The acronym ‘DUI’ stands for ‘driving under the influence’ and is generally used to refer to operating a motor vehicle with diminished or impaired capacity as a consequence of ingesting alcohol, illegal or controlled substances or any other chemical which renders the driver incapable of driving safely. For practical purposes, understanding what DUI is depends on which state you are coming from. Different states have different takes on what is DUI. In the State of Nevada, what DUI is, your Las Vegas DUI attorney will tell you, is a criminal offense for violating Nevada Revised Statute 484C.110.
Under that law, you can confirm with your Las Vegas DUI attorney that it is a misdemeanor offense to operate any motor vehicle while either: 1. under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to such an extent that one is rendered unable to safely drive a vehicle (i.e., drunk driving); or 2. having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. You can be charged with either or both of these offenses. If, for example you are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and a chemical test of your breath or blood indicates a BAC of .07%, you may not be charged with the per se law, but you can still be charged with DUI if there is probable cause or other evidence of impairment such as a CTV video capture of irregular, erratic driving, your inability to pass the field sobriety test, your appearance, even your own admission to the police officer. Probable cause is a key element in any DUI investigation. If the police officer notices open alcohol beverages in your vehicle, smells alcohol coming from the vehicle or observes strange behavior on the part of the driver, then the officer has probable cause to start a DUI investigation. If the officer did have probable cause to begin a DUI investigation, the driver will be asked to take a field sobriety test and a breath test. Once the officer completes his observations, he or she cannot arrest just arrest the driver for DUI without much evidence that the driver is indeed intoxicated.
On the other hand, if you do not seem to be intoxicated but have a BAC of .08% or higher you can still be charged with the per se offense. Here in this instance, no evidence of impairment is required: the offense consists simply of (1) driving while (2) having .08% BAC at the time of driving. If you are a commercial driver, the BAC limit is .04%, and if you are under 21, your BAC limit is .02%. In the event that your test results show a .08% blood alcohol or higher, and other evidence of drunk driving, you will probably be charged with both offenses. Furthermore, you can be convicted of both offenses, but you can only be punished for one as anyway the penalties are same.
A good Las Vegas DUI attorney will as a matter of course questions the prosecution to ensure that police had probable cause to stop, detain and arrest you for DUI. If the prosecution fails to convince the judge that probable cause existed beyond the stop or pullover, then any evidence that the state collected against you can be suppressed in court. This means that your breath test and/or field sobriety test results may not be allowed to be introduced as evidence against you. This would make the prosecution’s case against you weaker. The prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the DUI offense.