Understanding Nevada’s Breath Interlock Law
Starting in October, Nevada’s updated breath interlock law went into effect. Nevada is the latest in a growing trend of states that now require anyone arrested or convicted of a DUI to install an interlock device on their ignition in order to reinstate driving privileges.
How do they work?In addition to measuring alcohol content on the driver’s breath, these devices have a camera that takes a picture of who is blowing into the mouthpiece to confirm it is, in fact, the driver. The device will also take periodic checks of the driver’s breath to ensure that the driver is not drinking while driving. While it won’t stop the vehicle if the driver fails the underway test, it does keep a log of these tests to upload periodically for review.
When are breath interlock devices mandatory?Before the law went into effect in October, Nevada judges had the discretion to order the installation of interlock devices. Now, they are mandatory for anyone convicted of:
• Driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher,
• A felony DUI,
• A vehicular homicide, or
• Drunk driving that results in serious bodily injury or death.
Defendants will be required to pay for the installation of the device themselves. However, the law does provide for lower-cost devices to be available to those whose income is at or below the Federal poverty level. Depending on the situation, the length of time someone is required to have the device installed ranges from six months to three years. In most cases, they will have to re-visit the service center every 90 days to have the device checked and to have the log of breath tests downloaded and reviewed.
Are there any exceptions?There is also the possibility, for first time offenders, of not having to install an interlock device. There are a handful of special circumstances an experienced DUI attorney can plead that may remove the requirement of installing the device. However, statistics have shown in other states that requiring the installation of these devices has lowered drinking-related accidents dramatically, so courts are unlikely to be lenient in this regard. For example, one possible exception is if the individual lives more than 100 miles away from an approved service. Based on the distance, getting the device installed and serviced would present a hardship.
In addition to changes in the law, DUI prosecution is often complicated by poorly collected evidence, other legitimate substances in your system, and even mistakes on the part of the police.