1 A simple and practical guide to understanding Nevada s DUI laws and the Criminal Justice System. First Edition The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata 3841 W. Charlerston Blvd Ste 205 Las Vegas, NV 89102
2 FOREWARD Regardless of all the legal training, law school, attorney- client relationships, and trials, the one constant struggle I have observed after 14 years of practicing law in the State of Nevada is that DUI law and the justice system is an intimidating and confusing process, thus making it hard for attorneys and clients to navigate through. This is what motivated me to write a simple and easy to understand DUI guide that hopefully someone who has never been charged with a crime or received any legal training can read and reference, and therefore be more informed. I have found that besides the actual criminal charge(s) one may be facing, the unknown of what is to come is probably the biggest cause of worry and stress on a person charged with a DUI. Hopefully, with the use graphics and short explanations contained in my guide, one can gain an insight into Nevada s DUI laws and our criminal justice system. And with this knowledge, your journey will be a less stressful and worrisome. I hope you find my guide informative and easy to understand. Save it, print it and share it. Sincerely, Garrett T. Ogata, Esq.
3 Garrett T. Ogata (Attorney at Law) BIOGRAPHY Garrett T. Ogata attended The University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland. He began his career as a law clerk for Judge Michael Douglas in Clark County, Nevada. He focuses his practice in DUI defense and criminal defense and is licensed to practice law in Nevada, California and Utah. National Organizations Nat 'l Assoc. of Criminal Defense Lawyers Nat 'l Criminal Defense College [NCDC] American Trial Lawyers Association National College DUI Defense [NCDD] Instructor Nat l Highway Traffic Safety Admin [NHTSA SFST] NORML Legal Committee Nevada Associations Nevada Trial Lawyers Association Clark County Bar Association State Bar of Nevada Co- Founder of Las Vegas DUI Center California Associations State Bar of California Utah Associations State Bar of Utah Education California State University, Los Angeles University of Maryland School of Law (Juris Doctorate)
4 INDEX FOREWARD...i BIOGRAPHY..ii DUI PROCESS..1 DUI STOPS AND FIELD SOBRETY TEST 1 ARREST 2 BLOOD/BREATH ALCOHOL LEVEL....2 JAIL.3 BAIL AND OWN RECOGNIZANCE..3 ARRAIGNMENT.3 PRELIMINARY HEARING/PRETRIAL.. 4 TRIAL/BENCH.. 4 STATUS CHECK 5 RECORD SEAL.5 LICENSE REVOCATION.5-6 DMV HEARING.. 7 TRAFFIC STOPS & YOUR RIGHTS...7 STANDARDIZED FIELD SOBRIETY TEST. 9 PRELIMINARY BREATH TEST.. 11 BREATH v. BLOOD. 12 ATTORNEY CONSULTATION..13 DUI PROHIBITED SUBSTANCE..15 MEDICAL MARIJUANA AND DUI.16 DMV LICENSE SUSPENSION..18 BAIL...20
5 RECORD SEAL.. 20 DUI FIRST...21 DUI SECOND. 22 DUI THIRD.. 23 COMMERCIAL DRIVER S LICENSE.. 24 FELONY DUI CHARGES 26 VEHICULAR HOMOCIDE 27 DUI FEDERAL LAND. 28 DUI SCHOOLS.. 29 SR CANADA AND DUI...31 DOWNLOAD GUIDES..36
6 DUI PROCESS THE STOP AND FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS This is probably the most important event in your case and the most traumatic. Luckily, this traumatic event is over and now you can focus on obtaining legal representation and building your case. Many pretrial motions will be based on what transpired during the stop. Furthermore, this is where law enforcement built probable cause and gathered evidence to arrest you and use at trial to try to prove that you were driving under the influence. This is also where your attorney will build your defense and possibly suppress any evidence obtained illegally during the encounter. See Traffic Stops and Your Rights, p. 7 and Standardized Field Sobriety Test p. 9. It is important to schedule a consultation as soon as possible while your memory is fresh to aid your counsel in your defense. See Attorney Consultations p. 13.
7 ARRESTED FOR DUI Once law enforcement believes they have probable cause, you will be arrested. You will also have to submit to a Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine or blood draw from a nurse at the police station. If you refuse both, they will take your blood by force. It is recommended that you request the Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine and not the blood draw. See Standard Field Sobriety Test, p. 9. Keep in mind that law enforcement needs to have probable cause to arrest you; without this, your arrest would be unconstitutional. If this is the case, then a pretrial motion may be filed to suppress evidence and/or dismiss the case. BLOOD/BREATH ALCOHOL LEVEL If you do blow into the Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine which results in blood alcohol content (BAC) of.08 or above, then you will be booked for a DUI. Nevada has a per se DUI statute that presumes you are intoxicated if you blow a (BAC) of.08 or greater. You can also be charged with a DUI if you are driving impaired, even if your (BAC) is below.08. If a blood draw test was performed, then you will have to wait several months to determine if you had a BAC of.08 or greater. Nevada s DUI law also applies to prohibited substances. Prohibited substances/controlled substances are tested by blood draw test only, which will result in certain number of nano- grams per milliliters (Ng/ml) of blood. See DUI Prohibited Substances, p. 15. If law enforcement believes you are under the influence of a prohibited or even prescribed medication, then they may force you to give a blood test to determine if you meet any per se prohibited substance levels or to prove impaired driving. Depending on what your BAC or Ng/Ml is your license may be revoked. See DMV License Suspension, p. 18.
8 JAIL Let s face it, no one wants to go to jail, but it typically is only temporary when one is arrested for a DUI. Depending on the offense and your case, one can post bail, be released on your Own Recognizance (O.R.) without bail, or an attorney can file a motion to release you on your Own Recognizance. Just remember, do not make any statements about any incident while in jail, and making statements to law enforcement will NOT help you avoid jail or get out sooner. Law enforcement does and can lie. Plea negotiations are not done by law enforcement; this is something between your attorney and the District Attorney. Always invoke your right to remain silent and request your attorney to be present. BAIL/OWN RECOGNIZANCE (O.R) In many cases, you will be given a bail amount that you will need to post in order to be released. Depending on the type of charge against you and risk of flight, bails may vary. In some circumstances bail may be extremely high or even denied. One can post bail with their own money or go to a bail bondsman for assistance. An Attorney may also file a motion to reduce bail and/or for you to be released on your own recognizance (O.R.). See Bail, p. 20. ARRAIGNMENT The arraignment will be your first court appearance and that can be done by video if you re still in custody or in person. In most cases, if you retained an attorney, and are out of jail he or she can appear on your behalf without your presence. Typically, the state will provide you or
9 your attorney with the complaint/indictment showing your criminal charges. At this time you or your attorney will enter a plea of NOT guilty and a pretrial or preliminary hearing date or trial date will be set. PRELIMINARY HEARING/PRE- TRIAL Depending on the court and the charge, you may have another appearance before you get to trial. If charged with a misdemeanor in Municipal Court, you will have a Pre- Trial hearing. This Pre- Trial hearing gives the attorneys an opportunity to negotiate the case before trial or raise any discovery issues. If you are charged with a gross misdemeanor or felony, you will have a preliminary hearing where the judge will decide if there is enough evidence to go forward with a jury trial. The preliminary hearing is a mini- trial where the judge decides if there is slight or marginal evidence that a crime was committed. TRIAL/BENCH TRIAL Depending on the charge and if one pleads NOT guilty, one will either have a bench trial or a 12 person/juror jury trial. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, which is punishable not more than 6 months in jail, then you will have a bench trial. A bench trial is where the judge will decide your guilt or innocence on law and the facts of the misdemeanor case. If you are charged with a gross misdemeanor or felony, there will be a jury trial, where the jury will decide your guilt or innocence.
10 STATUS CHECK Depending on your sentence or plea, there may be requirements that you will have to fulfill per the Court s orders: DUI school, court fines, counseling, stay out of trouble, and community service. You will be given a date and time to come back before the court and present proof of your requirements to the judge. Once you complete and provide proof to the judge, your case will be closed. If you have completed all of your requirements, your attorney can make this appearance for you. Think of this as due date for when your homework is due, but with much higher consequences. If you fail to do the court requirements and/or get in further trouble with the police, you could be facing up to 180 days in jail. RECORD SEAL Luckily in Nevada, you are able to seal your record with court approval. There is a catch though depending on the type of crime you were charged with, you will need to wait 2 or more years. A misdemeanor has a 2 year waiting period, but if it was a misdemeanor DUI or domestic battery, you will need to wait 7 years. See Record Seal, p. 20. If your case was dismissed or you were found not guilty, then one can immediately start the record sealing process. This process can take up to 8 months sometimes, so it is best not to delay once eligible. LICENSE REVOCATION
11 This is probably one of the more confusing aspects of getting a DUI because it is a separate procedure from the criminal matter and it involves the DMV administration hearing. Your license is a privilege and this privilege to drive is determined by the DMV. Once it is shown that you have a BAC of.08 or greater, or a certain level of Ng/Ml of blood with a prohibited substance, your license will be revoked. If you did a Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer and it results in.08 BAC or higher, your driver s license will be taken immediately. You will be given a pink slip of paper which is your temporary 7- day driver s license and you or your counsel must request a DMV DUI hearing before your 7- day license expires. If you did a blood draw test, then it will typically take 2 to 5 months to get a DMV letter stating that your license will be suspended. Then you or your counsel must immediately request a temporary license and a DMV DUI hearing. See DMV License Suspension, p. 18.
12 DMV HEARING If you requested a DMV hearing within 7 days of having your license taken or suspended, you will be given a hearing where the DMV will determine if you committed a DUI. Your attorney can be present at this hearing. The burden of proof for the DMV to find that you committed a DUI is very low, so do not take this as an indication that you will lose your criminal case. Unlike the DMV hearing, your criminal case has a much higher burden of proof and you have various rules of evidence and constitutional protections. Even though a DMV hearing is a hard case to win, it is possible and provides your attorney with insight into what may later be brought before your criminal case. This enables your attorney to build a better case for you. TRAFFIC STOPS AND YOUR RIGHTS Sadly, most people do not know their rights and it is up to you to invoke these rights. Most Nevadans do not know what their rights are when stopped or how to respond to law enforcement while invoking these rights. One of the most common situations where you will be stopped and confronted by law enforcement is a traffic stop. These could be a result of a simple traffic violation or even a DUI/DWI check point. However, no matter why the police stopped you, you still have rights that need to be invoked by you whether you are innocent or guilty. We all know the saying, you have the right to remain silent, but rarely does a person stay silent. If you are driving, Nevada law requires you to have your driver s license, registration, and insurance. You will need to show these three things. You do not need to answer any questions. Once you start opening your mouth or responding to law enforcement s questions you are putting yourself at risk and not affording yourself the protections of the 5 th Amendment. You have the right to remain silent and a right to an attorney. It is perfectly fine for you to say, that you will not make any statements, nor will you do any Field Sobriety Tests. Silence alone even after your Miranda rights have been read does not indicate you are invoking your rights and law
13 enforcement will continue to question you hoping that you will eventually break and make a statement. You must state, I m invoking my 5 th Amendment rights and I will not answer any questions until I have spoken to my attorney. Until you have clearly stated that you are invoking your 5 th Amendment rights, law enforcement will say anything to get you to speak or make a statement even after you say you will not answer any of their questions and want your attorney. They may even get angry, make promises or threats; but do not give in, even if they decide to arrest you. This may be a likely scenario if you refuse to answer questions regarding drinking and driving or what medications you are taking. In Nevada, you can refuse to do field sobriety tests and preliminary breath test (a small handheld Breathalyzer machine done at the arrest site). Your refusal will not please law enforcement and can lead to more questions and threats. Without making statements, admissions or doing field sobriety tests, the police may not have enough probable cause to arrest you for a DUI/DWI. However, law enforcement still may arrest you even though they do not have enough probable cause; this is why you fight against such unreasonable searches and seizures in court. If they suspect that you are under the influence of a prohibited substance or controlled substance, then this may lead to a search of your body via a blood test. Law enforcement typically suspects this when someone answers the officer s questions regarding doctor s care and what medications they are taking. Even if you are taking legally prescribed medication, the officer s knowledge of this may lead to your arrest and a blood test. Always request a warrant and never consent to a blood test. However, officers may use force to draw your blood if they choose a blood test and you refuse. Do not fight or resist officers at this point for your own safety. Do demand a warrant and state you do not consent. If officers do obtain a warrant then you must comply, but never verbally consent. Once you are arrested, you should request a Breathalyzer test over a blood test to be done at the police station. Your choice should be a Breathalyzer test. See Breath v. Blood, p. 12. You may also hear law enforcement ask if they may search your car. If they ask, say I do not consent to any searches. The 4 th Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures, but if law enforcement gets your permission to search your vehicle, belongings, or person, then you give up your 4 th Amendment protection. Do not sign a consent to search form. An example of someone invoking their rights during a traffic stop with law enforcement can be found at However, how law enforcement reacts may vary and this is a good example of law enforcement respecting, after a few tries,
14 your rights and allowing you to go on your way. In fact, you should search the web for traffic stops to get an idea what it is like to interact with law enforcement. Visit for more information on police encounters and your rights. Here is a list of things to know if arrested or questioned by law enforcement: 1. Always be polite and respectful to the police officers. 2. If detained for a DUI, politely REFUSE to do ANY field sobriety test or on scene breath test (this is the small portable device, NOT to be confused with the Breathalyzer machine at the jail or in the van). 3. DO NOT answer any questions about alcohol consumption. It is best to stay silent about any and all facts of your case. 4. DO NOT answer any questions about doctor s care or any medications you are on, even if you have a medical marijuana card or doctor s prescription. 5. NEVER consent to any search of your vehicle, home or person. 6. While in custody, DO NOT discuss your case with anybody in the jail; they may be informants. 7. When you are released, NEVER make any contact with the police, District Attorney or Investigator without first consulting your attorney. These people are not here to help you. 8. DO NOT try to make any deals with the police. They can and will lie to get you to confess to a crime with the promise that your case will be dropped and/or that you will be released from jail. DO NOT believe them! Remember, there is no way to predict how law enforcement will react; they might respect your rights or they might threaten you, make promises, or lie to you in order to get you to incriminate yourself. Politely refuse and know that you may be going to jail, one way or another, but at least your constitutionally protected rights will be there to use as a defense. STANDARDIZED FIELD SOBRIETY TEST (SFST) Make no mistake about it; you are NOT legally required to submit to a field sobriety test in the state of Nevada. Nor will Nevada s DMV suspend your license solely on the grounds that you refused to do a field sobriety test. Nevada s DMV will suspend your license after you have been arrested for a DUI or if you request a DMV hearing after the arrest and then the DMV finds you guilty in their own hearing. See DMV License Suspension, p. 18. Let s also make it clear that if an officer has probable cause to believe you are intoxicated, then you MUST submit to a Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine or blood draw from a nurse at the police station. If you refuse both Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine and blood draw, they will take your blood either with your cooperation or take it by force. It is strongly recommended that you request to do the
15 Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine, and NOT the blood draw. Blood tests are more accurate and generally there are less chances of error. See Breath v. Blood, p. 12. The purpose of the field sobriety test is to test your coordination and concentration abilities. Police use this test to obtain validated indicators of impairment and to build probable cause against you so they may arrest you for a DUI. Police may still arrest you for a DUI even if you do not perform a field sobriety test if they believe they have probable cause from other facts, such as failing to maintain your lane, bad driving, glazed eyes, slurred speech, or any fact that may suggest you are intoxicated. If you do happen to do a field sobriety test, you will have to perform several tests, which you will most likely fail, sober or not. The typical tests one will have to perform in Nevada are: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) - This test looks for the involuntary jerking of the eyes as they move side to side. This test is conducted when an officer ask the suspect to track his finger, pen, or light from left to right. The officer is looking for exaggerated eye jerking at lesser angles, such as looking straight ahead, in both eyes. The officer will also be looking for difficulty tracking his finger side to side because this may imply impairment. The officer is looking for 3 indictors of impairment in each eye: if one cannot follow the moving object smoothly; if jerking is distinct when the eye is at the maximum deviation; and if the angle of onset of jerking is prior to 45 degrees of center. If the officer, between the two eyes, observes 4 or more clues, then this is considered to show that one has a BAC of.08 or greater. There can be non- alcoholic related reasons for failing this test and there may be issues with the officer not properly conducting the test. Depending on your case, this may be used as a defense in pretrial or trial. See Video. Walk- and- Turn (WAT) This test looks to see if the suspect can follow directions and perform some physical actions. The Walk- and- Turn requires the suspect to take 9 heel- to- toe steps in a straight line and then return in the same manner. The officer conducting this test looks for 8 indicators of impairment: suspect cannot keep balance while listening to instructions; begins before the instructions are finished; stops while walking to regain balance; does not touch heel- to- toe; steps off the line; uses arms to balance; makes an improper turn; or takes an incorrect number of steps. If two or more indictors are found, then this allegedly tends to show impairment. There are numerous reasons why someone who is completely sober can fail this test. Shoes, uneven walking surface, lighting, age, weight, prior injuries, or any other physical conditions can cause one to fail. In fact, the suspect should not perform this test in Nevada if over 65 years of age or 50 pounds overweight. See Video. One Leg Stand- Video (OLS) This is another test that tests the suspect s ability to follow directions and one s physical ability. One will be instructed to stand with 1 foot approximately 6 inches off the ground and count aloud by thousands until told to put foot down (e.g. up to one thousand thirty). The suspect will be timed for 30 seconds and the officer will look for 4 indicators of impairment: swaying while balancing; using arms to balance; hopping to maintain
16 balance; and putting the foot down. The officer will consider just 2 indicators as a sign of impairment. Various physical and environmental factors can cause someone who is not even impaired by alcohol to fail this test. See Video. You can see why it is important to NOT do any field sobriety tests; they are difficult for the average person and various non- alcoholic factors will cause people to fail. Politely decline to do any of these tests, even if threatened with arrest because it is better not to incriminate yourself with these tests and be arrested than to fail them and be arrested. See Traffic Stops and Your Rights Link, p 7. PRELIMINARY BREATH TEST (PBT) DEVICE NRS 484C.150 and NRS484C.160 The Preliminary Breadth Test (PBT) is a small portable handheld device that law enforcement carries with them to test a person s breath alcohol content if they have reasonable grounds to believe that a person was driving or in actual control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This device only test for alcohol. Do not confuse this with a Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine or a blood draw that is used to test your blood alcohol content (BAC) with a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) device. The Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine test must be done by a certified technician, usually a police officer, while the Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) device can be done by any officer that stops you at the scene. The Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) device does not have to be operated by a certified technician or be calibrated. The Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine must be operated by a certified trained technician and calibrated to ensure it is operating properly. The blood withdraw will also have procedural safeguards that must be followed. If you are arrested and taken before a Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine or a blood draw nurse, and if you refuse to give your breath or blood, you will be held against your will and a nurse will take a blood sample by force with the help of several police officers. If you do submit to a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) handheld device conducted by an officer at the scene, the PBT results are not admissible in any criminal action to prove you were driving under the influence. However, it may be used to show there were reasonable grounds to make an arrest.
17 Nevada s Implied Consent statute NRS 484C.150 states that you have implicitly consented to a test, whether by Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine or blood draw when you were given a Nevada driver s license. However, the implied consent statute does not circumvent the requirement of having probable cause to make an arrest under the 4th Amendment. For an officer to force you to give an evidentiary test, such as the Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine or blood draw by a nurse, he or she must have probable cause, or voluntary consent from you, or implied consent if you have been arrested, or when a driver is dead, unconscious, or in a condition rendering him incapable of being arrested. See Davis v. State, 99 Nev. 25, 656 P.2d 855 (1983). However, the Supreme Court held in Missouri v. McNeely, that law enforcement must obtain a warrant to conduct a blood withdrawal. If you refused to perform a Standardized Field Sobriety Test and the Preliminary Breath Test device (PBT), then the arresting officer has less evidence to prove probable cause to justify your arrest. If an officer does not have probable cause then it is an unconstitutional search and seizure. BREATH v. BLOOD When it comes to testing a person s alcohol concentration (BAC), most people are aware of several options to test this. Typically, the tests used in Nevada are either a Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer machine or a blood withdrawal. It should be noted that urine is a possibility, but rarely used. When faced with the two tests both are substantially different, yet both seek a common goal (finding your BAC); the question then becomes, which one does one choose? Each test has its own advantages and disadvantages making the choice a confusing matter. Some feel that blood is more accurate and therefore the better choice, while others are scared of needles and will chose a Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer over the blood test. Truthfully, the main difference is how a criminal defense attorney will build a defense and attack the evidence. Furthermore, it also will determine the time frame when one receives a notice from the DMV suspending one s license. See DMV and License Suspension, p. 18.
18 Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer Testing A Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer test tends to be the most error prone test of them all and an experienced Attorney will know this and build a defense around this. There can be issues with the machine not working properly, operator error in obtaining the results, not obtaining results within 2 hours of driving, the test subject s own conditions that may impact the results and more. A breath test machine allows for a hat trick of sorts of an attack on the machine, operator, and test subject. Blood Testing This tends to be a more accurate of the testing methods; after all it is testing the B in BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). If your goal is to have an accurate test then this would be the route to go, but it gives your Attorney less areas to focus his or hers defense on. There are defenses of course. An attorney can challenge the blood by having it retested, chain of custody issues, the lab technician not trained and certified, test was not within 2 hours of driving, retrograde extrapolation defenses, and if the blood was taken without a warrant. Do not consent to a blood draw. Keep in mind, if one has blood retested, the prosecution may have it retested for any other prohibited/controlled substance as well which can lead to a per se prohibited substance violation or impaired driving. It is ultimately up to the individual to choose what test is right for them. However, from years of experience we have found Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer test results provide for a better defense. ATTORNEY CONSULTATIONS Being arrested or charged with a crime is one of the most stressful and fearful things one can experience. Ignoring it will not make things better or go away. It is important to immediately seek out an experienced attorney to help guide you through this ordeal and fight for you all the way. The first thing you need to do is consult with an attorney. Not all attorneys are the same and you may need to consult with several attorneys before you decide who will represent you. A consultation with an attorney is very important and helps you understand your case and the law. A qualified attorney should have no problem discussing the facts of your case, the law, and possible defenses during your consultation whether or not you decide to hire that attorney. When you consult with an attorney there are several things that you need to discuss. The Facts
19 Start from the very beginning. An attorney needs to know what happened leading up to the arrest. Your defense starts before the actual arrest. Law enforcement needs reasonable suspicion to stop you and probable cause to arrest you. You should go through all the events leading up to your arrest. Where you were, what were you doing, who was with you, when did this occur, and why did this occur all sounds very basic, but can be critical to your defense. Contact with law enforcement needs to be discussed thoroughly with the attorney. Who, what, when, where, and why needs to be discussed. What officers were involved, what they said to you, what did they make you do and what did you do and say are just some of the basic, but critical facts that need to be discussed with the attorney. Typically, once law enforcement stops you, they are trying to gather probable cause to arrest you and their investigation of possible crimes has started. An experienced attorney will help guide you through your case. It may be helpful for you to write down everything you remember as soon as possible to refresh your memory if needed. The Law An attorney should be able to explain the charges you are facing or may be possibly facing depending on the facts of your case. Although statutes are there to provide notice to citizens as to what is illegal, it can be very confusing for people to understand. During your consultation, the attorney should explain the law and any questions you may have. Possible Defenses An attorney should discuss possible defenses depending on the facts of your case and the nature of the crime. Some common things that should be discussed are defenses raised by legal procedure and possible trial strategies. You should feel that the attorney has a grasp about your case and the law. The Process The legal system can be very complicated and time consuming. An attorney should explain the process from beginning to end with you. You should feel that you know what to expect going forward. Possible Outcomes There are various possible outcomes to your case. An attorney should explain these possible outcomes and the consequences. Fees Attorneys charge various fees and for good reasons, but make sure you know what you are paying for. Your attorney will need to make numerous appearances for you; make sure that you know what you will be paying for and how much. Remember the rule of thumb: that a good lawyer is probably not cheap, and a cheap lawyer is probably not the best.
20 The Decision Many Attorneys will do free consultations so take advantage of these but make sure you discuss your case and feel informed. Trust your gut. It is completely acceptable to visit more than one attorney and an attorney should understand this. You are about to enter into an attorney- client relationship. So take your time, weigh your options and make a decision you feel comfortable with since you and your attorney will have a close working relationship. DUI PROHIBITED SUBSTANCE AND IMPAIRMENT NRS 484C.110 Many people would be surprised to know that you do not need to have any alcohol in your system to be charged with a DUI. Being under the influence of marijuana or other prohibited substances can also lead to a DUI charge. A person who cannot safely drive or assert actual physical control of a vehicle due to the use of marijuana, prohibited substances, chemicals, organic solvents, compounds, or controlled substances can be charged with a DUI. This would be what is known as driving under the influence of a controlled substance for impaired driving. Prosecutors would have to prove from the totality of the circumstances that the substance(s) rendered you incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of the vehicle. See Cotter v. State, 738 P.2d 506 (Nev. 1987). Unfortunately for many people you can also be charged with a DUI related to marijuana use even if you are not too intoxicated to drive safely. This is known as a per se violation. A per se violation occurs if a person s blood or urine has a certain concentration of marijuana or other prohibited substances even if he or she is fully capable of driving safely. Your medical marijuana card does not protect you from getting a DUI. In fact, it may unfairly lead the police to believe you are impaired and warrant a blood test. If a person s urine contains ten (10) nano- grams or more of marijuana per milliliter then they have committed a per se violation. A person with a concentration of two (2) nano- grams per milliliter in their blood has also committed a per se violation. If a person has a concentration of marijuana metabolite equal to or greater than fifteen (15) nano- grams in their urine or five (5) nano- grams in their blood they have also violated Nevada s prohibited substance per se DUI statute.
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