In Las Vegas, Nevada, driving under the influence (DUI) can result in some fairly stiff penalties which are assigned on a 1st, 2nd or 3rd offense basis. In most cases, the first time that you are caught drunk driving is typically considered to be a misdemeanor offense unless there is a death or serious injury that occurs as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. If you are caught driving while impaired for a third time within seven years of your first offense, or if there is a serious injury or death that occurs as a result of your drunk driving, you will be charged with a felony. Your penalties will generally include fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and mandatory prison time.
First DUI Offense
The first time that you are caught for a DUI in Las Vegas or other areas of Nevada, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. You will be given a breath test to determine the amount of alcohol that is in your blood, referred to as BAC, or blood alcohol concentration. If your alcohol level is found to be .08% or higher, you will face DUI charges. This misdemeanor charge will go on your permanent record and may be seen with a background report. These charges carry with them some standardized penalties that may be more or less depending on your specific situation.
Fines. You will be expected to pay fines that can range from $400 to $1,000. In most cases, the courts in Las Vegas, Nevada, typically set the first DUI fine at $600. You will also be required to pay any court costs or fees that are associated with your charges.
Jail time. A first DUI offense can land you in jail for anywhere from two days to six months. In some cases, community service may be an alternate option to jail time. You could have to perform around 24 to 96 hours of community service. However, it is important to note that the imposition of community service does not get you off the hook for going to jail. When receiving community service as an alternate punishment, the judge will usually include a six month suspended sentence. This means that if you do not complete your DUI requirements, you could be made to spend six months in jail.
DUI school. In Las Vegas and other areas in Nevada, you will have to complete a special class that teaches about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. You will be required to take this class at your own expense. You will usually have three to six months in which to complete this course.
Nevada Victim Impact Panel. You will be required to attend a lecture sponsored by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). These panels are offered in Las Vegas and around the state.
Driver’s license suspension. You will lose your driving privileges for a set period of time. In the past, you could expect a three-month suspension with the ability to obtain a restricted license after half that time. Since October 1, 2018, the laws have changed. Your driver’s license will be revoked for 185 days or approximately six months.
You can also face additional DUI penalties if you are driving while impaired and your breath test showed a BAC level that is .18 or higher. These additional penalties are meant to help prevent you from driving while impaired in the future.
Dependency evaluation. You will have to have an assessment to determine if you have a dependency on alcohol or other drugs. You will be required to pay for this evaluation.
Drug or alcohol treatment. You may have to attend a qualified treatment program after a first DUI if your BAC is found to be at or above .18%. This is especially true if your assessment shows that you have a dependency on drugs or alcohol.
Ignition interlock device. For 12 to 36 months, your vehicle must be equipped with an interlock device. In order to start your car, you will have to breathe into the device. The interlock device will register your BAC from your breath to prevent you from being able to drive while you are impaired if you have too much alcohol in your system. This device may also be required for some drivers who have a BAC of less than .18% in certain cases.
Second DUI Offense
If you are caught while driving under the influence a second time within a seven-year period, you will still face misdemeanor charges. The penalties involved with a second DUI conviction will be increased from what they were for your first drunk driving charge.
Fines. You can receive fines that may range from $750 to $1,000, depending on where you are charged in Nevada. In Las Vegas, the typical fine for a second DUI is $1,100.
Jail time. You can expect to spend from 10 days to 6 months in jail. An alternative to this would be residential confinement, otherwise known as house arrest.
Additional penalties for being caught driving under the influence a second time include:
- Victim Impact Panel
- Dependency evaluation
- DUI Court
- Suspension or revocation of driver’s license for at least a year
You may also be required to have an interlock device installed in your vehicle to prevent you from driving while impaired.
Third DUI Offense
If you are caught driving under the influence for the third time in seven years, it is no longer a misdemeanor but a felony offense. When facing these felony charges, the penalties are much stiffer.
Fines. Your fines can range from $2,000 to $5,000.
Prison time. You will be required to spend one to six years in prison.
You will also face penalties that include:
- Victim Impact Panel
- Dependency evaluation
- Interlock device
- Suspension or revocation of driver’s license for at least three years
Serious DUI Offenses
If you are caused an accident resulting in serious injury or death while driving under the influence, your DUI penalties will be greater. This is a felony charge that will require you to spend from 2 to 20 years in prison and pay large fines. If you have three previous DUI convictions and you cause a fatality while drunk driving, you can be charged with the felony called vehicular manslaughter. This results in the possibility of getting 25 years to life in prison, though you may have the opportunity for parole after serving ten years of your sentence.
If you are driving under the influence with a child in your vehicle, you may face additional penalties. You may also have to wear a SCRAM bracelet that will keep track of your alcohol levels through your perspiration.
It can be difficult to face DUI charges on your own. This is why it can be beneficial to find a qualified attorney, who may be able to help plea bargain your DUI case.
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