DUIs & license revocations
The Nevada DMV revokes the driver’s licenses of Nevadans facing DUI charges in any state, not just Nevada. Even if the criminal charges get dropped, the DMV will still revoke defendants’ driver’s licenses if:
- the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was .08 or higher, or
- the driver’s blood had illegal amounts of certain drugs.
Length of revocations
The length of a defendant’s driver’s license revocation depends on his/her history of DUI cases. The table below illustrates:
|DUI offense (in any state)||Length of Nevada driver’s license revocation|
|1st DUI||185 days, though it may be possible to get a restricted license with an ignition interlock device|
|2nd DUI (within 7 years)||1 year|
(No restricted license is available.)
|Felony DUI, including a 3rd DUI (within 7 years)||3 years, though a restricted license may be available after 1 year with an ignition interlock device|
Reinstating a license
It is possible to contest license revocations at a Nevada DMV hearing, which is similar to a trial. But even if the defendant wins the DMV hearing, the DMV will still impose the license revocation if he/she ultimately gets convicted of DUI in criminal court.
Therefore, it is important for DUI defendants to retain experienced attorneys to handle both their criminal cases as well as their DMV cases in an effort to avoid a license revocation.
In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada DUI defense lawyers discuss:
- 1. How DUIs lead to driver’s licenses revocations
- 2. Length of driver’s license revocations
- 3. When driver’s license revocations start
- 4. Challenging a driver’s license revocation
- 5. Reinstating a driver’s license
- 6. Restricted (hardship) licenses
1. How does a DUI affect my driver’s license in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Each DUI arrest opens a criminal case as well as a separate DMV case. Both of those cases can result in the driver’s license getting revoked.
1.1. DMV case
After a driver is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the driver must submit to a Nevada DUI breath test or a Nevada DUI blood test. The DMV will then revoke the person’s driver’s license if either:
- The driver’s breath or blood test showed a BAC of .08 or greater;
- The driver’s blood test reveals the driver committed the Nevada crime of DUI of drugs (DUID); or
- The driver committed the Nevada crime of refusing to take a chemical test (NRS 484C.210)
Note that if the officer suspects the motorist is intoxicated with drugs (as opposed to just alcohol), the driver must take a blood test since breathalyzers cannot detect drugs.1
1.2. Criminal case
A criminal court judge will order that a defendant’s driver’s license be revoked if the defendant gets convicted of DUI. A person gets convicted either by being found guilty at a Nevada DUI trial, or by pleading guilty (or no contest) to DUI.
If both the DMV and the criminal court revoke the defendant’s license, the periods of revocation will run concurrently. In other words, the defendant will not lose his/her privilege to drive twice for a single DUI incident. Henderson criminal defense attorney Michael Becker gives an example:
Example: Yuri is driving in North Las Vegas when he is arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana for the second time in seven years. A few weeks after the arrest when Yuri’s blood test comes back positive for pot, the DMV revokes his license for one year. A week later, Yuri pleads no contest in criminal court to a DUI 2nd, and the judge orders his license revoked for one year. Yuri’s license revocation will still last for one year total, not two.
Whereas some states merely suspend a defendant’s driver’s license as punishment for DUI convictions, Nevada actually revokes the license. So if the defendant wants to drive again, he/she needs to apply for a brand new license at the end of the revocation period. However, lawyers and DMV officers tend to use the words “suspended” and “revoked” interchangeably.2
2. How long will my Nevada driver’s license be revoked after a DUI?
It depends on the type of DUI charge the defendant is facing:
2.1. First-time DUI (in 7 years)
A first-time misdemeanor DUI carries a 185-day Nevada driver’s license revocation. But it may be possible to get a restricted license after 90 days with an ignition interlock device installed.3
For more information, see our article on 1st DUI license revocations.
2.2. Second-time DUI (in 7 years)
A second-time misdemeanor DUI carries a one (1) year Nevada driver’s license revocation. Note that a restricted license is not available for 2nd-time DUIs.4
For more information, see our article on 2nd DUI license revocations.
2.3. Third-time DUI (in 7 years) or DUI causing injury or death
Most felony DUIs — such as DUI third or DUI causing injury or death — carry a three (3) year Nevada driver’s license revocation. Note that a restricted license may be available one (1) year into the revocation.5
For more information, see our article on 3rd DUI license revocations.
2.4. Chemical test refusal
Refusing to submit to a breath or blood test following a DUI arrest carries a one (1) year driver’s license revocation. This is in addition to any other DUI revocation period the DMV orders.6
3. When does my Nevada DUI license revocation start?
It depends on whether the defendant takes a breath test or blood test, and whether the defendant requests a DMV hearing:
|DUI defendant||Start time of driver’s license revocation|
|Breath test with DMV hearing||Immediately if the DMV judge rules against the defendant|
|Breath test without DMV hearing||7 days after the DUI arrest|
|Blood test with DMV hearing||Immediately if the DMV judge rules against the defendant|
|Blood test without DMV hearing||7 days after the defendant receives the blood test results by certified mail|
3.1. Breath test
If a DUI arrestee blows a .08 BAC or higher on the breathalyzer, the officer will confiscate the driver’s license right away. Then the officer will give the arrestee a temporary driving permit, either at the scene or following the booking at the station.
The temporary permit is good for seven (7) days. The defendant has just those seven days to request in writing a DMV hearing to contest the revocation.
If the defendant requests the DMV hearing in time, any license revocation is postponed pending the outcome of the DMV hearing. If the defendant decides not to request the hearing…or does so too late…the revocation will start once the temporary permit lapses.7
3.2. Blood test
If a DUI arrestee elects to take a blood test, he/she gets to keep the driver’s license until the results come back via a certified letter. This can take weeks or months.
If the results show a BAC of at least .08 (or more than the allowable concentration of drugs), the defendant gets a temporary permit good for seven (7) days. If the defendant requests a DMV hearing in writing during that week, any revocation will be postponed pending the outcome of the hearing. Otherwise, the revocation will begin after day seven.8
3.3. Refusing to take a chemical test
Refusing to take a breath or blood test carries a one (1) year license suspension. If a DUI arrestee is forced to take a blood test after refusing to submit to a chemical test, the officer will confiscate the driver’s license right away. The arrestee will then get a seven (7) day temporary driving permit.
Within those seven (7) days, the defendant may make a written request for a DMV hearing. If the defendant does not make the request, the one (1) year revocation for refusing to take a chemical test begins after the seven days. If the defendant does make the request, then the one (1) year revocation is postponed pending the outcome of the DMV hearing.
Later if the blood test results come back positive for DUI, the DMV will impose a separate license revocation. And the defendant will have another opportunity to request a second DMV hearing to contest this new revocation.9
4. How do I challenge a DUI license revocation in Nevada?
The only way to contest a license revocation is through a DMV hearing. Defendants have seven (7) days after the DMV notifies them of the revocation to request the hearing. The revocation is then postponed pending the outcome of the hearing.10
A DMV hearing is like a criminal trial, but on a smaller scale. DMV hearings are also harder to win than criminal trials. This is because the hearing officer needs very little proof to find against the defendant.
But it is possible to win DMV hearings if the defense attorney can show that the state’s evidence is insufficient. And defendants automatically win DMV hearings if the arresting officer does not show up to testify.
DMV hearings usually take an hour or less. The DMV judge delivers a decision with the week if not sooner. If the DMV judge finds against the defendant, the revocation period begins right away.
5. How do I get my Nevada driver’s license reinstated after a revocation?
Reinstatement of driving privileges is not automatic at the end of the revocation period. The defendant must follow DMV reinstatement procedures and physically receive a new license in order to drive again legally.11
6. Can I get early restoration of my Nevada driving privileges?
DUI defendants may be eligible to apply for a restricted license in Nevada depending on their case and the amount of time that has gone by:
|Nevada DUI offense||Waiting period to get a restricted (“hardship”) license|
|1st time DUI||90 days (with an ignition interlock device)|
|2nd time DUI (within 7 years)||No restricted license is available.|
|3rd time DUI (within 7 years) and DUI causing injury or death||1 year into the license revocation|
A restricted license permits defendants to drive to and from work, school, the grocery store, medical appointments, child visitation, and court-ordered appointments, including alcohol education classes.
A restricted license is subject to conditions, such as the installation of an ignition interlock device or purchasing and maintaining SR-22 insurance for three (3) years. The defendant may also be required to retake written, vision, and driving tests and to pay a license reinstatement fee.12
Have you received notice of a Nevada DUI license revocation? Call us for help…
If you have been arrested for a Nevada DUI and are looking for a vigorous defense of your driving privilege either at the DMV or in court, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Simply call us. One of our Nevada DUI attorneys will get back to you promptly to discuss your case and the best way to challenge your driver’s license revocation.
Arrested in California? Learn about DUI driver’s license suspensions in California.
Arrested in Colorado? Learn about DUI driver’s license suspensions in Colorado.