Las Vegas DUI Attorney
Garrett T. Ogata | Las Vegas NV
Our goal, as Las Vegas DUI attorneys, is to get all charges dismissed, an acquittal at trial, or charges reduced to a non-DUI level. This isn’t always possible, but your only real chance of success in a Nevada impaired-driving case is to get an experienced DUI attorney. It is very important for you to familiarize yourself with all the issues that arise in a typical DUI case so you can most effectively participate in building your case and make educated choices. You must communicate to your DUI lawyer all the facts of the case to allow him or her to best defend you.
In the state of Nevada, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) refers to the act of driving a vehicle while intoxicated, due to drugs and/or alcohol, to an extent that makes the driver unable to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Contrary to what many believe, in Nevada it isn’t necessary to be visibly drunk or impaired to be subject to arrest on DUI charges. A conviction can be obtained if the individual was caught driving with a breath alcohol content (or BAC) or blood alcohol level (or BAL) of .08 or more.
Even if an individual can function normally, they can still be charged with a crime if their blood alcohol level is tested at .08% or higher. This is Nevada’s Per Se law, which states that it’s against the law to drive with a BAC above .08%, regardless of the individual’s impairment level.
An additional consequence of a DUI arrest is that the DMV will be notified and authorized to take appropriate action in regards to your driving privileges. This could result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
First Time Being Arrested for Drunk Driving
Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 484C.400 and 484C.110 cover first time DUI offenders. A first offense is a misdemeanor. For the charge to be considered a first offense it must be the only DUI a person has gotten in seven years. The first thing many people worry about is how much the charge will end up costing them.
The statutory fine related to a first DUI penalty cannot be lower than four-hundred dollars, but cannot exceed one-thousand dollars.
Those facing their first penalty must attend a Nevada DUI school. These prices vary. Attending a Nevada Victim Impact Panel is another mandatory penalty. These panels features victims and family members of victims of DUI related accidents.
DUI Second Infraction
A DUI charge carries with it serious consequences. Anyone who is on their second DUI offense knows very well how stiff penalties can be. The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata has experience in all DUI laws, and we will provide the best defense possible.
Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 484C.400 and 484C.110 cover second DUI offenses. For a second offense to apply it must be the second DUI a person has gotten in a seven year period. This is considered a misdemeanor. There are serious financial implications for a second DUI charge.
Jail time can also be a likely outcome of a second DUI. Depending on the sentence and circumstances a person can be confined for a very long time.
DUI Third Infraction
Anyone who has received a DUI knows that there are harsh consequences related to the charge. A person who has received their third DUI in seven years is in a much worse situation than first and second time offenders. A third DUI is charged as a Category B felony.
Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 484C.400 and 484C.110 cover third DUI offenses. If you’re charged with a third DUI offense in a seven year period the financial penalties far exceed the penalties you faced on your second and third charge.
Jail time becomes a serious concern when a third DUI is charged. NRS 484C.340 may be possible to help a person stay out of jail if they are declared an alcoholic or drug addict by a clinician; otherwise penalties are steep.
Felony DUI Charges
A third DUI within a seven year period is charged as a Category B felony. If you have gone through a first and second DUI charge then you know how steep the penalties can be. First and second offense penalties do not come close to preparing a person for the repercussions of a felony DUI. The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata works to help alleged DUI offenders get a fair trial with the best possible outcome for their situation.
Felony DUI charges fall under Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 484C.400, 484C.430 and 484C.130. If the death of another person is caused by a DUI then the charges and penalties a person receives can increase exponentially. It is absolutely essential to have a good lawyer on your side in these situations.
After a third DUI the stakes are even higher. Any death caused by a person who already has three DUI offenses can be charged as a Category A felony.
10 Steps to Understanding the DUI Process
STEP 1 - The Stop and Field Sobriety Test
This is probably the most important event in your case and the most traumatic. Luckily, this traumatic event is over and now you can focus on obtaining legal representation and building your case. Many pretrial motions will be based on what transpired during the stop. Furthermore, this is where law enforcement built probable cause and gathered evidence to arrest you and use at trial to try to prove that you were driving under the influence. This is also where your attorney will build your defense and possibly suppress any evidence obtained illegally during the encounter. See Traffic Stops and Your Rights and Standardized Field Sobriety Test. It is important to schedule a consultation as soon as possible while your memory is fresh to aid your counsel in your defense. See Attorney Consultations.
STEP 2 - Arrest
Once law enforcement believes they have probable cause, you will be arrested. You will also have to submit to a Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine or blood draw from a nurse at the police station. If you refuse both, they will take your blood by force. It is recommended that your request the Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine and not the blood draw. See Standard Field Sobriety Test. Keep in mind that law enforcement needs to have probable cause to arrest you, without this, your arrest would be unconstitutional. If this is the case, then a pretrial motion may be filed to suppress evidence and/or dismiss the case.
STEP 3 - Blood Alcohol Level
If you do blow into the Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine which results in blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above, then you will be booked for a DUI. Nevada has a “per se” DUI statute that presumes you are intoxicated if your blow a (BAC) of .08 or greater. You can also be charged with a DUI if you are driving impaired, even if your (BAC) is below .08. If a blood draw test was performed, then you will have to wait several months to determine if you had a BAC of .08 or greater. Nevada’s DUI law also applies to prohibited substances. Prohibited substances/controlled substances are tested by blood draw test only, which will result in certain number of nano-grams per milliliters (Ng/ml) of blood. See DUI Prohibited Substances.
STEP 4 - Jail
Let’s face it, no one wants to go to jail, but it typically is only temporary when one is arrested for a DUI. Depending on the offense and your case, one can post bail, be released on your Own Recognizance (O.R.) without bail, or an attorney can file a motion to release you on your Own Recognizance. Just remember, do not make any statements about any incident while in jail, making statements to law enforcement will NOT help you avoid jail or get out sooner. Law enforcement does and can lie. Deals and plea bargains are not done by law enforcement; this is something your attorney will negotiate with the District Attorney. Always invoke your right to remain silent and request your attorney to be present.
STEP 5 - Bail and Own Recognizance
In many cases, you will be given a bail amount that you will need to post in order for release. Depending on the type of charge against you and risk of flight, bails may vary. In some circumstances bail may be extremely high or even denied. One can post bail with their own money or go to a bail bondsman for assistance. An Attorney may also file a motion to reduce bail and/or for you to be released on your own recognizance (O.R.). See Bail.
STEP 6 - Arraignment
The arraignment will be your first court appearance, in most cases, if you retained an attorney, he or she can appear on your behalf without your presence. Typically, the state will provide you or your attorney with the complaint/indictment showing your criminal charges. At this time you or your attorney will enter a plea of NOT guilty and a pretrial or preliminary hearing date or trial date will be set.
STEP 7 - Preliminary Hearing/Pre-Trial
Depending on the court and the charge, you may have another appearance before you get to trial. If charged with a misdemeanor in Municipal Court, you will have a Pre-Trial hearing. This Pre-Trial hearing gives the attorneys an opportunity to negotiate the case before trial or raise any discovery issues. If you are charged with a gross misdemeanor or felony, you will have a preliminary hearing where the judge will decide if there is enough evidence to go forward with trial. Think of this as a mini-trial where the judge decides if there is slight or marginal evidence that a crime was committed and the person accused is the person who allegedly committed the crime.
STEP 8 - Trial/Bench Trial
Depending on the charge and if one pleads NOT guilty, one will either have a bench trial or a 12 juror jury trial. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, which is punishable not more than 6 months in jail, then you will have a bench trial. A bench trial is where the judge will decide your guilt or innocence on law and the facts of the misdemeanor case. If you are charged with a gross misdemeanor or felony, there will be a jury trial, where the jury will decide you guilt or innocence.
STEP 9 - Status Check
Depending on your sentence or plea, there may be requirements that you will have to fulfill per the court’s orders. Such as, DUI school, fines, counseling, and community service. You will be given a date and time to come back before the court and present proof of your requirements to the judge. Once you complete and provide proof to the judge, your case will be closed. If you have completed all of your requirements, your attorney can make this appearance for you. Think of this as due date for when your homework is due, but with much higher consequences. If you fail to do the court requirements and/or get in further trouble with the police, you could be facing up to 180 days in jail.
STEP 10 - Record Seal
Luckily in Nevada, you are able to seal your record with court approval. There is a catch though, depending on the type of crime you were charged with, you will have to wait 2 or more years. A misdemeanor has a 2 year waiting period, but if it was a misdemeanor DUI or domestic battery, you will have to wait 7 years. See Record Seal. If your case was dismissed or you were found not guilty, then one can immediately start the record sealing process. This process can take up to 8 months sometimes, so it is best not to delay once eligible.
Don’t Loose Your Driver’s License
Thing You Must Know If You Have Been Arrested For DUI
DMV License Suspension in Las Vegas
A DUI charge brings several negative consequences with it. As if all of the fines and possible jail time weren’t enough your license is also suspended due to the charge. License suspension can be detrimental to a person’s livelihood,
and unfortunately the DMV can suspend your license even if the DUI charges against you are dropped.
Once your license has been taken or suspended you have SEVEN DAYS to request a temporary license and an administrative hearing.
Nevada DMV Hearing
In Clark County the hearing is an administrative matter which is not connected with the criminal charges against you. The temporary license will be valid until the day of your hearing. If during this hearing the DMV finds you guilty of a DUI your license will be suspended even if you were not convicted in state court. The burden of proof is much lower in the DMV court so the chances of being found guilty are much higher. DMV hearing laws apply to Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas.
The DMV is a powerful statewide agency that has control over whether you can drive or not. No one should take on any state agency by themselves even if there is no risk of jail time. We at the Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata know that the inability to drive can hurt many areas of your life so we will work hard to minimize its damaging effects. If you in need of representation, contact our Las Vegas office today.
SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility and is required if your license was revoked due to a DUI. A SR-22 is issued by your insurance company to prove you have the minimum liability coverage required by law. Currently, it is $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident; $30,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons on any one accident; and $10,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.
If you are required to maintain SR-22 certification, you will need to maintain this for 3 years. It is important not to let your insurance lapse because penalty fees will be assessed and your SR-22 coverage period may start all over again, even if you have complied for almost 3 years. On top of this, the DMV will be notified and your license will be suspended.
More information can be found at http://www.dmvnv.com/dlsuspension.htm
Unfortunately, even if you were found not guilty of a DUI in criminal court, you may still have to file a SR-22 if the DMV revokes your license. All the DMV needs is an arrest for a DUI, not a DUI conviction at criminal court to revoke you license. This is because a driver’s license is a privilege to drive and not a Constitutional right.
DMV License Suspension in Las Vegas
If you thought a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 was low, if one is operating a commercial vehicle, then one can be charged with a DUI if their BAC is .04. Of course one can still be charged with a DUI under impairment if lower than .04 and/or under the influence of a prohibit substance/controlled substance.
Nevada defines a commercial vehicle as a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle
The main thing to take away from Nevada’s DUI law regarding operating a commercial vehicle is to not even drink if you will be operating a commercial vehicle. Although criminal penalties are mostly the same as a regular DUI, the main issue will be the loss of one’s commercial driving license, which in most cases may be one’s livelihood.