Drunk driving is a serious crime that is met with harsh penalties in Nevada. Whether motorists are licensed and live in the state or they come from other cities and states to visit Nevada, they need to be aware of what the legal blood alcohol content limits are and in what manner DUI is addressed by the state’s courts. Being aware of what the state’s DUI laws are can help drivers avoid this serious charge and the legal consequences that come with it.
DUI in Nevada
The per se definition of driving under the influence in Nevada involves having a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. However, the state’s DUI law also prohibits being under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or controlled substance, having a BAC of 0.10 two hours after drinking alcohol, driving under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol, or using any chemical, poison, organic solvent or combination of any of these to a degree that it renders a person incapable of safe driving.
Nevada also establishes a different BAC level for commercial and underage drivers. CDL drivers cannot have a BAC of 0.04 or higher. Underage drivers are considered to be under the influence if they have a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher. The DUI law in Nevada actually allows law enforcement to arrest anyone with any traceable amount of liquor or drugs on their breath or in their bodies.
DUI Penalties in Nevada
The penalties in DUI reflect the number of prior DUIs that a person has on his or her driving and criminal records. A first-time DUI conviction in Nevada is met with punishments like:
- Two days to six months in jail
- 96 hours of community service in lieu of jail
- Attendance at DUI school
- Drivers’ license revoked for up to 90 days
- Possible substance abuse program completion
A second DUI conviction in Nevada warrants penalties like a 10 day to six month jail stint, a fine of $750 to $1000 and 100 to 120 hours of community service. Additional penalties include a revoked license for up to one year, the person’s car registration being suspended, and possible completion of an alcohol abuse program.
A third DUI conviction leads to penalties like:
- One to six years in prison
- $2000 to $5000 in fines
- Revoked license for up to three years
- Suspended car registration
If the DUI qualifies as an aggravated offense, such as having a BAC over 0.15 percent or having a passenger under the age of 16 in the car, the penalties can increase to a fine of up to $5000, a jail term of two to 20 years, and revocation of one’s drivers’ license for three years.
Underage DUI in Nevada
Underage drivers are subject to the state’s zero-tolerance laws for DUI. In theory, they are not supposed to have any trace of alcohol or drugs in their system. However, the law allows them to have up to 0.02 percent in their bodies before they are arrested for DUI.
Drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of DUI typically face the same punishments as adult drivers. A typical underage DUI sentence includes:
- Fines of $400 to $1000
- Required completion of a DUI class
- Participation in a MADD impact panel
- A six-month suspended jail or juvenile hall sentence
- Suspension of one’s license for up to 180 days
The underage driver will also be under a court’s order to avoid any further infractions or violations of the law. As long as the driver complies with these terms, his or her DUI record will be sealed when he or she turns 21.
Ignition Interlock Device Use in Nevada
The court also has the discretion of ordering DUI offenders to use an ignition interlock device or IID on all of their vehicles after their convictions. These devices must be installed by a court-approved installer and at the offender’s own expense.
An offender will have to use an IID for 185 days if he or she had a BAC of less than 0.18 percent. If the BAC is greater than 0.18 percent, the IID use increases to one to three years. These penalties apply for first and second DUI convictions. A third conviction results in use of an IID for up to three years.
Nevada uses stringent laws to prohibit driving under the influence. This crime merits punishments ranging from steep civil fines to jail sentences. Adult and underage drivers alike are subject to similar penalties.