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 What Is Driving Under the Influence?

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs depends on the amount of controlled substances in a person’s body. Driving under the influence (DUI) is operating a motor vehicle while drunk or high.

What Is Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration?

The concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood is measured by blood alcohol concentration, while the concentration of alcohol in their breath is measured by breath alcohol concentration.

The term “blood alcohol content” is also referred to as “blood alcohol concentration,” as well as “blood alcohol level.” Additionally, the term “breath alcohol content” is also referred to as “breath alcohol concentration” and “breath alcohol level.” All of these terms are referred to in abbreviated form as “BAC.”

The amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream is measured in milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 milliliters (ml) of blood. This number is generally expressed as a percentage, such as 0.08 or 0.15. If a person has a BAC of .10 percent, that person’s blood supply contains one part of alcohol for every 1,000 parts of blood. BAC levels are determined through blood testing.

In addition to measuring blood alcohol concentration, breath alcohol concentration can also be used to measure impairment. A breath analyzer, or breathalyzer, measures breath alcohol concentration.

The user exhales into the breathalyzer during a breathalyzer test. Ethanol, the intoxicating agent in alcoholic beverages, is converted into an electric current through a series of chemical reactions. The amount of current produced on the breathalyzer device is displayed as the person’s breath alcohol concentration.

What Is the Legal Limit in Nevada?

The blood alcohol content (BAC) level for drivers in Nevada is 0.08 percent. A BAC level measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood. If a person has a BAC level above the legal limit while driving a vehicle, they are guilty of driving under the influence.

Does the 0.08 Percent Legal Limit Apply to Teenage Drivers in Nevada?

No. There is a different legal limit for drivers under 21 years old, which is the state’s legal drinking age. The legal BAC limit for anyone under 21 and thus unable to legally consume alcohol is 0.02 percent.

What Is the Legal Limit for Truck Drivers in Nevada?

The legal limit for commercial drivers is 0.04 percent. Commercial truck drivers are the only ones subject to the lower legal limit.

What Is A “High BAC” Law? Can I Refuse A Breathalyzer Or Other DUI Test?

A “high BAC” law is a statement of what each state considers to be an acceptable BAC. As previously mentioned, the acceptable limit is generally 0.08%. A DUI charge can result in fines, bad marks on a person’s insurance record, and even jail time. In some cases, repeat offenses can result in felony charges, and some states impose additional penalties for drivers with high blood alcohol levels. This can be anywhere from .15% to .20%.

The penalties for violating a High BAC law can vary but generally result in one or more of the following consequences:

  • Higher criminal fines;
  • Increased jail time;
  • Denial of probation;
  • Required installation of an ignition interlock device on the offender’s vehicle; and
  • Not being allowed to plead guilty in exchange for lesser charges.

The consequences listed above may apply if the DUI incident resulted in serious injury or death to another driver.

What Is Driving Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance in Nevada?

Driving under the influence of a controlled substance refers to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs. Drugs can range from narcotics such as cocaine to prescription drugs such as morphine.

What Is the Legal Limit for Driving Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance?

Under the influence of a controlled substance, there is no “legal limit” that applies to all drugs but an allowable amount for each. For example, the allowable amount for amphetamine is 500 nanograms per milliliter in urine and 100 nanograms per milliliter in blood.

How Many Drinks Does it Usually Take to Reach the Legal Limit of the Blood Alcohol Percentage for Driving?

There is no exact answer to how much you have to drink to reach the legal limit for driving or flying. However, there is a way to approximate whether you are approaching the legal limit in your state (usually 0.08 blood alcohol level) based on your weight, how much you have had to drink, and how long you have been drinking.

For example:

  • If you are around 100 lbs., you can generally only have about one serving of alcohol before being over 0.08, and only two servings before being above 0.1 (for those states where the legal limit is 0.1)
  • However, a person is closer to 160 lbs. can have about three servings of alcohol and still be below the legal limit for driving

If you have consumed three servings of alcohol in rapid succession, regardless of your weight, you are most likely over the legal blood alcohol limit when driving.

The amount of time you have spent drinking will also affect your blood alcohol level. Your blood alcohol level will be significantly lower if you space your drinks out over a long period of time, such as over a few hours, than if you had the same amount in an hour. Generally, you can subtract 0.01% from your estimated blood alcohol level for every 40 minutes that go by while drinking.

What Is 1 Serving of Alcohol?

Depending on the type of drink, the amount of alcohol in 1 serving varies. For example, 12 oz. of hard liquor is a far greater amount of alcohol than 12 oz. of beer, which will have a much greater impact on your blood alcohol level. Generally, the rule is 1 serving of alcohol is equal to 1 oz. of 100 proof liquor, a 12 oz. beer, or 4 oz. of table wine.

What Are Some Other Factors that Affect a Person’s Blood Alcohol Level?

Blood alcohol levels are largely determined by the amount of drinks, weight, and time between drinks, but there are several other factors to consider:

  • Fatigue: exhaustion can significantly increase a person’s blood alcohol level when they are drinking. Even if you haven’t had much to drink, fatigue can impair your judgment, just like alcohol.
  • Medications: some types of medications can have adverse side effects when taken with alcohol, so be sure to check the warning labels on any medications (prescriptive or over-the-counter) you take
  • Food: drinking on an empty stomach can increase your blood alcohol level significantly more than if you have been eating before or while you were drinking

If I Have Been Arrested for Drunk Driving, What Should I Do?

Contact a criminal defense attorney or a DUI lawyer immediately. If you have any possible defenses, your attorney will be able to advise you of them. Criminal justice is a complex and confusing system, so an attorney can help guide you through it and help you pick a path that is most beneficial to you.

Can I Be Arrested If I Ingested Too Much of My Prescription Medication?

Yes. In Nevada, a person can be charged with being under the influence of their prescription drug while operating a motor vehicle. A prescription drug must impair a person’s ability to drive and have an adverse effect.

Why Was I Arrested When I Only Took Over-The-Counter Medication?

Too much over-the-counter medication is also considered driving under the influence crime in Nevada because it impairs one’s ability to drive.

What Are the Possible Penalties of a DUI in Nevada?

The possible penalties depend on the offense and can include:

  • Jail or prison time
  • Fines
  • Driving school
  • Attending a Victim Impact Panel
  • Interlock device installed on vehicle

Can an Attorney Help Me?

A DUI conviction can be expensive and seriously impact your life by taking away your driving ability. If you are charged with any type of DUI, contact a Nevada DUI/DWI lawyer immediately.


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