get a free consultation 1-800-870-8910

DUI Causing Death or Injury- NRS 484C.430

In Nevada, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causing substantial bodily injury or death to another person is considered a Category B felony offense. The penalties for such a charge include the following:

  • Driver’s license suspension for three years (with possibility of temporary driving privileges if installation of an interlock ignition device (IID) in each vehicle).
  • Fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000
  • Imprisonment for 2 to 20 years

NRS 484C.430 defines “DUI causing injury or death” as a person who:

  1. Is under the influence of alcohol or has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, is found within 2 hours after driving a vehicle having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, or is under the influence of a controlled substance or a combination of a controlled substance and alcohol AND
  2. Does any act that causes the death or substantial bodily harm of another person

Injuries that are considered severe bodily harm include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Long-lasting cosmetic damage
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Concussions
  • Long-lasting contusions
  • Serious burns
  • Paralysis
  • Organ damage
  • Wounds needing stitches
  • Fractures

Remember that individuals charged with DUIs that result in death might not be prosecuted for murder.

1.     Sentencing According to NRS 484C.430

In Nevada, committing a category B felony by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causing death or severe injury can result in severe penalties. These include the following:

  • Installation of an IID (interlock ignition device) for one to three years if you want your driving privileges reinstated.
  • Driver’s license revocation for three years.
  • Fines between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on the judge.
  • Twenty to two years of jail time in Nevada State Prison.

When a defendant is accused of a violation while transporting a child under fifteen years old, the court may take it as an aggravating factor while deciding on the mandatory prison sentence and fines. If a defendant has three previous DUI convictions and causes a fatal DUI, it is considered vehicular homicide that falls under category A felony. The punishment involves either:

  • Life imprisonment with or without the possibility of parole or
  • A definite 25 years of jail time

NOTE: The Nevada Department of Prisons tries to keep those convicted of felony DUIs separate from violent offenders and houses them in minimum-security facilities.

2.     Will Your Licensed be Suspended or Revoked?

A DUI conviction in Nevada classified as a felony will result in the defendant’s license being suspended for three years. This suspension begins after the defendant is released from prison. To have the license reinstated, the defendant must install an IID (ignition interlock device) in their vehicle for a maximum of three years. It is important to note that vehicles involved in DUI cases in Nevada are typically impounded.

3.     How Can Someone Fight DUI Causing Death or Injury Charges?

When facing charges associated with DUI causing death or injury, defense is two-fold:

  1.  Prove that the driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  2.  Prove that the driver was not the proximate cause of the victim’s death or injury

The defense strategy may vary depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. That said, some common defenses for DUI causing death or injury include proving that:

  • You didn’t start drinking until you stopped driving.
  • You suffered from medical issues such as GERD, which led to an inaccurate breathalyzer test
  • You had rising blood alcohol (Your BAC was under the legal limit while operating your car but increased to illegal limits when the police officer administered the blood test)
  • The blood or breath testing device was defective or administered incorrectly.
  • The FSTs (field sobriety tests) were administered incorrectly by the law enforcement official.

The most effective evidence to help build one of the above defenses depends on the evidence available. This evidence may include:

  • Statements from witnesses of the incident
  • Visual recordings of the incident captured by mobile phones, surveillance cameras, or other gadgets.
  • Reports from law enforcement personnel.
  • Data retrieved from GPS systems.
  • Medical documents detailing the injury or death.
  • Expert testimony regarding accident reconstruction

3.     If defense counsel can present one of the above defenses, the charge may be lowered or dismissed. Can a DUI Causing Death or Injury Charge Be Reduced?

Reducing a DUI with injury or death charge is possible even if it cannot be dismissed. This can be done by demonstrating that either (1) the defendant was not driving under the influence or (2) the driver was not the proximate cause of the victim’s injuries or death.

When the defendant’s impaired driving cannot be linked to injury or death, the felony DUI charge can be reduced to a misdemeanor. It is important to note that a third-time DUI charge within seven years is always considered a felony, regardless of whether it causes injury or death.

When the prosecution cannot demonstrate that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs but can establish causation, the charge under NRS 484C.430 may be downgraded to either:

  • vehicular manslaughter (NRS 484B.657) (misdemeanor) if the victim passed away or
  •  felony reckless driving causing injury (NRS 484B.653) if the victim was substantially harmed.

4.     Does This Affect Your Immigration Status?

Even if someone is convicted of a felony, a DUI (driving under the influence) charge is usually not grounds for deportation, except in drug-related cases. However, there is no absolute assurance in this regard. Therefore, non-citizens who are accused of criminal offenses should seek a skilled lawyer’s assistance to attempt to dismiss the case or lessen the charge.

5.     Can Your Criminal Record Be Sealed?

If a DUI charge is dismissed in Nevada, it can be sealed immediately. However, if a person is convicted of a felony DUI, it will remain on their criminal record permanently. Therefore, fighting to reduce or dismiss the charges is crucial to avoid a permanent mark on your record.

a.      Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter, as defined by NRS 484B.657, occurs when someone dies because of another’s reckless driving. This offense is classified as a misdemeanor, and, for a first offense, has a penalty of:

  • A fine between $250 to $1,000 or
  • A fine and up to 6 months in county jail

b.     Reckless Driving Causing Death

Reckless driving that causes death, according to NRS 484B.653, is when someone drives with willful disregard for the safety of others, and, as a result, causes substantial physical harm or death. The offense is classified as a category B felony and carries penalties, including:

  • Fines between $2,000 to $5,000 and
  • Imprisonment in state prison for between one to six years

c.      Vehicular Homicide

Vehicular homicide (NRS 484C.440) occurs when an individual causes the death of another while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and has three or more previous DUI convictions. This is a severe Class A felony with a sentence of 25 years to life imprisonment.

Free Case Evaluation

The evaluation is FREE! You do not have to pay anything to have an attorney evaluate your case.