A Driving Under the Influence “DUI” Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm offense in Las Vegas, Nevada is a Felony. In order to be convicted of a DUI Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm offense, the prosecutor must prove, that you were under the influence while driving and/or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, and that your actions while driving were the proximate cause of the substantial bodily harm of another. Nevada Revised Statute “NRS” 0.060 defines Substantial Bodily Harm as, “Bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ; or prolonged physical pain.” It is important to note, under the statute, “prolonged physical pain” is considered substantial bodily harm. This is important because, if you were to be involved in an accident and were under the influence. But, the people in the other vehicle did not seem seriously injured at the time; the prosecutor could easily upgrade your original charge of a DUI Misdemeanor, to a DUI Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm Felony, if at a later time the victim complains of prolonged physical pain, for example, chronic back pain or migraines.
The prosecution has three theories that they can use to prosecute an individual for DUI Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm. First, is the “per se” theory, if they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving and/or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle and a blood or breath test was taken within two hours of you driving, and your blood alcohol content “BAC” was .08 or above, you are “per se” under the influence. The second theory is .08 BAC or above “at the time of driving”, if the prosecutor can prove your BAC was .08 or above at the time you were actually driving the vehicle you would be deemed under the influence. Lastly, the “impaired driving theory”, here prosecutors are not required to present any evidence of your BAC or drug toxicity levels. For example, if Terrance causes an accident, which results in another vehicle being struck, and a person in that vehicle breaks their leg. The police then arrive, and Terrance smells of alcohol, fails all of his field sobriety tests, and admits to drinking, the prosecution could argue that regardless of what his BAC was, he was under the influence of alcohol “to any degree, however slight” which rendered him incapable of safely driving, and therefore deemed under the influence.
The consequences of a conviction for a DUI Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm offense are severe. If convicted, prison is mandatory, therefore under no circumstances can a Judge sentence you to probation if found guilty at trial. The Judge is required to sentence you anywhere from 2-20 years in prison, per person who received substantial bodily injury. If these penalties weren’t harsh enough, if convicted of a DUI Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm, you are now deemed “Once a Felon Always a Felon”, meaning if you are ever in your lifetime arrested and charged with another DUI you will automatically be charged with a DUI Felony and face mandatory prison.
Unfortunately, DUI’s are very common in the Las Vegas Valley, and all local police agencies are instructed to make an arrest if they have reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, while driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on a public roadway. Once arrested, the Police Officer or Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper will take you to jail, and because you are being accused of DUI Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm, you are not given an option to take a breath test, and therefore will be forced to submit to up to three blood draws, which will be used as evidence against you in your criminal case and DMV Administrative Hearing.
DUI Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm offenses are vigorously prosecuted and a conviction can have dire consequences. A Driving Under the Influence Offense is the only crime on the books in Las Vegas, Nevada, where a prosecutor must have “legal cause or reason” to negotiate a DUI charge down to anything less than a DUI, such as a Reckless Driving. Meaning, a prosecutor can’t, and won’t, offer to drop your case, just because this was your first criminal offense. That among many other reasons is why it is vital to hire Las Vegas DUI Defense Attorney Michael A. Troiano. With his extensive knowledge and experience in DUI Defense on your side, he will discuss all defenses available for your specific case and keep you well informed of the entire process of your DUI Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm criminal case in addition to the DMV Administrative Hearing and your driver’s license privileges.