Nevada Driving Under the Influence (DUI) - First Offense

Las Vegas Nevada Drunk Driving and DUI Defense Attorney

In Nevada, the law relating to DUI First offense is found in Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Driving Under the Influence (First Offense) – NRS 484C.010.

1)         Definition of the Crime and Essential Elements

Driving Under the Influence First Offense

As in every criminal case, the prosecution alone has to prove the crime alleged was committed.  This is called their “burden of proof.”  In order for the State, City or Federal prosecutor to prove someone guilty of committing the crime of driving under the influence, first offense, the following elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

1)    The defendant’s driving was impaired (to any degree) by drugs or alcohol, OR

2)    The defendant’s blood or breath alcohol content was .08 or higher at the time of driving, OR

3)    The defendant’s blood alcohol content was .08 or higher within two (2) hours of driving, OR

4)    The defendant’s blood had more than the maximum amount allowed of various illegal prescription drugs, AND.

5)    This is the defendant’s first offense.

2)         Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

1. Driving Under the Influence – Second Offense (Misdemeanor) – NRS 484C.010

2. Driving Under the Influence – Third Offense (Felony)– NRS 484C.010

3. Boating Under the Influence (Misdemeanor) – NRS 400.450

4. Reckless Driving (Misdemeanor) – NRS 205.240

5. Driving Under the Influence Causing Injury or Death (Felony) – NRS 484C.430

Examples

Q had been attending an event in a casino on the Las Vegas Strip. At this event, Q had been sampling alcoholic beverages.  Although Q felt fine to drive, and did not believe that he was intoxicated, he decided to drive home.  On the drive home, Q was pulled over by the Nevada Highway Patrol.  The NHP Trooper asked Q to conduct a series of standardized field sobriety tests, including the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, the Walk and Turn test and the One Legged Stand test.  Q complied and thought he fared well, but according to the Trooper, he failed.  The Trooper arrested Q and drove him to the Clark County Detention Center.  Upon request, Q submitted to a breath test on the Intoxylizer 8000 breath testing machine.  The breath test showed that Q’s breath alcohol content was a .08.  Q was booked for one count of Driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence under NRS 484C.010. 

In another common example, assume R was at a local bar watching a football game, eating and drinking draft beers.  At the end of the game, R got in his truck and drove home.  While driving down Interstate 15, R drove over the marked divider line near the “spaghetti bowl” interchange.   A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department cruiser saw this and pulled R over for failure to maintain lane.  Following field sobriety tests, the LVMPD officer arrested R and asked him to submit to a blood or breath test.  R refused to take the test.  Upon his refusal, the Metro officer applied for a telephonic search warrant, which was granted.  Within two (2) hours of being pulled over, R’s blood was drawn by a nurse at the Detention Center in Las Vegas.  After the results came back a .15, R was charged with DUI, First Offense. 

4)         Defenses to Driving Under the Influence, First Offense

In the scenarios above, both individuals were arrested and later charged for the same crime.  This does not, however, mean that they have been convicted of the crime for which they are charged.  There are literally countless defenses which can be raised by an experienced Las Vegas DUI Attorney which will allow the case to be resolved, reduced, dismissed or won at Trial.  Some of the more common examples we can use to fight and win your case can be found here

Many times there are errors or omissions when taking a forensic sample in a blood or breath test.  It is also possible to state that the people, who were handling the testing equipment, whether by blood or breath, were not properly certified to be using the equipment or to be taking the person’s blood or breath.

In regards to the arrest, it may be possible that the arresting officer did not even have probable cause to pull the accused over in the first place. Another defense can be that the arresting officer did not go about conducting the field sobriety tests in the property way, or according to procedures put in place by the NHTSA.

These are just some examples of defenses that can be used. Each criminal case is different, but almost every case has a defense. In order to build the best defense possible, it is important to hire an experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense attorney who can review the facts and the law in each case.

5)         Potential Penalty for Driving Under the Influence, First Offense

A first offense driving under the influence conviction is a misdemeanor. If convicted, the individual faces up to six months in jail, $1,000 in fines and court costs, the completion of a DUI School, the completion of a Victim Impact Panel and is usually ordered to stay out of trouble for a period of time. There are also potential consequences with the Department of Motor Vehicles, which occur independently of the criminal charge, including a 90 day suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.

6)         Criminal Defense for Driving Under the Influence, First Offense  

Driving under the influence is a very common crime to be charged with in Las Vegas.   A criminal conviction for DUI can have serious consequences in addition to those referred to above, including increased insurance costs, social stigma and potential issues with international travel.  In order to help the legal process, you will want an experienced Las Vegas DUI Defense attorney to be by your side.  It is absolutely critical that the accused meets with an experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible, because of the legal repercussions and also the repercussions with the Department of Motor Vehicles.   If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with this offense a call to former Chief Deputy District Attorney Josh Tomsheck is one of the best decisions you can make. 

For more information about the charge and defense of driving under the influence, first offense, in Las Vegas, contact the law firm of Hofland & Tomsheck right away to schedule your free consultation.  (702) 895-6760.