When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI), Nevada imposes some of the harshest penalties in the country. Penalties for a second DUI offense in Nevada within 7 years are significantly more severe than those for a first DUI offense. You could face a sentence of six months behind bars, along with court costs and fines totaling over one thousand dollars.
Under Nevada's DUI laws, there are increasingly severe "minimum mandatory" penalties for each additional conviction within 7 years. However, the prosecution must demonstrate the validity of the second DUI charge. Get in touch with us at The Law Offices of Martin Hart if you are facing DUI charges in Las Vegas so we can help defend you as soon as possible.
How A Second DUI Crime Differs From A First DUI Offense
You have the option to submit to a blood or breath test if you get stopped for the first time on suspicion of operating a vehicle while under the influence. If you have a prior DUI conviction on your file and are suspected of a Nevada DUI, the law enforcement officer has the authority to decide whether to use the Intoxilyzer 5000EN for a breathalyzer test or a blood test. The more challenging option is probably going to be selected by law enforcement, making the outcome more difficult to have excluded from evidence in court.
There are other ways in which a second DUI differs from a first violation. There are no more opportunities if you get into trouble again, which is another way that a second DUI offense differs from a first. A third DUI constitutes a felony that carries harsh punishments, such as lengthy jail time, hefty fines, and permanent driving privilege suspension. Recall that a third DUI constitutes a felony, whereas a second DUI typically only carries a misdemeanor.
Every DUI conviction that occurs within seven years is "enhanced," meaning the consequences for each additional conviction get worse. First-time offenders are considered misdemeanors and are subject to mandatory minimum sentences. Even though it is still a misdemeanor, a second offense carries stiffer legal penalties, including jail time and the loss of driving privileges.
The provisions of NRS 484C.010 govern Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Driving under the Influence (Second Crime). To do everything within your power to keep a second DUI conviction off your record, you should retain the services of an accomplished defense attorney.
What The Prosecutor Must Prove
Certain elements of a second offense DUI need to be demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt for the prosecutors to establish a defendant's guilt. These include the following:
The defendant's use of alcohol or drugs affected his or her driving (to any extent)
When the accused person was driving, their breath or blood alcohol content was 0.08 or more
Two (2) hours after driving, the defendant's blood alcohol content was 0.08 or higher
Excessive levels of several illicit prescription drugs were detected in the accused person's blood
The accused person has a prior DUI conviction within the preceding seven years
What You Can Expect From a Second DUI Offense
Repeated DUI charges in Nevada are very similar to first-time DUI arrests. If you are found guilty of a DUI within the past seven years in any Nevada county or any other jurisdiction or territory in the United States, you could face charges for a second DUI offense. However, the 7-year period begins to run on the day of the arrest rather than the conviction, which could differ by several months or more.
Following your arrest, filing of charges, and release from detention, there are things you can do to support yourself. DUI charges for a second offense are typically filed as misdemeanors. However, you will face felony DUI charges and much harsher punishments if you were a part of an automobile accident that resulted in the death or serious injury of another person.
Your Nevada driving license will automatically be suspended for ninety days following any DUI incident. After that, you have seven days to ask the Department of Motor Vehicles for an administrative hearing so that they won't suspend your driving privileges.
Once the Nevada DMV receives your request for a hearing, it will conduct a nationwide check of your driving history. You might be issued a temporary driver's license if you don't currently have any revocations or suspensions.
Your blood will be tested at an administrative hearing to see if you had a BAC of 0.08 at the time of your arrest or if there was any discernible level of a prohibited or controlled substance in your system. Should tests conducted at that time, such as blood or breathalyzer tests, reveal that you did, your license will be suspended for ninety days.
According to Nevada law, a defendant may apply for a restricted license after their license is revoked for the first or third time, but not after a second DUI conviction within seven years.
Until the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) presiding over the hearing issues a decision, usually a month to six weeks following the hearing, your temporary driver's license is still valid.
If the judge overturns the revocation and you meet all other requirements, the DMV will issue you a permanent driver's license. A criminal defense lawyer in Las Vegas can handle the necessary procedures to prevent your driver's license from being automatically suspended and represent you in the administrative hearing.
Penalties For a Second Offense DUI
The number of infractions you have had in the last seven years will determine your sentence for DUI. There are statutory minimums that apply to a DUI second offense, just like for a DUI first offense. They take greater gravity than the prerequisites for a first. Many times, a period of incarceration will be necessary. In Las Vegas, a second DUI offense is still considered a misdemeanor.
The prerequisites are as follows:
Ten days is the minimum mandatory jail sentence in Las Vegas. Six months is the maximum sentence. The sentencing judge has the option to use this time as residential confinement, but that is not mandatory.
The minimum required fine for a second DUI offense is $750. $1,000 is the maximum fine.
Panel for Victim Impact
Anyone found guilty of a second DUI offense in Las Vegas must appear at and complete a victim impact panel.
Program for Treatment
A person found guilty of a second DUI offense in Las Vegas must enroll in a treatment program for drug or alcohol abuse, per court orders. Individuals who are subject to this order are required to follow the recommendations after obtaining an alcohol evaluation. These suggestions differ greatly from one another according to the preliminary assessment.
Breath Interlock Mechanism
When a person is found guilty of a second DUI offense in Las Vegas, the judge must order the installation of a breath interlock device for 185 days. However, the requirement for a breath interlock device increases to a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 36 months if the blood alcohol content is over 18.
If someone is found guilty of their second DUI offense, the DMV will suspend their license for a year. It will be divided in half. The moment someone is taken into custody for a second DUI offense, the first half of the suspension begins. Until a conviction is entered, the second half of the one-year suspension is not applicable. If your vehicle has a breathalyzer installed, you are still able to operate a vehicle with a suspended license.
Second Offense DUI Diversion Programs
The penalties for a second DUI conviction can be avoided in a few different ways. Although they do not call for jail time, they could be more severe. They may also completely waive the penalties. The following are the options for a second DUI offense:
1. Prioritizing Sentencing for First DUI Offense, Enhancement For Second Offense
If you're accused of a DUI second offense and there are no problems with the evidence, this would be your ideal option. It restores the DUI first Crime minimum sentence requirements. As a result, the two-day jail sentence requirement, the smaller fine requirement, as well as the DUI School in place of the rehabilitation program are all reinstated.
2. Treatment Program
An individual may choose to apply to be a part of a treatment program instead of fulfilling the required minimums. This option still necessitates a five-day jail sentence.
Should I Hire an Attorney for My Second DUI Offense?
Under Nevada's stringent DUI laws, nobody should ever be left to deal with the charges without legal counsel. A second DUI charge remains on your criminal record and will cause problems if a routine criminal record check is done by a landlord, loan officer, or a potential employer.
There is pressure on prosecutors to get the maximum sentence possible for a second DUI conviction. If there isn't a defense lawyer to push back and convince the judge and them that such an outcome isn't justified, they probably will.
Remember that driving under the influence arrest does not automatically result in a DUI conviction. It is your right to pursue every legal defense that can keep you out of jail, pay fines, keep your driving privileges, and avoid other consequences.
You should use your right to stay silent after being arrested, except for asking to speak with a lawyer. To assess your options, your defense lawyer will look into your arrest and the alleged evidence against you in great detail.
Among the possible responses to a second DUI charge are:
- An unlawful checkpoint, a traffic stop without sufficient reason, the administration of a field sobriety test without a warrant, or the omission of the Miranda warning are examples of improper arrest practices
- Field sobriety tests are unreliable due to a variety of factors, such as unfavorable weather conditions, traffic jams, flashing lights, uncomfortable footwear, or personal health issues like a history of injury or mental illness that could impair a driver's physical coordination and test-taking performance
- Issues with the evidence, like a breathalyzer test that was performed longer than the two-hour window or an officer who wasn't trained to use the device
- Witnesses who are unreliable or unavailable, which is common in popular tourist destinations like Las Vegas
Evidence that points to the defendant's sobriety or the fact that they started drinking after parking their car are examples of evidence that could support a not guilty decision. After years of discussion, a 2015 law in Nevada clarified what constitutes "actual physical control" of a vehicle and made it eligible for prosecution for DUI.
Individuals Excluded From a DUI Arrest
According to Nevada's DUI laws, an individual cannot be arrested if they are:
- In a car that’s parked legally
- In a car that has the engine off
- Not in control of the vehicle
- Could not have operated the car to the destination while under the influence of illicit, controlled, or alcohol-impaired substances
A person who has decided to sleep in the back seat of their legally parked car with the engine off after drinking should not be charged with DUI. Additionally, Nevada acknowledges two unique defenses against DUI accusations:
An arrest for DUI should be dropped if the cause of the crash, the erratic driving, or any other reason for the traffic stop was a medical condition.
The "lesser of two evils" principle may be applied in favor of the dismissal of charges if the defendant drove to protect others from bodily harm, such as to escape an assault, or to get help for a passenger in need of emergency medical attention.
As soon as your Las Vegas DUI lawyer accepts your case, it is their responsibility to uphold your legal rights and provide a solid, convincing defense. We're not here to pass judgment. We have successfully handled DUI defense cases for more than ten years. We'll put up a fight for you.
Contact a Las Vegas DUI Lawyer Near Me
If you are charged with a second DUI offense, the consequences for your DUI case will be significantly more severe. If you are found guilty of a second DUI offense within seven years of the first offense, you will undoubtedly lose your driving privileges. At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, our team of skilled attorneys not only provides legal representation but also offers consultation services to the people of Las Vegas, Nevada. If you're ready to discuss the specifics of your ongoing DUI case, give us a call at 702-380-4278 to speak with an attorney.