Nevada Revised Statute § 484C.110 defines DUI as driving an automobile
- while impaired by drugs or alcohol,
- or with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher,
- or with illegal drug levels in the driver’s blood.
Therefore, sober drivers can be convicted of DUI as long as their blood contains unlawfully-high alcohol- or drug levels. An impaired driver can be convicted of DUI even if they have a low BAC and low amounts of drugs in their system.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
NRS 484C.110. 1. It is unlawful for any person who:
(a) Is under the influence of intoxicating liquor;
(b) Has a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath; or
(c) Is found by measurement within 2 hours after driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath,
to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access.
2. It is unlawful for any person who:
(a) Is under the influence of a controlled substance;
(b) Is under the combined influence of intoxicating liquor and a controlled substance; or
(c) Inhales, ingests, applies or otherwise uses any chemical, poison or organic solvent, or any compound or combination of any of these, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of a vehicle,
to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access. The fact that any person charged with a violation of this subsection is or has been entitled to use that drug under the laws of this State is not a defense against any charge of violating this subsection.
3. It is unlawful for any person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access with an amount of any of the following prohibited substances in his or her blood or urine that is equal to or greater than:
Prohibited substance Urine (nanograms per milliliter) Blood (nanograms per milliliter) (a) Amphetamine 500 100 (b) Cocaine 150 50 150 50 (c) Cocaine metabolite 150 50 150 50 (d) Heroin 2,000 50 (e) Heroin metabolite:
(2) 6-monoacetyl morphine 1
(f) Lysergic acid diethylamide 25 10 (g) Methamphetamine 500 100 (h) Phencyclidine 25 10
4. For any violation that is punishable pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection 1 of NRS 484C.400, it is unlawful for any person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access with an amount of any of the following prohibited substances in his or her blood that is equal to or greater than:
Prohibited substance Blood (nanograms per milliliter) (a) Marijuana (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) 2 (b) Marijuana metabolite (11-OH-tetrahydrocannabinol) 5
5. If consumption is proven by a preponderance of the evidence, it is an affirmative defense under paragraph (c) of subsection 1 that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle, and before his or her blood or breath was tested, to cause the defendant to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath. A defendant who intends to offer this defense at a trial or preliminary hearing must, not less than 14 days before the trial or hearing or at such other time as the court may direct, file and serve on the prosecuting attorney a written notice of that intent.
6. A person who violates any provision of this section may be subject to any additional penalty set forth in NRS 484B.130 or 484B.135.
NRS 484C.110 defines the Nevada crime of driving under the influence as either:
- Driving a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher (even if the driver is unimpaired);
- Driving a motor vehicle with unlawful blood levels of certain drugs (even if the driver is unimpaired); or
- Driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs (even if the driver has legal blood levels of alcohol or drugs).1
In DUI of drug cases, it is not a defense that the drug was a prescription medication that the defendant’s doctor prescribed him/her. In DUI of marijuana cases, it does not matter that Nevada now allows adults 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana in private. Being impaired by any drug while operating an automobile qualifies as DUI in Nevada.
Though in DUI of alcohol cases, it is a potential defense that the defendant consumed alcohol after they stopped driving but before getting arrested and taking the evidentiary breath test or a blood test – thereby causing high BAC results.2 Note that if DUI defendants refuse evidentiary breath or blood testing following their arrest, the police can obtain a warrant and administer a blood draw against their will.3
Can I go to jail for a DUI in Nevada?
For first-time DUI convictions in a seven-year period, you typically can avoid jail as long as you
- pay a fine,
- complete DUI school,
- attend a victim impact panel,
- 180-day license revocation, and
- avoid any new arrests or serious traffic citations while the case is open.
A second-time DUI in a seven-year period carries a minimum of 10 days in jail, and subsequent DUIs in a seven-year period carry a minimum of one year in prison.4
Depending on the case however, you may be able to avoid incarceration by completing an intensive rehabilitation program called DUI Court.5
How do I fight DUI charges?
Five common drunk/drugged driving defenses in Nevada are:
- There was insufficient reasonable suspicion to pull you over and/or insufficient probable cause to arrest you.
- You were given incorrect field sobriety test instructions.
- You had acid reflux, GERD, or another condition that caused falsely high BAC results.
- You were suffering from a medical episode – such as a diabetic coma – that the police mistook for intoxication.
- The breath and/or blood testing equipment was defective.
How long do DUIs stay on my record?
If the prosecutor lets you plead to misdemeanor reckless driving instead of DUI, the conviction must stay on your record for one year before you can ask for a seal. Meanwhile, DUI cases that get totally dismissed can be sealed immediately.6
- NRS 484C.110 – Unlawful acts; affirmative defense; additional penalty for violation committed in work zone or pedestrian safety zone.
- Same. See also Byars v. State, (2014) 130 Nev. 848, 336 P.3d 939, 130 Nev. Adv. Rep. 85 and State v. Ninth Judicial Dist. Court, (Nev. 1988) 104 Nev. 91, 752 P.2d 238.
- NRS 484C.150. NRS 484C.160.
- NRS 484C.400. NRS 484C.410. NRS 484C.430. NRS 484.440.
- NRS 484C.300 – NRS 484C.350.
- NRS 179.245. NRS 179.255.