DUI Treatment Court in Nevada is an intensive rehabilitation program for DUI first– and DUI second defendants suffering from addiction. Upon successful completion of this one-year program, your DUI charge may get reduced to reckless driving.
Here are three key things to know:
- DUI Treatment Court used to be called the Moderate Offenders Program and Misdemeanor DUI Court.
- One of the conditions of this program is completing 90 days of house arrest.
- You also have to do one day in jail (in DUI-1st cases) or five days in jail (in DUI-2nd cases).
In this article, our Las Vegas DUI attorneys discuss
- 1. What is Misdemeanor DUI Court in Nevada?
- 2. What are the benefits?
- 3. Am I eligible?
- 4. What is it like?
- 5. How do I apply?
- 6. What if I relapse or break the rules?
- 7. What if I do not finish?
- 8. How much will it cost me?
- 9. What if this is my third DUI?
- 10. If I do not live in Nevada, can I do DUI Court in my home state?
- Additional reading
1. What is DUI Treatment Court in Nevada?
DUI Treatment Court allows eligible first- and second-time DUI defendants the opportunity to submit to intense alcohol counseling instead of incarceration. Upon successful completion of this program, your DUI charge may be reduced to a lesser offense.
In short, DUI Treatment Court is an alternative sentencing “specialty court” that aims to rehabilitate rather than penalize.1
2. What are the benefits?
DUI Treatment Court is a lengthy and expensive commitment, but it is a good option if:
- the District Attorney refuses to dismiss or plea bargain down your DUI charge, and
- You have a substance abuse problem.
If you complete the program, you may:
- avoid jail,
- get help to fight your addiction, and
- probably get your DUI charge reduced.
Note that if this is your second DUI, you still have to do five days in jail no matter what (unless the judge allows you to do community service instead). Though five days in jail is still half of the standard DUI-2nd jail sentence.2
3. Am I eligible?
In order to be considered for DUI Treatment Court, you must:
- be an alcoholic or drug addict;
- be facing charges of a first- or second-time misdemeanor DUI; and
- have never seriously hurt or killed someone while driving under the influence.
Note you are automatically disqualified if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.18% or higher.3
4. What is it like?
DUI Treatment Court is an intensive rehabilitation process that spans one year on average. However, DUI Court may last from only six months to as many as three years.
You get assigned a case manager who recommends to the judge what kind of treatment you require and how much. Typically, Nevada DUI Court comprises these requirements:
Misdemeanor DUI School requirements
|“Status check” meetings with the judge||These are weekly but may taper off over time.
In Clark County, DUI Treatment Court meets on Thursdays.
|Jail and/or community service||For a DUI first, you do one day in jail or 24 hours of community service.
For a DUI second, you do 5 days in jail and up to 50 hours of community service
|House arrest (“residential confinement”) for 90 days||There can be no alcohol in your home during house arrest. You may have to wear a SCRAM anklet that detects if you have ingested alcohol.|
|An ignition interlock device installed in all your cars.||Also called a “breath interlock device” (BID), an ignition interlock device stops your car from starting if you blow a blood alcohol content of 0.02% or above. The case manager is notified whenever this happens.|
|Group counseling such as Alcoholics Anonymous and individual counseling.||Counseling is bi-weekly or weekly.|
|Random alcohol testing||The judge and case manager decide the frequency.|
|Other terms specific to you||In some cases, the judge will impose a curfew, a driver’s license suspension, or a GPS tracker you have to wear.|
If you complete all the requirements of DUI Treatment Court, your misdemeanor DUI charge may be reduced to a reckless driving conviction or another lesser charge depending on the terms of your plea bargain.4
5. How do I apply?
The application process for DUI Treatment Court in Nevada consists of the following three steps:
- You submit to Justice Court a completed application, which includes a substance abuse evaluation filled out by a certified counselor or doctor.
- The D.A. and court then have 10 days to request a hearing to debate whether you should be accepted.
- If the judge lets you into the program, the judge will suspend your jail sentence.
If you are not accepted into DUI Treatment Court, you will face typical Nevada misdemeanor DUI penalties.5
If you are hoping to get accepted into DUI Court, you may increase your chances by hiring an experienced attorney. The program is very selective, and the application is time-sensitive and confusing.
6. What if I relapse or break the rules?
DUI Court judges determine sanctions on a case-by-case basis. They take into account your criminal record, how you have done in the program so far, and any other circumstances relevant to your case.
Some Nevada judges may permit you to relapse once with nothing but a verbal reprimand. Though there is no “second chance” if you pick up another DUI while you are in the program: If this happens:
- you will be expelled from DUI Treatment Court;
- you will be convicted of the underlying misdemeanor DUI; and
- you will serve out your original sentence, which may be as much as six months in jail.6
7. What if I do not finish?
If you drop out of DUI Treatment Court, you will get convicted of your original misdemeanor DUI charge. Then the judge will impose your original sentence, which may include up to six months in jail.
Example: Vince gets arrested for DUI 2nd in Las Vegas. He is accepted into DUI Treatment Court after the judge imposes a suspended sentence of 6 months in jail. Vince never takes DUI Court seriously and keeps skipping court appearances and counseling. Finally the judge expels Vince from the program and imposes the 6-month jail sentence. Had Vince stuck it out in rehab, he would have done only the 5 days in jail that the program requires.7
8. How much will it cost me?
It varies, but a one-year DUI Treatment Court program usually costs up to $4,500 total.8
9. What if this is my third DUI?
DUI Treatment Court is an option only if you are facing misdemeanor DUI-first or -second charges.
10. If I do not live in Nevada, can I do DUI Court in my home state?
Perhaps, if your home state’s DUI Treatment Court is comparable to Nevada’s. Judges determine these situations on a case-by-case basis.
For more information on DUI Court in Nevada, refer to these resources:
- Las Vegas Justice Court Receives Grant for 2023 DUI Treatment Court Program – an article by the Clark County government about the latest developments in funding DUI Treatment Court
- Specialty Courts Breakdown – an overview by the Eighth Judicial District Court of the several different specialty courts in Clark County
- Benefits of Specialty Courts – a Powerpoint by the Eighth Judicial District Court detailing the importance of alternative sentencing
- NRS 484C.320 Application by a first-time offender to undergo a program of treatment; sentencing of offender and conditional suspension of sentence; notice to Department. NRS 484C.330 Application by the second-time offender to undergo a program of treatment; sentencing of offender and conditional suspension of sentence; notice to Department.
- Id.; NRS 484C.400.
- Id.; see Kim Palchikoff, Jail alternative is no free pass, Las Vegas Sun (June 7, 2015).
- NRS 484C.320; NRS 484C.330.
- See note 6.
- NRS 484C.340.