DUI Laws in Nevada

How Nevada defines “DUI” and the penalties for a first, second, and third DUI conviction.

By , Attorney · Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

Nevada defines "driving under the influence" (DUI) as operating a motor vehicle:

  • with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more within two hours of driving (.04% or more for CDL holders, and .02% or more for drivers under age 21), or
  • while under the influence of drugs or alcohol if the person is impaired to the degree that the person cannot safely drive.

In other words, you can be convicted of a DUI based on an excessive BAC or actual drug or alcohol impairment.

Nevada DUI Penalties

The minimum and maximum DUI penalties depend mostly on how many prior convictions a driver has and the driver's BAC. The chart below provides potential sentences for a first, second, and third DUI conviction in Nevada.

1st Offense

2nd Offense (within 7 years)

3rd Offense (within 7 years)


2 to 180 days (the judge can order 48 to 96 hours of community service in lieu of the minimum jail time)

10 to 180 days maximum (judge can order home confinement instead of jail)

1 to 6 years in prison


$400 minimum

$750 minimum (or equivalent number of community service hours)

$2,000 minimum

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

185 days with a BAC less than .18% (1 to 3 years with BAC of .18% or more)

185 days with a BAC less than .18% (1 to 3 years with BAC of .18% or more)

1 to 3 years

License Revocation for a DUI Conviction in Nevada

All Nevada drivers convicted of a DUI face a driver's license revocation. The revocation for a first, second, and third DUI are as follows.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Revocation Period

At least 185 days

1 year

3 years

Can I get a DUI without Actually Driving?

Because a person cannot be in "actual physical control" of a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with a BAC of .08% or more, it is possible to get a DUI without actually driving.

In deciding whether a driver was in actual physical control of a vehicle, a judge or jury might consider factors such as:

  • whether the vehicle was running
  • whether the key was in the ignition
  • the location of the driver when police arrived
  • whether the driver was asleep, and
  • how the vehicle was parked.

Nevada recognizes the "sleeping-it-off" defense. If proven, the driver cannot be convicted for DUI. For this defense to apply, the driver must prove:

  • he or she was sleeping in the car
  • he or she not in the driver's seat
  • the engine of the car was not running
  • the car was legally parked, and
  • he or she could not have driven the car while under the influence to the location where the car was found.

Implied Consent and Refusing a Blood or Breath Test in Nevada

Nevada has an "implied consent" law that requires all drivers lawfully arrested for driving under the influence to take a blood, urine, or breath test. Drivers who refuse testing generally lose their license for one year on a first offense and three years on a second or subsequent offense.

For purposes of determining what is a second or subsequent refusal, prior DUI convictions, refusals, and failed BAC test (.08% or greater) within the past seven years are counted.

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