My Last DUI Was Years Ago, Does It Count Against Me?
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DUI convictions are all too common these days. Most people arrested for DUI only make the mistake once and learn their lesson.
Even if you are a responsible citizen and have never broken the law, it is possible to be in the wrong place at an unfortunate time. This could lead to you having one too many drinks without feeling intoxicated yet still facing DUI charges. Regrettably, this unfortunate scenario happens all too often for even good people who simply made a poor decision or were unlucky enough to be in the wrong situation.
First, Second and third DUI convictions are very different with each arrest and conviction.
The penalties and future effects get more and more severe each time. However, there are a few things that you should know about multiple DUI convictions.
DUI convictions are serious offenses and if you are under suspicion of DUI you need to hire legal counsel immediately. Waiting to hire a DUI attorney can reduce your chances of getting some of the penalties and fine minimized or having the case dismissed.
DUI Charges in Nevada
Before diving in, remember that in Nevada, there are two types of DUI charges that one can face. The first one is a misdemeanor DUI and the second is a felony DUI. Both have different circumstances and rules that govern how they are prosecuted.
This is important to remember when answering the question of whether your last DUI counts against you. Why?
Most people asking the question of whether their last DUI counts towards them have either not been charged with a DUI in the past, or if they have, it was so long ago that it may not be counted. In that scenario, you will only be facing a misdemeanor charge and the consequences would be much less severe than if it were a felony DUI charge because of multiple offenses.
The Magic Number
The magic number in Nevada is three.
If you have been convicted of three DUIs within a period of seven years, then your third DUI will be treated as a felony offense and the penalties for conviction can be much more severe.
However if your last DUI was several years ago, it’s likely that it won’t count against you as long as you have stayed out of trouble since then. An experienced DUI attorney will be able to advise on the exact legal implications depending on your specific case.
Note that this only applies to simple DUIs. It also doesn’t matter if your previous DUI occurred in another state.
DUI resulting in death or injury are prosecuted differently and can still be used against you in a court of law. The same applies to DUI combined with other charges, such as narcotics possession or underage drinking.
The bottom line is that no matter how many DUIs you have on your record, it pays to get an experienced attorney to fight for your rights and try for the best possible
Examples to Show How Timing Affects DUI Penalties
Sam was arrested and convicted of simple DUI (misdemeanor) in 2015. This was his first DUI offense. Last Christmas, after a few too many glasses of eggnog, Sam was stopped by the police and charged with another DUI. Fortunately for Sam, he is not looking at a felony charge because this was only his second DUI offense in 7 years.
On the other hand, Carla was convicted of DUI in 2020 and 2022. She already had two simple DUIs on her record. If she gets charged with DUI anytime between now and 2027, she would be facing felony charges since this will be her third DUI offense within the last 7 years. Note that she will receive a felony DUI even if she was just pulled over and wasn’t involved in an accident that resulted in death or injury.
How Many Years Between DUI Arrests
In Nevada, DUI arrests are kept on a person’s record for up to 10 years. The defendant can have the record sealed after 7 years if no other DUI arrest occurred in that period.
The person that was convicted of a first-offense DUI must hire a lawyer and have them get these public records sealed by the court. If another arrest occurs within the 7-year period then the second arrest is a second conviction of DUI and the second offense penalties will apply. A second offense DUI can also be sealed after 7 years with the help of a lawyer.
Again if you are arrested again for DUI within that 7 years period it will be considered a 3rd offense and the 3rd offense penalties will apply.
A 3rd offense DUI is a felony conviction in Nevada and not eligible to be sealed. Any subsequent arrest for DUI are felony charges and the penalties will be more severe and involve prison sentences.
What Are the Penalties for Each DUI Conviction?
As with most crimes, the more you get arrested and charged with the same crime, the more severe the penalties and fines. The same goes for DUI arrest and convictions in Nevada.
Penalties for First Offense DUI
$400 to $1000 in fines plus court cost. 8 hours of DUI alcohol awareness and traffic safety classes, victim impact panel class such as MADD ( mothers against drunk driving, 6 months of license suspension, SR-22 insurance for 3 years to reinstate your license after the suspension, ignition lock device installed in your vehicle , and 2 days in jail ( time served for arrest time ) and sometimes 46 to 96 hours of community service. Finally three years of insurance premium rate increase and in some cases your auto insurance may drop you as a client.
Penalties for Second Offense DUI
With a second offense DUI, the penalties increase. For example the fine is $750 to $1000, a one year license suspension, 10 days to 6 months in jail, a court mandated alcohol evaluation where you may have to complete one year of clinic supervision at a treatment facility, and an interlock device installed in your car. This is in addition to all the penalties from a first offense DUI.
Penalties for Third Offense DUI
The third offense penalties in Nevada are much more severe. The third offense is a class B felony conviction in Nevada if it occurred within 7 years of the first or second. The standard penalties are 1-6 years in state prison, a $2000-$5000 fine, 3 years of license revocation , breath interlock device for three years in your car, alcohol dependency evaluation and possible rehab along with the penalties for a second DUI.
The costs for all of the classes, insurance, fines, and other penalties are the responsibility of the person who has been arrested for the DUI.
These case can range in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for each offense.
Can I Do DUI Court Instead of Prison ?
If you have been arrested for DUI in the state of Nevada three times within seven years, you are eligible to enroll in The Serious Offenders Program is your next step.
This is an intensive three to five year rehabilitation program that involves:
- A term of house arrest
- Random drug and alcohol testing
- Wearing an ankle monitor that measures alcohol in your blood known as SCRAM
- Weekly counseling or inpatient treatment
- Court monitoring or probation
If you are selected for this program and you complete it successfully, you may be able to have your 3rd conviction for DUI reduced to a second offense, which is a misdemeanor in Nevada.
Can I Get My Charges Reduced?
The simple answer in no, prosecutors are required to pursue all DUI cases unless the following occur:
- There is no probable cause to support the DUI charge ,or
- There is insufficient evidence to prove DUI beyond a reasonable doubt during a trail
However there are a few cases where DUI charges were reduced to reckless driving charges as a plea bargain.
This occurs rarely and only in certain circumstances like if you were right on the cusp of the .08% limit with a .07%. Another example is you were walking after leaving your car but the police saw you park your car before walking.
These are some examples where DUI charges can be reduced to reckless driving.
If you accept the plea of reckless driving, you will be pleading guilty and the penalties will usually be the same as if convicted of DUI but there will be no DUI charges.
If you are on your third DUI offense and complete the Serious offenders program you may be able to get the 3rd conviction reduced to a second conviction that is considered a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
Getting charges reduced or dismissed in DUI cases is rare and only with the help of a good DUI lawyer. Call The Defenders today if you have been charged with DUI or multiple DUI charges within 7 years.
The Defenders DUI Lawyers in Las Vegas
Our track record speaks for itself, we have years of experience. Our team of experts has been defending DUI clients for years with a lot of success.
We have gotten cases dismissed or reduced based on our investigation.
We will tell you up front what you can expect once we have all the information on your case, no surprises. Contact us today if you have been charged with a DUI.