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Implied Consent Law in Nevada

Generally after a police officer has stopped a motorist on the suspicion that he/she is impaired, the officer will look for signs of impairment and may ask the motorist to submit to a Breathalyzer test. In Nevada, by having a driver’s license, a motorist’s consent to submit to such testing is implied and a police officer may use reasonable force if necessary to obtain testing evidence.  In addition, the penalty for refusing testing is equal to or greater than failing a chemical test. The penalty for failing a chemical test is a license suspension or revocation of your driving privileges depending on the nature of your offense (e.g. whether it is your first, second or third offense etc.). However, penalties for refusing a chemical test may include being charged with a separate crime, the refusal may be regarded as “consciousness of guilt” in criminal trial proceedings and/or your driving privileges may be suspended or revoked in a separate Nevada DMV hearing. The length of your driver’s license suspension for refusing a chemical test, heavily depends on your prior record: if you have not refused a chemical test in the last seven years then your license will be suspended for one year; if however you have refused a chemical test in the last seven years and had your license suspended due to this refusal, your license will be suspended for three years. Thus, the penalties for refusing a chemical test can be more severe than those that might otherwise be imposed for a first time DUI conviction.

The following Nevada statutes relates to the implied consent law.

N.R.S. 484C.150

484C.150. Implied consent to preliminary test of person’s breath; effect of failure to submit to test; use of results of test

1. Any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to a preliminary test of his or her breath to determine the concentration of alcohol in his or her breath when the test is administered at the direction of a police officer at the scene of a vehicle accident or collision or where the police officer stops a vehicle, if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be tested was:

(a) Driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance; or

(b) Engaging in any other conduct prohibited by NRS 484C.110, 484C.120, 484C.130or 484C.430.

2. If the person fails to submit to the test, the officer shall seize the license or permit of the person to drive as provided in NRS 484C.220 and arrest the person and take him or her to a convenient place for the administration of a reasonably available evidentiary test under NRS 484C.160.

3. The result of the preliminary test must not be used in any criminal action, except to show there were reasonable grounds to make an arrest.

N.R.S. 484C.160

484C.160. Implied consent to evidentiary test; exemption from blood test; choice of test; when blood test may be required; when other tests may be used; reasonable force authorized to obtain test in certain circumstances; notification of parent or guardian of minor directed to submit to test

1. Except as otherwise provided in subsections 3 and 4, any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to an evidentiary test of his or her blood, urine, breath or other bodily substance to determine the concentration of alcohol in his or her blood or breath or to determine whether a controlled substance, chemical, poison, organic solvent or another prohibited substance is present, if such a test is administered at the direction of a police officer having reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be tested was:

(a) Driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance; or

(b) Engaging in any other conduct prohibited by NRS 484C.110, 484C.120, 484C.130or 484C.430.

2. If the person to be tested pursuant to subsection 1 is dead or unconscious, the officer shall direct that samples of blood from the person be tested.

3. Any person who is afflicted with hemophilia or with a heart condition requiring the use of an anticoagulant as determined by a physician is exempt from any blood test which may be required pursuant to this section but must, when appropriate pursuant to the provisions of this section, be required to submit to a breath or urine test.

4. If the concentration of alcohol in the blood or breath of the person to be tested is in issue:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the person may refuse to submit to a blood test if means are reasonably available to perform a breath test.

(b) The person may request a blood test, but if means are reasonably available to perform a breath test when the blood test is requested, and the person is subsequently convicted, the person must pay for the cost of the blood test, including the fees and expenses of witnesses in court.

(c) A police officer may direct the person to submit to a blood test if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person:

(1) Caused death or substantial bodily harm to another person as a result of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance or as a result of engaging in any other conduct prohibited by NRS 484C.110, 484C.130 or 484C.430; or

(2) Has been convicted within the previous 7 years of:

(I) A violation of NRS 484C.110, 484C.120, 484C.130, 484C.430, subsection 2 of NRS 488.400, NRS 488.410, 488.420 or 488.425 or a law of another jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct; or

(II) Any other offense in this State or another jurisdiction in which death or substantial bodily harm to another person resulted from conduct prohibited by a law set forth in sub-subparagraph (I).

5. If the presence of a controlled substance, chemical, poison, organic solvent or another prohibited substance in the blood or urine of the person is in issue, the officer may direct the person to submit to a blood or urine test, or both, in addition to the breath test.

6. Except as otherwise provided in subsections 3 and 5, a police officer shall not direct a person to submit to a urine test.

7. If a person to be tested fails to submit to a required test as directed by a police officer pursuant to this section and the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be tested was:

(a) Driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance; or

(b) Engaging in any other conduct prohibited by NRS 484C.110, 484C.120, 484C.130or 484C.430,

the officer may direct that reasonable force be used to the extent necessary to obtain samples of blood from the person to be tested. Not more than three such samples may be taken during the 5-hour period immediately following the time of the initial arrest. In such a circumstance, the officer is not required to provide the person with a choice of tests for determining the concentration of alcohol or presence of a controlled substance or another prohibited substance in his or her blood.

8. If a person who is less than 18 years of age is directed to submit to an evidentiary test pursuant to this section, the officer shall, before testing the person, make a reasonable attempt to notify the parent, guardian or custodian of the person, if known.


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