Throughout the United States driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated are considered serious offenses and convictions carry severe penalties. Such is the case in the State of Nevada. In Nevada the charge of DUI can be also be applied to prescribed and over the counter (OTC) drugs if they impair the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits in Nevada

Nevada has a scaled system for determining what is the legal limit for BAC based on age and type of driver it pertains to. The scale is as follows:
  • For drivers under 21 years of age - .02%
  • For drivers of commercial vehicles - .04%
  • All other drivers - .08%
While the BAC is only applicable to alcohol use, if there is any detectable amount of substances like cocaine or marijuana found in a driver’s blood, penalties are likely to be at least as severe as those for alcohol.

DWI and DUI Laws in Nevada

In Nevada, the DUI law means that driving with a BAC that is at or above the legal limit is an offense on its own. Now, because the BAC limits are considered only as a guide, one can also be arrested for DUI with lower levels if the ability to control a vehicle is impaired. In addition Nevada has an implied consent law, meaning that a driver must submit to blood alcohol level testing if requested by an officer. This implied consent “implies” that you consent to testing by getting into a vehicle while under the influence. Resistance to testing may result in an officer using reasonable force. You are more likely however to simply be immediately arrested for resisting arrest.

Open Container and other DUI Circumstances in Nevada

With few exceptions it is illegal to drive a vehicle in Nevada with an opened alcoholic beverage bottle or can. The exceptions include the passenger area in a limousine, a bus, or in the living areas of a recreatitional vehicle or motorhome. DUI in Nevada with minors (under the age of 15) in the vehicle can be considered “aggravating circumstances” with a result of even more severe penalties. Those who are convicted of DUI in the state can be expected to pay an additional $60 in fees to cover the costs of chemical tests if such tests were performed upon your arrest.

Nevada Penalties for DUI

Nevada separates penalties into two types. Penalties are considered as administrative penalties or as criminal penalties. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (NDMV) will place the administrative penalties on you driver license with the court system imposing the pebalties in terms of fines and criminal charges.
Your license will immediately be suspended upon your or DUI by the NDMV. It is possible to get your license back after this immediate suspension and any court ordered suspension provided the following occurs:
  • There is a $65 payment for a driver license reinstatement
  • A $35 Victims Compensation penalty is paid
  • An additional 21.75 fee for a driver license application is paid
  • The driver resubmits to and passes vision and written tests
  • Potentially may be asked to re-take the driving skills test
  • Request their insurance company submit an SR-22 certficate to the NDMV for a period of three years
Keep in mind these penalties relate to a first offense. Penalties for multiple offenses are likely to be more severe. You’ll also want to know that requesting an SR-22 certificate from your insurance provider company will generally result in an increase of your auto insurance premiums by 2-3 times. Some insurance companies will not provide SR-22s at all and may choose to simply cancel the policy.
While younger drivers and those who hold a commercial driver license in Nevada will be more severe, the following is a list of criminal penalties for most drivers convicted of DUI. Upon First Conviction, penalties will include:
  • Revocation of driver license for 90 days. Driver may be eleigible for restricted driving privileges for work after 45 days.
  • Minimum two day jail sentence or 96 hours of community service.
  • Minimum fine of $400
  • Forced attendance at DUI school
  • Potential forced attendance in a substance abuse program
If a second conviction should occur in a 7 year period of time of the first, penalties will include:
  • Revocation of license for a year with no eligibility for work driving privileges
  • Jail or home arrest sentence for a minimum of 10 days
  • Minimum fine of $750
  • Minimum of 100 hours of community service
  • Potential vehcle registration suspension
  • Potential forced substance abuse program or clinical evaluation
For a third conivtion for a DUI in a 7 year time period the penalties would include:
  • Revocation of driver license for 3 years, with potential for work driving privileges in some cases.
  • Prison sentence for a minimum of one year.
  • Minimum fine of $2,000
  • Potential vehicle registration suspension.
If a person is convicted of DUI in an incident that causes death or serious injury the following penalties will occur. These penalties will occur even if it the drivers first DUI offense.
  • Revocation of license for 3 years
  • Minimum 2 year prison sentence
  • Minimum fine of $2,000
If you are arrested for DUI, you will likely want a lawyer present when making the decision to plead guilty or not guilty.

Watching out for Impaired Drivers in Nevada

The Nevada Highway Patrol has a reporting system in place for drivers who may spot impaired drivers on its highways. You may call *647 or *NHP on your cellphone to report these impaired drivers. Some of the signs of an impaired driver include:
  • Wide turns
  • Swerving between lanes
  • Near collisions
  • Driving that is too fast or too slow for the posted speed
  • Ignoring turning lanes
  • Stopping at random
  • Tailgating
  • Severe braking
  • Diminished response to traffic lights
  • Driving after dark without headlights
Be aware of the significant penalties for DUI in the State of Nevada, and keep yourself and your loved ones safe by avoiding vehicles displaying the erratic driving behaviors listed above.
If you are required by the court to attend a Nevada DMV-Certified DUI School, you can pick any school from the DMV approved list of DUI providers. Nevada is one of the very few states that allows a completion of the first offender Driving Under the Influence course via internet. Improv Traffic School programs are approved for both DUI and Traffic School Online programs in Nevada.
DUI and DWI in Nevada