:

          (a) The offender is diagnosed as an alcoholic or abuser of drugs by:

                 (1) An alcohol and drug abuse counselor who is licensed or certified, or a clinical alcohol and drug abuse counselor who is licensed, pursuant to chapter 641C of NRS, to make that diagnosis; or

                 (2) A physician who is certified to make that diagnosis by the Board of Medical Examiners;

          (b) The offender agrees to pay the costs of the treatment to the extent of his or her financial resources; and

          (c) The offender has served or will serve a term of imprisonment in jail of 5 days and, if required pursuant to NRS 484C.400, has performed or will perform not less than one-half of the hours of community service.

          2. A prosecuting attorney may, within 10 days after receiving notice of an application for treatment pursuant to this section, request a hearing on the matter. The court shall order a hearing on the application upon the request of the prosecuting attorney or may order a hearing on its own motion.

          3. At the hearing on the application for treatment, the prosecuting attorney may present the court with any relevant evidence on the matter. If a hearing is not held, the court shall decide the matter upon affidavits and other information before the court.

          4. If the court grants an application for treatment, the court shall:

          (a) Immediately sentence the offender and enter judgment accordingly.

          (b) Suspend the sentence of the offender for not more than 3 years upon the condition that the offender be accepted for treatment by a treatment provider that is approved by the court, that the offender complete the treatment satisfactorily and that the offender comply with any other condition ordered by the court. If the court has a specialty court program for the supervision and monitoring of the person, the treatment provider must comply with the requirements of the specialty court, including, without limitation, any requirement to submit progress reports to the specialty court.

          (c) Advise the offender that:

                 (1) He or she may be placed under the supervision of the treatment provider for a period not to exceed 3 years.

                 (2) The court may order the offender to be admitted to a residential treatment facility or to be provided with outpatient treatment in the community.

                 (3) If the offender fails to complete the program of treatment satisfactorily, the offender shall serve the sentence imposed by the court. Any sentence of imprisonment must be reduced by a time equal to that which the offender served before beginning treatment.

                 (4) If the offender completes the treatment satisfactorily, the offender's sentence will be reduced to a term of imprisonment which is no longer than that provided for the offense in paragraph (c) of subsection 1 and a fine of not more than the minimum provided for the offense in NRS 484C.400, but the conviction must remain on the record of criminal history of the offender.

          5. The court shall administer the program of treatment pursuant to the procedures provided in NRS 458.320 and 458.330, except that the court:

          (a) Shall not defer the sentence, set aside the conviction or impose conditions upon the election of treatment except as otherwise provided in this section.

          (b) May immediately revoke the suspension of sentence for a violation of a condition of the suspension.

          6. The court shall notify the Department, on a form approved by the Department, upon granting the application of the offender for treatment and his or her failure to be accepted for or complete treatment.

          (Added to NRS by 1983, 1072; A 1987, 719, 964; 1989, 197; 1993, 1642, 2264, 2894; 1995, 579; 1997, 40, 153, 1748; 1999, 1884, 3071, 3420; 2001, 127, 133, 436; 2001 Special Session, 150; 2003, 449; 2005, 142, 611; 2007, 2798, 3090; 2015, 755) — (Substituted in revision for NRS 484.3794)

          NRS 484C.340 Application by third-time offender to undergo program of treatment; sentencing of offender and conditional suspension of proceedings; requirements to participate in program of treatment; certain previous convictions preclude offender from participating in program of treatment.

          1. An offender who enters a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a violation of NRS 484C.110 or 484C.120 that is punishable pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection 1 of NRS 484C.400 may, at the time the offender enters a plea, apply to the court to undergo a program of treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse for at least 3 years. The court may authorize that treatment if:

          (a) The offender is diagnosed as an alcoholic or abuser of drugs by:

                 (1) An alcohol and drug abuse counselor who is licensed or certified, or a clinical alcohol and drug abuse counselor who is licensed, pursuant to chapter 641C of NRS, to make that diagnosis; or

                 (2) A physician who is certified to make that diagnosis by the Board of Medical Examiners; and

          (b) The offender agrees to pay the costs of the treatment to the extent of his or her financial resources.

    --> An alcohol and drug abuse counselor, a clinical alcohol and drug abuse counselor or a physician who diagnoses an offender as an alcoholic or abuser of drugs shall make a report and recommendation to the court concerning the length and type of treatment required for the offender.

          2. A prosecuting attorney may, within 10 days after receiving notice of an application for treatment pursuant to this section, request a hearing on the matter. The court shall order a hearing on the application upon the request of the prosecuting attorney or may order a hearing on its own motion.

          3. At the hearing on the application for treatment, the prosecuting attorney may present the court with any relevant evidence on the matter. If a hearing is not held, the court shall decide the matter and other information before the court.

          4. If the court determines that an application for treatment should be granted, the court shall:

          (a) Immediately, without entering a judgment of conviction and with the consent of the offender, suspend further proceedings and place the offender on probation for not more than 5 years.

          (b) Order the offender to complete a program of treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse with a treatment provider approved by the court. If the court has a specialty court program for the supervision and monitoring of the person, the treatment provider must comply with the requirements of the specialty court, including, without limitation, any requirement to submit progress reports to the specialty court.

          (c) Advise the offender that:

                 (1) He or she may be placed under the supervision of a treatment provider for not more than 5 years.

                 (2) The court may order the offender to be admitted to a residential treatment facility or to be provided with outpatient treatment in the community.

                 (3) The court will enter a judgment of conviction for a violation of paragraph (c) of subsection 1 of NRS 484C.400 if a treatment provider fails to accept the offender for a program of treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse or if the offender fails to complete the program of treatment satisfactorily. Any sentence of imprisonment may be reduced by a time equal to that which the offender served before beginning treatment.

                 (4) If the offender completes the treatment satisfactorily, the court will enter a judgment of conviction for a violation of paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of NRS 484C.400.

                 (5) The provisions of NRS 483.460 requiring the revocation of the license, permit or privilege of the offender to drive do not apply.

          5. The court shall administer the program of treatment pursuant to the procedures provided in NRS 458.320 and 458.330, except that the court:

          (a) Shall not defer the sentence or set aside the conviction upon the election of treatment, except as otherwise provided in this section; and

          (b) May enter a judgment of conviction and proceed as provided in paragraph (c) of subsection 1 of NRS 484C.400 for a violation of a condition ordered by the court.

          6. To participate in a program of treatment, the offender must:

          (a) Serve not less than 6 months of residential confinement;

          (b) Install, at his or her own expense, a device for not less than 12 months;

          (c) Not drive any vehicle unless it is equipped with a device;

          (d) Agree to be subject to periodic testing for the use of alcohol or controlled substances while participating in a program of treatment; and

          (e) Agree to any other conditions that the court deems necessary.

          7. An offender may not apply to the court to undergo a program of treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse pursuant to this section if the offender has previously applied to receive treatment pursuant to this section or if the offender has previously been convicted of:

          (a) A violation of NRS 484C.430;

          (b) A violation of NRS 484C.130;

          (c) A homicide resulting from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance or resulting from any other conduct prohibited by NRS 484C.110, 484C.130 or 484C.430;

          (d) A violation of paragraph (c) of subsection 1 of NRS 484C.400;

          (e) A violation of NRS 484C.410; or

          (f) A violation of law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct as set forth in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d).

          8. As used is this section, “device” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 484C.450.

          (Added to NRS by 2007, 1058; A 2009, 422, 1891; 2015, 757) — (Substituted in revision for NRS 484.37941)

  2. Id.
  3. Id.
  4. Id.; see Success adds up for DUI Court, Las Vegas Review-Journal (August 20, 2007); Nevada Senate Bill 277 (2017).
  5. NRS 484C.320-340.
  6. Id.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370