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Why you need a lawyer for your Nevada DUI

Many people tend to think of a DUI case as a simple matter they can handle themselves. However, experienced attorneys know that things are rarely as simple as they seem.

Even a first-time DUI with no aggravating factors can have consequences that extend beyond court-imposed penalties. Having a conviction can weigh against you if you find yourself facing other criminal charges in the future, if you are not a U.S. citizen or if you are a licensed professional such as a nurse or physician.

Failing a test does not mean it is time to give up

When you get stopped on suspicion of DUI, officers try to confirm intoxication by administering chemical tests and/or a field sobriety test. Do not make the mistake of assuming that failing these means an automatic conviction. Neither the field sobriety test nor the common breath test are foolproof.

Many factors can skew results, including operator error, medical conditions and even your dentures or the type of shoes you wear. A qualified lawyer can identify weak spots in the evidence against you and work to prevent a conviction based on bad evidence.

Potential penalties can seriously affect your life

DUI penalties can be quite harsh, even for a first-time offense. Under Nevada law, penalties may include up to 6 months in jail or up to 96 hours of community service, DUI school attendance, fines of up to $1,000 in addition to court costs, and a 90-day license suspension.

Some DUI cases head to municipal courts, which have similar penalty structures. For many people, this would represent a significant financial strain and might jeopardize employment, schooling and the ability to take care of family responsibilities.

Some factors that typically increase DUI penalty levels include:

  • A BAC of over 0.18
  • An age of under 21
  • The presence of a child under 15 in the car
  • Repeat DUI convictions within a 7-year period

If the DUI caused injury or death, the charges rise to the level of a Category B felony, with potential penalties of up to 20 years' imprisonment.

A knowledgeable DUI lawyer can seek grounds to fight a conviction or negotiate penalty levels. Each case is different, so you need an attorney who will evaluate the facts of your case and devise an appropriate strategy.

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