A first offense DUI can be a scary thing. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are even scarier. If you have been charged with a DUI for the first time, there are some things that you need to be aware of.
What is the Penalty for a First Offense DUI in Nevada?
A first offense DUI is a misdemeanor. If you are convicted you could face up to six months in jail as well as up to $1,000 in fines and penalty assessments which can include court costs and legal fees. You may also be required to complete a DUI school and a Victim Impact Panel. The judge may also order you to stay out of trouble for a certain amount of time.
But that is only the criminal charge.
The Department of Motor Vehicles may also impose consequences by suspending your driver’s license for 90 days.
Is Your License Suspended Immediately After a DUI?
Under Nevada law, if you are stopped and asked by the police to submit to a breath test and you blow a .08 or more, the officer will serve you with an order right there to revoke your driver’s license – and he or she will seize your license. However, they will give you a temporary license that is good for seven days. These seven days are your window to contact the DMV, request a hearing, and fight to keep your driving privileges.
When you are arrested for a first-offense DUI, your license is not immediately suspended, but you could have less than a week to take action to prevent it. You can retain your right to drive by requesting a hearing to request it. This is an administrative process that is done through the Nevada DMV.
This is easier said than done because, quite frankly, the odds are stacked against you, especially if you go in and try to fight for yourself. Your best strategy is to get a good DUI defense attorney right away so that they can get started on your case and fight for you to help you keep your right to drive.
Can a DUI be Dismissed in Nevada?
There are instances where a DUI is dismissed, but more often the charges are reduced to reckless driving which allows the defendant to avoid a DUI conviction. A reckless driving conviction also allows for the criminal record to be sealed after one year as opposed to seven years for a DUI. A reckless driving conviction may also allow you to avoid having your driver’s license suspended.
Your DUI defense attorney can help you fight to get your charges reduced. They will have to show that the prosecution doesn’t have any probable cause to support a DUI charge and the evidence is insufficient and could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt when the case went to trial.
While the prosecutors are legally required to pursue DUI convictions, they cannot when they can’t build a substantial enough case.
Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer in Nevada?
Nevada Law gives licensed drivers the right to refuse to submit to a breath or blood test for a DUI. But just because you can refuse a breathalyzer it doesn’t mean that you should. Refusing to submit to a breath or blood test can have some serious consequences such as your driving privileges being revoked – for a year instead of the 90 days that you get for a first-time DUI if you are cooperative and submit to the test.
Nevada law also gives law enforcement certain rights as well such as the ability to call a justice of the peace or magistrate immediately and apply for a search warrant. Once that warrant is granted, the law allows police to forcibly draw blood, even if it means strapping them down and taking it against their will.
Once they have the blood sample, the police impound it and send it to the crime lab so that they can test the person’s blood alcohol concentration or BAC.
What Should You do if You get a DUI in Nevada?
When you are charged with a first-time DUI in Nevada, the very first thing you should do is hire a DUI defense attorney. There are a lot of moving parts to a DUI charge and a conviction can bring some serious consequences that you want to avoid. An experienced attorney knows how to navigate the court system and help protect your rights, ensuring the best possible outcome of your case.
Also, when you are stopped, submit to the tests. There are very rarely any good reasons to refuse and the consequences for refusing can be severe. Make notes on everything that happened, including your actions before you were stopped and what happened during the stop. There may be details that will help your attorney defend you in court.
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