Although the vast majority of DUI offenses in Nevada are charged as a misdemeanor, there are several different ways in which a DUI can be charged as a felony. In Nevada, a DUI can be charged as a felony if the driver already has a certain number or type of prior drunk driving-related convictions. Additionally, a DUI can be charged as a felony offense if the DUI causes death or serious injury to someone else.
A felony DUI in Nevada comes with increased penalties and the possibility of time in jail, depending on the nature of the charges. If you were arrested for a felony DUI offense in Las Vegas, or anywhere in the surrounding areas of Clark County, then contact a criminal defense attorney at Gallo Law Office.
Gallo Law Office represents clients charged with a felony DUI throughout Clark County, including North Las Vegas and Henderson. Call (702) 385-3131 to schedule a free consultation about your case. James C. Gallo can help you fight to have your charges reduced or even dropped.
Information About Felony DUI Charges
DUI with Prior Convictions in Nevada
Depending on a person's previous record, he or she could face felony charges for a DUI. Nevada Revised Statute 484C.400 provides for two different types of felony DUI offenses based on prior convictions.
Third DUI Within Seven Years
NRS 484C.400(1)(c) provides a third conviction for DUI within a seven-year period is a felony. Under Nevada law, the two prior misdemeanor offenses must have occurred within seven years of the third offense. The date of conviction is irrelevant because only the date of offense matters. Speer v. State, 116 Nev. 677, 5 P.3d 1063 (2000). Read more about a third DUI in Nevada within seven years.
The prior DUI convictions can be from Nevada or from some other state if the prior punishes for the same or similar conduct. This means a person could have two DUI offenses on his or her record in California and face a felony in Nevada for a third offense within seven years. Although as a practical matter, it is often more difficult for the prosecutors to prove the prior convictions when they occurred out of state.
In many of these cases, the prior out of state DUI cases will not even show up on the driving record. In some cases, the NCIC (National Criminal Information Center) rap sheet will show the prior offenses. If you have prior DUI convictions from out of state, talk with an attorney about whether those prior convictions will show up and how it will impact the way your case is resolved.
NRS 484C.400(1)(c) provides that a third offense within seven years of the first offense is a felony DUI punishable by between one and six years in prison and a fine between $2,000 and $5,000.
Prior Felony Conviction
A conviction for DUI is a felony if the defendant has previously been convicted of a felony DUI, according to NRS 484C.400(2). Unlike a third offense DUI, the prior felony need not have occurred within seven years of the present offense. In this case, any felony DUI conviction constitutes a prior felony conviction.
The prior felony DUI conviction can be from Nevada or from some other state if the prior punishes the same or similar conduct.
Under NRS 484C.400(2), any DUI conviction following a felony DUI conviction is punishable by between two and 15 years in prison and a fine between $2,000 and $5,000.
DUI with Injury or Death
A person also could face felony charges for a DUI if he or she causes serious bodily harm to another person or kills someone while driving under the influence. This could apply whether the person is intoxicated by alcohol, drugs or a prescription medication.
According to NRS 484C.430, a defendant who drives while impaired and causes death or substantial bodily harm to another person can be charged with a felony DUI. This charge is classified as a category B felony and is often called "DUI with Substantial Bodily Harm."
This type of DUI felony offense could be punishable by imprisonment in the Nevada state prison for a minimum of not less than two years and a maximum of not more than 20 years. A person also could be ordered to pay a fine between $2,000 and $5,000.
Nevada's Felony DUI Court or serious Offender Program
Application for admittance into the felony serious offender program can avoid a prison sentence and felony conviction. The serious offenders program is a 3 to 5 year alcohol and drug-free program. The program requires the applicant to be supervised on house arrest for the first 6 months of the program, The program requires random drug and alcohol testing along with frequent court appearances and counseling sessions. Successful completion of the program results in a second offense misdemeanor conviction. Failure results in a prison sentence.
Finding a Felony Drunk Driving Attorney in Las Vegas
If you need a drunk driving defense attorney in Clark County, Nevada, contact James C. Gallo. With offices located near the courthouse in downtown, Las Vegas felony DUI defense attorney James C. Gallo is experienced in fighting complex DUI cases.
Find out more about fighting a felony DUI case in Nevada involving a refusal to submit to testing or a breath test, blood test or urine test. Learn more about enhanced penalties that might apply after you are found driving with an open container of alcohol, the possession of drugs, or a child passenger. Find out the impact of an allegation that the DUI involved property damage or personal injury.