Driving under the influence is mostly associated with people behind the wheel of most light vehicles like cars, or most medium vehicles like SUVs or vans. However, DUI is not limited to such vehicles. Listed below are four other unique cases of DUI charges that are covered in Nevada and elsewhere.
- Biking under the influence: some states consider bicycles to be vehicles in the same category as most motor vehicles, and fall under the same jurisdiction as other DUI cases. This is on top of motorized bikes, ATVs, and go-karts that also fall under the same category.
- Commercial DUI: drunk driving with a bus, semi-trailer, or other commercial vehicle.In addition, commercial DUI can also cover people who lease commercial vehicles, private motor carriers, government chauffeurs, civic organization drivers and church drivers.
- Aggravated DUI: also referred to as ‘felony DUI’. Committing another serious crime while under the influence and behind the wheel. Reckless driving or overspeeding, severe damage to property, or accidental injury or death are all typical felonies that can be committed while under the influence.
- Misdemeanor DUI: less severe offenses that can still aggravate a DUI charge. Misdemeanor DUI cases do not reach the same level of punishment as felony DUI charges, although they can still be hefty for repeat offenders. Minor traffic violations instigated by DUI are a typical example.
Nevada takes its DUI crime cases seriously, enacting severe penalties to discourage future offenders and reform current ones. This goes doubly so if the case is a DUI manslaughter one, where another person suffers an injury or death as a result of impaired driving caused by alcohol.
When a traffic accident results in the death or bodily injury of another person, then a driving under the influence charge can be received. Victims of such an offense can be passengers, other drivers, or even passersby.
To have a DUI manslaughter case in Nevada, however, the prosecution must be able to prove causation leading to the event; that is, they must prove that the defendant imbibed alcohol or other intoxicating substances prior to the event, and that this has impaired their faculties enough to make them lose control of the vehicle. If they manage to find a direct link between the two, they have a better chance of getting a conviction.
The defendant has the right to defend his liability for the incident by proving that something else caused the accident through the superseding-intervening cause. This clause states that something else intervened during the time of the alleged crime that led to the manslaughter or injury. Such causes may include errors on the side of the victim, a third party getting involved, or external factors beyond the control of both victim and defendant.
As a rule, a third or subsequent DUI charge is classified as a felony according to Nevada rules. As such, prosecutors will see to it that the court is convinced to enact hefty penalties on the defendant if his or her guilt is proven, mostly through lengthy stays in prison and large fees.
A person can be charged for a third DUI in Nevada if:
- it is the 3rd offense within 7 years
- DUI caused serious injury
- DUI caused a person’s death
- suspect fled the scene of the crime resulting to damage of property
- caused a hit-and-run resulting in death/injury
Punishment for a third DUI within seven years of the previous conviction include:
- Prison term for 1 to 6 years
- $2,000 to $5,000 fine
- Victim Impact Panel
- Installation of Breath Interlock Device in your car for 1 to 3 years after release
- 3-year driver’s license suspension or revocation, 5-day registration suspension
- $35 civil penalty fee
- Alcohol and drug evaluation
DUI causing injury is a Category B felony and leads to the following punishment:
- Prison term of 2 to 20 years
- Fines from $2,000 to $5,000
If the defendant is accused of DUI with death and has 3 previous convictions, the charge will escalate to the Category A Felony of vehicular homicide (NRS 484C.440) and can lead to:
- Imprisonment from 25 to life
- Chance of parole after 10 years
Leaving the scene of a DUI crime to avoid arrest is an automatic felony DUI charge, with the severity dependent on the amount of damage/injury caused.
Collision resulting to damage of property will be penalized with:
- 6 months of imprisonment; and/or
- Maximum fine of $1,000
- 6 demerit points to offending driver’s license
The more severe charge of hit-and-run resulting in injury can lead to:
- 2 to 20 years of imprisonment with no probation
- No less than $2,000 and no more than $5,000 fines
- Possible license revocation and suspension, depending on the number of injuries and deaths during the incident
The Field Sobriety Test is the evaluation that law enforcement officers do to people who are suspected of Driving under the Influence (DUI), to analyze if they are still capable of driving safely, considering that they will not endanger themselves and the other people on the road. These tests are usually done to evaluate one’s ability to concentrate, balance, multitask, and function as directed, characteristics that are usually impaired whenever one is under the influence or intoxicated. As in many states across the country, Nevada’s field sobriety test procedures follow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved method of field sobriety tests, which involve
- 9-step heel-to-toe walks
- one-legged stands
- horizontal eye movement nystagmus test (checking for twitchy eye movement while following an object horizontally, usually a pen, thus earning it the nickname of the ‘pen test’)
- feet together and head backwards
- finger counting
- Rhomberg stationary balance test (feet together, arms wide, and heads back with eyes up to the sky)
- finger to nose
As a rule, when pulled over for a field sobriety test:
- Keep calm and deal with the officer respectfully
- Know your rights
- Concentrate on the tasks at hand
- Cooperate fully
- Get in touch with a veteran DUI lawyer if about to be booked
DUI laws in Nevada cover a broad range of offenses and situations, from simply being in possession of intoxicating substances on the road to culpability for a fatal road accident brought about by drunk driving. Part of this coverage are Nevada’s commercial DUI laws.
Commercial DUI covers driving under the influence while operating a commercial vehicle, such as a semi-trailer or a delivery truck. Apart from its coverage of a specific industry, there’s not much difference between it and DUI laws in general. For example, commercial DUI charges can be made when relatively the same amount of intoxicating substances are found in their blood stream. Note the table below.
||Urine Nanograms per illiliter
||Blood Nanograms per milliliter
|Lysergic acid diethylamide
Note that to be charged with a commercial DUI case, one must be driving (1) a vehicle around 26,001 lbs, including the towed unit that must not exceed 10,000 lbs, (2) The ability to ferry 16 passengers (including driver), and (3) can transport either bulk regular materials or hazardous substances like medical waste.
Nevada takes its drug-related crimes seriously. As one of only ten states where marijuana use for recreational purposes is legal, Nevada is very keen about regulating drug use in general, and will severely penalize any attempts to produce or consume controlled or prohibited substances. Add that to the state’s long history of dealing with drugs since its inception, and you can get a pretty clear picture of how serious Nevada is about cases.
For a more detailed look into drug laws based on the Nevada Revised Statutes, here is how the state defines some of the more drug crimes in Nevada:
- Manufacturing or growing of controlled substances: the act of planting, cultivation, growing, and eventual harvesting of plants that are used or distilled to create controlled substances. Manufacturing with the intent to sell is classified as a crime, and can be penalized with a six-year prison sentence and over $100,000 in fines. Nevada’s new laws regarding marijuana cultivation also apply here.
- Distribution or selling of controlled substances: merely being a middleman for distributing controlled substances can land you in jail. Note that selling refers to dealing in small amounts of controlled substances; ‘trafficking’ refers to wholesale distribution of controlled substances, as in cartels.
- Possession or usage of controlled substances: having controlled substances on your person without prescription is enough to land you in prison for at least six months and have to cough up over $1,000. Note that there are three different precedents for possession-related charges: actual possession, constructive possession, and joint posession.
Sports have always been dogged by report upon report of iconic athletes being busted for consuming performance-enhancing drugs. These substances are notorious for temporarily improving the capabilities of the person who consumes them, and is a sign of outright cheating. In sports circles, this practice is known as ‘doping’.
Mixed martial arts is a particular scene where doping is notoriously prevalent. With the often rigorous training requirements, the extreme level of physical exertion MMA fighters have to endure, and the grueling experience of international travel, these athletes may be tempted to take steps to stay ahead of the competition. This goes double for fighters signed to prestigious MMA brands like the Ultimate Fighting Championship. On the flipside, some of these supposed instances of doping are caused by outlying factors outside of the sport itself, or are fabricated by critics and opponents.
On that note, here are five high-profile doping cases involving high-profile UFC fighters.
- Brock Lesnar: banned for fighting in the UFC for one year after testing positive for anti-estrogen drugs in his July 2016 bout with Mark Hunt. Has since submitted to another drug test in 2018 to be reinstated to fight in the octagon. In the meantime, he has returned to professional wrestling and is a current belt-holder.
- Chael Sonnen: suspended for a whopping three consecutive times after testing positive for excessive testosterone consumption during his match with, and eventual loss to, Anderson Silva in 2010. Has since moved on to Bellator MMA and has returned to fighting.
- Josh Barnett: notoriously suspended and stripped of his freshly-won heavyweight title in 2002 after testing positive to doping both before and after the fight. After forays into other promotions as well as other doping-related issues, Barnett returned to the UFC but opted to leave in 2018 citing his distrust of the US Anti-Doping Agency.
- Nick Diaz: tested positive for marijuana use in 2007 during his fight with Gomi Takanori. He received a similar ruling five years later, but a more harsh one-year suspension. After losing his return fight in 2013, he has remained in hiatus to this day.
- Wanderlei Silva: failed to submit to tests in 2014 and was originally slapped with a lifetime fighting ban by the Nevada Athletic Commission, but received a relatively lighter three-year ban thanks to drug crimes attorney Ross Goodman’s vigorous defense. Has returned to fighting and is currently signed to Bellator.