All posts by Ross C. Goodman, Esq.

Treatment Programs for DUI Offenders in Nevada

When someone is charged with a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Las Vegas and/or in other parts of Nevada, they do not only get consequences of prison time or fines: a DUI treatment program (or attending a DUI school) is mandated by the court. This is to prevent offenders from doing the same thing again by educating them more about DUI and the threats it could pose both in their and other people’s lives. DUI treatment programs can also vary depending on the frequency of the offense. To learn more, read below.

 

First and second DUI in Nevada

A defendant against DUI can apply for a treatment program even before the sentencing. For a first time defender, one can only be eligible if they had been verified as an alcohol or drug abuser by a physician (for this matter it’s a physician authorized by the law enforcement), they already spent at least 24 hours in jail for the offense, and they have agreed to shoulder the payment for the treatment. This goes as well for a second DUI in Nevada; the only difference is you need to had served at least five days in jail.

 

Take note that these treatment programs take time to complete, usually they are three to six months in length which will surely disrupt your daily routine.

 

Third DUI offense

DUI treatment programs are not available for third DUI offenders due to the fact that the accused is ought to stay for a long time in prison when convicted and because they will attend heftier programs such as a Nevada Victim Impact panel.

 

There are numerous DUI schools in Nevada that criminal justice attorneys can recommend. It is imperative that you be present in all of your classes as not going or not finishing a DUI treatment program can mean another set of charges. Now, completing your designated DUI treatment programs entails reducing of penalties.

 

Penalties for DUI in Nevada is imposed not just to punish offenders but also to remind them about the real dangers of DUI that they forget whenever they start drinking or ingesting drugs.

 

If you ever commit charges of DUI again even after a lengthy DUI treatment program then maybe there really is an inward problem that you need to deal with. However, if you firmly believe that you were falsely accused and you already have learned your ways (thanks to the treatment program), then enlist a DUI lawyer to help solve your case.

The Penalties for a Commercial DUI in Nevada

Even drivers of commercial vehicles can get penalized of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Nevada. This is in line with the State’s zero tolerance policy that guarantees criminal charges for anyone who drives while drunk or under the influence of drugs.

 

Commercial DUI in Nevada is when a driver of certain commercial motor vehicles such as company cars, cargo vans, limousines, or coaches are found guilty of violating DUI grounds. This is strictly prohibited as it could cause greater damage especially if a particular commercial vehicle is carrying groups of people or important resources. If you are currently facing this situation, here are some of the penalties that you would need to expect.

 

First commercial DUI offense

Penalties of a commercial Dui in Nevadaare relatively similar to standard DUI sanctions. The only major differences are suspension of license that could go up to three years (if you are transporting hazardous materials) and that you can be barred from being employed as a commercial driver again.

 

For a first commercial DUI offense in Nevada, the penalties are as follows:

  • Two days to six months in jail
  • Community service that lasts up to 48 hours to 96 hours
  • Fines of $400 to $1,000
  • Attendance of treatment programs and a Nevada impact panel

 

Second commercial DUI offense

When you are finally given the chance to drive again after a commercial DUI in Nevadaand you happened to violate it again within seven years after the first offense, you will be charged with misdemeanor that has penalties of:

  • Jail time of 10 days to six months
  • Fines amounting from $750 to $1,000 in price
  • Treatment programs as found in the first offense
  • Possible installation of interlock ignition device

 

Third commercial DUI offense

Just like any other criminal charges, a third commercial DUI offense is a felony in Nevada, specifically a category B felony. This incurs weighty penalties of imprisonment in a Nevada state prison for one year to six years. Large fines and ignition interlock device installation shall also be enforced.

 

When death occurs in a commercial DUI in Nevada(for an example, a woman dies in a fatal crash of the taxi she was riding because the driver is intoxicated), an automatic category B felony should be imposed regardless of the number of offenses. This type of felony charge consists of 20 years of maximum prison time.

 

Commercial DUI is exceptionally harsh because you are providing service and drinking or taking drugs during driving will subdue the trust given to you. Consult a DUI lawyer now for more of your questions about commercial DUI in Nevada!

Blood Tests in DUI: How Do They Work?

When pulled over for DUI (Driving under the Influence), a police officer can request a blood test to be drawn from you. This is to determine if you really were intoxicated at the time of the arrest and therefore had violated DUI laws in Nevada. To learn more about how blood test works in DUI and how your DUI attorney can help, read this post further.

 

When is a blood test for DUI required?

It is during a suspect drug driving where a police officer will request for you to have a blood testsimply because drugs cannot be detected through breath, rendering Breathalyzers useless. If you are arrested for alcohol, you cannot have the option for either a breath or blood test. Choosing a blood test is costly, not just in time but also in money as you have to shoulder the payment for the particular examination.

 

When can you refuse a blood test?

A blood test is a form of evidentiary testing and rejecting it can be an obstruction to legal proceedings enforced in Nevada. This is the reason why you cannot refuse a blood test unless you are only being indicted by the arresting police officer for alcohol.

Refusal of a blood test in DUI could lead to the suspension of your driver’s license for a year. This is also detrimental to your case as refusal can be used as evidence that you are guilty of hiding something from the arresting police officer.

 

How is blood test conducted?

When the police had decided that you need to have a blood test to prove your intoxication, you will be taken to a licensed testing facility for booking. A licensed physician, a phlebotomist, an emergency medical technician, and a registered nurse are only some of the professionals that can draw blood for you. With the assistance of your DUI attorney, you can request a separate blood test for yourself with results that you can use to counter false positive outcomes in court.  

 

How do you fight charges made by a faulty blood test?

A blood test in DUI is easily contested. Since you have no way of knowing if your blood test is actually handled well or not tapped at all, you can challenge the accuracy of the results by stating that faulty equipment was used during the testing and that it was performed by incompetent or uncertified professionals. Of course, if you are going to use this defense, you need solid proof gathered by you and your DUI attorney.

 

Another defense that you can use is the simplest one: you are not under the influence of drugs at all. And if you were, it was due to involuntary intoxication.

 

Blood testing is a testament to the firmness of Nevada law to convict those who are guilty of DUI. To avoid finding yourself being sentenced as one, you need the help of a DUI attorney during the blood testing and through the trial, if it gets pushed through.

Different Types of Controlled Substance Possession in Nevada

Owning or holding on to what Nevada considers as a controlled substance without proper prescription leads to a drug charge in Nevada. According to the Nevada Revised Statutes, a person who “knowingly or intentionally possesses a controlled substance, unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a prescription or order of a physician…” is guilty of certain punishments according to the type of controlled substance discovered. Read further for more information.

 

Types of substance possession

When arrested for possession of controlled substance, your drug chargeswill be classified into one of these certain nature of offenses:

 

1.  Actual possession of narcotics

This is the most common form of possession: when the substance is actually found on you, usually anywhere on your body, the clothes you are wearing, and the packs that you are carrying.

 

2.  Constructive possession of narcotics

This is when the controlled substance is found in a place that you own or have control over such as a house, a vehicle, and even rented storage areas.

 

3.  Joint possession of narcotics

It is joint possession of narcotics when two people share control of illegal drugs. Note that it does not matter whether you are using or not. The mere fact that you have knowledge that drugs are being stored by your friend on an area that you also own is an offense in Nevada.

 

Possession of drug charges

Like we said, penalties of a drug chargedepend largely on the Schedule of the drugs found on you.

 

Schedules I, II, III, IV

For a first and second offense on these schedules, a person will be imposed of category E felony in Nevada. One to four years in prison and a fine of not more than $5,000 are some of the punishment that category E felony entails. A third offense is a category D felony and apart from the fines that it entails, an additional $20,000 might be added.

 

Schedule V

Similar to the other Schedules, the first and second offense of this schedule is a category E felony while a third offense is also a category D felony but without added fines.

 

Marijuana

Anyone who is discovered of possessing one ounce or less or marijuana is guilty of misdemeanor for first and second offense. Gross misdemeanor for third offense and category E felony for fourth offense.

 

Possessing controlled substance is closely monitored and harshly penalized in Nevada as without doing so, a lot of people can long and ultimately be dependent on drugs. If faced with drug chargesin Nevada, know that you can fight for your freedom especially if the arrest was unlawful and the overall case is fabricated to suit a plaintiff’s accusations. Consult a drug defense lawyer today.

What Items are Considered as Drug Paraphernalia in Nevada?

Without drug paraphernalia, people cannot manufacture, transport, and use the substances themselves. This is the very reason why drug paraphernalia are also outlawed in Nevada.

 

According to Las Vegas and the State’s drug laws, if you are caught with kits and other equipment used to create drugs or to introduce drugs into the body, even with the absence of the drug itself, you can be penalized. Read further to learn the drug paraphernalia definitionand to know what is considered drug paraphernaliain Nevada.

 

Drug paraphernalia definition

An equipment, product, or material is considered as drug paraphernalia when they are used for planting, cultivating, harvesting, packaging, storing, ingesting, injecting, and inhaling drugs among others.

 

The Nevada Revised Statutes 453.554 provided a thorough list of what items can be considered as drug paraphernalia. Below are a few of the items mentioned.

  • Isomerization devices
  • Separation gins
  • Blenders
  • Bowls
  • Containers
  • Spoons
  • Capsules
  • Pipes
  • Bongs

 

Hypodermic syringes, needles, and other instruments used to dispense drugs through subcutaneous, intramuscular or intravenous is not included. This is because the Syringe Access Bill was enacted to help people buy syringes in case of emergency and be out of potential legal obligation.

 

For the full list, you can read the NRS Section here.

 

Despite this, the Nevada court will still look into other factors to see if anything discovered on your person or in your home can be treated as drug paraphernalia or if it is just a plain old item that happens to be within the place of arrest. The factors include:

  • Statements by the owner or anyone found in control of the item
  • Prior convictions
  • The proximity of the object to controlled substances
  • Residue of controlled substances found in the item
  • Other direct or circumstantial evidences

 

Penalties according to drug paraphernalia laws

Like we said, possessing drug paraphernalia even without the existence of drugs can mean an arrest and eventual conviction in Nevada. You will be sentenced with a misdemeanor charge if the items found in your possession are considered as drug paraphernalia which has up to six months in jail and fines of $1,000 as penalties.

 

To curb drugs, the State of Nevada is also vigilant against the tools that are used to administer them. If you are currently battling violation of drug paraphernalia lawsand you believe that the item confiscated from you is far from being one, let your voice be heard through the help of a criminal defense lawyer.

Boating Under the Influence: Homicide by Vessel

It is true that in lakes or open sea, there are not much of a traffic that can result to you boat-on-boat and/or boat-on-people crashes. However, when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, even without ships or people in close proximity, a deadly accident is highly possible. And these accidents can result to death, hence the coined term “homicide by vessel”. Now, what are its penalties? And how can the arrested person prove that he is not responsible for the fatality? Read this article by a Las Vegas DUI lawyer to answer your questions.

 

What is homicide by vessel?

Homicide by vessel is when a person “proximately causes the death of a person while operating or in actual physical control of a vessel under power or sail.” Take note that this is different from BUI causing death and injury. You will be charged with this offense if you had already committed at least three similar DUI on a boat in the past.

 

This offense is also made even likely when the navigator of the boat is under the influence. When you exceed the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) limit due to alcohol or drugs, your coordination gets impaired as well as your capacity to make sound decisions, rendering you truly unfit to drive a watercraft. Someone under the influence of drugs when boating has a high chance of making wrong turns or falling asleep and leaving the boat sailing on its own which could result to boat collision and, eventually, passenger harm.

 

As per the definition of homicide by vessel stated above, it can only be considered as so when you caused the death through an unintentional act. If you truly mean to crash the boat and have it ultimately capsize, it is murder.

 

What are the penalties of homicide by vessel?

When found guilty of homicide by vessel, the convicted will have to face a category A felony charge which consists of harsh penalties such as life imprisonment with possibility of parole after 10 years have been served. A prison term of 25 years is also an option which should also have the possibility of parole after 10 years of sentence. The Nevada boating license or boating certificate should not be suspended or revoked but its accuracy can be questioned if you have committed DUI on a boat. Homicide by vessel is a complex case and the penalties can vary depending on the weight of the boat accident.

 

What are the defenses against homicide by vessel?

Someone accused of homicide by vessel can challenge the charges through the following defenses:

  • The boat collision or whatever incident that caused the death was through events that you cannot control. For example, a storm or the deceased person instigating his or her own demise
  • The tests that were used on you were faulty or came with insufficient results
  • You were not intoxicated rather it is the speed or lost control of the boat that caused the death of a person
  • You were not the navigator or responsible of the control of the boat

 

A simple boat trip can be life-threatening when the person in helm of the vessel is intoxicated. Avoid conviction and the guilt of ending someone’s life by not drinking or taking drugs before navigating a boat. If it is too late, get the help of a Las Vegas DUI lawyer who is also knowledgeable about BUI.

When is Incarceration Guaranteed on a Nevada DUI Case?

In Nevada, many are fearful that once they are charged for DUI (Driving under the Influence) it means an automatic term behind bars. While DUI cases in Nevada do have penalties of jail and prison time, most of them only exist for and have a lengthy period of time when the DUI case is most severe. If you are facing only a misdemeanor case, you should not worry too much as your trusted DUI lawyer can still find a way to ensure that you do not enter any detention cells.

 

Nevada DUI Penalties

A Las Vegas DUI first offense within seven years is a misdemeanor in Nevada and usually has a jail time of two days (mandatory) to six months. Sometimes, there is no jail time at all. Judges consider factors such as the amount of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) found in the body, the manner of the defendant’s driving, and whether there are children present in the car to decide if a jail detention is needed. Know that jail terms are usually only spent on local police headquarters while a prison term means lengthy incarceration in larger confinements such as the Nevada State Prison.

 

A second DUI in Nevada within seven years is still a misdemeanor and has ten days to six months of jail time or, alternatively, a house arrest. This is to ensure that the defendant does not drive again for a certain period of time until they recover from or realize their errors.

 

Now, a third DUI offense in Nevada within seven years after the second offense is a category B felony and it entails one to six years of prison time.

 

Cases with Automatic Incarceration

For cases that involve grave injuries, destruction of property, and death, harsher nature of incarceration will be imposed. Injury or death caused by first time DUI is a category B felony in Nevada and is comprised of an automatic prison time in the Nevada State Prison for two to 20 years.

 

Vehicular homicide is a different situation. It will only be brought down when the defendant already have three DUI convictions on his or her belt. Prison term of up to 25 years on the grounds of category A felony is what is waiting a defendant proven guilty of this.

 

Jail time alone is a pretty daunting predicament for one to face—imagine how worse a prison term would be. To avoid any of this happening to you, make sure you fortify yourself with a DUI lawyer that knows how to reduce your charges as much as possible, or abolish them altogether.