By definition, field sobriety tests are various divided attention tasks given to someone who is suspected of driving under the influence.
The purpose of field sobriety tests is to “prove” a person is driving under the influence.
Nevada DUI law dictates that the tests are solely graded by the police officer that suspects the driver of being impaired and whether you pass or fail is totally up to the officer’s observations. There are 3 standard field sobriety tests:
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
You also have the right to refuse a field sobriety test or chemical test. While this may be frustrating to the police, it is 100% your right to refuse the test.
All of the tests are completely subjective including the breath test. The breath test may be affected by medications which can lead to false positives as well as other factors.
You always have the right to consult with an attorney before you agree to any of the field sobriety tests. You should talk to an experienced DUI attorney ASAP because if you do, the police will stop asking you questions.
You have the right to ask if you are free to leave. Simply ask the officer if you are under arrest. If not, you need to ask the officer if you are free to go. If you are free to leave, you need to leave. Don’t say anything else. Just go.
Most DUI cases start with a simple traffic stop. This could be pulling you over for something as small as a broken taillight. It could also mean pulling you over for something more concerning like swerving in your lane. Almost every time someone is arrested and charged with DUI it starts with a simple traffic stop.
And…once the stop occurs, you need to know what to expect next!
If the Officer expects you have been drinking, you should expect the first question to be a direct “how much have you had to drink?” If you answer this question, it is likely you will be arrested on suspicion of DUI.
Most people who actually answer and admit that they have been drinking underestimate how much they have had to drink.
I can’t tell you the number of times people come to our office with a DUI and tell us “I only had 2 beers.” And… If we’ve heard it a million times the police have heard it 2 million times.
The bottom line? Once police have confirmation you’ve been drinking (regardless of the amount), you should almost ALWAYS expect to be arrested for DUI.
It is not unusual that when someone is suspected of violating the Nevada DUI law, police search their car.
This is especially true if police believe you are under the influence of drugs.
If the police have reason to believe there is incriminating evidence in your car, they can search your car and everything inside your car.
And yes…this includes backpacks, gym bags, glove box, trunk and closed containers.
BEWARE: If you agree to allow the police to search your car, you have consented to the search and anything police find in your vehicle can be used against you.
We generally don’t recommend arguing with law enforcement when you are pulled over, especially if you are suspected of DUI.
That being said, you are certainly under no obligation to answer the officer’s questions.
Politely tell the police officer that you are not going to answer any questions without your lawyer.
If you are argue with the officer, chances you are going to raise suspicions about being under the influence.
If you choose to answer questions, be as vague as you can with your answers and definitely DO NOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU HAVE HAD TO DRINK.
Again, you have the right and you should tell the officer you aren’t answering any questions without your lawyer.
If the police they have enough evidence to arrest you for DUI, you will be transported by the police to jail.
The jail you are transported to will depend upon where you are arrested and which law enforcement agency is arresting you.
For example, if you are arrested in North Las Vegas by North Las Vegas police, you will likely be transported and booked into North Las Vegas City Jail. However, if you are arrested in North Las Vegas by Highway Patrol, it is likely you will be taken to North Las Vegas Detention Center.
Upon arriving at the jail, the jail will gather personal information, including but not limited to:
You will also be photographed and fingerprinted. Your photo and fingerprints will be logged into a criminal database.
You will be searched and any personal belongings you have will be confiscated.
You may be released from custody right after you are booked.
However, if you have multiple DUIs in your background or if you are wanted for other crimes, you will be placed in a holding cell until you can see a judge.
Depending on the severity of your DUI and your criminal history, you may either be released on your own recognizance (an “OR” release) or you could be asked to post bail.
If you are asked to post bail, you should contact friends, family or even a bail bondsman.
Bail windows are open 24 hours a day in Clark County, Nevada which means anyone can post bail for you at any time.
After you are released from jail, you will be given paperwork telling you to return to Court for an arraignment.
The arraignment is usually the hearing that occurs after you are released from jail. These hearings usually only take a few minutes.
Before the arraignment, the prosecutor will review the evidence gathered against you and decide whether or not to move forward with a formal case.
If the prosecutor decides there is not enough evidence to proceed with a formal case, you will likely be told no case is being filed and you are free to go.
If the prosecutor isn’t sure if there is enough evidence to file a case, they may ask to continue the arraignment to a later date. At this point, you will be asked to return to court for another arraignment hearing.
If the prosecutor has decided to pursue a formal case against you, you will be given a copy of the Nevada DUI law complaint the prosecutor has filed against you.
Next, the judge will call your case. You will be expected to stand up and the judge will read the charges filed against you.
Once the charges are read, you will be asked how you want to plead to the charges.
At this point, you will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest.
POINTER: ALMOST EVERY CASE IS PLEAD AS NOT GUILTY.
If you enter a not guilty plea, you will be given another court date and told to return to Court for either a status check, preliminary hearing, pretrial conference or trial.
Also, if you enter a not guilty plea, you will need to obtain discovery from the prosecutor. This is sometimes given at the arraignment hearing and sometimes, you will need to file a separate request for discovery.
If you plead guilty or no contest, the judge will ask you questions about your knowledge of the plea, whether you have been threatened or coerced into giving the plea and your understanding of the events about your case. The judge may choose to sentence you right then OR the judge may bring you back on another date for sentencing.
Being charged with a DUI does not have to result in an automatic DUI conviction.
There are many ways to get evidence thrown out, get your charges reduced or even get a DUI dismissed.
In this guide, we list the most common ways to get a DUI charge reduced or dismissed . . .
The most common way to attack a DUI charge is to argue there was no probable cause for the stop. As we said above, the officer must have a legal reason to stop you in the first place. This means you were speeding, swerving, ran a red light, etc. If there was no legal reason for the stop, the DUI charge that follows should be dismissed.
NOTE: JUST BECAUSE THE OFFICER SAID THERE WAS A LEGAL REASON TO STOP YOU DOESN’T MAKE IT TRUE!
You are entitled to have a judge determine whether or not the stop was legal.
You also have the right to challenge the field sobriety tests. Like we said above, there are lots of problems with field sobriety tests and they aren’t always accurate.
If you want to challenge the field sobriety test, you can argue the lighting in the area was poor, the ground was not stable, the weather conditions were poor, and a million other reasons that the tests should be thrown out.
If you can show that the conditions for administering the field sobriety test was less than ideal, you can argue that the test is not reliable and should not be considered.
Another way to have your DUI charge thrown out is to argue about the admissibility of the breath test. Like we said, the breath test is not accurate for lots of reasons.
If you can show the machine was not working properly or the test was not administered correctly, you can argue to dismiss all evidence of the breath test.
Again these are just a few ways to have a DUI reduced or dismissed. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney is critical! A qualified DUI lawyer will explore all of the possible ways to have your charges dismissed.
Do I need to appear at my arraignment?
It depends on the charges. If you were charged with a misdemeanor, chances are you can have your lawyer appear for you. If you were charged with a felony, you will probably need to be present for your arraignment.
What are the penalties for a DUI in Nevada?
The penalties for a DUI depend on your criminal history and specifically your DUI history.
For a first offense DUI, the penalties are:
For a second offense DUI in a seven year period:
For a third offense DUI in a seven year period:
For more information about Nevada DUI law consequences (aside from the criminal penalties), check out our most recent article here: https://www.rosenblumlawlv.com/dui-consequences/
What happens if I miss a court date?
You should expect that if you miss a court date a warrant will be issued for you. If you discover you inadvertently missed a court date, call a lawyer immediately!
Hiring a Las Vegas attorney for your DUI charge is the single most important thing you can do.
Not only is your freedom at stake, but having a solid, experienced DUI defense attorney on your side can help preserve your job, your insurance rates and even your family.
Choosing the wrong attorney can result in thousands of dollars in fees and fines, can result in you being incarcerated, might cost you your job, will result in thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums and could even cost you parenting time with your children if you are divorced or involved in a custody matter.
It is important to remember that a DUI charge is just an accusation.
There are winning defenses to a DUI arrest and that is why it is critical to hire an attorney that knows how to defend these allegations.
We live in Las Vegas and there are attorney advertisements everywhere!
We are not disparaging those that mass advertise for DUIs. In fact, you should talk to those lawyers too.
But in addition to considering the mass advertised Las Vegas DUI Lawyers, you should also consider finding a DUI Attorney in Las Vegas by doing the following:
Personal Recommendations: Ask friends, family and co-workers you trust for a referral to a DUI attorney.
Ask A Lawyer You Used For Another Matter: We get it. Not everyone wants their friends, family or colleagues to know they are facing a DUI.
Even if you ask your friends or family for recommendations, you should also ask a lawyer you have used for another legal issue. In Las Vegas, the legal community is small. Lawyers often refer clients to other lawyers and lawyers know who has a good reputation and who doesn’t.
State Bar Association: Another resource is the State Bar of Nevada or the State Bar in your area. Most lawyers accept State Bar referrals and for some practice areas are required to have experience in that area before the State Bar will make a referral.
Here’s a list of questions you should ask any lawyer you are considering hiring for your DUI:
How long have you been a licensed attorney?
How long have you been handling criminal cases?
How many DUI cases have you handled in a year?
How many DUI trials have you done?
How successful have you been in reaching deals with DUI cases?
How well do you know the prosecutors?
Have you taken DUI CLEs?
Will I actually be working with you or will someone else in the office be handling my DUI case?
How much is this going to cost?
What do you think the outcome of my case will be?
The cost to hire a DUI attorney will depend on lots of different factors.
First, the type of DUI charge you are facing will be a big consideration for any attorney agreeing to take on your case.
For example, if you are facing your offense DUI, you should expect to pay a lot less than if you are facing a felony DUI or a third offense DUI.
In addition to the type of DUI charge you are facing, the cost can also depend on the jurisdiction prosecuting your DUI.
Some attorneys might charge more for certain jurisdictions because they know the prosecutors in those areas don’t settle DUI cases and your case may need to go to trial.
Another factor in DUI fees can be whether or not you will need to hire an expert for your case.
For example if you want to challenge the breathalyzer test or the BAC results, you will probably need to hire an expert for your case.
This can cause the fees for a DUI to increase significantly as experts tend to cost at least $2,500 or more.
For the most part you should expect to spend at least $1,500 or more to hire a DUI attorney.
Again this cost depends on the nature of the DUI charge, the possible defenses and the jurisdiction prosecuting the charge, among other factors.
We have over 20 years of combined experience practicing law.
Our attorneys have all handled DUI cases and we bring our experience and expertise in DUI to your case.
We know the ins and outs of the DUI process and the tricks and traps prosecutors use to obtain convictions. We have specialized DUI training. Specifically, we have undergone extensive training in all aspects of DUI law including field sobriety testing, BACs, forensic evidence and DUI defense. In addition, our team has over 31 years of combined experience Molly handling DUIs at every level including felony DUIs and first offense DUIs.
There are many attorneys who claim to handle DUIs but they don’t take cases to trial. Instead, they take your money and plead out your case.
Our biggest asset is that we are not afraid to take a case to trial. We are experienced trial attorneys with over 200 trials under our belt. We will fight for your rights!
If you have questions about the Nevada DUI law, call our office at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form to get more information.
If you get convicted of a DUI first offense in Nevada, the standard penalty is as follows:
If you hire a DUI lawyer, their fees can range between $1,500 to $10,000. There are several deciding factors on their costs, including:
A DUI will remain on your criminal record indefinitely. Even if you have a not guilty verdict, the arrest will stay on your record and show up on background checks for the next ten years.
The only way to avoid this is to have your record sealed. There are several criteria to allow this to happen, and it will still be on your record. It just will not be viewable.
While there is little to no chance that a police officer will let you go if they suspect you are under the influence, there are some ways your lawyer can get the charges dismissed.
There are two circumstances in which a DUI charge can get dropped:
Your attorney may also be able to get your charge reduced to reckless driving, but you will still have to go to court and pay the costs regardless.
Yes. Anyone under the age of 21 can be charged with a DUI if driving with a BAC of .02 or higher.
Typically first and second DUI offenses are under $5,000. Third DUI offenses or DUI with additional bodily harm are considered felonies and carry a bond over $10,000.
First and second offense DUI are considered misdemeanors in Nevada. However, a DUI that causes bodily harm or death to another person gets regarded as a felony. Also, a third DUI offense is a felony in Nevada.
Yes, your license will automatically get suspended for 90 days. If you commit another DUI offense in seven years, it will get suspended for one year.
A DUI will remain on your record indefinitely in the State where the crime occurred. After seven years, a DUI first or second offense can get sealed under Nevada law.
Typically first and second DUI offenses are under $5,000. Third DUI offenses or DUI with additional bodily harm are considered felonies and carry a bond over $10,000.
A DUI in Nevada carries a fine of $400-1,000. This fine is in addition to any lawyer fees, court costs, and other financial responsibilities.
While rare, a DUI can get dismissed in court. There are several strategies your attorney can use to get the DUI dismissed possibly. These include:
The only way to beat a DUI charge in Nevada is to prove legal flaws and doubts in the process of the DUI arrest. This can include the breathalyzer, police errors, or medical conditions. If you can prove doubt in your case, you may be able to get the charges dropped.
For a first offense, your license will get suspended for 90 days. If you re-offend within seven years, your license will get suspended for a year. A third offense holds a minimum three-year suspension.
SR-22 insurance, which proves financial responsibility. Reinstatement is not automatic. You have to prove to the DMV that you fit the requirements to reinstate your license. You must complete all court-mandated classes and complete the suspension period without re-offending.
Yes. A BAC of 0.13-.015 is considered high. At this point, a person experiences impaired coordination and balance and blurred vision. At the level of 0.19, a person is what gets considered ‘sloppy drunk” and will experience severe issues with movement and speech. Driving at this level is extremely dangerous.
The legal BAC range for operating a motor vehicle is .08. This level is equivalent to four to five drinks. For commercial drivers, the limit is .04. For anyone under 21, it is .02.
In Nevada, the terms DUI and DWI are often interchangeable. Both terms refer to someone driving while impaired due to drugs or alcohol. A DWI usually refers to an arrest that requires a test to prove impairment.
Each state has its measures for a DUI. These laws are stricter for commercial drivers (.04) and those under 21 (.02). For private drivers over 21, the legal BAC is .08.
A first-time commercial DUI will result in a one-year CDL suspension. A second offense will result in a lifetime suspension of your CDL. If you were transporting hazardous materials, the suspension would last three years.
A DUI will disqualify you if you attempt to seek a CDL for a year. After that, as long as there are no further offenses, you may be able to apply.
All states have a legal BAC limit of 0.08. Some states may have stricter limits. For increased penalties, Wisconsin has the highest with a BAC of 0.25.
A Polish man got rushed to a local hospital after a car accident. His BAC got recorded at 1.480, the highest BAC recorded. The doctors said he survived the accident due to his drunken state but later died from his injuries.