DUI Arrests In Nevada: Process, What to Expect, Your Rights, and More
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Being arrested for DUI or anything else can be a daunting experience especially if you have never been arrested for a crime before. DUI arrest can be a very scary situation because it involves more than just being arrested for a suspected crime.
We will look into all aspects of a DUI arrest from the beginning when a defendant is first suspected of DUI, through the arrest process, and what to do immediately after being arrested.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI, contact The Defenders.
Our experienced DUI lawyers will review the case and develop a defense strategy that can keep you out of jail, reduce fines or even have the charges dismissed. We understand the legal process and will be there to help throughout the entire journey.
First Contact with The Police
First, let’s be clear.
The police do not know who out on the road has had a few cocktails before they got behind the wheel.
Did you ever have a teacher give you an A at the beginning of the school with the understanding that you can either keep it by doing the work or lose it for not completing the assignments? Well, having a driver’s license is kind of like that.
The DMV and the state of Nevada issue you a driver’s license to use as a privilege and not a right. If you get caught drunk driving you will lose that right among other things.
So you’ve had a few cocktails on one particular night and you get behind the wheel and head home, you think you’re fine and driving the way you normally do. On your way home you see a police officer on the side of the road.
Maybe you were going a little too fast or swerving just a little bit. Maybe your driving is just a little off. Off enough to make that police officer take notice.
Remember, the police officer is completely sober and trained to notice that something just isn’t right in the way that you’re driving. And that is all it takes.
The police have to have probable cause to pull you over, even a slight speeding offense or slight swerve is probable cause enough to pull you over and that’s where a very long night begins.
Once the officer attempts to pull you over, you must pull over immediately. Always make sure that you have your license, registration, and insurance cards in your vehicle and that they are all valid and up to date.
The officer will ask you for all your current documents and then tell you the reason they pulled you over. They need to inform you why you’re being pulled over, like if you were speeding or swerving.
If they don’t tell you the reason you should ask.
The officer will ask you if you have been drinking. Remember, anything you say can be used against you in the future. They will expect you to answer.
If you are suspected of DUI you will be asked to get out of the car to conduct the Field Sobriety Tests.
Taking Field Sobriety Tests
You are not legally required to submit to a field sobriety test in Nevada.
You can refuse; however, refusing may trigger other consequences that can result in immediate arrest for suspicion of DUI and loss of your license for up to one year even if you are not convicted of DUI.
Refusal to take the test will result in loss of license.
There are three possible standardized field sobriety tests that are issued by police officers.
These tests are standardized by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and provide law enforcement with detailed instructions and training on how to administer these tests.
Three tests include:
- Horizontal gaze tests: you will be instructed to follow a pen light with your eyes from side to side.
- Walk and Turn tests: this requires you to walk forward heel to toe for nine steps, turn and pivot 180 degrees around and walk heel to toe nine steps back.
- One-legged stand test: you will be required to stand with one foot off the ground at least six inches while counting aloud by the thousands (one -one thousand, two-one thousand etc.) until you are told to put your foot down, this should happen after thirty seconds.
You may be asked to take one or all three of these tests once you are pulled over.
The officer is looking for you to fail one or all of these tests in one way or another. For example, in either the one-legged stand or walk-the-line tests, you may lose your balance and fall. With the pen tests, your eyes might not follow the light or be bloodshot or red for no reason.
If you fail any of these tests the officer may ask you again to take a preliminary breath test at the scene where you have been pulled over. This is the first breath test where you are asked to blow into the breathalyzer. The officers will access your blood alcohol content or (BAC).
If your BAC is .08% or higher in Nevada you will be arrested for suspicion of DUI.
You Are Now At The Police Station You Are Now At The Police Station
If you have failed the field sobriety tests and failed the initial breath tests, you will be arrested and taken to the police station.
Your car may be red-tagged where they leave it where you were pulled over if it’s out of the way or the police will have it towed and impounded. You, however, will be headed to the police station in a police vehicle most likely and, yes, you may be handcuffed.
Once you arrive at the police station, you will be processed into the local jail.
Processing into the local jail requires a few steps.
- Photographed and fingerprinted
- Medical and criminal history taken
- Placed in a holding cell
- Other sobriety tests issued
The police have two hours to issue other sobriety tests including another breathalyzer test. This is known as the evidentiary breath test.
This is the second breath test and is usually administered at the police station. You can refuse these tests; however, the police may get a court order to take a blood test also administered at the police station. In some cases, the police may give you a choice to take one or the other.
Once you take either of these tests and fail with a BAC of .08% or higher, the results will be transmitted to the DMV of Nevada.
You may be released a few hours later on your own recognizance or you may have to post bail or attend a bail hearing depending on the specifics of your particular DUI case.
Getting Charged with DUI
Once you are released from jail, you will be given information about a first court date.
Now this is very important. You need to hire a lawyer immediately. The choices you make right after a DUI arrest can have long-term effects.
Not many people realize that besides a regular court appearance and the consequences that come with a DUI arrest, there is also the DMV hearing. Since your test results are transmitted to the DMV after a DUI arrest, you can request a DMV hearing.
A DMV hearing is not required but any lawyer will tell you that you should at least try. You must request a DMV hearing within 7 days of your arrest in writing.
A DMV hearing is basically a mini-trial that takes place at the DMV with DMV administrators. Your lawyer will attend this hearing for you. If you lose your DMV hearing, you will be guilty of DUI.
You must win both the DMV hearing and your court proceedings to be found innocent of DUI. The DMV hearing can do more than just address guilt or innocence; it can determine if you get to drive while your case is pending or if your license will be suspended immediately.
DUI Expert Lawyers
The Defenders has a team of lawyers with years of experience in DUI solutions. Here’s what we can do for you if you hire us:
- We will investigate the charges against you with our own investigative team.
- We will fight to get the case dismissed or the charges against you reduced.
- We will fight for the minimum penalties for the charges.
- We can get your records sealed after a conviction if the record can be sealed.
- We can guide our clients and their families in all aspects of the legal system including bail and how to obtain bail for our clients.
The choices you make right after charges are brought against you can have a long-reaching effect on you in the future. Choose a local Nevada lawyer with years of experience with your particular case.
Call The Defenders today for your DUI-related legal needs.