If you live out-of-state and get a DUI in Nevada, you face the same penalties as in-state residents do, which for a first-DUI includes up to $1,000 in fines, DUI School, a victim impact panel, and a six-month suspended jail sentence. Plus because Nevada is part of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, your home-state driver’s license will be suspended as well – 185 days for a first-DUI.
Here are three key things to know:
- If you live out-of-state, you usually never have to come back to Nevada for court if you hire a local attorney to represent you.
- Your attorney will fight both your criminal case to avoid a conviction as well as your DMV case to save your driver’s license.
- If you ignore your criminal case, a bench warrant will issue for your arrest.
Our Las Vegas DUI attorneys answer the following frequently-asked-questions:
- 1. Do I have to come back to Las Vegas for court?
- 2. Do I need an attorney?
- 3. What happens if I ignore my case?
- 4. Do I have to come back to Las Vegas to hire an attorney?
- 5. What will happen to my out-of-state driver’s license?
- 6. Are the DUI laws different if I live out-of-state?
- 7. Will my Nevada DUI count as a prior in my home state?
- 8. Transportation options for Las Vegas tourists
- Additional reading
1. Do I have to come back to Las Vegas for court?
In most cases, no, as long as you have a local Nevada attorney representing you.1 Then if the prosecution agrees to a plea bargain, you can usually execute all the necessary paperwork through the mail.
Note that each Nevada DUI arrest triggers two separate cases: 1) The criminal charge, and 2) The DMV case, which only concerns your driver’s license (discussed fully in question 5 below). The same Nevada attorney can appear on your behalf for both cases.
2. Do I need an attorney?
Hiring an attorney is not legally required, but you face three disadvantages by not having one:
- You will have to appear personally for the first court date and any subsequent court hearings. This can be very disruptive if you have a job, and the travel costs to and from Las Vegas can get very steep.
- Your chances of successfully fighting the case are much lower without the help of an experienced Las Vegas lawyer who knows drunk driving law and the local court system. Plus, prosecutors are much more likely to extend better plea bargains if you are represented by counsel with a tough reputation.
- There are literally dozens of possible defenses to DUI charges, and only an experienced attorney knows which ones will yield the best chances of a charge dismissal or reduction.
If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender.2 However, public defenders lack the time and resources to thoroughly investigate your case and craft the best defense possible.
3. What happens if I ignore my case?
The judge will issue a bench warrant if neither you nor your attorney shows up for the court date. Then if you ever come back to Nevada and get pulled over, the officer will run your name, see the warrant, and arrest and book you in jail, where you may be held without bail until your DUI case gets resolved.
The only way to get rid of (“quash”) an outstanding bench warrant is to request a court hearing to persuade the judge to recall the warrant. In misdemeanor DUI cases, you usually do not have to appear at this hearing as long as your attorney goes on your behalf.3
Judges typically agree to quash bench warrants as long as you have no history of skipping court appearances.
3.1. Can I get extradited?
Yes, though police probably will not take the time and expense of searching for you unless you are charged with felony DUI. It is rare for misdemeanor defendants to be sought for extradition to Nevada.4
4. Do I have to come back to Las Vegas to hire an attorney?
No. We offer consultations over the phone about how we can best fight your Nevada DUI charges. Then we will email you a retainer agreement that can be signed and returned online. Our Nevada DUI lawyers then handle the entire case from there.
Our clients can always view their police reports, lab reports and other documentation through our online client portal. We then set phone meetings to discuss the reports together and plan case strategies.
5. What will happen to my out-of-state driver’s license?
In most DUI cases, your out-of-state license will be suspended for the same amount of time as it would be if you had a Nevada license. For first time DUIs, it is 185 days. For second-time DUIs, it is one year. For third-time DUIs, it is three years.5
Like most states, Nevada is a member of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (DLC) and the Non Resident Violator Compact (NRVC) registry. Member states notify each other when their residents pick up traffic violations, and they impose each other’s license suspensions and revocations on them.6
5.1. Can I contest the suspension?
Yes. Every Nevada DUI arrest triggers a DMV administrative case in addition to the criminal court case. For the DMV case, we can request a DMV hearing – like a mini-trial – where we fight for you to keep your driving privileges.
Note that the only way to avoid a license suspension is to win both the DMV hearing as well as your criminal case. If we win the DMV hearing but you get convicted of DUI in criminal court, the DMV will suspend your license anyway.7
That is why it is important to have experienced local counsel fighting for you on both the criminal and administrative fronts.
6. Are the DUI laws different if I live out-of-state?
No, Nevada law imposes the same regulations and penalties for both locals and tourists. You can be convicted of DUI for:
- having a 0.08% BAC while driving or within two hours of driving, or
- driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
We always try to persuade the D.A. to drop the case or to reduce it to reckless driving. Otherwise, the standard penalties for DUI increase with each successive conviction:8
|Nevada DUI offense||Penalties|
|DUI 1st in 7 years||Misdemeanor:
|DUI 2nd in 7 years
(the first DUI may be from another state)
|DUI 3rd in 7 years
(the first and/or second DUI may be from other states)
|Category B felony:
|DUI causing serious injury or death||Category B felony:
Nevada judges are reasonable about letting out-of-towners complete sentencing terms in your home state, such as attending victim impact panels and doing community service hours.
7. Will my Nevada DUI count as a prior in my home state?
Probably, although every state is different. Consult with legal counsel in your home state to discuss how your Nevada DUI case could factor in if you get arrested later on for DUI there.
Note that if you are on probation in another state, picking up a DUI case in Nevada may cause your probation to get revoked in that state.
8. Transportation options for Las Vegas tourists
Every year, tens of millions of people travel to Las Vegas for conventions, recreation, or weekend getaways. Visitors have several options to travel around without having to drive themselves. Just some include:
|Las Vegas modes of transportation||Companies|
|Taxi||A Cab Taxi|
|Monorail||Las Vegas Monorail|
For more information about Nevada DUI laws, refer to the following:
- Does a Nevada DUI jack up my car insurance premiums? – discussion of how major traffic violations will cause your insurance rates to increase
- Nevada’s Demerit Point System – in-depth examination of how accruing too many traffic points can trigger a license revocation
- What is the SR-22 requirement if I get a DUI in Las Vegas? – explanation of the requirement to maintain “proof of financial responsibility” in order to get your license reinstated
- How do I reinstate a revoked license in Nevada? – step-by-step guide for getting your driving privileges back
- What happens if I refuse to take a blood or breath test in a Nevada DUI case? – overview of the consequences of refusing to submit to a breath or blood test following a DUI arrest
- Sealing DUI records – discussion of how and when DUI cases can be sealed from your criminal record