First-Offense DUI in Nevada

Read about the consequences of a first-offense DUI in Nevada.

By , Attorney · Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

The penalties you'll face for a DUI conviction in Nevada depend mainly on how many prior convictions you have. This article covers the basics of Nevada's DUI laws and the penalties for a first conviction.

Nevada's DUI Laws

In Nevada, it's illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Generally, you can be convicted of DUI if you drive:

In other words, a DUI conviction can be based on actual intoxication or an excessive BAC level.

First Offense Felony DUIs in Nevada

Nevada's felony DUI law imposes harsher penalties for certain DUI offenses. A DUI is a class B felony when the offender drives under the influence:

  • having been convicted of two prior DUIs within the past seven years
  • and causes the death of or substantial bodily harm to another, or
  • having been convicted of a felony DUI in the past.

Causing the death of another person while driving under the influence could also lead to vehicular manslaughter charges in Nevada.

Administrative License Penalties for a First Nevada DUI

"Administrative penalties" are those imposed by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If the test you've taken after the arrest indicates a BAC of at least .08% or drugs in your system without a valid prescription or refuse to take these tests, you'll lose your license.

License Suspension for a First BAC Test Failure or Refusal in Nevada

For a first DUI, the administrative penalties include:

  • Per se alcohol and per se drug DUI. Drivers whose breath or blood results indicate a BAC of at least .08% will have their license revoked for 90 days.
  • Chemical-test refusals. Motorists who refuse a chemical test in violation of Nevada's implied consent laws will face a one-year revocation of their driving privileges. Motorists who refuse two or more times within a seven-year period face a three-year administrative license revocation.

Also, prosecutors can use your refusal to take the test as evidence of your guilt at trial.

Appealing a DMV Administrative License Suspension in Nevada

If the DMV revokes your license for the reasons above, you can request a hearing in writing to challenge the revocation.

One benefit of requesting a hearing is that the DMV may issue you a temporary driver's license that allows you to drive while the DMV conducts its review. With a temporary license, you are not required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) as a condition for driving.

If you don't request a hearing in writing, you forfeit your right to challenge an administrative suspension.

License Suspension for a 1st DUI Conviction in Nevada

If you are ultimately convicted of DUI in criminal court, the DMV will revoke your license for an additional 185 days.

Criminal Penalties for a First Nevada DUI Conviction

"Criminal penalties" are those that a court imposes once a driver is convicted of DUI. Below are the possible penalties you'll face for a first DUI conviction.

Penalties for Standard First DUI in Nevada

Drivers convicted of a first DUI must serve either two days to six months in jail or perform 48 to 96 hours of community service while wearing clothing that identifies the driver as someone convicted of DUI.

The fine ranges from $400 to $1000.

Convicted drivers are also required to pay for and attend an educational course on drug and alcohol abuse and install an IID on their car for 185 days as a condition for getting their license back.

Penalties for First Nevada DUI With BAC of .18% or More

In addition to the normal penalties, drivers who had a BAC of at least .18% must attend a treatment program for drug and alcohol abuse.

Penalties for First Felony DUI in Nevada

Drivers convicted of DUI resulting in death or substantial injury to another face two to 20 years in prison and must pay a fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.

Treatment Programs Nevada DUI First Offenders

A first-time DUI offender found guilty of DUI may apply with the court to undergo a treatment program prior to sentencing.

If accepted, the judge will suspend the driver's sentence for up to three years to allow time for the driver to successfully complete the treatment program. Also, these drivers qualify to get their licenses back in half the time.

To be eligible, a driver must:

  • be diagnosed as an alcohol or drug abuser by a licensed or certified counselor or physician
  • agree to pay for the costs of treatment, and
  • serve at least one day in jail or perform 24 hours of community service.

Once the driver successfully completes treatment, the judge will reduce the driver's sentence to either the one day in jail already served or the 24 hours of community service already performed, and limit the fine to $400.

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