What constitutes as a DUI/DWI offense in the state of Nevada?

Section NRS 484C.110 of the Nevada penal code prohibits the operation or driving of a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher. In addition, the law makes it a crime to operate a vehicle after use or ingestion of any "chemical, poison or organic solvent, or any compound or combination of any of these, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of a vehicle." A common misconception is that intoxication via legal methods, such as a legally prescribed medication is a legitimate defense to a DWI charge. This is false, any impairing substance or medication, whether illegal or legal can result in a DWI charge when it impairs driving ability. Individuals under the age of 21 and those operating commercial vehicles have lower BAC thresholds required to be considered committing a DUI offense.

Crimes Often Associated with DUI

Reckless Driving

Vehicular Homicide

DUI while driving with a child

Who can be charged with DUI/DWI in the state of Nevada?

Any individual whom is deemed in driving or in control of a motor vehicle and:

Under the influence of intoxicating liquor

Has a blood alcohol level of 0.8% or higher, less for minors/commercial vehicle drivers

Has any detectable level of illegal drugs or prohibited substances in their body

Is intoxicated by any legal substance including prescription and OTC medications at a level causing their driving to be unsafe


To gain a DUI/DWI conviction, the prosecution must prove that the individual was both intoxicated and in control of a vehicle. Intoxication is the first step and is most often proven by the results of a blood or breathalyzer test performed at the time of arrest. Due to Nevada’s Implied Consent Law, refusal to submit to testing at time of arrest does not automatically absolve you of the charges and includes its own set of penalties. In the event there are no test results available, the prosecutors will seek to prove intoxication by other means. For example, testimony or statements from officers on scene and/or witnesses of your reckless driving, difficulties with roadside sobriety tests, impaired speech and other signs of intoxication.

The second necessary component for conviction is establishing the individual had control of a vehicle. It is important to note that you do not need to be physically driving the vehicle in order to be deemed in control of the vehicle at the time of your arrest. Operating or intending to operate the vehicle is enough, and many arrests occur from merely sitting or sleeping in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with keys in the ignition.

Legal Defenses to DUI/DWI

There are a few defenses available to those charged with a DUI/DWI offense. The typical DUI defense involves improper stop of a vehicle or an assertion that the defendant was not in actual control of the vehicle. Other defenses include improper administration or inaccurate testing, including sobriety, blood and breathalyzer testing either in their administration or their results. Less common defenses include those for driving under duress or necessity to prevent injury or loss of life.

Penalties for DUI/DWI offenses

The penalties for DUI/DWI offenses are steep and vary with the number of previous convictions as well as any aggravating circumstances. Penalties can be increased if the alleged crime was committed in a work zone. The criminal penalties below do not include court courts or the multitude of possible administrative monetary penalties levied by the DMV which can substantially increase the total cost of a conviction.

For first time DUI convictions:

48 hours to 6 months in jail or up to 96 hours of community service

Nevada DUI School attendance

Victim impact panel attendance

90 day license suspension

Fines from $400 to $1,000

Possible ignition interlock device

For second time DUI convictions within 7 years:

10 days to 6 months in jail or house arrest

Victim impact panel attendance

1 year driver’s license suspension

Alcohol/Drug abuse evaluation

Fine from $750 to $1000

Possible ignition interlock device

Possible vehicle registration suspension

DUI court Alcohol/Drug abuse treatment program

For third time DUI conviction within 7 years:

1 to 6 years in state prison

Victim impact panel attendance

Ignition interlock device for 12-36 months after release

3 year driver’s license suspension

Fines from $2,000 to $5,000

Alcohol/drug abuse evaluation

Possible vehicle registration suspension

How We Can Help

If you have been charged with any DUI or DWI defense in the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area and need experienced representation, contact the Law Offices of Martin Hart today. You will receive a thorough consultation to answer your questions, address your concerns and inform you of what veteran defense attorney Martin Hart can do for your case. Don’t leave your fate to an inferior criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Martin Hart are just a phone call away at 702-380-4278.