Nevada prohibits the operation of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more as well as with certain concentrations of controlled substances. But Nevada applies a BAC limit of .02% to drivers under 21 years of age. This article outlines the applicable rules and penalties for violations.
Unlike in some other states, a violation of Nevada's zero-tolerance law is not a criminal offense. Driving with a BAC of .02% or more, for underage drivers, will result in only administrative license-related penalties.
During a DUI stop, the arresting officer will typically request that the driver to submit to a breath or blood test to determine the presence of drugs and/or alcohol. If testing reveals the underage driver has a BAC of .02% or more, the officer is supposed to seize the driver's license, issue a notice of suspension, and provide a temporary permit. If the driver chooses to appeal the suspension, the temporary permit will be valid until the appeal is resolved.
Suspension. A driver who's under the age of 21 and has a BAC of .02% to .08% will be suspended for 90 days. However, restricted driving privileges may be available with the use of an ignition interlock device (IID).
Reinstatement. Prior to license reinstatement, the driver may be required to pay a reinstatement fee, attend driving improvement classes, or obtain a drug and alcohol assessment. An alcohol-related violation will also delay the graduated license process for teen drivers.
Test refusal. Under Nevada's implied consent law, all drivers are generally deemed to have given consent to chemical testing to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs. A driver who unlawfully refuses will face certain penalties. Underage drivers who refuse testing can face an additional one to three years of license revocation.
Although a zero-tolerance violation carries only license-related penalties, the underage driver might face other criminal charges related to the incident. For example, public consumption of alcohol by underage persons is a misdemeanor and can result in jail and fines.
Also, an underage driver who has a BAC of .08% or more or is otherwise impaired can be charged with a standard DUI. A conviction can result in penalties such as jail time, fines, license suspension, and IID requirements.