DUI Charges in Las Vegas
What are the elements of DUI Charges?
Even if you’ve never faced DUI charges or a DUI/DWI arrest, you should know what to do when faced with an arrest and how to avoid incriminating yourself. The law of Nevada provides that in order to convict a person of a DUI, a prosecutor must prove the following:
- You were under the influence of intoxicating liquor and had a “blood alcohol content” (BAC) of liquor of 0.08 or more in your blood stream or breath;
- The concentration was found in your blood stream or breath following a test administered within 2 hours of you driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle;
- The concentration of alcohol in your blood stream or breath was at least 0.08 or more, and
- You were driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access.
This is the basic, legal definition of a DUI offense in Nevada based upon consumption of liquor. A person can also be convicted of a DUI under Nevada law, specifically NRS 484C.110, based upon the consumption of a controlled substance (for example marijuana) or a combination of a controlled substance and liquor.
What Do I Do If I Get Pulled Over on Suspicion of Driving Under the Influence?
A police officer can pull you over based upon noticeable inconsistencies with your driving such as weaving or swerving. Also, some public roads may have DUI checkpoints in place.
When you’re pulled over by a police officer for suspicion of driving under the influence, you want to take as little action as possible. Anything you say or do can be used against you as evidence during court proceedings. It’s just like what happens on T.V. A suspect gets pulled over and starts talking. Next thing, the police are using his statements against him. These are called “admissions.” Remember, talk as little as possible.
When dealing with the police officer, you should follow these recommendations:
- If you haven’t been drinking within the last 24 hours, do as the officer asks. You have nothing to worry about.
- If you’ve had one or more drinks within the last hour, do not admit to any alcohol usage if the police officer asks you if you’ve been drinking.
- Following any more questions asked by the officer, politely refuse to answer them. If you’ve been drinking, speaking as little as possible is the best way to avoid any incriminating evidence that could be used against you later on.
- If you’re asked to perform a sobriety test, refuse that as well. You’ll likely be arrested for refusing the test, but at least you won’t be providing additional evidence that can be used against you in the DUI case.
- Even though you’re arrested for refusing to partake in a sobriety test, keep in mind you most likely would have been arrested anyway if you had complied with the officer’s request.
- Keep this in mind: If a police officer pulls you over because he or she suspects you’ve been drinking, the officer is going to do everything to confirm his or her suspicion. Don’t make it easy for them by making admissions against your best interests or engaging in a “test” that you’re likely to fail.
These steps will allow for the opportunity to get DUI charges dropped or lessened.
Do I Have to Perform a Sobriety Test?
When you’re pulled over, the police officer will most likely ask you to perform and pass a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (“SFST”) to prove you’re not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Research proves that a sober individual will not necessarily perform better than an intoxicated individual. You have the right to refuse a sobriety test.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established three main sobriety tests which are:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): This measures the involuntary jerking of an individual’s eye, which can be heightened if the individual is intoxicated. However, many individuals regardless of whether they’ve consumed alcohol, have natural involuntary jerking and, if proven, can be inadmissible in court.
- The One-Leg Stand: This measures coordination and the ability of the individual to follow instructions as given. The police officer must give specific instructions and allow you to choose which leg to lift. You must keep your leg lifted and count for up to thirty seconds without swaying or getting too off-balanced.
- Walk-and-Turn: This also measures coordination and the ability of the individual to follow instructions. You must be able to show that you can walk touching heel-to-toe in a straight line for nine feet without stepping off or getting way too off-balanced.
Can I Get DUI Charges Without Actually Driving?
Some states allow for the arrest of persons who are caught under the influence behind the wheel of a parked car.
In the state of Nevada, you can be charged with a DUI only if you were in “actual physical control,” even if not physically operating the vehicle, when you test with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
To confirm that you were in actual physical control of the vehicle the Court will consider the following factors:
- Was the vehicle running?
- Where was the ignition key located? T
- Where was the driver located?
- What was the position?
- Was the driver awake or asleep?
- Was the motorized vehicle on public or private property?
- Was the motorized vehicle found parked (or stopped) in the road or legally parked?
Do I Have to Submit to a BAC Test?
In Nevada, the state has a mandated law called Implied Consent. This law states that individuals driving on Nevada public roads automatically consent to a BAC test or other DUI chemical tests used to find any amount of substance in the body’s system. Refusal allows the DMV to immediately revoke your license.
If this is your first offense and you refuse the test, your automatic license revocation period is one year. If within the next seven years after your first refusal to a DUI chemical test you refuse again for a second or more, your license revocation period goes up to three years.
You have the option to challenge the revocation by requesting a hearing and eligibility for a temporary license while the DMV considers the challenge.
To win the challenge:
- The officer must not show up to the hearing.
- The officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe you were under the influence in a public location.
- The officer could not prove you refused the test.
- The officer failed to give the warning of license revocation upon refusal of the test.
- The officer failed to notify you of your right to request a hearing.
Any refusal can be used against you during court.
Contact The Vegas Lawyers If You’re Facing DUI/DWI Charges in Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Searchlight, Goodsprings or Pahrump.
Don’t gamble with your future. Whether you live in southern Nevada or you’re a tourist from out of town and you’re now facing DUI charges, it’s important to have the best possible DUI team on your side. The penalties involved with a DUI can be severe and life altering. Known to many as the best DUI attorneys in Las Vegas, our strong team of lawyers and paralegals brings a sense of compassion and understanding in our representation of our clients. We have the experience to make sure you get the least amount of penalties possible.
If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or drugs in Las Vegas, contact The Vegas Lawyers today! Or call us direct at (702) 707-7000.