A 2nd DUI in Nevada is a misdemeanor punishable by 10 days to 6 months in jail, fines from $750 to $1,000, an alcohol/drug evaluation, and a 1-year license revocation (though you can still drive with an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car).
Nevada law defines a 2nd DUI as a new DUI arrest that occurs within seven years of a first DUI arrest. DUI is defined as driving while you:
- are impaired by alcohol or drugs;
- have illegal amounts of certain drugs in your blood; and/or
- have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher within two hours of driving.
In many cases, it is possible to get the DUI reduced to reckless driving or even dismissed – the best case scenario. Even though DUI-2nds are only misdemeanors like DUI-1sts, the penalties are much steeper:
|2 days to 6 months (judges usually suspend the jail sentence so you do no time at all)
|10 days (mandatory minimum) to 6 months
|$400 to $1,000 plus costs
|$750 to $1,000 plus costs
|185 days (but you can keep driving with an IID)
|1 year (but you can keep driving with an IID)
|Alcohol/drug dependency evaluation
|Yes, if your BAC is ≥ 0.18%
|DUI School & Victim Impact Panel
|Jail time if you do DUI Treatment Court (Rehab)
Below our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys provide more details about what you can expect if you are arrested for a DUI-2nd in Nevada.
Jail for a DUI-second in Nevada
A DUI-2nd conviction carries a “mandatory minimum” 10-day jail sentence. The court may order up to six months behind bars, but anything more than 10 days is rare unless you were transporting a child under 15 at the time.
The judge can allow you to serve the 10-day sentence intermittently so that you do not have to miss work, though each period of confinement must be no less than 48 consecutive hours. In certain cases, you may be able to serve some of the 10 days in residential confinement at home.
Judges typically impose a six-month suspended jail sentence, which means you will not have to serve more than 10 days in jail as long as you complete all the other probation terms and stay out of trouble while the case is open. If you violate probation, then the judge could remand you to jail to serve the six-month sentence.
Note that you if get accepted into DUI Treatment Court – an intensive rehabilitation program – you serve only five days of jail rather than the standard 10-day penalty. Then if you complete the program successfully, the DUI conviction should be reduced to a less serious offense like reckless driving.
DUI Treatment Court costs about $4,500. Just some of the terms include:
What happens to your license
A DUI-2nd carries a one-year driver’s license suspension in Nevada.2 Though you should be allowed to continue driving with an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicles.
IIDs are breathalyzers affixed to your steering wheel that disable your car if it detects alcohol on your breath. They cost about $150 to install and another $100 per month to maintain. If your blood alcohol content was 0.18% or higher, you may be required to drive with an IID for up to three years!
The only way to avoid a suspension (and therefore the IID requirement) is to win both:
The DMV hearing – which is like a mini-trial – is actually harder to win than the criminal case. Criminal prosecutors have the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Meanwhile, the DMV requires very little evidence to find that you drove with an illegal BAC of 0.08% or higher.
Note that if you elect to take a breath test after being arrested, you get a temporary license good for seven days. If you request a DMV hearing during that week, you can continue driving pending the results of the DMV hearing; otherwise, the license suspension begins on the seventh day.
Meanwhile, if you elect to take a blood test, you can continue driving until the lab results come back – which may take weeks. Then you will receive a letter in the mail from the DMV giving you seven days to request a DMV hearing. If you do not request a hearing, the suspension will begin after the seventh day.3
After the one-year period of suspension ends, you must maintain SR-22 insurance for three years in order to reinstate and keep your driving privileges.4 You will also have to pay a
- $120 license reinstatement fee and
- $35 Victims Impact Fee.5
See our related article on refusing to take a breath- or blood chemical test, which also carries a one-year license suspension.6 And see our article on commercial driver DUIs, where a second DUI results in a permanent CDL revocation.7
The alcohol and drug evaluation
Following a DUI-2nd conviction, NRS 484C.400 requires you to submit to an alcohol and drug dependency evaluation – called a “DUI Assessment Program” – that costs $100.
Depending on the results, you may have to complete up to one year of clinical supervision by a treatment facility. Most judges also order 18 weeks of AA or group therapy and possibly other requirements as well.8
If you cannot afford the fine
Nevada judges may allow you to perform a certain number of hours of community service in lieu of the fine.9
One hour of public service equals $10 in fines. A common form of community service is collecting garbage on the highway, which can be very trying during the summer months.10
What counts as a prior DUI
Any previous DUI conviction in the U.S. counts as a prior as long as the arrest occurred within seven years of the current Nevada case. So if an earlier DUI charge was dismissed or reduced to reckless driving, then it would not count as a prior offense.11
If you plead guilty (or no contest) to a DUI-2nd in Nevada, you must sign an “admonishment of rights” form. It explains how drunk driving “priorable” offense, and that the penalties for a third-time DUI will be even harsher than for a second DUI.
In our experience, nearly all DUI-2nd offenses are pleaded down to what is called “first for sentencing, second for enhancement.” This means you get the lesser DUI-1st penalties, but a DUI-2nd goes on your record: That way if you get arrested for another DUI within seven years of your original DUI, you would face a DUI-3rd charge.
Another advantage of the “first in sentencing, second for enhancement” plea is that you avoid having to get an alcohol/drug evaluation entirely (unless your BAC is 0.18% or higher).
Note that if you have a prior felony DUI conviction and later get arrested for drunk/drugged driving in Nevada, you automatically face another felony charge. It does not matter if the current DUI case caused no injuries, or if the prior felony DUI arrest was more than seven years earlier.12 The saying in Nevada is, “Once a felon, always a felon.”
Fighting DUI-2nd charges
Here at Las Vegas Defense Group, we have represented more than 10,000 clients in DUI proceedings. In our experience, the top 10 defenses that prove very effective with prosecutors, judges, and juries are:
- Police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop you and/or lacked probable cause to arrest you.
- Police gave you wrong field sobriety test instructions, or you failed the walk and turn test and one-leg stand test for non-alcohol-related reasons such as bad shoes, a physical injury, flashing traffic lights, or an uneven road.
- You have a medical condition like auto-brewery syndrome that caused a falsely high BAC result, or you were having a diabetic episode that made you appear intoxicated.
- The breath- or blood testing equipment was faulty, your samples were contaminated, or the lab techs who calibrated the Intoxilyzer 8000 EN breathalyzer let their certification lapse.
- You were never in “actual physical control” of the vehicle, or perhaps you started drinking after you stopped driving.13
- Police interrogated you after your arrest without reading you your Miranda rights.
- You were stopped at an illegal checkpoint.
- Your breath test was taken more than two hours after the arrest.
- The car was legally parked, the engine was off, no key was in the ignition, and you were sleeping in the backseat.
- You acted out of necessity or due to an emergency situation, and your actions were reasonable under the circumstances.
The most effective methods for fighting drunk driving charges always turn on the facts of the case. Typical evidence criminal defense attorneys rely on includes
- eyewitness testimony,
- video footage,
- medical records, and
- testimony by expert witnesses.
Most DUI cases resolve through a plea bargain, but you always have the option of going to trial. However, since a DUI-2nd is only a misdemeanor, you can have only a bench trial – where the judge determines the verdict – and not a jury trial.
In practice, juries are more likely to hand down a “not guilty” verdict than judges are.14
DUI-second convictions can be sealed from your criminal record seven years after the case closes.
If the DUI gets reduced to reckless driving (NRS 484B.653), the wait-time is only one year after the case closes.
If the charge gets dismissed, then you can petition the court right away for a record seal.15
For more information about Nevada DUI laws, refer to the following:
- DUI schools by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles – The NV DMV lists all the official providers of alcohol education classes recognized by state and municipal courts.
- Impaired Driving Program by the Nevada State Police Office of Traffic Safety – A state program aimed at reducing serious and fatal DUI accidents.
- Intoxilyzer 8000 Checklist by the Nevada Department of Public Safety – The form police have to follow and sign when administering evidentiary breath tests after a DUI arrest.
- Nevada Committee On Testing for Intoxication by the Nevada State Police Office of Traffic Safety – Information on the government group tasked with certifying breath testing devices and individuals to use them.
- Boating under the Influence by the Nevada Department of Wildlife – The NDOW discusses how you have to be as careful behind the wheel of a boat as you do a road vehicle.
- NRS 484C.400. NRS 484C.330.
- NRS 484C.210. See also State v. Terracin, (2009) 125 Nev. 31, 199 P.3d 835. NRS 484C.460. Another term for IID is breath interlock device (BID).
- NRS 484C.230; see NRS 484C.110.
- NRS 483.525.
- See Nevada DMV License Suspensions and Revocations.
- NRS 484C.210.
- 49 CFR §383.51.
- NRS 484C.350; NRS 484C.360.
- See Community Service Program FAQ, Las Vegas Justice Court.
- NRS 484C.400. See also State v. Second Judicial Dist. Court of Nev. (2018) 421 P.3d 803, 134 Nev. Adv. Rep. 50. See also Renfrow v. State (Nev.App. 2022) 514 P.3d 467 (unpublished).
- NRS 484C.410.
- Assembly Bill 67 (2015), defining “actual physical control.”
- See NRS 484C.420.
- NRS 179.245. NRS 179.255.