Most Asked Questions a DUI Defense Lawyer Hears
If you were recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Las Vegas, you undoubtedly have a lot of questions about your charges, potential penalties, and defense strategies. In an effort to help address some of these concerns, the Law Office of Joel M. Mann has compiled a few of the most frequently asked questions that we hear as DUI defense attorneys in Nevada.
To learn more about the defenses for driving under the influence in Las Vegas, please contact our experienced DUI lawyer for a free and confidential consultation.
What happens after you are arrested for a DUI?
In Nevada, motorists are prohibited from driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. Drivers who are pulled over for allegedly violating this law will usually be given a breathalyzer or field sobriety test. The results of these tests will dictate whether or not a driver is arrested for driving under the influence.
Motorists who do find themselves arrested for this offense will be booked at the local jail, where their fingerprints and photos will be taken.
Once the booking process has been completed, a driver can be released, either after posting bail or agreeing to be released on his or her own recognizance.
In the former case, the amount of bail will depend on the charge in question. If, for instance, a person is being charged with a misdemeanor DUI offense, his or her bail amount will be based on a predetermined schedule. Those who have been charged with felonies, on the other hand, will have their bail set at a hearing.
Eventually, the accused will be required to attend an arraignment, where he or she will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
What are the possible penalties for a DUI?
The penalties faced by those who are found guilty of driving under the influence in Nevada depend on a number of factors, including:
- Whether the defendant has a history of driving under the influence
- Whether anyone was injured as a result of the defendant’s conduct
- The age of the accused
- How far over the legal limit the driver was at the time of the arrest
First-time DUI offenders who are over the age of 21 will usually face:
- Up to 180 days in jail
- 48 to 96 hours of community service
- $400 minimum fine
- Mandatory license revocation of 185 days
Those under 21 can face penalties if their BAC is above 0.02 percent. If a driver younger than 21 is found to have a BAC of 0.08 percent, the punishment is the same as the penalties for those of legal age.
Second offenses are generally punished more severely, although they are still treated as misdemeanors. Typical penalties include:
- At least 10 days in jail or house arrest
- A minimum fine of $750
- Mandatory in-person attendance at a Victim Impact Panel presentation
Finally, third DUI offenses are prosecuted as felonies and, as such, are punishable by up to six years imprisonment and fines of up to $5,000.
Any DUIs that result in death or substantial bodily harm are also charged as felonies and come with a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment.
Can I get my license back after a DUI?
Driver’s license suspension is automatic for those who are charged with driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more. These suspensions last for 90 days, although it is possible to fight the suspension at the DMV.
It is important to note, however, that petitioners only have seven days to contest the suspension of a license by requesting an administrative hearing at the DMV. These hearings are similar to a trial, but even if a driver is successful and has his or her license reinstated, the DMV can later reimpose the license revocation if that person is convicted of DUI in criminal court.
In either case, after 45 days of suspension, petitioners can obtain a restricted license to get them to and from work. Finally, some individuals qualify for reinstatement of their license if they agree to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
Should I plead guilty to DUI charges?
You do not need a lawyer to plead guilty for driving under the influence in Nevada. However, defendants are strongly encouraged to retain an attorney as early as possible in their DUI proceedings. This is especially important at the pleading stage, as a defendant without legal representation could be convinced by prosecutors to accept an unfair plea deal in an effort to resolve the proceedings as soon as possible.
An experienced DUI attorney can ensure that any plea deals accepted by a defendant are fair and in that person’s best interests. An experienced attorney can also identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and argue to have the charges reduced or dropped.
How do attorneys typically help with a DUI?
Criminal law is complicated, as it requires the navigation of complex rules of procedure. There is also a lot on the line for those who are accused of crimes in the state, so it is important for defendants to take advantage of their legal options, which includes hiring an attorney. Retaining an experienced DUI lawyer can play a critical role in the outcome of a DUI case, as skilled defense attorneys are uniquely equipped to:
- Determine whether a breathalyzer or field sobriety test was conducted in accordance with state procedure
- Determine whether testing equipment was properly calibrated or was otherwise not up to state specifications
- Discover whether the arresting officers made a mistake in procedure at the time of the arrest
- Invalidate the reason for the original traffic stop
The strength of these defenses will largely dictate the severity of the outcomes faced by a defendant. For instance, a defendant who is able to successfully have his or her test results thrown out could have the case dismissed entirely. Those who don’t raise a defense on their behalf at all, on the other hand, could face jail time, hefty fines, and driver’s license suspension.
Call an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney Today
To speak with a dedicated Las Vegas DUI defense lawyer about your own pending DUI charges, please contact the Law Office of Joel M. Mann today. Initial consultations are offered free of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online to learn more about your options for putting up a strong DUI defense.