Navigating through Nevada DUI arrests, court proceedings, and trials can be an intimidating ordeal. The potential consequences include losing your driver's license, heightened insurance expenses, and the looming possibility of incarceration. However, having a grasp of what lies ahead can alleviate the challenges associated with a DUI arrest and court proceedings.
Initiating the DUI Investigation
The commencement of a Nevada DUI case initiates with a DUI investigation, usually prompted by an officer's suspicion of driving under the influence. This suspicion may arise from a traffic stop, an accident, or encounters at a sobriety checkpoint or DUI roadblock. If signs of intoxication, such as erratic driving patterns, are observed, the officer may request a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) Test or conduct roadside field sobriety tests (FSTs).A "failure" in these tests may lead to an arrest under NRS 484.379 for DUI, either due to alcohol and/or drug impairment or having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
Proceeding with the Nevada DUI Arrest
Upon a DUI arrest, the officer seizes your license and forwards it to the Nevada DMV for revocation. You have a limited 7-day window post-arrest to request an administrative hearing, separate from the criminal DUI case, to contest the DMV's license revocation. This administrative hearing focuses solely on the propriety of revoking your driving privilege, aiming to protect public safety rather than penalize for a criminal act.
Following the arrest, the officer will take you to a hospital, police station, or jail for a chemical test, offering options like a DUI breath or blood test. Refusal to undergo a chemical test results in a one-year license revocation for first-time refusals.
Undergoing the DUI Booking Process
During the DUI booking in Nevada, you undergo fingerprinting, photo-taking, and providing personal information, while your possessions are inventoried. Depending on the circumstances and your criminal history, you may be released on your own recognizance (OR) or required to post bail, often set according to a standard bail schedule. Felony DUI charges entail a bail hearing.
After release, the arresting officer submits a DUI report to the local prosecutor, who then decides whether to decline charges or formally charge you with DUI. Failure to appear in court results in a bench warrant for arrest.
Selecting a Nevada DUI Lawyer
In defending a DUI case, options include self-representation (not recommended), using a public defender (subject to financial status), or hiring a private DUI defense attorney. While public defenders have court system familiarity, a private attorney offers the chance to select one with the experience, time, and resources for a robust defense.
A skilled DUI defense lawyer increases the likelihood of case dismissal or reduction through a plea bargain, relying on technical or scientific evidence and expert testimony.
Participating in the Nevada DMV Administrative Hearing
Post-release, the police issue a temporary license valid for seven days, providing time to request an administrative hearing from the Nevada DMV to challenge license revocation. The officer advises installing an ignition interlock device for a restricted license.
Failure to request the hearing leads to automatic license revocation by the DMV. A requested hearing extends the temporary license until the hearing date. Similar to trials, DMV hearings involve a judge, public openness, and your right to legal representation and witness examination. While winning a DMV hearing is often challenging, the opportunity to cross-examine the arresting officer on record can be beneficial for your DUI defense attorney, potentially impacting the criminal DUI case outcome.
Stages of a Nevada DUI Trial
A DUI case unfolds through distinct stages, some of which may not apply:
Formal charging and plea entry (not guilty, no contest, or guilty).
If represented by a lawyer, personal attendance at the arraignment is often unnecessary, as the lawyer can enter a plea on your behalf.
If pleading "not guilty," the prosecutor provides evidence (discovery), and the judge schedules the next court date.
Negotiation and Potential Plea Bargain:
Post-arraignment, your attorney and the prosecutor may negotiate to avoid trial.
Weak cases may lead to charge dismissal, while negotiations might result in a plea bargain for a lesser offense like reckless driving.
If no swift resolution is reached, the DUI case advances to the pre-trial phase.
This phase involves various actions, including pre-trial motions to challenge evidence or the arrest, witness interviews, and strategy sessions with experts.
Misdemeanor DUI cases typically have a shorter pre-trial phase, while felony DUI cases may extend over several months.
Misdemeanor DUI charges entail a judge-led ("bench") trial without a jury.
Felony DUI defendants can opt for either a bench or jury trial.
Felony DUI jury trials comprise stages like jury selection, opening arguments, witness examinations, closing arguments, verdict, and sentencing.
For in-depth insights into these trial phases, refer to our article: "Taking a Nevada DUI case to Trial."
Gain understanding of possible DUI penalties through our article: "DUI Penalties in Nevada."
Explore information on violating DUI probation in our dedicated article.
Legal Assistance for DUI Arrests:
If facing DUI accusations in Clark County, Washoe County, or elsewhere in Nevada, reach out for a consultation.
Schedule your consultation by completing the form on this page or calling us—don't compromise your freedom or driving rights without consulting a seasoned DUI lawyer first.
As a second-generation Las Vegas native, Stephen Nwogbe takes great pride in providing elite legal representation to his community. His firm exclusively handles personal injury matters, DUI's, and more. His zealous dedication to recovering maximum compensation for those injured in accidents is unparalleled and he has recovered millions on his clients' behalves. He is currently listed as a Top 40 under 40 Lawyer by The National Trial Lawyers Association. Call us today for more help with your DUI case.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does a Nevada DUI case typically begin?
It usually starts with a DUI investigation triggered by an officer's suspicion of driving under the influence, often following a traffic stop, accident, or sobriety checkpoint encounter.
What happens after a DUI arrest in Nevada?
Post-arrest, your license is seized, forwarded to the DMV for revocation, and you have a crucial 7-day window to request an administrative hearing to contest the DMV's license revocation.
What occurs during the DUI booking process in Nevada?
The process involves fingerprinting, photo-taking, and providing personal information. Depending on circumstances, release may be on your own recognizance (OR) or bail may be required, often set according to a standard bail schedule.
What are the options for defending a DUI case in Nevada?
Options include self-representation (not recommended), using a public defender (based on financial status), or hiring a private DUI defense attorney, providing the chance to select one with the experience and resources for a robust defense.
How does the DMV administrative hearing process unfold in Nevada?
Following release, a temporary license is issued, giving seven days to request an administrative hearing to challenge license revocation. The hearing involves a judge, public openness, and the right to legal representation and witness examination.
These FAQs provide insights into the DUI legal journey, but for specific advice tailored to your situation, consult with a seasoned DUI lawyer.