Nevada DUI: What to Expect in 7 Steps
People who have been arrested for suspicion of a DUI often wonder, what happens next? Although there are variables that come into play, most DUI cases follow a similar path. Read on to understand the step-by-step process of a Nevada DUI case.
The event that starts the DUI process is the initial investigation. When an officer has reasonable cause to believe you’re driving under the influence you’ll be pulled over for questioning. If you exhibit signs of intoxication you may be asked to take a preliminary breath test and field sobriety tests. If you refuse to take, or fail either of these tests you will likely be placed under arrest for driving under the influence.
After you’ve been arrested the officer will take you to a local hospital, police station, or jail to administer a blood test and/or breath test to determine your blood alcohol concentration. If you refuse to take a chemical test your driver’s license will automatically be revoked for one year.
During booking your personal possessions will be inventoried and your fingerprints and mugshot photographs will be taken. Depending on circumstances you could be released immediately after booking, either on your own recognizance or after posting any required bail.
From here, a prosecutor will review your case, formally charge you with a DUI, issue a citation, and give you an arraignment date.
4. Hire an Attorney
Prior to your first court date you will need to decide how to proceed with your defense. Your three options are self representation, a public defender, or a private DUI defense attorney.
Unless you’re already an attorney, with so much at stake, representing yourself is not recommended.
Public defenders are assigned at random, and can be hit or miss. You have no way of knowing what type of experience they have or what their caseload is like.
For the best possible outcome, with the highest chances of getting your case dismissed or charges reduced, you need to hire an experienced DUI attorney.
The arraignment will be your first time appearing before a judge. Depending on your case, some arraignments happen within 24 hours of your arrest, other times it may be weeks until your hearing. The process depends on the place of the arrest and the standard procedure of the court in charge of your case, as well as other factors, such as if you’ve been charged with a felony DUI or are a repeat offender.
During the arraignment, you will be read your charges and your rights, including your right to an attorney. The judge may also ask you to enter a plea during the arraignment (guilty, no contest, or not guilty).
From here, your next court date will be assigned.
Your attorney will help you gather evidence, collect statements, and prepare a defense. The prosecuting attorney will be doing the same at this time. Your defense attorney may attend hearings to discuss the status of the case and talk about possible plea deals with the prosecuting attorney.
This phase of the DUI process can take several months, in part because evidence is not always available quickly. The defense attorney may need to wait for the prosecuting attorney to deliver the video of your arrest. They may also will have to wait a few months to receive the results from the lab where your specimen was sent after the arrest. Also, depending on how busy the court is and how many other cases are waiting for trial, the judge and prosecuting attorney may ask for more time to prepare their cases.
7. Plea or Trial & Sentencing
After your attorney has gathered all the information possible regarding your case they will discuss your defense or plea bargain options. Sometimes, the case can be thrown out before a trial is necessary. Other times, your attorney can convince the prosecuting attorney to lower the DUI charge to a lesser offense.
When your attorney and the prosecution are unable to negotiate dropped or reduced charges a trial will proceed. If you were charged with a felony you may elect to have a bench or jury trial.
If you are facing a misdemeanor DUI charge you don’t have the option of a jury trial. A judge will determine your guilt or innocence, and issue sentencing during a bench trial.
To learn about the possible penalties check out Your Guide to Nevada DUI Laws and Penalties.
Contact The Hill Firm Today!
Being arrested for a DUI is stressful. You need a strong, experienced attorney to guide you through the process and defend your rights. Call The Hill Firm for a FREE consultation at 702-848-5000 today!