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Alcohol treatment program may be an option under Nevada law

Under Nevada law, it may be possible for someone who is convicted of drunk driving to undergo an alcohol treatment program as part of a suspended sentence. If a person is found guilty of drunk driving, but their blood alcohol content level was under 0.18 percent, prior to sentencing they can apply to the court to enter into an alcohol treatment program for a minimum of six months. The court will allow this if certain elements are met.

First, the person must have received a diagnosis that they are an alcoholic by a licensed or certified alcohol abuse counselor or by a physician who, through the Board of Medical Examiners, is certified to make such a diagnosis. Second, the person must agree to cover the financial cost of the program. Finally, the person must serve one day in jail or perform 24 hours of community service.

After the prosecution has been notified that the person applied for an alcohol treatment program, the prosecution has 10 days to move the court for a hearing to determine the person's eligibility for such a program. At this hearing, the prosecution can submit any evidence that is related to the issue of the person's eligibility for the alcohol treatment program. In the absence of a hearing, the court will make a decision regarding the person's eligibility for the alcohol treatment program based on affidavits presented to the court.

If the court approves the person's application, then it will immediately sentence the person to enter into the alcohol treatment program, and suspend any other sentence for no more than three years. However, the person must be accepted by the treatment program, must complete the program and must adhere to any other requirements of the court. The court must notify the person that they may be supervised by a treatment provider for up to three years. The court must notify the person that they will, per a court order, be admitted to either an outpatient or residential treatment program. Finally, the court must notify the person that if they do not complete the program, they will be ordered to serve the sentence issued by the court.

Alcohol treatment programs can help people receive the help they need to overcome their addiction, which in turn could lead to fewer incidents of drunk driving in Nevada. It is an alternative that can break the cycle of addiction and crime, benefiting not only the alcoholic, but society as a whole. A criminal defense attorney can help people determine whether they can apply for such programs.

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