Within seconds, an auto accident can lead to serious bodily harm or even death. If the responsible driver is alleged to have been intoxicated with a controlled substance or alcoholic beverage, they may be charged with DUI causing bodily harm or death under Section 484C.430 of the Nevada Revised Statute.
DUI cases are usually severe and require extensive time to gather facts and evidence for a robust defense. Fortunately, you can always partner with a DUI with bodily harm attorney in Las Vegas to protect your rights throughout the lawsuit and facilitate a favorable outcome.
This comprehensive guide highlights the vital elements of Nevada’s DUI laws, the potential penalties, and how a reputable Las Vegas attorney can simplify the process.
Overview of Nevada DUI Laws
Nevada’s DUI laws define “driving under the influence” as when someone operates a motor vehicle in the following conditions:
- If their BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is more than .08 percent within two hours of driving. The limit for CDL holders is .04 percent, while that of drivers below 21 years is more than .02 percent.
- While under the influence to a level that compromises their driving safety.
This means that if you’re responsible for an accident, you may face DUI charges based on excess BAC or actual alcohol or drug impairment.
As a Nevada driver, you must understand that DUI laws are provided in two subsets: Implied consent law and Illegal per se.
With implied consent, if a police officer pulls you over, you must submit to the BAC test. The fact that you’re behind the wheel is considered your consent for the test. Therefore, if you decline the test, the officer has the right to apply reasonable force, and you may face an additional charge of resisting arrest.
Illegal per se considers the BAC limits as a guide even if going beyond the limit results in an automatic conviction. This means that you can still be charged with a lower yet detectable alcohol percentage.
Proving The Cause of DUI with Bodily Harm Case
A crucial element in a DUI with bodily harm or death lawsuit in Nevada is proving causation. The court must ascertain whether the driver’s impairment by a controlled substance or intoxication with alcohol proximately caused the severe injury or fatality.
Most of the time, the person facing felony DUI charges is allowed to present their defense before the court for relief from liability because the crash resulted from something else, often referred to as the superseding intervening cause.
Nevada laws define a superseding intervening cause as an overriding act superseding the original liable act. The intervening action should be a non-current, independent, unforeseeable cause of the injury or fatality. In essence, the intervening cause must break the causation chain effectively.
Potential Penalties for Nevada DUI Charges
The potential penalties in a Nevada DUI lawsuit vary based on the facts of the case. Typically, the case outcome varies depending on the defendant’s number of prior convictions. There are different penalties for the first, second, and third convictions. The standard “look-back period” in Nevada that determines whether it’s a second or subsequent DUI crime is seven years.
First offenders may pay between $400 – $1,000 in fines and attend mandatory DUI classes. They also risk a 90-day license revocation, 96 hours of community service, or a jail sentence of between two days and six months. The court may also recommend substance abuse treatment.
Within seven years, a second DUI offense attracts $750 to $1,000 in fines and one-year license revocation. You may face house arrest or remain behind bars for between ten days and six months or community service of 100 – 200 hours. Your car registration may be suspended, and you may have to seek substance abuse treatment.
A third DUI lawsuit within seven years attracts $2,000 – $5,000 in fines and three-year license revocation. You may spend one to six years behind bars, and your car registration may be suspended.
DUI leading to Death or Severe Injury
This charge attracts between $2,000 and $5,000 in fines and three-year license revocation. The court can also impose 2 – 20 years behind bars.
Implied Consent and Declining a BAC Test
Nevada’s implied consent law requires any driver lawfully arrested for a DUI offense to take a breath, urine, or blood test.
Refusing to test would result in losing one’s driving license for a year if it is the first offense. For second or subsequent offenses, the ban lasts three years. Prior DUI convictions, failed BAC tests, and refusals must be considered to distinguish whether it’s a second or subsequent refusal within the previous seven years.
DUI Charges Without Actually Driving
Apart from operating the vehicle, the law also prohibits its “actual physical control” if you’re under the influence or beyond the .08% BAC limit. The concept behind this legislation is to prevent DUI problems from the start.
The court might consider various evidence to determine whether the defendant driver was in actual physical control of the car. The following factors are considered:
- Was the car running?
- Was the driver arrested at night?
- Where was the ignition key placed at the time of the arrest?
- Where was the driver situated, and in what position were they?
- Was the driver awake or asleep?
- Were the headlights turned on?
- Was the car legally parked, or was it stopped on the road?
The court might consider that a driver was not in actual physical control of the car in the following scenarios:
- They were asleep in the vehicle.
- They weren’t in the drivers’ seat.
- The engine was off.
- The car was legally parked.
- There’s no possibility of the driver moving the vehicle to the location of the DUI arrest.
The ‘sleeping-it-off’ defense occurs when the above situations apply.
Notably, DUI situations vary. Whether you are an accident victim or a defendant, it would be best to partner with a reliable DUI with Bodily Injury Lawyer in Las Vegas for a favorable case outcome or reduced penalties.
Get Expert Legal Assistance with DUI Charges
Nevada’s strict and complex DUI laws make it difficult for anyone to gain a favorable outcome with DUI charges, even if it’s their first lawsuit. The conviction is permanently displayed on your record for your prospective employer, loan officer, or landlord to view. Without the correct facts to persuade the court, you may end up with an unwarranted sentence.
If you need a reliable DUI with injury lawyer in Las Vegas, you’re in safe hands contacting Attorney Ralph A. Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz has 25 years of experience handling DUI cases in Nevada and is dedicated to protect your rights throughout the lawsuit and create a robust and convincing defense. Reach out today for guidance and to discuss how the firm can defend you against DUI charges that you may be facing.