I Was Arrested For A DUI In Las Vegas. Am I Going To Go To Jail?
Following a DUI arrest, one immediate fear can be whether extended jail time is to be expected.
However, just because someone has been arrested does not mean he or she is going to be staying in jail for the long term. What exactly does it mean?
What Defines Driving under the Influence?
In Nevada, as it is in most states in the United States, it is illegal for someone to physically control a motor vehicle under the following conditions:
1. The driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs; or
2. The driver had a Blood Alcohol Content level of 0.08 or higher; or
3. The driver’s blood contained more than the maximum amount allowed for certain illegal or prescription drugs.
Simply put, it is illegal for someone to take or drink something that will cause them to not be able to safely operate their vehicle.
Even if that person seems to be driving safely, if that person’s BAC is higher than 0.08, he or she is considered impaired. It does not matter how well that person says he or she drives well after a few drinks.
The Initial Arrest
The police are not going to let the driver leave the scene of the crime once it is determined that he or she is impaired.
The drunk driver will likely be arrested and taken to jail. Bail will be determined and set, and once bail has been posted, the driver will be released.
That initial jail stay will therefore be limited.
Defending a First Time DUI in Nevada
It is always recommended that someone who has been arrested for a DUI consults an attorney before going forward.
Each DUI is an extremely fact-specific situation, and these facts can be what makes or breaks a defense for a first DUI.
Therefore, the first step someone should take following a DUI arrest is to contact a criminal attorney.
Set up a time to speak with this person and describe the incident, specifically the interaction between the driver and police, how the arrest happened, how the BAC was taken and determined, and whether any witnesses were there.
All of this information will be needed to rebut any arguments brought forth by the prosecution.
Burden of Proof
The prosecution is charged with proving the case, and it is up to them to show that the person facing DUI charges was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Reasonable doubt means that if any doubt exists that the person committed the crime, albeit small, the defendant cannot be found guilty.
A defense attorney will try to poke holes in the argument by showing that the BAC test was not taken properly, the results were compromised, the arresting officer did not have the probable cause needed to pull the defendant over, and the officer did not conduct the field sobriety test properly.
What Are the Penalties for a 1st Time DUI?
A first DUI that did not result in a death or serious injury is considered a misdemeanor.
This means that the penalties include up to six months in jail, normally suspended for a period of time, up to $1,000 in fines and court costs, and Nevada DUI school.
The defendant will also normally be given an order to “stay out of trouble,” meaning that the defendant cannot have any new arrests or citations other than minor traffic tickets.
First-time DUI with High BAC
However, if the defendant’s BAC is 0.18 or higher, the judge may order the defendant to take an alcohol/drug dependency evaluation.
Depending on the results of the evaluation, the defendant may have to follow up with an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program. The defendant may also need to wear a Nevada breath interlock device on his or her car for a period of up to three years.
The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles may also impose a suspension on the defendant’s driver’s license. After 45 days has passed, the driver may be able to apply for and receive a restricted license so that the person can commute to and from work.
Second and Third Time Offenders
However, if this is not the first DUI offense, harsher penalties may be imposed, and the likelihood of jail time and higher fines increases.
In addition, the defendant may face a longer suspension of his or her driver’s license. The more the offenses and more serious the results, the harsher the consequences.
Plea Bargaining to Reckless Driving
If it is a defendant’s first DUI, his or her defense attorney may be able to reduce the conviction to reckless driving.
The judge may still impose the same penalties as a DUI, but having a reckless driving conviction on the driver’s record as this conviction will not be counted as a previous DUI conviction.
If, for some reason the driver is pulled over for a DUI later, this first offense will not count against him or her.
Also, a defendant can petition later to have the reckless driving conviction sealed from his or her criminal record after one year.
Contact Us Today!
If you have been arrested for a DUI while visiting our state, it is important you contact the Hill Firm today.
We can meet with you to discuss your rights and all potential legal consequences from your arrest. Contact us at (702) 848-5000 for your free consultation today.