Nevada Driving Under the Influence (DUI) - Third Offense (Felony)

DUI charges in Nevada are serious.  In any case where a Driving under the Influence allegation is brought by the State of Nevada, it is extremely important that a competent Las Vegas DUI Defense lawyer evaluates the case to formulate the best defense possible.  This is even more true in a case where a third (or subsequent) DUI offense is charged.  In Nevada, this is a FELONY offense for which a sentence of prison is mandatory. The essential elements of Driving under the Influence, third offense, are found in Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Driving Under the Influence – Third Offense – NRS 484C.010.

Definition of the Crime and Essential Elements

Driving Under the Influence, Third Offense

For the State to prove someone guilty of committing Driving under the Influence – Third Offense, it must show beyond a reasonable doubt some of the following elements:

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 third (or subsequent) offense.

Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

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

2. Driving Under the Influence (Second Offense)– 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

B was at a friend’s birthday party at a popular Henderson casino.  While B had a couple of drinks at the casino, she did not feel that she was too intoxicated to drive.  B was trying to pay attention to her drinking because B had a previous DUI Conviction from six (6) years ago and another DUI Conviction just three (3) years prior.  While driving home in Las Vegas, B switched lanes without using her turn signal indicator.  A passing Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper saw the illegal lane changed and pulled her over.  The trooper conducted field sobriety tests and, according to the Trooper, B failed them.  The trooper asked B to undergo a preliminary breath test (“PBT”) which she agreed to do with a result in excess of .08.  As a result, B was arrested.  As she was booked into the Clark County Detention Center it was discovered she had two (2) previous convictions and she was booked for Driving Under the Influence, Third Offense.

Defenses to Driving Under the Influence, Third Offense

As with every criminal charge, the Defendant is presumed to be innocent until the State proves that person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If there are any inconsistencies, inaccuracies or insufficient evidence it may be possible to create reasonable doubt, which can result in the case getting denied, reduced, or even dismissed.

The defenses to Driving under the Influence, Third Offense include that the police officer did not have any probable cause to have the defendant pull over in the first place.

In determining if a person was intoxicated, tests are performed. These tests include Field Sobriety Tests, Breath Tests and Blood Tests.  An experienced Las  Vegas DUI and Criminal defense attorney may be able to argue that these tests were not performed correctly or suppress their admission in Court.

Potential Penalty for Driving Under the Influence, Third Offense

A third Driving under the Influence conviction within the seven year period after the first Driving under the Influence (from date of arrest to date of arrest), is a Category B Felony.  This is true even if there is no accident and nobody was injured in any of the occasions.  The standard penalty for a conviction includes one (1) to six (6) years in the Nevada Department of Corrections, $2,000 to $5,000 in fines, the completion of a Victim Impact Panel, having an alcohol and drug dependency evaluation be conducted, and having a Nevada breath interlock device be installed in the defendant’s car for a period of up to three years. This device requires that the driver blow into it before driving the vehicle. If there is alcohol detected, the car will not start.  It is important to know that if a person is convicted of a third or subsequent DUI offense in Nevada they must go to prison.  There is no allowance for probation on a third offense DUI under Nevada law.  This is of course only if the person is convicted.  There are other  potential outcomes that do not require jail or prison time.  In addition to beating the charge through negotiation or Trial, an experienced Las Vegas DUI defense attorney can apply for application to the Clark County Felony DUI Court Program. It is essentially a rehabilitation program that can last anyway from three to five years, includes mandatory court appearances and counseling.  If successful, the person completing the program is not adjudicated guilty of the DUI third offense felony and the case is resolved to a misdemeanor.   

Criminal Defense for Driving Under the Influence, Third Offense

Having two prior Driving under the Influence convictions can make this case very complex.  It is very important to call an experienced Las Vegas DUI Attorney, especially when the accused is now facing a mandatory prison sentence.  An knowledgeable Las Vegas DUI lawyer will be able to work on defenses for your case, and may be able to get you into the Felony DUI Court Program, keeping a Felony off your record and you out of custody.

For more information about the charge and defense of Driving under the Influence, Third Offense in Las Vegas, call the law firm of Hofland & Tomsheck right away to schedule your free consultation.  (702) 895-6760.