Why you may need an attorney for a First DUI in Las Vegas
If you are charged with your first DUI in Las Vegas Nevada, you should consult with a Las Vegas DUI attorney as soon as possible. This is critical because the law is very complex and changes constantly. You should also make sure you know what you are charged with and that you understand all aspects of the case.
Your first DUI in Las Vegas Nevada will result in your arrest. It is important that you understand what to expect when you appear in court. The law is complex and the penalties can be severe if you do not educate yourself on the procedures. Your lawyer will be able to explain all of the legal aspects of the case to you.
Nevada law provides that a first time DUI is a misdemeanor. This carries the following:
- A punishment of between 2 days and up to 6 months in jail,
- Fines between $400.00 and $1000.00,
- An 8-hour DUI school,
- The revocation of your driver’s license for 185-days,
- And require you to attend a Victim Impact Panel.
Sometimes, it is possible to have a sentence of jail time changed to community service instead. It may also be possible to have an ignition lock device installed to avoid having your license revoked. Depending on the circumstances, we may even be able to have your DUI charge reduced or possibly have it dismissed.
Increased DUI Penalties
The penalties are more severe if any of the following are true:
- You have been convicted of a previous DUI within seven years,
- If you caused an accident the resulted in the death of someone or they were injured.
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) level measures .18 or above, or
- You were under 21 years of age at the time of the arrest.
It is a common misconception that if you have a prior DUI in another state, you cannot be charged with a subsequent DUI in Las Vegas. However, that is not true. There are still some intricate details that the police must follow in order to apply the law in your situation. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVPD) has specific guidelines for the following circumstances:
- When you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving
- If you commit a traffic violation while driving, and
- You fail a field sobriety test.
If you were not advised of your rights, do not just assume the arresting officer or the justice system will take care of you. Contact a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney immediately. He or she will be able to advise you of the most effective legal strategy. Do not attempt to fight a case alone; contact an experienced attorney. You need someone to fight for you and to get the charges against you dropped.
Definition of a First DUI
A First DUI is defined as the following:
- When a person was driving a motor vehicle while they were drunk or were high, and
- That person did not have a previous arrest for DUI in the past seven years.
Even if a person is not noticeably impaired, they can be convicted of a “DUI per se” if they have either of the following:
- A blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08, or
- Illegal amounts of a controlled substance such as prescription drugs or marijuana.
You should be aware that there are some defenses to the first-time DUI charge in Las Vegas. It is possible that the arresting officer made some mistakes during the DUI arrest. Sometimes, the tests and tools they use to identify the amount of BAC are not accurate. A First DUI defense attorney will perform a thorough inquiry to identify any discrepancies that would prove that the evidence collected by the state is inadequate for conviction.
Below are four important things anyone needs to know if they have received charges for a First DUI in Las Vegas:
1. Am I going to be sentenced to jail if this is my First DUI in Las Vegas?
- The punishment is up to the judge. They have the option of imposing the maximum sentence allowed, which would be up to six months in jail.
2. Will I lose my driver’s license and will I have a criminal record?
- If you are arrested on a First DUI, there will be two cases filed against you.
- These are separate and independent of each other.
- The first is a DMV case where the decision of whether or not to revoke your driver’s license will be made.
- The second is the criminal case. This will be the one deciding on what jail time, if any, will be served, what files are imposed, etc.
3. How can a defense attorney help?
- A DUI Attorney has the experience needed to fight the DUI criminal charges that have been filed against you.
- There are three common defenses they may use that include:
- Field sobriety tests that were improperly conducted,
- The physical condition of the defendant that could have caused the BAC result to be inaccurate, and/or
- A situation called Rising blood alcohol. That is where the body continues to absorb the alcohol into the blood over time. If a BAC test was given some time after the arrest, it could show a level above what the real level was at the time of the arrest.
4. Is it possible to have a first DUI charge reduced or dismissed?
- Each case is evaluated on its own merits to determine if the DUI charge may be reduced to a lesser charge.
- This could be reduced to reckless driving or be dismissed outright.
- It is important to note that Nevada State law prohibits the prosecutor from pleading charges down.
- The only way they can is if they would be very unlikely to get a guilty verdict.
- So, it is up to the defense attorney to convince the prosecutor that they do not have sufficient evidence to get a conviction.
Working With a First DUI Attorney
Having a lawyer to represent you in a first DUI in Las Vegas Nevada will help ensure that the charges are reduced or dismissed altogether. A good defense attorney will know how to build a strong defense on your behalf and will do everything possible to keep your record clean. If you have prior criminal convictions, it is extremely important to hire an attorney that can get your charges reduced. It is not the end of the world. Even celebrities have been arrested on drunk driving charges. We will help you get through this tough time.
If charged with a DUI offense in Las Vegas, you will want to contact our office right away for a case evaluation.