Choosing to get behind the wheel while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs is never a good idea even if you make it to your destination without incident. But if the worst case scenario occurs and someone is seriously injured, or worse, killed, that bad decision can significantly alter your life as well as the lives of others.
Here’s what you need to know about Nevada law regarding DUI with injury or death.
In this Article:
- What is a DUI with injury or death in Nevada?
- What is “substantial bodily injury” under Nevada law?
- What are the DUI with injury or death laws in Nevada?
- What are the penalties for a DUI with injury or death?
- What are the defenses for a DUI with injury or death?
What is a DUI with injury or death in Nevada?
In order for the Nevada law of DUI causing injury or death to apply to an accident, the driver must meet at least one of six criteria:
- Operating under the influence of intoxicating alcohol or liquor; or
- Has a BAC of 008 or more via blood or breath testing; or
- Is tested via blood or breath within two hours of being in physical control of a vehicle or driving a vehicle and has a BAC of 0.08 or more; or
- Is under the influence of a controlled substance or is under the influence of a combination of alcohol and a controlled substance; or
- Has inhaled, applied, ingested, or otherwise used any poison, chemical, or organic solvent, or any combination of these, or any compound that impairs their ability to drive safely or to maintain actual physical control of a vehicle; or
- Has a prohibited substance found in their urine or blood that is in an amount equal to or greater than the amount limits defined in subsections 3 and 4 of RS 484C.110
What is “substantial bodily injury” under Nevada law?
“Substantial bodily injury” is a broad term that can encompass several injuries. Some of the more common include:
- Fractures or broken bones
- Chronic pain
- Wounds that need stitches
- Loss of consciousness
- Organ damage
- Long-lasting or permanent disfigurement
- Long-lasting or permanent contusions
- Serious burns
What are the DUI with injury or death laws in Nevada?
Nevada’s DUI laws fall under CHAPTER 484C – DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR A PROHIBITED SUBSTANCE.
NRS 484C.430 PENALTY IF DEATH OR SUBSTANTIAL BODILY HARM RESULTS; EXCEPTION; SEGREGATION OF OFFENDER; PLEA BARGAINING RESTRICTED; SUSPENSION OF SENTENCE AND PROBATION PROHIBITED; AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE; EXCEPTION; AGGRAVATING FACTOR is the law that pertains to DUI with injury or death.
Another applicable law is NRS 200.030 DEGREES OF MURDER; PENALTIES which bars defendants in fatal DUI cases from being prosecuted for murder.
What are the penalties for a DUI with injury or death?
Drunk or drugged driving that causes a serious injury or fatality is a serious crime in evada and the penalties are harsh.
NRS 484C.430 – DUI with death or injury
- Category B Felony
- Minimum 2 years to Maximum 20 years in Nevada State Prison
- Minimum $2,000 to Maximum$5,000 fine
- Driver’s license revocation of three years to begin after the defendant is released from prison (this falls under the purview of the DMV and not the judge)
- Minimum 1 year to Maximum 3 years required ignition interlock device that is a condition or reinstatement of driving privileges
While serious injury or death is an aggravating factor in a DUI, there are also aggravating factors that can be applied to this crime and can increase the length of the prison sentence as well as the fines. These may include:
- A high BAC (.18 percent or greater)
- A child younger than 15 years old was in the vehicle when the defendant was arrested.
If the defendant has three prior DUI convictions, a DUI that results in a fatality falls under NRS 484C.440 and is charged as vehicular homicide.
- Category A Felony (the most serious felony category in Nevada)
- Maximum 25 years in prison, or
- Life in prison
What are the defenses for a DUI with injury or death?
The way a defense attorney will fight DUI charges depends on the available evidence. The allegation that the defendant was driving drunk or under the influence of drugs is attacked first, then that the defendant was not at fault for the victim’s injury or death.
Some of the more common defenses for DUI include:
- The field sobriety test was administered incorrectly
- The blood test or breath test was administered incorrectly
- The defendant’s BAC was legal when they were driving but had risen to illegal levels by the time the blood test was administered (rising blood alcohol)
- The defendant had a medical condition such as GERD which triggered a false reading of a high BAC from the breathalyzer
- The defendant was not driving drunk but began drinking when they stopped driving
Under Nevada law, a DUI with injury or death cannot be dismissed. It can be reduced in some cases.
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