Vegas might be a party town where everybody comes to cut loose, but Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs is taken very seriously in Nevada. In many cases, stiff consequences are imposed. DWI is synonymous with DUI in Nevada; if you are arrested for drunk driving, the charge is DUI.
As with every other state, Nevada law states that you are presumed to be too intoxicated to drive if your blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher. However, Nevada law also states that if you are driving a commercial vehicle, that limit drops to .04, and if you are under the age of 21, the limit is only .02. Even if you haven't had any alcohol at all, you can still be guilty of a DUI if you've driven and used other controlled substances, legal or not, such as marijuana, heroin, or methamphetamines. For those drugs, there is no acceptable limit—any amount of these substances in your system renders you too intoxicated to drive. If you are just sitting behind the wheel with the engine running, you implicitly agree to be tested for the presence and amount of any of these substances in your body. Not only that, but it is also illegal to drive with an open alcoholic beverage anywhere in the vehicle, even if you have not had a drop to drink.
DUI cases begin with a traffic stop almost every time. Police officers are trained to observe details the average person doesn't even think about, including how you pulled over, how you act when asked for your license and registration, what odors are present in your vehicle, and even what items are plainly visible. After all, an officer was observing your vehicle and driving before turning on the lights and sounding the siren. By the time the officer has approached your vehicle, you likely were already under suspicion of DUI. If the first question you're asked is something to the effect of, "How much have you had to drink?", there's no doubt. YOU SHOULD NEVER ANSWER THIS QUESTION! If you do, you should almost always expect to be arrested for suspicion of DUI. You are not required to answer any of the officer's questions, and you always have the right to speak with an attorney before you answer any questions.
Police officers may ask you to step out of your vehicle to take a field sobriety test. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE UNLESS AND UNTIL TOLD TO DO SO BY THE OFFICER! Field sobriety tests include breath tests, and it is important to note that none of the tests are perfectly accurate—there is always a margin of error. If you are asked to take such a test, you should know that the officers are merely seeking confirmation of the suspicion that you are too intoxicated to drive. You always have the right to refuse a field sobriety test and to seek the advice of an attorney before agreeing to any of the tests.
You should be aware that if you are suspected of DUI, especially if an officer suspects the use of illegal controlled substances, police typically will try to search the vehicle. To legally do so, they merely must reasonably believe that incriminating evidence is present in the vehicle—what is known as "probable cause." The search extends to everything in the vehicle, even your personal belongings, such as backpacks, bags, and closed containers. Although they are not required to do so, police will usually ask if you will let them search. If you agree to let them search, you have given your consent, and anything found in your vehicle can and will be used against you!
The Law Office of Warren G. Freeman hopes that you never find yourself in this situation, but if you are arrested for DUI, we are here to help you defend yourself through the complexities of the Nevada criminal justice system. Attorney Freeman and his staff have the knowledge and experience you need to achieve the best possible outcome of your DUI case.