According to Travel and Leisure magazine, the Las Vegas Strip is the fourth most popular tourist attraction in the world, with nearly 30 million annual visitors. For any of these tourists, being arrested for drinking and driving can be a scary situation. Drivers can be confused about what step to take to ensure the best possible result, especially if that person is not in his or her home state. For out-of-state drivers, DUI charges can seem more complex and often intimidating.
In Nevada, one of the most common reasons for tourist arrests in the city stems from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is extremely adamant about keeping drunk drivers off of the roadways, and officers will take advantage of every opportunity they have to ensure nobody is driving while impaired.
According to NRS § 484C.110, it is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or public roadway.
A person can be considered intoxicated if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath. Nevada law also says it is considered illegal if a person is found to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath within 2 hours of driving or being in control of a vehicle.
According to Nevada law, “controlled substances” can refer to amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, morphine, marijuana, methamphetamine and phencyclidine. In some cases, even if the medication was prescribed, a person still can be considered under the influence, depending on the amount ingested.
When a driver is charged with a DUI or convicted of a DUI in Las Vegas or other areas of the state, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles will report it to the appropriate government agency in the driver’s state. The home state can take action against the driver.
Some states only will take action if the Nevada DMV chooses to suspend the driver’s license. Others only will take action against the accused if he or she is criminally convicted. Depending on the driver’s home state, he or she could face DMV penalties there as if the charges originated there. In others, drivers may only be penalized if the home state has similar DUI statutes as Nevada.
A first time out-of-state DUI in Las Vegas is considered a criminal misdemeanor offense. The presumptive sentencing for a conviction includes a minimum initial jail sentence of two days, with a maximum of six months in jail. In addition, there likely will be a fee of $400 to $1200 and a 90-day suspension of your driving privileges in Nevada.
When out of state, it is important to know local and state laws and how the statutes could potentially affect a tourist. It can be difficult to address a legal issue from another state, especially if the accused is expected to attend court dates. Some charges, including out-of-state DUI, can be handled entirely by a criminal defense attorney.