If you should find yourself pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) (Chapter 484C), you’re going to have several things to consider. The first and most important of these will concern whether or not you’ll need the assistance of a DUI defense attorney. In a case of Nevada DUI, the prosecution or arresting officers may try to convince you otherwise, insisting that things will go more smoothly if you just plead guilty as opposed to retaining a criminal lawyer. Regardless of what they may tell you, capitulation is highly unlikely to be in your best interests. Call Weiner Law Group today and speak to a criminal attorney for help with your DUI.
When Pleading Guilty to DUI Is a Bad Idea
Even if you feel certain that conviction is unavoidable, an admission of guilt is rarely your best option. In the state of Nevada, the penalties for DUI are quite severe even for a first offense. In addition, although you may not be aware of them, there could be mitigating factors in your case. By uncovering these exceptions and using them to bolster your argument, a good DUI defense attorney will be of great assistance in defending against your charges of DUI. The attorneys at Weiner Law Group can provide you with the help you need.
Las Vegas Visitor DUI
Las Vegas (Clark County) is a mecca for tourists, many of whom like to enjoy a few drinks while playing the slots. Unfortunately, when inebriated Las Vegas visitors hit the road, arrest for DUI can be closer than they imagine. This can pose a particular problem for those who are here for a short time only. Visitors who must return to the region from which they’ve come may try to avoid the situation altogether by leaving town well before the court date.
This is never a good idea. A good DUI attorney from Weiner Law Group can apprise you of your options in a case like this, one of which will allow you to go back home while your lawyer fights the case in your stead.
Why You Need Assistance
If you know with certainty that you were not driving under the influence, it can be easy to convince yourself that you will not require the services of a defense attorney. Your reasoning might go like this: Since you are so obviously not guilty, your innocence should be readily apparent to any intelligent human being who takes the time to think about it.
Unfortunately, trying to fight DUI charges on your own can prove to be trickier than you might have imagined. If you’re like most people, you have little to no familiarity with the court system and administrative procedures. You probably also have scant understanding of the plea bargaining process. In many cases, people who try to represent themselves will find themselves convicted and possibly facing punishment of far greater severity than needed to be the case.
The Possible Penalties Connected with a DUI
A first offense will count as a misdemeanor DUI for which the DUI penalties in Nevada can run the gamut from community service to a possible jail sentence with a diverse range of punishments in the middle. While these penalizations are surely no walk in the park, they are nothing compared to what happens to those convicted of a subsequent DUI offense within seven years.
That’s because in Nevada, second, third and greater DUI violations automatically escalate to the level of felony DUI. In addition to being hit with larger fines, those convicted of felony DUI will likely face a lengthy prison sentence while saddling themselves with a criminal record that is difficult if not impossible to expunge.
Possible DUI Penalties in Las Vegas
If convicted, you will face at least one, but probably several, of the following:
Las Vegas DUI Fines
This is the least serious part of a DUI sentence. Fines run between $400.00 for a first-offense misdemeanor DUI, or up to $5,000.00 for felony DUI.
A criminal defense lawyer can often convince the court to substitute community service hours or professional treatment programs for jail time. The prosecutor wants to put you behind bars, but the court is usually willing to consider DUI alternatives if your attorney shows that you will benefit from them.
Going to jail (if your sentence is less than one year long) or prison is the worst possible scenario. At Weiner Law Group, we do everything possible within our power to help our clients stay out of prison. Even a guilty verdict doesn’t necessarily mean a prison sentence if your lawyer can push for other options.
The Nevada DMV takes independent action after a DUI conviction. Your license will be suspended or revoked for a designated period, determined by the nature of the offense.
After you have paid your fine, served a jail term, or completed therapy, the court may still impose measures meant to prevent you from driving drunk again. You might have to check in with a counselor periodically, for example. A common technique is installation of a Breath Interlock Device, which automatically disables your car if your blood alcohol content is above a certain level.
When Procedural Errors Play a Role
Every step in the process of arresting, booking and prosecuting you provides a point at which carelessness on the part of police and prosecutors can violate your rights. These missteps can start with your actual apprehension. The officers who detained you may have arrived at an inaccurate blood alcohol count. They may have administered the BAC test illegally or performed their DUI testing procedures under conditions that were less than optimal. In addition, unless you were driving erratically or breaking the rules of the road, your very arrest itself may prove to have been unlawful.
An experienced DUI attorney from Weiner Law Group can identify the procedural errors that may ultimately enjoin the court to dismiss your case entirely.
When the DUI Evidence is Bad
If you attempt to mount your own DUI defense, you can easily find yourself blindsided by the startling ability of Nevada prosecutors to come up with damning witness testimony and evidence that seems to point directly to your guilt. You, yourself, may be unable to recover from such an unexpected blow. A DUI attorney from Weiner Law Group, however, will be quick to identify and challenge such shaky proofs to the point of keeping them out of the courtroom entirely. This will impede the prosecution’s ability to prove its charges against you and may succeed in getting the charges considerably reduced or even dropped.
When Conviction Seems Inevitable
The circumstances of your case may be such that conviction is unavoidable. Nevertheless, a good DUI defense attorney can make use of proven tactics to minimize the harm to you. For example, if the prosecutor wishes to avoid a protracted fight, he may agree to settle for a guilty plea on such lesser charges. Although pleading in this manner could leave you forced to pay a minimal fine, a successful plea bargain can keep you out of jail while protecting your criminal record from an onerous DUI.
Why Negotiation Is in Your Best Interests
Whether your infraction is minor or severe, your DUI attorney from Weiner Law Group will take pains to investigate your options and determine the best way to apply them to your case. Our aim will be to get the charges dismissed entirely, but if that should prove impossible, we will do our best to get them reduced from felony to misdemeanor.
Such a reduction will have a huge impact on your future prospects. While the great majority of felony convictions remain on public view for as long as 15 years, misdemeanor convictions can disappear from your record in as few as seven and in some cases after only two.
In many cases, the offense that police charge you with is not actually the charge that you face in the end. At Weiner Law Group, we do our very best to get every DUI accusation thrown out of court, but sometimes that simply isn’t possible. It doesn’t mean that we have to give up, though; we just have to change our approach. A reduced charge can keep a DUI off your criminal record, and can make the difference between prison and an alternative. On the other side of the spectrum, a DUI charge can sometimes serve as a reduced charge from something else—vehicular homicide, for example.
Offenses Related to DUI
We have had great success in convincing prosecutors to lower charges from DUI to reckless driving. This change is possible if the prosecutor can plainly see that he is not going to be able to prove to the court that you were actually driving drunk. As a misdemeanor charge, reckless driving generally carries fewer penalties and less stigma than a DUI conviction. In a few years, you can petition to have your criminal record sealed, and the incident will have no further effect on your future.
Note that felony DUI (2 or more previous convictions, or death or injury as a result of the incident) can also be reduced to a felony reckless driving charge. Your immediate penalties will not be much different, but the long term benefits are significant. The waiting period for sealing the record is shorter than that of a DUI, and there is a reduced effect on future opportunities.
If your accident tragically led to the death of someone else, your DUI charge will be on the level of a felony (felony DUI), even if it is your first offense. If your DUI defense lawyer prevents the prosecutor from proving that you were driving drunk, however, your charge will likely be changed to that of vehicular manslaughter. This offense is defined as causing death through simple negligence and carries misdemeanor penalties.
If you already have three DUI convictions and you are involved in an accident causing death, the prosecution will probably charge you with vehicular homicide. This offense carries the possibility of a life sentence in prison, so getting the charges reduced is essential. A common deal is to plead guilty to felony DUI, avoiding a life sentence in favor of a maximum twenty years in prison. Twenty years is a long time, but it is preferable to life behind bars.
DUI charges are serious crimes. You need the help of an experienced Las Vegas DUI attorney. Call 702-202-0500 or fill out our contact form.