A second DUI charge within Las Vegas is not something to be taken lightly. While it is still considered as a misdemeanor, the penalties are far more severe. It is vital that the assistance of an experienced Las Vegas DUI lawyer is obtained to ensure that the negative consequences of a second drunk driving conviction can be avoided by having the charges reduced, or outright dropped.
Driving under the influence, explained
Nevada deems a person to be driving under the influence under the following circumstances:
- He or she is drunk on alcohol or high on drugs;
- His or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is beyond the prescribed safe limit for driving, which is anywhere below 0.08; or
- His or her blood content has evidence of over-ingestion of prescription or illegal drugs
Drivers can still be charged with DUI even if they were driving within their lane or have not caused any damage or injury, as long as the above conditions are present.
Penalties for a second Nevada DUI charge
A second DUI Nevada conviction within seven years of the first one is still regarded as a misdemeanor as long as no serious injuries or deaths were sustained at the time of the arrest. Expected penalties include the following:
- 10 days’ worth of prison time, usually at the Clark County Detention Center, with a possible increase to six months if the court wills it (part of this sentence can be served in home confinement)
- Maximum $1,000 in fines, plus $100 in court fees
- Appearance at the Nevada Misdemeanor Court, a lengthy substance rehabilitation program
- Attendance at a Nevada Victim Impact Panel, paid for by the defendant
- Official court warning to avoid another potential DUI conviction while the defendant is serving his or her sentence
- Alcohol/drug dependency evaluation costing $100, paid for by the defendant
- Installation of a breath interlock device in the defendant’s car for a maximum of three years if the defendant’s blood alcohol was above 0.18 at the time of the arrest (the court can reduce the duration to six months)
- License suspension for up to one year as prescribed by Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles
Second DUI defense
In dealing with second-time DUI charges in Las Vegas, it is vital that all the important factors in the case are taken into account. The defense lawyer can then go over all the particulars during the arrest itself, to determine if any overstepping of jurisdiction or mishandling of the case was committed, or if there are any weaknesses in the charge itself that can be exploited. The defense attorney can weaken the prosecution’s case against his defendant with the following:
- Misuse of breath or blood-testing instruments during the procedure
- Uncertified forensic technicians handling the test
- Lack of sufficient probable cause for an arrest
- Field sobriety tests were conducted incorrectly or not in accordance with Nevada standards
- Ailment on the part of the driver that may affect the results of the test
Plea Bargains and record-sealing
It may not be possible to score a full acquittal for the defendant’s Las Vegas DUI case. In this kind of situation, the defense lawyer will endeavor to have the courts reduce the charge to a Nevada reckless driving conviction. While the defendant will receive the same penalties, he or she can benefit in the long run due to the following reasons:
- A lesser sentence does not count toward’s the defendant’s DUI records. If he or she gets charged again for DUI, he or she will face lesser penalties.
- A lesser sentence keeps a cleaner record for the defendant than suffering a second DUI, thereby ensuring that prospective employers will not ignore him or her because of his drunk driving sentence.
- Reckless driving only adds eight demerit points to a defendant’s license, instead of warranting an automatic suspension.
- The waiting period before a defendant can ask the courts to seal his or her reckless driving conviction record only takes two years, as opposed to a DUI conviction that requires seven years before it is clear for sealing.
Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney DUI Lawyer for Second DUI Nevada
A second DUI Nevada conviction is objectively tougher to deal with than a first-time DUI charge due to the tougher penalties that you can face. It is advisable that the person accused with driving under the influence for a second time should get in touch with a veteran drunk driving lawyer immediately to properly assess the situation and mount up a suitable defense.