In the past, DUIs were not really considered serious so it would be fine if someone had a couple of drinks,
whereas nowadays, DUIs are taken much more seriously.
First time DUIs and a second DUI in Nevada are misdemeanors. In the past this was not really considered
a big deal. But, groups like MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, focused the spotlight on drunk driving
because even though it is a misdemeanor, it is considered the most serious of misdemeanors, as is
DUI is considered a progressive crime, meaning that the penalties become more severe for a 2nd time
and 3rd time DUI. For a first time DUI, the person would be looking at a minimum of two days in jail, with
a maximum of six months.
They would be able to do 48 hours community service in lieu of the jail time, although we are usually able
to resolve the case and have the client get credit for time served for the 48 hours, meaning the person
would not need to do it.
It was a more serious situation if it was a second time DUI within seven years, because that would be a
minimum of 10 days’ jail and a maximum of 6 months. The fines would be higher and the person would
be required to put a breath interlock device in their car and they would lose their license for 1 year.
In regards to the progressive nature of the crime, a third time DUI within seven years would be considered
a felony and the penalties would be 1 to 6 years a fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, the person would
lose their license for three years, and it would be non-probationable, so the person would have to go to
They would have to spend one to six years in the Nevada state prison, although the people who were
convicted of a third time DUI would be segregated and they would not be housed with killers and people
who committed sexual assault or people who had used violence against somebody else, but the fact is
that a prison is still prison.
I handled a case recently in which my client was previously convicted of a DUI. He went to a casino and
valet parked. When he came out, his BAC was over a 0.20 and the valet parking attendant told my client
he should not get in the car because he would be driving drunk. My client insisted he wanted to get in the
car. The attendant called the police, and the police officer told my client that he would arrest him if he got
in the car after drinking.
There was some dispute as to what really happened, because my client claimed he went into the car just
to get his cell phone charger but he did not drive, whereas the officer claimed my client did get into the
car and that he drove but he did not even get out of the parking lot. He drove 20 feet so the officer arrested
This was a situation where as far as I was concerned, the officer did not see any bad driving so he did not have reasonable suspicion to pull the client over. But, of course, the DA said he did. It was a second time DUI. We were able to resolve the case by my client pleading to a second time DUI and they did a stay of adjudication. The sentencing was more severe than usual, but that was part of the give and take.
I felt that the most important thing was to prevent him from being convicted of a DUI, so he needed to go
to DUI school, the victim impact panel and pay a fine, which is how it is for every DUI case. He also needed
to undergo a chemical dependency evaluation because it was a second time DUI, and he would have to
follow whatever the recommendations were from the evaluator. This particular client was from out of state
and they did not have the people who were certified by the state of Nevada to do the chemical
dependency evaluation. We agreed on a deal that in order to successfully complete his probation, he
would have to go to Alcohol Anonymous for one day per week for six months.
At the end of the day my client was convicted of reckless driving, which was a non DUI disposition and,
instead of a second time DUI which would have been a mandatory 10 days in jail. The third DUI within 7
years is a felony.