Nevada Drunk Driving Defense Attorney

DRUNK DRIVING/ DRIVING WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCESDUI attorney in Las Vegas

Some people simply assume that most drunk driving (DUI/DWI) charges are unbeatable. After all, once an arresting officer has a Breathalyzer reading or blood test that is above the legal limit, the case is pretty much open and shut. Right? Wrong.

 

At the Law Offices of Michael I. Gowdey, Ltd., we take a different approach to drunk driving cases. We remember that the burden to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt doesn’t lie with the defense, but with the prosecution. Even if you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the prosecution bears the burden of proving every element of the offense, or they will not be able to convict you. For an aggressive defense strategy, contact our law firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with a highly experienced Las Vegas DUI/DWI attorney.

Las Vegas Drunk Driving Attorney Working To Protect Your Rights

It’s not that drunk driving cases can’t be fought. It’s that you need a seasoned defense lawyer who knows how to fight them.

For more than 23 years, Michael Gowdey has handled hundreds of DUI cases. We have taken on and won cases for clients who have multiple prior drunk driving convictions, as well as those whose blood-alcohol levels were far above the legal limit.

We will apply our years of experience and legal skills focused on developing an aggressive defense strategy. Our firm’s defense attorney Gowdey will conduct a thorough investigation to try and uncover the following:

  • Did the officer have a valid reason to stop your car?
  • Did the officer have a valid reason to ask you to perform field sobriety tests?
  • Did the officer have enough evidence to make an arrest?
  • Did the officer administer a blood or breath test promptly?
  • Was the test administered following correct procedures?
  • Were you monitored properly before the test?
  • Did the officer look for foreign materials that could interfere with a test?
  • Were your rights fully protected at every stage of the stop and arrest?

These are just a handful of the most basic questions an attorney needs to ask. The answers to each of these questions lead to dozens more, and if an arresting officer makes a mistake in even one of these situations, then you likely have a defense, perhaps a very strong defense.

Your DUI Case Isn’t Only About What You Did…

It’s also about what the cop did. Every police officer has the duty to honor the constitutional rights of the people he or she investigates and arrests. Not every police officer executes that duty correctly.

If you are accused of driving while intoxicated, we will evaluate your situation, review the evidence, and explore the weaknesses in the case being built against you. The longer you wait, the more options and opportunities you lose. An arresting officer is building a case against you from the moment you are pulled over. The sooner you enlist our law firm, the more we can do.

DRUNK DRIVING/ DRIVING WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES

Were you pulled over and arrested for drunk driving (DUI/DWI) in Las Vegas?  Even if you failed a breath, blood or urine test, don’t automatically assume you’ll be found guilty.

In a criminal DUI case, the prosecution bears the burden of proving every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If they fail to do this, they can’t convict you.

Rely on Seasoned DUI Expertise

Having a veteran DUI attorney like Michael Gowdey in your corner greatly improves your chances of beating the charges against you. Over the course of his 23+ year career, Mr. Gowdey has represented countless Nevadans accused of DUI. Whether

you’re facing your first DUI charge or you’re a repeat offender, you’ve come to the right place for help.

At The Law Offices of Michael I. Gowdey, our top priority is to get the charges against you dropped or at the very least reduced. We are committed to helping our clients avoid harsh penalties like jail time and preserve their driving privileges and good name.

Schedule a Free Consultation with one of Nevada’s Finest DUI Attorneys

We offer prospective clients a free, no-obligation consultation to review your case and inform you of your legal rights and options going forward. It’s important to reach out to us as quickly as possible. From the moment you were pulled over, the police and prosecution have been gathering evidence to incriminate you. The sooner you enlist our firm, the better off you’ll be. Call us today at 702-471-0321.

Drunk Driving Laws in Nevada

Nevada Code section 484C.110 states that it is illegal for someone to operate a vehicle if their ability to drive is impaired by alcohol or drugs. The blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers in Nevada is .08 percent. For drivers under the age of 21, the limit is .02% and for commercial drivers the limit is .04%.

A DUI arrest in Nevada will be comprised of two cases: a criminal case and a separate DMV case.

Criminal Court Process in Las Vegas for DUI Cases

DUI Booking and Bail

After an arrest for DUI in Las Vegas you will most likely be brought to one of the following locations for booking:

The booking process entails being fingerprinted and getting your photograph taken. You will also need to provide the station with additional identification information and have your possessions inventoried. It is here where you will also be asked to take a breath test (this is a different test than the preliminary breath test (PBT) taken at the roadside)

In most cases, you will be released shortly after booking but this depends on the circumstances of your case and whether you have a criminal history. If you are not released on your own recognizance, you will be required to post bail. Bail is set according to a bail schedule. When you post bail, you are essentially promising the court you will show up for a future court date.

If you cannot afford bail, you may hire a bail bondsman to post bail on your behalf in exchange for paying a small percentage of the total bail amount (usually 10%).  DUI lawyer Gowdey can guide you through the bail process and represent you at a bail hearing if necessary.

Criminal Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Nevada

A DUI can lead to serious penalties, including thousands of dollars in fines, incarceration, driver’s license revocation, probation, and more.

First DUI Conviction (misdemeanor)

  • Two days to six months in jail or 24 to 96 hours of community service
  • Attend a Nevada Department of Public Safety (DPS)-approved eight-hour program, or “DUI School.
  • Fine ranging from $400-$1,000 plus court costs

First DUI Conviction with BAC of .18 or greater

  • Participate in Alcohol/drug dependency evaluation ($100 fee)
  • Attend Victim Impact Panel ($40)
  • Potential enrollment in an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program
  • Installation of a Nevada Breath Interlock Device on your vehicle for 12-36 months. The court has discretion to impose interlock device for 3-6 months even if your BAC was less than .18

Second DUI Conviction Within 7 Years (misdemeanor)

  • 10 days to 6 months in jail or residential confinement (inpatient alcohol or drug treatment program with 24/7 monitoring)
  • Fine ranging from $750 to $1,000
  • Attend Nevada Victim Impact Panel
  • Mandatory completion of an alcohol awareness program/DUI school
  • An alcohol/drug dependency evaluation that costs $100

Third-Offense DUI (Felony)

Whereas first- and second- time DUI convictions within a seven-year period are only misdemeanors in Las Vegas, a third offense drunk driving conviction is a class B felony. It is also considered a non-probationable offense which means probation is unavailable and a prison sentence must be imposed.

The penalties for a third offense are:

  • 1 to 6 years in years in the Nevada Department of Corrections, which is the State Prison system in Nevada.
  • Fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000
  • Attend Victim Impact Panel
  • Install Breath Interlock Device on your car for 12 months to 36 months after your release
  • An alcohol & drug evaluation
  • May be required to enter, complete and pay for, an alcohol treatment program.

DUI Causing Death or Serious Injury

If you were involved in a DUI accident that caused serious bodily injury or death, you are facing a category B Felony which is the second most severe level of felony in Nevada. A DUI felony conviction may result in:

  • minimum prison sentence of 2 years and a maximum term 20 years
  • Fine between $2,000 to $5,000

The Clock Is Ticking To Save Your Driver’s License

One of the mosts immediate consequences you’ll face following a DUI arrest is an automatic driver’s license suspension. The police officer will confiscate your driver’s license and give you a temporary paper license.

You have just 7 days from the date of your arrest to contest a driver’s license suspension. To do this, you must request an Administrative Hearing with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

DUI attorney Michael Gowdey would be happy to file this request on your behalf and represent you at this hearing.

The administrative driver’s license proceedings are civil in nature, not criminal. The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether revoking your license is justified. An administrative law judge will assess:

  • Whether you refused a breath, blood or alcohol test
  • Whether your BAC exceeded the legal limit
  • Whether the DUI officer had reasonable grounds to believe you had been driving or were in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

If these elements can be proven, your license will be suspended. Mr. Gowdey will have an opportunity to challenge the evidence submitted by the officer and can cross-examine the arresting officer and any witnesses. It’s possible to win a DMV Hearing if the State’s evidence is insufficient or if the arresting officer does not show up to testify.  It’s important to note that if you win at the hearing but are convicted of DUI, the license suspension will still go into effect.

Even if you lose at the DMV Hearing, it is a good opportunity to get the officer’s testimony on the record which may be used later to exploit inconsistencies or as leverage to negotiate a plea deal.

Length of Nevada’s Driver’s License Revocations

The duration of your driver’s license suspension will be based on prior DUI convictions.

  • First-Time DUI: A first-time DUI misdemeanor carries a 90-day revocation of your Nevada driver’s license with possibility of getting a restricted driver’s license after the first 45 days have passed. (Starting Oct 1, 2018, the suspension for a first time DUI extends to 185 days)
  • Second-Time DUI: A second-time DUI misdemeanor results in a 1-year driver’s license revocation with no opportunity for a restricted license.
  • Third-Time DUI: A third-time felony DUI carries a 3-years license suspension with possibility of attaining a restricted license after 1 year.
  • Chemical Test Refusal:  Refusing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test following a DUI arrest can result in a 1-year driver’s license revocation. This is applied in addition to any other revocation period the DMV orders.

How To Defeat a DUI Charge in Nevada

The main parts of the State’s case against you will be the chemical test findings and the police officer’s conduct. DUI attorney Michael Gowdey will perform a thorough investigation to uncover the facts. He will use his acute knowledge of the science behind chemical testing to challenge the validity of the BAC results and will leverage his knowledge of the law to determine whether your constitutional rights were violated in any way.

Here are just a few of the exploratory questions Mr. Gowdey will ask when he takes on your case:

  • Did the officer have a valid reason to stop your car?
  • Did the officer have a valid reason to ask you to perform field sobriety tests?
  • Did the officer have enough evidence to make an arrest?
  • Did the officer administer a blood or breath test promptly?
  • Was the test administered following correct procedures?
  • Were you monitored properly before the test?
  • Did the officer look for foreign materials that could interfere with a test?
  • Were your rights fully protected at every stage of the stop and arrest?

Possible DUI Defense Strategies

There are a number of potential defense tactics and strategies that can be employed to fight and beat a DUI arrest charge in Nevada. Here are some of the most common:

Attack Constitutionality of Traffic Stop and/or Arrest

Your DUI case isn’t just about your actions but the actions of law enforcement. Every police officer has the duty to honor the constitutional rights of the people he or she investigates and arrests. Unfortunately, not every police officer upholds this duty.

One of the first things DUI attorney Mike Gowdey will look at is the constitutionality of the traffic stop. Did the police officer have probable cause or an articulable suspicion that a crime had been committed before pulling you over? Actions that may be warrant probable cause include speeding, swerving, running a traffic light, having a broken tail light, etc. Mr. Gowdey will review the police report and/or police dashcam to see if there was a valid reason for stopping your vehicle.

If it can be proven that the officer pulled you over without sufficient legal cause, the stop would be considered illegal and any evidence collected during the arrest would be considered inadmissible in court and your case would be thrown out.

Illegal Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution not only protects you from an unlawful stop but also protects you from unreasonable searches. A police officer cannot search your vehicle or person without your consent. This would constitute improper collection of evidence and a violation of your rights. The only legal justification a cop has for a search is if there is an open container or controlled substance in plain view.

Challenge Field Sobriety Test Results

When the cop steps towards your vehicle, he/she may conclude that you’ve been drinking if they notice you have bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or smell alcohol on your breath. At this point, you may be asked to step out of your vehicle and participate in a series of standardized field sobriety tests, which you have the legal right to refuse.

If you do submit to these tests and perform poorly, don’t panic. There are a number of viable arguments Mr. Gowdey can make to establish the unreliability of these tests, some of which may include:

  • you are naturally uncoordinated and don’t have an even equilibrium;
  • your fitness level is low;
  • you have an injury or medical condition that impairs your physical abilities;
  • the pavement or street was uneven;
  • You were wearing unsuitable footwear;
  • you were nervous or distracted by glaring lights or traffic whizzing by.

In addition to challenging the credibility of these tests, Mr. Gowdey will evaluate whether the officer failed to follow the proper protocols set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Contest Accuracy and Administration of Breath Test

There is a common misconception that breath tests are 100% reliable. This is not true. Breathalyzers are susceptible to producing erroneous readings for a variety of reasons. In Nevada, the breath testing device used is called the Intoxilyzer 8000. When you blow into this device it is meant to collect deep lung air to measure your breath alcohol concentration.

There are a number of factors that may contribute to a falsified reading on this machine.

  • Medical conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, or diabetes can cause residual mouth alcohol
  • Dental work, dentures or braces can trap tiny amounts of mouth alcohol
  • The breath test operator was improperly trained and/or uncertified to give the test and/or the breath machine was improperly maintained or calibrated.
  • The police officer did not comply with the 15 minute observation rule. Before an arresting officer administers a breath test, they must continuously observe you for 15 minutes to make sure you don’t burp, belch, vomit, smoke or put anything into your mouth. Any of these actions can manipulate test results.
  • Your BAC was rising at the time of testing. Alcohol takes at least 3 years to fully absorb into your bloodstream. If your BAC was .08, it may be because your BAC was still rising.

Contest Accuracy and Administration of Blood Test

While it’s true that a blood test is considered more reliable than a breath test, there are still ways to cast doubt on the findings. Mr. Gowdey can challenge the manner in which the blood was collected or drawn and stored. The police must follow a strict proper chain of custody procedure for a blood test.

Contact our Firm’s Nevada Drunk Driving Attorney

If you are accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, contact our law firm online or call 702-471-0321 to schedule a free initial consultation. We have the skills and tenacity to develop an aggressive defense against DUI/DWI charges.