Nevada’s DUI laws stipulate that the illegal blood alcohol concentration limits for drivers are .02 percent for drivers who are less than the age of 21, .04 percent for holders of commercial driver’s licenses and .08 percent for all other motorists. Additionally, detection of any amount of a controlled substance in a driver’s blood is grounds for a DUI charge.
Nevada passed a state mandate in 2013 that allows for medical use of marijuana, but the state’s traffic laws have not yet been revised regarding the presence of marijuana in the blood. If you are found to have two nanograms of marijuana or five nanograms of marijuana metabolite per milliliter of your blood or 10 nanograms of marijuana or 15 nanograms of marijuana metabolite per milliliter of your urine, you will be charged with a DUI even if you are legally permitted to use marijuana for medical purposes.
Illegal Per Se
Nevada has an illegal per se law that gives officers the latitude to arrest you for DUI if your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit, even if there is no sign of impairment. Additionally, any presence of alcohol in the blood or urine is a potentially citable offense if an officer pulls you over for breaking traffic laws or driving erratically.
Nevada is an implied consent state. This means that the acceptance and use of a driver’s license is automatic consent on your part to a breath, urine or blood test if a police officer determines there is probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence.
Refusing to take a test is a chargeable offense in itself, and the state allows officers to use reasonable force to administer a test if they deem it necessary. While it is technically permissible for Nevada officers to forcibly take blood if a driver refuses a voluntary test, evidence taken this way may be deemed inadmissible in court. If you refuse to take a BAC test, you may be charged, taken to jail and have the refusal used as evidence against you by the prosecution.
It is illegal in Nevada to drive with an open container of alcohol anywhere in the vehicle. Some exceptions are made for passengers certain vehicles; open containers are permitted in the living areas of motorhomes as well as in the passenger areas of limousines, buses, and taxis.
A first DUI is a misdemeanor under most circumstances. It can escalate to a felony charge if you have two previous DUI convictions within the past seven years or if the DUI resulted in serious injury or death to another person.
Any DUI committed after receiving one felony DUI conviction also automatically becomes a felony. A first felony DUI in Nevada carries the potential penalty of one to six years in jail, a fine of $2,000 to $5,000, a mandatory ignition interlock on your vehicle for one to three years after release and a license suspension of three years. Any further felony DUIs increase the penalty to a potential 15 years in jail. If injury or death was caused in any DUI, the potential jail time is increased to 20 years.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Nevada?
Nevada residents are subject to a legal alcohol limit of .08 percent while driving in the state. Law enforcement officials typically charge a motorist with driving under the influence (DUI) if his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit following a traffic stop.
It is important to note that motorists may be arrested and convicted on DUI charges even if a BAC reading is below .08 percent; drivers can be found guilty if even slight impairment can be proven. Commercial vehicle operators are subject to a BAC limit of .04 percent regardless of driving performance, and individuals not of legal drinking age can be prosecuted with a BAC of .02 percent or higher.
Potential penalties for a standard first DUI offense include:
- A jail term of between two days and six months
- A fine ranging from $400 to $1,000
- Revocation of driving privileges for 90 days
- Mandatory attendance at DUI school
Aggravated DUI charges and repeat offenses usually draw more serious punishments than those for a standard first DUI conviction. The penalties ultimately assessed are typically based on the court’s perceived seriousness of an offense.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Nevada
An ignition interlock device (IID) serves as an in-vehicle breath test equipment. The device is wired into the ignition system and will prevent an engine from turning over without an acceptable breath sample.
Under Nevada law:
- An IID must be installed if a DUI conviction involves a BAC of at least .18 percent.
- Installation may be ordered after DUI offenses resulting from a BAC below .18 percent.
- A device must be installed at the expense of the person convicted.
Installation of an ignition interlock device is typically a requirement for having driving privileges reinstated. Failed IID breath tests or evidence of tampering can yield additional penalties.
Nevada DUI Penalties
A Nevada driver caught on the roads with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater will get a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. Commercial vehicle drivers receive a DUI with a BAC reading of 0.04 percent or greater. “Zero Tolerance” is the law with drivers under 21. Caught with a BAC of 0.02 percent or greater, drivers under 21 face conviction.
In Nevada, a DUI conviction remains on a driver’s record for up to 7 years. New violations take into account any prior DUI convictions on record. Nevada law is tough against violators; administrative and criminal charges work together, and independently, to prevent future violations. Under the Illegal Per Se Law, DUI penalties include a 90-day license revocation (or license suspension for those under 21), SR-22 filing and possible criminal charges. The Implied Consent Law applies to all drivers in Nevada. This law mandates that a blood, breath or urine test must be taken to verify any suspicion of illegal activity. Regardless of whether a first, second or third offense had occurred, police officers are legally allowed to use the necessary force required in order to obtain blood samples. All chemical tests are at driver expense.
Administrative penalties are filed by the DMV. In order for a driver’s license to be reinstated following a DUI conviction, he or she must pay fees for license reinstatement, license application, and a Victims Compensation Civil Penalty. In addition, he or she must retake the vision, written and possibly the driving test as well as have the insurance company submit form SR-22 for three years.
Penalties for a first DUI offense
Drivers convicted of a fist offense face a jail sentence ranging from two days to six months. Jail time can be replaced by 48 to 96 hours of community service; however, offenders must wear distinctive clothing to mark them as a DUI violator. Court-imposed fines range from $400 to $1,000. In addition, the DMV will revoke a driver’s license for 90 days. After 45 days, a restricted license may be granted for the sole purpose of driving to work. DUI school attendance is mandatory. Like chemical test fees, DUI school fees are at driver expense. Substance-abuse treatment may be ordered as well. Even on a first offense, installation of an interlock device is mandatory; the device is installed for three to six months.
Penalties for a second DUI offense
For a second offense, drivers are given a jail or home arrest sentence ranging from 10 days to six months. In addition to jail time, violators also receive mandatory community service; 100 to 200 hours is the standard penalty. Nevada DUI penalties result in fines from $750 to $1,000 and a one-year license revocation. second-offense drivers are not eligible for a restricted license, and interlock devices are mandatory for three to six months. In some situations, the DMV may also suspend vehicle registration. DUI violators may be required to attend a substance-abuse facility or clinic as well.
Penalties for a third DUI offense
For drivers convicted of a third offense, a prison sentence ranges from one to six years. Although a driver’s license is revoked for three years, restricted license requests may be granted. Applicable fines range from $2,000 to $5,000. Like earlier offenses, third-offense drivers face mandatory interlock device installation for three to six months following the conviction. In some situations, Nevada DUI penalties also include vehicle registration suspension or mandatory enrollment in a three-year treatment program.
Penalties for a DUI resulting in death or serious injury
Regardless of whether the driver is a first-time or repeat offender, a convicted DUI that results in death or serious injury has significant consequences. A driver’s license will be revoked for three years and he or she will receive a two- to 20-year prison sentence. In addition, the court imposes fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.