Facing a first DUI conviction in Las Vegas can be difficult, but recovering from a second DUI offense in Nevada can be even harder due to harsher punishments with each subsequent offense. If you’re facing the jury for the second time on a DUI case, you risk facing a prison sentence, a scarred criminal record, and a suspended license.
The best way to avoid these consequences is not to get behind the wheel if you have had anything to drink, but mistakes are made and a skilled attorney can help if you find yourself facing such a charge. You may unknowingly get intoxicated and get pulled over by an officer, and this can attract a legal dispute even if you have a valid prescription for the ingested drugs or score a lower BAC percentage than the standard level allowed by law.
If you’re currently facing a second DUI charge, the best thing to do is to contact an experienced second offense DUI attorney in Las Vegas.
From the detailed Nevada DUI guide below, you’ll learn the basics of the state’s DUI laws, the possible penalties and fines, and how a second offense DUI lawyer in Las Vegas can be helpful.
Overview of Second DUI Laws in Nevada
Las Vegas laws about driving under the influence have room for “enhanceable” crimes. In essence, this means that each subsequent arrest will be treated with a higher severity level if you already have a similar previous conviction in your record. For the charge to qualify as a second offense under Nevada DUI laws, you must have faced a preceding DUI conviction within the previous seven years. This window starts from when you were first arrested to the date of the second arrest.
Nevada Revised Statute 484C.400 clearly defines what it means to face a second DUI offense. The crime has similar elements as the first conviction but comes with additional punitive details and consequences than the ones you met in your earlier conviction.
Possible Second Offense DUI Penalties in Las Vegas
If it’s the second DUI conviction in Nevada, you may face the following potential penalties:
A second DUI crime will force the court to impose a jail term of a minimum of ten days and a maximum of six months. The court may also sentence you to residential confinement in a drug or alcohol abuse treatment facility in place of any jail time. Throughout this confinement, you’ll be monitored around the clock. The confinement duration is anything above 48 consecutive hours.
Fines and Assessments
Under Nevada laws, a second-time DUI offender may pay court fines and assessments totaling to a minimum of $750 and a maximum of $1,000, as well as the court costs. Occasionally, the jury orders guilty defendants to perform additional mandatory community service in place of fine payments. However, the court costs will remain constant.
Suspended Driving Privileges
If the court declares you guilty of a second DUI crime, the Department of Motor Vehicles will impose a driver’s license suspension of one year.
Mandatory DUI School
If it’s your 2nd DUI case in Las Vegas, you’re likely to end up in a mandatory DUI school, and you must complete the program.
Additional Penalties for BAC Beyond 0.18%
There are even harsher penalties for second DUI suspects whose blood alcohol reading is anything beyond 0.18 percent. The court may impose the following sentences:
- A compulsory DUI assessment program where you’ll pay $100
- Compulsory attendance to the Victim Impact Panel, where you’ll pay a $40 fee
- A requirement by the court to install and maintain Breath Interlock Devices on your car for between one to three years
- BAC level below the standard .18 percent can still force you to install an ignition interlock device in your car for three to six months.
- Extensive counseling to fix your drug or alcohol condition
What Must the Prosecution Prove?
For your second DUI accusation to trigger sentencing by the court, the prosecution must prove that you have a prior conviction and that the arrest was made after a similar initial arrest within the previous seven years. This will prompt them to seek the previous records of your last lawsuit and present them to court.
If the prosecution fails to do all these, the case may not trigger a second offense sentencing. Instead, your trial will be based on the first DUI offense guidelines.
Possible Defenses for a Second DUI Offense in Nevada
Considering the strict nature of the state and Federal DUI laws and the potential impact of an unfavorable case outcome, you need a strong defense that can either clear the charges or reduce the probable sentence. Working with an experienced second offense DUI lawyer in Las Vegas can rely on the following possible defenses:
- There wasn’t any reasonable suspicion for the officer to stop your car in the first place.
- The officer’s field sobriety test instructions weren’t properly issued.
- You failed the “one-leg stand” and “walk-and-turn” tests for other reasons that aren’t connected to drug or substance abuse, like an uneven road or bad shoes.
- There wasn’t any probable reason for an arrest.
- You have a health condition (e.g., auto-brewery symptom) that caused inaccurate BAC readings.
- A current health issue made you appear intoxicated.
- The testing equipment used was faulty.
- The BAC samples were contaminated.
Perhaps you experienced rising blood alcohol, where the BAC level was legal when you were driving but increased to the illegal level later on during the chemical test.
The most effective defense for your DUI case should be able to ignite the individual facts of your case. Typically, DUI defense lawyers rely on evidence like video footage, witness testimony, expert witness insights, and medical records. Most cases end with a plea bargain, but you can also decide to face trial.
A Reliable Second Offense DUI Attorney for You
If you’re facing a second DUI charge, the potential penalties can be harsher than what the court imposed during your first conviction. However, working with a reliable DUI attorney in Las Vegas can minimize the impact and defend your rights.
All attorneys in Las Vegas will promise a favorable outcome, but not many can match the over 25 years of experience and successful reputation of Attorney Ralph Schwartz. Contact us today so we can start mounting a solid defense for you.