To Do or Not to Do—Drinking and Driving???

Christian views on alcohol are varied. But what is clear is that driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) are serious offenses. DUI/DWI are offenses committed when a driver operates a vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs or other intoxicants. I oftentimes hear people say “I only had one drink at dinner and I am fine to drive.” It’s important to count the cost of even consuming a small amount of alcohol and driving.

In Nevada, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is set at 0.08% for drivers over 21 years of age and it is set between 0.02 and 0.08% for those under 21. For commercial drivers, the limit is set at 0.04%. Despite these guidelines, a driver may be arrested and be convicted for a lower BAC.

Having a Nevada license automatically provides your consent to be tested if stopped by a law enforcement officer, while driving. This is the law of “implied consent” and can be used by the officer to test you if you are stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving, either through a breathalyzer test or by an actual blood test to check the BAC. Refusing to take the chemical test will result in your permit to drive or license being seized; you may be arrested and taken for testing.

Points will be added to your driving record and your license will be suspended or revoked if you are convicted of DUI/DWI. The number of points assessed, depending on the severity of the offense and the number of times you have been convicted for it.

If you are over 21 years old and are caught with BAC higher than the set limit of 0.08%, you may be subjected to criminal actions in addition to administrative actions. If the DUI/DWI incident you are involved in is subjected to the criminal action, it is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice.

The first drinking and driving offense is normally treated as a Misdemeanor and may result in imprisonment for between two days and six months (or community service for 96 hours) and/or a $400- $1000 fine. Also, if convicted for a first offense:

o Your license will be revoked for 90 days;
o You may be eligible to drive using the restricted license for 10 hours a day for six days each week, with an Ignition Interlock Device after 45 days of revocation;
o You may have to pay $150.00 that is the average cost of DUI School; and
o You may have to undergo a treatment program if BAC is 0.08 or above.

Nevada laws have administrative implications in addition to the criminal laws against DUI/DWI. An officer may arrest a driver if:

• He/she is aged 21 and above and is driving with BAC 0.08% or more.
• He/she is aged below 21 and is driving with BAC 0.02% or more.

If you are arrested for DUI/DWI, the arresting officer will confiscate your Nevada driver license and issue a temporary seven-day driving permit, complete a notice of license suspension/revocation based on the nature of the offense along with a warrant, if applicable; and send the entire set to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The driver can schedule an administrative hearing after the notice of suspension/revocation. It is a good idea to consult a DUI/DWI lawyer beforehand. If the hearing goes against the driver, his/her license will be suspended or revoked based on a previous seven-year driving record. If there are any alcohol related convictions or suspensions for this seven-year period, the license will be revoked for one year, and if not, then it will be suspended for 90 days. You may be eligible to drive using the Restricted License if you meet the conditions. The suspension or revocation begins five days after the final order of the hearing officer is mailed from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If the administrative hearing goes against the driver, one can ask for a review from the circuit court. If the driver, however, does not request a hearing, then the suspension/revocation begins after the arrest and is final.

If you are convicted of DUI/DWI, it will result in your license being suspended or revoked. This means that your driving privileges will be taken away and you will need to apply for a reinstatement of your license with the Department of Motor Vehicles, once the period of suspension or revocation is over. Reinstating a license after a suspension of a year, or revocation will also mean taking the driving tests all over again. These will include the vision test, knowledge test, and the road test. If you do not complete the reinstatement requirements, the license will remain suspended or revoked.

1. To complete the reinstatement requirements, you must prove that you have successfully completed the DUI school program or a comparable program, pay the reinstatement fee of $65, pay Victim’s fee of $35.00 and maintain proof of financial responsibility for three years from the date of suspension/revocation by filing SR-22, if you are over 21 years old. SR-22 may also be required for those aged below 21.
2. If you are being convicted, the court may order an ignition interlock device to be placed for breathalyzer tests on any vehicle you drive at your cost.
3. You can submit the reinstatement application and fees in person at a Department of Motor Vehicles office near you.

So remember to ask yourself…is it ever wise to drink and drive?

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