First Time DUI In Las Vegas?
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If you have been arrested for DUI in Las Vegas, it is important to understand the different potential punishments that could be imposed if you are convicted. Each time you are arrested for DUI within a seven year period, it is a different crime with different mandatory minimums. After seven years of no additional arrests, your records can be sealed.
What are the punishments for a “DUI First” conviction?
If you have been arrested for suspicion of DUI and it is the first time you have been arrested for that charge within a seven year time frame, it is known as a “DUI First.” This means that it is treated as the first time that you have been arrested for this crime (if it is outside of a seven year period, you can be arrested on a “DUI First” charge multiple times.) A “DUI First” in Las Vegas is the crime that most people arrested for DUI are charged with. Most people who are arrested for DUI in Nevada are only slightly over the legal limit, and made a mistake in judging how much they had to drink and how long they needed to wait until they were sober enough to drive. For this reason (since there was no malice involved) the court system has guidelines that will allow a judge to impose punishments designed to teach you a lesson about drinking and driving, but not to completely destroy your life. The punishments of a DUI first are designed to be harsh enough to make you remember to never do it again, but not so harsh as to impact your life so much that you cannot function in the future. This does not mean that a DUI First will not impact you for some time in both the job market as well as socially, but it is designed to be a punishment that you can work through and then recover your life by not doing it again. When you are convicted of a DUI First, the judge will impose some combination of the mandatory minimums on you.
What are the mandatory minimums of a DUI First in Las Vegas?
Drunk driving in Las Vegas is illegal under Nevada law 484C.110. The maximum penalties for a conviction that a judge can impose on you are six months in jail, a $1,000 fine and 120 hours of community service. Most people convicted of a first time DUI do not receive maximum penalties, and instead are ordered a combination of minimums.
- Jail Time: Most people convicted of first time DUI get either a suspended sentence (jail time is completely suspended if you remain within the orders of your probation) or sentence you to one or two days in jail then give credit for the time already served when you were arrested. Each case will have different elements that might contribute to different sentences of jail time, these factors including a high arrest record, a high level of alcohol in your blood stream, causing an accident or resisting arrest. All of these factors can lead a judge to issue a longer jail sentence, but if none of them apply to you then you will probably get the minimum of two days and have that credited back. If you were bailed out early you may have community service hours in lieu of jail time.
- Fines: The maximum fine for a first time DUI is $1,000, but this is rarely imposed. It is usually over $500 and can be expected to be around that much. You will also be ordered to pay court costs. These are the costs that the state took on to bring the case against you. It is not uncommon for fines and court costs together to exceed $1,000.
- Probation: You will probably get probation of some length on your first time DUI. This means that you will need to comply with specific aspects of the probation that the judge sets. You will probably be ordered to avoid all drugs and alcohol, and will be ordered to not break any state or local laws. If you violate probation, a judge can impose the maximum sentence of six months in jail, although this is uncommon. The typical punishment for a first time probation violation is between two days and two weeks in jail.
- License Suspension: A conviction of a DUI First gets a mandatory three month license suspension. It is possible to get a restricted license after 45 days which will allow you to drive to work or to probation functions. It is possible to avoid license suspensions through a plea bargain to a lower charge like reckless driving. A reckless driving conviction gets no suspension but does involve 8 points on your driver’s license. You will need to keep a perfect driving record from that point, but avoiding the suspension of your license is definitely better than any other situation. This is why it is imperitive to work with an experienced DUI lawyer.
- Substance Abuse Treatment or Intervention: You can expect to be ordered to attend victim impact panel and be ordered to undergo some form of alcohol or substance abuse training. Some of these classes can be attended online and some cannot.
- Record Sealing: You will have to wait seven years to get your records sealed from public view. Until that time, any job you apply for is going to see a DUI on your record. A reckless driving conviction can be sealed after one year. Yet another reason that working with a DUI attorney is going to benefit you. If you depend on driving for work, that seven years can seem like a lot longer.
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