Criminal hearing vs DMV hearing in DUI cases
In Nevada, there are really two cases, not just one. An arrest for DUI results in two separate proceedings in two separate courts; criminal court and DMV court.
Criminal CaseCriminal Case: Criminal Allegations start in either a small city court, or the larger county court sepending on where the incident took place. The actual City of Las Vegas is much smaller in reality than most people would guess.
Upon release from jail, a police officer generally provides you a citation to appear in court at a later date to enter a plea, find out who your attorney will be, and deliver to you the official charges. These charges may or may not be the same as what the police booked you under. If you have a private DUI attorney, for a misdemeanor DUI, your lawyer can appear for you at the first hearing. Always confirm with you attorney if you will need to be present.
Your attorney will obtain a copy of the charges, and any evidence to be used against you. This would include the results of your blood or breath tests, police report, videos or any other evidence the State intends to use against you. Only after review of this evidence can the attorney finally fully evaluate your case and begin discussions with the City Attorney or the Clark County District Attorney in an effort to get the charges reduced or dismissed. If an agreement with the prosecutor is reached you will not need to go to trial. The vast majority of cases are resolved without trial but if an agreement cannot be reached, you are entitled to a trial where it may be possible to be found not guilty.
If convicted, first offence DUI penalties include:
$400 to $1,000 in fines, plus court administration fees;
A one day or online DUI School;
Attendance at a live Victim Impact Panel;
2 days to 6 months in jail; and
A 90-day drivers license revocation (learn more about a restricted license). (Note that the law is changing for arrests after October 1, 2018, raising the revocation to 185-days.)
Your drivers license and the DMV case
DMV caseAn optional DMV hearing before a civil administrative judge. The only issue at this hearing is the drivers license suspension. If you or your attorney don*t set the hearing the suspension is automatic. It may be possible to win the hearing and avoid the license suspension. These hearings are more difficult to win because the standard of proof is substantially lower than in the criminal court