Nevada Supreme Court Cases & Their Implications For Southern Nevada Drivers Facing Criminal Charge

Now we continue with our look at recent Nevada Supreme Court cases and their implications for Nevada motorists facing criminal charges for driving under the influence. The Silver State treats these offenses harshly, and the stakes are high for drivers hoping to win in a criminal trial. Multiple DUI convictions can lead to a two-year prison sentence, turning a mistake into a life-changing event. Even if you avoid a long stay in jail, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has expansive authority to revoke a Nevada drivers license for DUI.

Previously we analyzed a narrow but powerful ruling by the Court that excuses drivers from driving while intoxicated under certain circumstances. The Court reasoned that Nevada legal history is rich with examples of crimes excused by the dictates of necessity and that, because the Nevada Legislature did not explicitly exclude Nevada DUI offenses from this treatment, a Nevada motorist may be spared from conviction if driving under the influence was necessary due to circumstances out of the persons control and not of the persons creation. This is clearly a narrow exception if you are just on your way home after last call, it doesnt help but it could be a key theory in a bid to avoid having a Nevada drivers license revoked for DUI.

Another recent decision also examines the details of driving under the influence in Las Vegas, with a particular focus on procedure in Nevada DUI trials. The use of expert witnesses in trials is nothing new we see it all the time on television, and the vast majority of personal injury cases involve the use by at least one side (and usually by both) of experts in a particular field. Whether it is in discussing ballistics or bone fractures, wisdom teeth or weather patterns, the role of expert witnesses in Nevada trials is large and growing. The use of expert witnesses is even common in DUI hearings, often for the purpose of attesting to the motorists blood-alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the alleged drunk driving incident. Although speeding, reckless driving, and driving without a seatbelt are crimes no matter the persons state of mind, Nevada DUI law is specific to the amount of alcohol in the drivers blood. Thus, determining the BAC is a key part of a Nevada DUI trial; arguably it is the most important fact to establish or refute. This makes the decision in Cramer v. State so important for Nevada DUI attorney hoping to spare their clients from seeing their Nevada drivers license revoked for DUI.

In Cramer, two appellants convicted of driving under the influence had their Nevada drivers licenses revoked for DUI by an administrative hearing before the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. A Nevada law NRS 50.320 permits the use of sworn affidavits as evidence attesting to the BAC of a driver, but only if the person giving the opinion has previously been recognized as an expert witness. This strikes a balance between the interests of the two parties: the defendant and the State. The States interest is served by permitting it to use affidavits for key testimony rather than bearing the expense and difficulty of having the expert witness appear in person to testify to his or her quantitative finding of the drivers BAC. On the other hand, the defendant would wish to contest the authority of such a witness, and unless the affiant has been properly vetted the defendant cannot be guaranteed that the testimony is of any value. NRS 50.320 addresses this tension by permitting the use of affidavits only if the affiant has previously been designated as an expert witness for BAC purposes by a district court.

In these cases, the administrative panel attempted to certify the affidavits of BAC analysts who had not been confirmed by a district court. The Nevada Supreme Court found that this was an inappropriate circumvention of the law and that in so doing the DMV acted outside of its jurisdiction in Nevada drivers license for DUI.

An excellent Nevada DUI lawyer knows about these developments and does everything possible to leverage them to the benefits of clients. If you may have your Nevada drivers licenses revoked for DUI and feel that you have been wrongfully charged, contact us for experienced legal guidance with your Nevada DUI case.

James Blatt, a correspondent in a legal journal, offers a close look at the way Nevada DUI laws affect your specific case. If you are looking for consultation with a Las Vegas DUI Attorney, she suggests you to visit