First-Offense DUI in Nevada

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

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.

Felony DUIs

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 Penalties

"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. 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. And at trial, the prosecutor can use your refusal to take the test as evidence of your guilt.

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

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

Criminal Penalties

“Criminal penalties” are those that a court imposes once a driver is convicted of DUI. For a first DUI, the criminal penalties include:

  • Standard first DUI. 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.
  • First DUI with BAC of .18% or greater. Penalties are more severe for drivers with BACs of .18% or higher. In additional to the standard first DUI penalties, the driver must install an IID for a period of 12 to 36 months. The driver must also attend a treatment program for drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Felony DUI. 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

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 license 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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