In the state of Nevada, the offense of driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above, according to Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 484C. A DUI offense is also defined as operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance to the extent that the individual’s driving is impaired. In certain circumstances, an individual can also be charged with DUI if they have a BAC of 0.08 percent or above and are deemed to be in actual physical control of the vehicle. These include situations in which a person is asleep in the driver’s seat with the key in the ignition and the vehicle's engine running.
Nevada DUI penalties
The standard penalties for a Nevada DUI include a period of jail time, fines, driver’s license revocation, mandatory DUI school and required attendance at a victim impact panel. If a driver’s BAC level was 0.18 percent or above, or if the driver was under 21, DUI penalties include the requirement to install an ignition interlock device (IID) and undergoing a mandatory substance abuse evaluation. The latter requires payment of a fee for the assessment.
Penalties for First DUI Offense
The penalties for a standard first offense include between two days and six months in jail or between 48 and 96 hours of community service; a fine between $400 and $1,000 and payment of additional civil fees; completion of DUI school; attendance at a victim impact panel; and driver’s license revocation for 185 days, according to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Penalties for Second DUI Offenses
The penalties for a second DUI within seven years of a prior DUI include between 10 days and six months in jail; a fine between $750 and $1,000; completion of DUI school; attendance at a victim impact panel; a substance abuse evaluation; and driver’s license revocation for one year. An offender must install an ignition interlock device (IID) if their BAC level is 0.18 percent or above.
Penalties for Third DUI Offenses
A first-time DUI and a second DUI within seven years are both considered misdemeanors. A third offense within seven years is considered a Category B felony, the second-most serious type of felony in Nevada. The penalties for a third DUI include between one and six years in prison; a fine between $2,000 and $5,000; attendance at a victim impact panel; completion of DUI school; installation of an IID for between 12 and 36 months as a condition of license reinstatement; substance abuse evaluation; and driver’s license revocation for at least three years.
Fourth or Subsequent DUI Offenses
Nevada DUI laws consider a fourth or subsequent DUI a Category B felony. Penalties include between two and 15 years in prison; a fine between $2,000 and $5,000; attendance at a victim impact panel; completion of DUI school; installation of an IID for between 12 and 36 months as a condition of license reinstatement; and driver’s license revocation for at least three years. When a defendant has committed a DUI after being convicted of a prior felony DUI, the most recent DUI is also charged as a felony.
Nevada DUI Diversion Program
A defendant who has been convicted for three DUIs within seven years may be eligible to participate in Nevada's DUI Diversion Program. This is a preferred option for drivers who commit a third DUI in Las Vegas, which sits in Clark County, Nevada. This program typically lasts for three years, but can last up to five years. If a defendant successfully completes the program, they will be convicted of a second offense and avoid prison time. A defendant is not eligible to participate in the program if they have a prior felony DUI conviction.
Nevada Underage DUI Offenders
Drivers under the age of 21 may not drive if their BAC is 0.02 percent or above, according to NRS Section 483.462 and NRS Section 484C.350. A driver under the age of 18 is likely to have their case heard in juvenile court. A driver between the ages of 18 and 20 with a BAC of between 0.02 and 0.07 percent will suffer “underage DUI” penalties that include a six-month suspended sentence; a fine between $400 and $1,000; completion of DUI school; attendance at a victim impact panel; a 185-day driver’s license suspension; and a substance abuse evaluation.
A driver between the ages of 18 and 20 with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or above will be charged with a standard DUI.
Implied Consent Laws
Nevada’s implied consent law states that a person who drives, or is in actual physical control of, a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access consents to a preliminary test of their breath to determine their BAC when the test is administered. The chemical test may be administered by a police officer at the scene of a vehicle crash or where a police officer stops a vehicle. The officer must have reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving, or in actual physical control, of the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
An individual who refuses to submit to a breath test or blood test will suffer a driver’s license revocation of 90 days for a first offense DUI and will suffer a driver’s license revocation of one year for a second or subsequent DUI.
Out-of-State DUIs/DWIs Count
Nevada defines DUIs broadly, so it is likely that an out-of-state DUI or DWI (driving while intoxicated) conviction will count as a prior DUI. An out-of-state DUI conviction that was received over seven years before a current DUI charge will not count as a prior conviction for DUI received in the last seven years.
In addition, if a defendant received a deferred prosecution or participated in a DUI diversion program in another state, this may affect their ability to receive similar plea offers and participate in similar programs for the Nevada DUI.
DMV Administrative Hearings
The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspends or revokes an individual’s driver’s license in an administrative action that is separate from the DUI criminal or juvenile case. An individual can fight a driver’s license suspension or revocation by following DMV reinstatement procedures. An individual must follow DMV reinstatement procedures to reinstate driving privileges even if the DUI charge is reduced or dismissed.
After a DUI arrest by a law enforcement officer, an individual or their attorney has seven days to request an administrative hearing. This hearing takes place before an administrative law judge at the Nevada DMV’s Office of Administrative Hearings. After an individual requests an administrative hearing, the DMV issues a temporary driver’s license. Alternatively, it stays the administrative case until the administrative law judge renders a decision.
After a hearing, the administrative law judge issues a written ruling, typically within 30 days of the hearing. An individual who wins the hearing will see the administrative driver’s license suspension or revocation removed from their record. An individual who loses the hearing will have their driver’s license suspension or revocation period upheld.
Driver’s License Reinstatement
An individual alleged to have committed a DUI may have their driving privileges reinstated following an arrest by installing an IID on any motor vehicle they operate, according to the Nevada DMV. The DMV will issue a driver’s license with restriction that requires the installation of an IID after the driver provides proof of installation, pays the required fees, undergoes required tests and obtains SR-22 insurance. An individual who has reinstated their license is not eligible to request an administrative hearing on a license revocation, according to NRS Section 484C.230(1).
- Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles: DUI Laws
- Nevada Revised Statutes: Chapter 484C, Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or a Prohibited Substance
- Nevada Revised Statutes: Chapter 483, Driver's Licenses, Driving Schools and Driving Instructors
- Nevada Fourth Judicial District DUI Program: DUI Diversion Participant Handbook
- Nevada Eighth Judicial District: Felony DUI Treatment Court (FDUI)
- Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles: Office of Administrative Hearings
- Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles: License Suspensions and Revocations
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.