Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Don't Let Nevada's DUI Laws Stop You In Las Vegas

Sorry to sound like a party pooper here, but ...

Higher gas prices may be highest on your list of things to worry about before you drive to or in Vegas this Memorial Day weekend, but there is one other potential problem for you to consider.

I know what the Vegas ads say. Come to Vegas and do things you normally would not do at home. That's fine, but there are limits - what stays here might be you. If you are drinking (or whatever), arrange for alternate transportation. I was stopped by the police and charged with a DUI last year, but fortunately I was able to successfully defend myself in court and have it reduced. You may not be so "lucky". Even so, believe me, you do not want to go through what I went through!

This Memorial Day weekend just assume that there will be numerous Metro Police sobriety checkpoints throughout the Valley ( as there usually is for all major holiday weekends ). Those of you partying at or on Lake Mead, be particularly cautious - the Park Police have the authority to arrest you for open containers, etc., a definite damper on holiday fun!

Come to Vegas to have a good time, but don't think you can do anything really stupid and get away with it. For example, don't drink (or use drugs - legal or illegal - that impair your driving ) and drive. You may have to stay in Vegas a lot longer than you expected with less than desirable accommodations!

For those who may be interested (fore warned is fore armed), here is an outline of Nevada's strict DUI laws ( All others can just cruise by ... )

Across the United States, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is a serious offense and carries harsh penalties. It's no different in the state of Nevada. Beyond alcohol and illegal drugs, the DUI charge even applies to prescription and over-the-counter remedies when taking them impairs your ability to safely drive a car.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit

The illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Nevada is:

* 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21

* 0.04% for commercial license holders

* 0.08% for everyone else

The BAC applies only to alcohol. If any detectable amount of an illegal substance―like cocaine or marijuana―is found in your blood, you'll receive at least the same penalties as you would for alcohol, and perhaps even more.

DUI Laws

The Illegal Per Se Law simply means that driving with a BAC at or above the legally prescribed limit is an offense in and of itself. However, because the BAC limits are just a guide, you can also be arrested or cited for having a lower―but still detectable―amount of alcohol in your system.

The Implied Consent Law means that you must submit to BAC testing when requested by a police officer. Getting into the car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol already "implies" your consent to being tested.

If you resist, law enforcement has been given permission to use reasonable force. You can also be arrested immediately for resisting (this is the more likely result).

The Open Container Law makes it illegal to drive a vehicle with opened alcoholic beverages anywhere in the car. It doesn't apply, however, to the living areas of a motor home or RV, or the passenger areas of buses, taxis, and limousines.If you are driving under the influence with minors under the age of 15 in your car, that will be considered an "aggravating circumstance" and will undoubtedly result in harsher penalties.

If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you will be charged an extra $60 for the chemical tests, if any were done at the time of your arrest.

The Penalties

Getting a DUI comes with two different types of consequence: administrative and criminal. The DMV will impose penalties on you and your license (administrative), and the courts may fine you and press charges (criminal).

The DMV will suspend your license upon your arrest for DUI. To get your license back after both this suspension and the court-imposed suspension have elapsed, you will be required to do the following at the DMV:

* Pay a $65 driver license reinstatement fee.

* Pay a $35 Victims Compensation Civil Penalty.

* Pay a $21.75 driver license application fee.

* Retake the vision and written tests, and possibly also the skills test.

* Have your insurance company file an SR-22 certificate with the DMV for three years.

The above penalties relate to a first offense only; consequences may be more serious for subsequent offenses.

Note: Requesting the required SR-22 certificate from your insurance company will usually result in your premiums doubling or tripling for those three years. Some insurers don't provide SR-22s and may drop you altogether.

The following are the criminal penalties for DUI convictions. This list applies to drivers over the age of 21 who aren't commercial license holders. Penalties could be harsher for young drivers (quicker and longer suspensions) and commercial drivers.

First conviction:

* Driver license revoked for 90 days. After 45 days, you may be eligible to apply for a restricted license that will enable you to drive to work and back.

* Jail sentence of at least two days and up to six months, or 96 hours of community service.

* Fine of at least $400 and up to $1,000.

* Mandatory attendance at DUI school; average cost is $150 for tuition.

* Possible order to attend a substance-abuse treatment program.

Second conviction within seven years:

* Driver license revoked for one year. You will not be eligible for a restricted license.

* Jail sentence or home arrest of at least 10 days and up to six months.

* Fine of at least $750 and up to $1,000.

* One hundred to 200 hours of mandatory community service.

* Possible car registration suspension.

* Possible order to attend a substance-abuse treatment program or undergo clinical supervision for up to one year.

Third (or more) conviction within seven years:

* Driver license revoked for three years; you may be eligible for a restricted license under certain circumstances.

* Prison sentence of at least one and up to six years.

* Fine of at least $2,000 and up to $5,000.

* Possible car registration suspension.

DUI causing death or serious injury (even on a first offense):

* Driver license revoked for three years.

* Prison sentence of at least two and up to 20 years.

* Fine of at least $2,000 and up to $5,000.

If you are arrested for a DUI offense, you're in for some time at the police station and some time in court. You may wish to have a DUI lawyer by your side while you make the decision whether to plead guilty or not guilty. If you decide to fight the charges, you'll have your best chance of succeeding if you appoint a lawyer.

Protect Yourself from Other Drivers

Even if you aren't driving under the influence yourself, your life can be drastically altered forever by coming into contact with someone who is. When you see a car on the road that is driving erratically or otherwise makes you think the driver is impaired, stay away from it. You can even report the driver by dialing *NHP (*647) on your cell phone.

The following are signs that a driver may be driving while impaired:

* Turning too widely

* Straddling the center line, or swerving between two lanes

* Near collisions with people or objects

* Weaving or drifting from lane to lane

* Driving off-road, or ignoring turn lanes and continuing straight

* Driving too fast or too slowly

* Stopping in the road for no reason

* Tailgating

* Erratic, uneven braking

* Driving into oncoming traffic

* Slow response to traffic lights or signs

* Sudden speed changes

* Driving at night without headlights

Additional Resources

The DMV has prepared an information sheet on DUI called Driving Under the Influence.

The following are other, non-DMV-related resources for awareness and information about the problem of driving under the influence:

* Stop DUI (Las Vegas): (702) 456-7687

* Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD):

* Reno: (775) 322-8852

* Winnemucca: (775) 625-3500

* Dayton: (775) 246-7522

* National Commission on Drunk Driving

* Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD)

* What's Driving You?

Medical marijuana patient charged with DUI

May 24, 2007 10:49 AM from KVBC Channel 3 Las Vegas:

A Henderson man faces DUI charges, but he says he's done nothing wrong. That's because he is a legal medical marijuana patient.

Reggie Morgan has liver cancer that is in remission, but he says he is still in a lot of pain, so he smokes marijuana to ease the discomfort. He says he has all the paperwork to make it legal - a doctors note, a letter from the Department of Agriculture, even a medical marijuana ID card.

Recently he was pulled over by a state trooper and charged with driving under the influence. We spoke with Metro police about this issue; they say legal or not, no one under the influence of drugs should be behind the wheel.

"He needs to stay home and tend to his medical issues, not being out driving putting you and me and my families at risk," said Metro Sgt. Phillip George.

NHP took a blood sample from Morgan and it showed marijuana in his system. Morgan says he was not under the influence at the time and that the drug would turn up in his system from prior use.


The Prophetic Scribe said...

Hey. I just happened upon your site. Even though I live here, too. I am an avid blogger and I work in the show and tour industry. Although my life here is ministry, not clubbing, you appear to be a responsible partier....so party on, sister, and stay safe.

Michael Leonard Fisher said...

I appreciate your comment. Always have a designated driver or alternate plan to get home if you are doing some serious partying.

BTW, I'm Michael, and so you need to change "sister" to "dude" :)

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