Most drivers know that it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol within the cabin of the car.  If you are cited for having an open container in your car, your fine will be in excess of $300, will add five points Junior DMV driving record and require offenders to attend an online DUI school. Nevada is one of the 9 states in the USA that allow first offense DUI defendants to enroll in online Alcohol Education Courses to satisfy their court requirements, with Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Utah, Florida, Nebraska, North Virginia  & North Dakota.

You may not know that the officer pulling over a suspect has the option of arresting you if your vehicle has an unsealed or open container. Officers take intoxication very seriously. As they tend to be the first responders on the scene of a crash and dread responding to another alcohol-related fatality they have great reason to take suspected alcohol intoxication seriously.

What you may not know is that the officer has the option of arresting  you if he finds an unsealed or open container within your reach. Officers are not very flexible when it comes to alcohol in you or in your car.  It is illegal to be in proximity to the physical controls of a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs whether you are asleep or not.  If the person is behind the wheel, has the keys in his or her possession, and must have driven the car to the location where the police officer  sees the car, that person can still be arrested DUI and the penalties are the same.

The experience of being arrested for drunk driving in the state of Nevada, carries an expensive price tag, in both in time and money. For the novice, the arrest is a unique learning experience.  As you will discover, the last drink was definitely not worth the money.

Drunk driving checkpoint

The experience of being arrested for drunk driving in the state of Nevada carries an expensive cost, both in time and money.  For the uninitiated, the rest is a new experience.  You’ve lost your freedom for a minimum of 12 hours.  You be put in handcuffs placed in the back of a patrol car and then taken to the county jail, where you will be processed as a criminal.  Your car or motorcycle will be towed and impounded by a guy named Bubba who make sure that neither your paint or chrome is scratched and you will have the opportunity to pay $50 or more a day why your car stored.  

Subsequently, you will be committed to between 48 and 96 hours of community service.  There is a fine levied by the court that will be well over $1200.  The blood tests that you will give to law enforcement will cost you an additional $60. You’ll be required to attend a DUI school or substance abuse school which wet a minimum will be eight hours.  You will also be required to attend a victim impact panel, which is a 90 min. program presented by victims or family members whose lives were permanently changed directly as a result of the drunk driving crash. Then it starts getting more interesting.

To begin with, you lose your freedom for a minimum of 12 hours.  Your DUI journey begins in the back of a police car, with your hands cuffed behind your back.  You watch the scenery go by as you are driven to the county jail where you will be processed as a criminal, because… surprise!  You are. Your car, or motorcycle, will be towed and impounded by a professional tow truck driver, who will take extra care not to scratch your paint or chrome. In addition you will have the opportunity to thank Bubba by paying $50 or more per day while your car is stored in a secure lot.

Ignition Interlock Device required in addition to DUI School

The judge will levy a fine plus other fees that will cost you well over $1200. You will commit between 48 and 96 hours of  community service or possibly up to 6 months in jail time.  Politeness does count in court. Your driver’s license is automatically revoked for 90 days.  However, you can apply for a restricted license so that you can drive to and from work.  You are allowed to drive within specific hours.  An interlock device will be placed in your car, at your expense, which prevents heat the car from starting if you are intoxicated when tested.  

Your attorney fees will start at approximately $2500 for first offense. You will pay $65 license reinstatement fee as well as a 35 dollar victim compensation civil penalty. When you are able to have your license return you’ll have to pay $21 for new drivers license and will be required to take a DMV vision and knowledge test.  It’s entirely possible that you will be required to take the driving test in order to receive your license.  For the following three years you will be required to provide an SR 22 certificate of liability insurance to the DMV which will cost you up to $265 depending upon your insurance carrier.  

A restricted license application will be denied if your license was suspended or revoked within the past 5 years for certain driving record convictions, the 3rd demerit point suspension, or should you have an outstanding medical or financial responsibility, or failure to appear suspension. When you are permitted to drive again, an Interlock Device may be installed in your car, at your own expense. The interlock device prevents the vehicle from starting if you have an alcohol concentration on your breath of greater than .02 BAC.

Police Officer at DUI Checkpoint

The Interlock Device is programmed to randomly test you after you are driving and is known as a “Rolling Test.” Nevada state law permits Ignition Interlock Devices to be installed as a condition of having your driver’s license being reinstated. All required fines and fees must be paid before you are granted a restricted license. Typically, the offender must pay for the installation of the ignition interlock device and costs range from $50 to $200.

There is a monthly rental fee for the device and those costs ranges from $50 to $100. You will also be responsible for the cost of maintenance as well as fees for downloading the data from the Ignition Interlock Device. The device will normally need to be calibrated every 60 days. Failure to maintain the device can be seen by the courts as a violation of the Ignition Interlock Program.

Lets look at your legal expenses. Your attorney fees will start at approximately $2,500 for a first offense.  A Public Defender doesn’t cost you any money,   but may not  be your best choice to represent you at this time. Judges take a seriously dim view of individuals convicted of DUI.

With your arrest and conviction, your wallet will continue to magically get thinner.

  1.    $1,200 court fine
  2.    $2,500+ attorney fees
  3.    $95 DUI School
  4.    $40 Victim Impact Panel
  5.    $120 driver license reinstatement fee
  6.    $35 victim compensation civil penalty
  7.    $21 for a new drivers license
  8.    $150 – $250 X 3 years for an SR-22 Certificate of Insurance
  9.    A 1st DUI conviction results in an average  auto insurance premium increase of 19%
  10.  A BAC of .18 at the time of arrest will result in a Mandatory Alcohol Evaluation
  11.  Must serve 48 hours community service-$25 fee to sign up for it.


For the slow learners in our community, a second DUI conviction will cost you:

  1.    $1,700 court fine
  2.    $5,000 attorney fees
  3.    $150 plus for DUI School
  4.    Jail – From 10 Days to 6 Months
  5.    License Suspension – 1 Year (No restricted license possible)
  6.    100 to 200 hrs. of community service
  7.    Suspension of your vehicle’s registration
  8.    $40 Victim Impact Panel
  9.    $120 driver license reinstatement fee
  10.  $35 victim compensation penalty.
  11.  $21 for a new drivers license.
  12.  $150 – $250 X 3 years for an SR-22   
          (assuming you can get insurance)


For the really slow learners in our community, a 3rd DUI conviction:

  1.  $2,000 to $5,000  court fine
  2.  Prison –1 to 6 Years
  3.  License Suspension – 3 Years
  4.  Restricted License Possible.
  5.  Ignition Interlock Device

    (If Restricted License Allowed)

  1.  May be subject to Vehicle Registration Suspension
  2. 3 Year Supervised DUI Program or Treatment (Possible)
  3. Plus almost everything listed in the 1st DUI arrest

Records of a DUI arrest and/or conviction remain in criminal history files for the rest of your life. A third DUI within seven years or a DUI which involves death or substantial bodily harm are felony offenses. If you are convicted of a felony DUI, you will be charged with a felony in any subsequent DUI arrest. Convictions and license revocations remain on your full DMV record for the rest of your life. A DUI conviction may show on your driver history for up to ten years. A license revocation is reported until the driving privilege is reinstated.