Implied Consent Law
Implied Consent To DUI Testing Nevada
If you’ve been pulled over in Nevada based upon suspicion of a DUI, it’s typically not recommended that you refuse an evidentiary DUI blood test. That’s because Nevada’s “implied consent” law states that anyone who operates a vehicle in this state agrees to submit to certain evidentiary tests if law enforcement suspects them of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
With that in mind, rejecting an evidentiary DUI test can lead to the police forcibly taking a blood sample to test blood alcohol content or “BAC” levels and for the presence of drugs in a driver’s system. In most circumstances, individuals who are stopped and arrested for a suspected DUI are recommended to comply with the officer’s request for a blood or breath test. Otherwise, you risk serious consequences – including an immediate license suspension.
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Las Vegas or in any of the surrounding communities of Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Mesquite or Pahrump, we can help. Our DUI attorneys are experienced, knowledgeable, and prepared to mount a solid DUI defense on your behalf. Contact The Vegas Lawyers today by calling (702) 707-7000 for a free initial consultation.
According to Nevada Revised Statute § 484C.160, Nevada’s implied consent law requires anyone driving a vehicle and suspected of a DUI to submit to evidentiary blood, breath, or urine testing if requested by law enforcement. Individuals who refuse an evidentiary DUI test will have their license revoked for one year. This law was enacted as part of Nevada’s “zero tolerance” policy towards driving while under the influence.
However, if you’ve previously refused an evidentiary blood test (within seven years), your license can be revoked for up to three years. License revocation can occur even if you decide to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test after your initial refusal.
Further, refusal to adhere to Nevada’s implied consent laws can give prosecutors leverage in a DUI case. They may consider your refusal to submit to an evidentiary test as a sign that you were trying to hide your intoxication and then use that as evidence against you.
Yes. The drug and alcohol laws in Nevada allow individuals with specific health conditions to refuse an evidentiary blood test. Most notably, those with certain heart conditions (requiring anticoagulants) or hemophilia do not have to submit to a blood test. However, regardless of health condition, you cannot refuse an evidentiary urine or breath test.
It’s important to note that heart conditions and hemophilia must be diagnosed by a licensed physician or advanced practice registered nurse to qualify for exceptions under the implied consent law in Nevada. If you’ve been arrested and forced to take a blood draw (even though you alerted law enforcement of your health condition), it’s recommended that you contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss your case.
Generally, Nevada’s illegal per se law provides that anyone (21 years of age and over) operating a motor vehicle in Nevada with a blood alcohol concentration at or above .08% violates the law and is guilty of a DUI offense. Drivers under 21 that have a BAC at or above .02% are also guilty of a DUI offense.
Further, CDL drivers must maintain a BAC below .04% when operating a commercial vehicle. Otherwise, a DUI conviction could lead to immediate license revocation and a lifetime ban from commercial driving.
If your license is revoked due to breaking the illegal per se law, you can request a DMV hearing to fight the suspension. However, it’s recommended that you consult with a DUI attorney before doing so. That’s because an unsuccessful DMV hearing defense can lead to long-term license suspensions lasting from 90-days to 3 years.
Yes. According to Nevada’s implied consent law, if the police suspect an unconscious driver of having committed a DUI offense the police can draw that person’s blood without permission.
Do you have to take a breathalyzer?
If you’re unconscious, then no breathalyzer can be administered. However, it’s important to note that the police can take blood samples from an unconscious driver suspected of DUI. Drivers who are consciously aware must submit to an evidentiary breathalyzer or DUI blood draw or face the penalties for refusal.
In Nevada, evidentiary blood tests are not optional, and refusing to take a breath test or blood test can result in a forcible blood draw. However, before the police can force a blood draw, they must comply with certain requirements by doing the following:
- Inform individuals arrested for DUI that refusal to submit to a breath or blood test can result in a 1 to 3-year license suspension (effective immediately) and
- Obtain a judicial warrant that authorizes the police officer to forcibly take a blood sample, which may involve restraints.
Once a warrant is obtained, law enforcement is authorized to use “reasonable force” to take blood samples for testing. Generally, it’s not recommended to refuse a DUI chemical test under most circumstances. Doing so can lead to license suspension and a weakened DUI criminal defense.
It’s important to note that refusing a DUI chemical test after an arrest triggers a separate penalty from a license revocation due to a DUI conviction. That means that your license will be suspended regardless of the outcome of your criminal case.
Further, individuals who refuse a blood draw and are convicted of a DUI offense must subsequently serve the license suspension for each charge. That can lead to years of not having the ability to drive.
For instance, suppose a driver is arrested for a 1st DUI offense (which carries a 185-day license suspension), and they refuse to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. In that case, the driver faces a license suspension of 185 days (for the DUI arrest) in addition to a 1-year license suspension for refusal to submit to a DUI blood test.
Depending on the circumstances, police officers can use reasonable force to obtain blood samples from a suspected DUI offender. However, there are limitations. For example, the arresting officer cannot take more than three blood samples within a 300-minute window following the initial DUI arrest.
Typically, DUI arrestees can choose between a blood test or a breath test. However, once a driver suspected of DUI refuses an evidentiary test, they no longer have the option to choose. Further, law enforcement is not required to offer a choice of chemical test.
Under most circumstances, refusing to take a breath or blood test is not recommended. It’s more likely that a refusal to submit to an evidentiary test will complicate your DUI case and make it more challenging to negotiate reduced or dropped charges with the prosecution. Having the right lawyer handling your case is not just important, it’s crucial.
Can I Get My License Back After A Refusal?
You can challenge your license revocation by requesting a DMV hearing within 7-days. To uphold the suspension, the Judge presiding over the hearing will require:
- Reasonable grounds to believe you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Proof of your refusal to take an evidentiary DUI chemical test
- Proof that the arresting officer notified you of your right to request a hearing
A skilled Las Vegas DUI lawyer can attend your hearing with you or on your behalf. It’s important to contact an attorney quickly after your arrest so he or she can begin working on your case as soon as possible.
The implied consent law driving most DUI arrests in Nevada also contains language about how law enforcement must handle juvenile DUI defendants. According to Nevada’s implied consent law, the police must make all reasonable attempts to contact the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a minor (under 18) if they are ordered to take a DUI chemical test. However, the minor is still required to submit to testing even if their parents are unavailable when the police attempt to contact them.
If your child has been arrested for a DUI offense, it’s essential to contact a skilled DUI lawyer for juveniles as soon as possible. A juvenile DUI conviction can lead to many negative consequences for your child, such as:
- License suspension
- Juvenile detention
- Fines and/or community service hours
- Difficulty obtaining scholarships or getting into college
- Challenges getting into the armed forces or serving in certain roles within the military
If you’re accused of having refused a DUI blood test, you still have options. In many cases, law enforcement agents erroneously claim that the defendant refused a chemical test or procedural mistakes were made during the arrest. A skilled DUI lawyer can help to present a compelling argument in your defense. A few of the most common defenses to implied consent law infractions include the following:
- You were willing to take a breath test
- You were incapable of a DUI chemical test refusal
- The arresting officer neglected to inform you that a refusal would lead to license revocation
Regardless of whether you refused an evidentiary chemical test or not, it’s essential to work with an experienced DUI lawyer when facing DUI charges in Nevada. Our Las Vegas DUI attorneys will take a detailed look at the facts of your case, including the evidence against you and possible procedural errors committed by the arresting officer.
We’re here to listen to your side of the story, ensure your rights are protected, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. We’re considered among the best DUI lawyers in Las Vegas because we get results. Contact The Vegas Lawyers today at (702) 707-7000 for your free initial consultation with a Nevada DUI attorney you can trust.