If you’re facing charges of driving under the influence (Chapter 484C), you’re sure to have concerns, and some things may trouble you more than others. Here are the questions we at Weiner Law Group hear most often.
Why Did the Traffic Cop Single Me Out?
If an officer has stopped you on suspicion of DUI, it is likely that he or she observed something erratic about your driving. The most common giveaways include:
- Weaving and swerving.
- Haphazard changes of speed.
- Sudden braking or stopping for no apparent reason.
- Drifting out of your lane.
- Steering onto the shoulder or into oncoming traffic.
- Driving without headlights.
If you can show a good reason for any of this behavior, you could walk away with nothing more than a warning. However, if the officer smells alcohol on your breath or detects a bleariness in your eyes, your story could end somewhat differently.
Must I Admit That I’ve Been Drinking?
No. When an officer stops you on suspicion of DUI, you can and should decline to answer any questions that could possibly incriminate you. If you admit to driving under the influence, you admit to having committed a crime.
Am I Legally Required to Take a Field Sobriety Test?
No, you are not. Although most people do not realize it, the state of Nevada does not require anyone suspected of DUI to submit to a field sobriety test. These tests measure physical agility and mental presence, and many experts feel that anyone, drunk or sober, would find it difficult to pass them. Don’t overestimate your abilities in this regard. Be especially wary if you are in poor health or getting on in years.
What Does the Field Sobriety Test Entail?
On the assumption that a person under the influence is likely to wobble, each of the field sobriety tests will supposedly test an ability to stand up straight. To that end, the standardized tests include:
- The walk-and-turn, a test during which the subject must take nine heel-to-toe steps in one direction, then turn and repeat coming back.
- The one-leg stand, an exercise designed to display an aptitude for balancing on one foot while counting to 30 by thousands.
- The pen test, a measure of the subject’s ability to move the eyes as far as possible to the left or the right without letting them jerk.
In other tests, the officer may ask the subject to stand with feet together and look up at the sky; close the eyes and touch the nose; or count how many fingers he holds in the air.
Will a Refusal Count Against Me?
Although it is your option to decline any field sobriety test, the officer may take your dissent as sufficient reason to arrest you with probable cause. If this should occur, you may subsequently find yourself forced to submit to evidentiary breath or blood testing.
Will a DUI Arrest Cause Me to Lose My License?
Maybe. Upon your arrest for driving under the influence, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles will accordingly suspend your license. However, there is a process to request a hearing at the DMV to appeal the suspension of your license. The length of this period will vary as follows:
- Three months for the first arrest.
- One year for the second arrest within seven years.
- Three years for the third arrest within seven years.
If your DUI arrest should lead to a conviction, the court will impose additional limits. These will vary based on prior convictions within a seven-year period. For example:
- A first conviction will compel a 90-day revocation with the chance to secure a restricted license after 45 days.
- A second conviction dictates a one-year revocation with no restricted license available.
- A third conviction will result in a three-year revocation with the possibility of obtaining a restricted license if circumstances should warrant.
If your DUI conviction has resulted in the death or serious injury of another person, the three-year revocation will always apply.
How Soon Can I Contact a Lawyer?
If you are facing DUI charges, you’ll need to get in touch with a DUI attorney at your earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, the law restricts you from doing so until after you have declared whether you are willing to answer incriminating questions or submit to evidentiary testing. It is in your best interests to obtain legal representation for you DUI immediately after that.
Driving under the influence is a criminal offense. It is also an enhanceable offense and one for which the severity of your punishment will rise with each subsequent conviction. If you are facing charges of DUI, don’t take chances with your future. Contact Weiner Law Group at your earliest opportunity. Our expert DUI lawyers will spare no effort in ensuring the defense of your rights.