What Is the Law About Drunk Driving?
It is prohibited in Nevada to be in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of any narcotic to the point where your driving ability is impaired.
Being in physical control of a motor vehicle includes being in the driver’s seat when a person is suspected of DUI. To be under the effect of any drug means that the drug could be illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter.
Crime Definition and Essential Elements
To prove a person is guilty of driving under the influence, second offense, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant’s driving was impaired (to any extent) by drugs or alcohol, OR the defendant’s blood or breath alcohol content was.08 or higher at the time of driving, OR the defendant’s blood alcohol content was.08 or higher within two (2) hours of driving, OR
- The defendant’s blood contained more than the maximum amount allowed of various illegal prescription drugs, AND the defendant has a prior DUI conviction within the last seven (7) years.
Q had been to a networking event in downtown Nevada. He had a couple of beers and two (2) mixed drinks over the course of a few hours. Q chose to drive after briefly considering hiring a cab.
He rolled through a stop sign 12 miles from his residence on his way home. A Henderson Police Officer stopped Q on patrol. The officer requested that Q perform field sobriety tests, which Q, according to the officer, failed.
Q was apprehended and sent to the Henderson prison center, where he was asked to take a chemical breath test. Q’s breath test machine result showed that he had a.12 BrAC. When the Henderson police officer ran Q through the system, he discovered that Q had been convicted of a DUI in Nevada Municipal Court five (5) years prior. Q was then arrested and charged with DUI – Second Offense (DUI with priors).
Defenses to Driving While Intoxicated, Second Offense
Being arrested for a DUI is a terrifying experience for anyone. When someone has a prior conviction, this dread is heightened. However, just because someone is arrested and a charge is filed by the state or city does not guarantee that person will be convicted. Several defenses to a DUI accusation exist, even if it is a second violation.
In Driving Under the Influence instances, defenses and factual issues can be brought, resulting in a charge being reduced or dropped entirely. These same defenses can be used at trial, resulting in a not-guilty verdict.
A qualified Nevada DUI Attorney can discover problems with a case, such as incorrect blood draw techniques or breath test machine faults.
A DUI Lawyer in Nevada with experience can detect problems with how a police officer performed a stop, investigation, and arrest, whether it was in the probable cause for the vehicle stop or the method in which a field sobriety test was administered.
These are just a few potential defenses that can be identified and used to defend a DUI charge successfully. Each DUI arrest and prosecution is unique, and the best defense in each case is also so.
It is vital that anyone charged with a DUI in Nevada consult an expert Nevada Criminal Defense attorney who can analyze the facts and applicable law in that specific case.
The fact that the motorist is or has been allowed to consume marijuana in Nevada is not a defense for this form of DUI.
Operating a Motor Vehicle while Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance
The effect of the substance on the driver, rather than the amount consumed, is the focus of this section. To successfully prosecute under this law, the state must demonstrate that the driver was under the influence of a controlled substance to the point where they were incapable of driving safely or exercising actual physical control of a vehicle.
The court stated in Cotter v. State that whether a motorist is under the influence is “always an issue of fact, to be addressed in light of such variable factors as the individual’s resistance to the substance, the amount eaten, and the kind and time of ingestion.”
Any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or premises open to the public is deemed to have consented to an evidentiary test of their blood, breath, or other bodily substance to determine the concentration of alcohol in their blood or breath or to determine the presence of a controlled substance, chemical, poison, organic solvent, or another prohibited substance.
If a person to be tested fails to submit to a required test as directed by a police officer under this section and the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be tested was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance, the officer may arrest the person for testing.
If a person refuses to submit to a mandatory chemical test, evidence of that refusal is admissible in any criminal or administrative action arising from alleged activities.
Checkpoints for Sobriety
Sobriety checkpoints are legally permitted in Nevada.
Police officers in this state may set up roadblocks to warn and protect the traveling public. Still, administrative roadblocks must be set up at a point on the highway visible to approaching traffic at a distance of not less than 100 yards in either direction. They must indicate that a sobriety checkpoint is ahead at least 14 miles before the actual checkpoint.
Drugged Driving Statutes
For cannabis, cannabis metabolites, and other controlled substances, Nevada has passed a per se drugged driving statute.
Drivers with detectable amounts of THC in their blood above two ng/ml are charged with DUID in Nevada.
Will I Face the Same Penalty for a Drugged Driving Conviction as Someone Convicted of Drunk Driving?
Yes. Every DUI conviction in Nevada carries the same penalty, regardless of whether the defendant was drinking or drugged while driving.
For example, a first drugged driving conviction is treated as a misdemeanor, much like a first drunk driving conviction.
Both of these offenses have the following penalties:
- A county jail sentence might range from 48 hours to six months.
- $1,000 fine
- License suspension for 90 days
What Is the Penalty for a Second Drugged Driving Conviction?
While a second DUI within seven years is still a misdemeanor, the punishment for a second conviction is tougher than for a first conviction. A second DUI conviction in Nevada carries the following penalties:
- Ten days to six months in county prison and a $1,000 fine.
- Court fees
- One-year license suspension
- Community service of 200 hours
Attendance at a Victim Impact Panel is required, along with installing a breathalyzer in the defendant’s vehicle.
Can an Attorney Assist Me With My Second Drugged Driving Charge?
If you are charged with a second drugged driving offense, you will face harsh penalties if you do not have strong legal representation. If you are suspected of drugged driving, contact a Nevada DUI/DWI attorney immediately.