Nevada DUI Legislation Would Call for Alternative Sentencing for Some Third-Time Offenders
By: Chris Kramer
Being convicted for a third Nevada DUI offense may not necessarily mean spending time in state prison if one state Senator has her way.
Senator Valerie Wiener has introduced SB277, which would allow district judges to authorize an alcohol- or drug-treatment program for third time drunken driving offenders who plead guilty or no-contest to their DUI charges, according to a Nevada Appeal story.
Specifically, this Nevada DUI legislation would reinstate the practice of alternative sentencing after the district attorney ruled that judges do not have the authority to use such power. Current Nevada DUI law treats a third-time DUI conviction as a felony punishable by one to six years in prison.
Wiener's Nevada DUI legislation would allow the offender to avoid prison if he or she agrees to adhere to a treatment program for at least three years. This Nevada DUI legislation would reduced a third conviction to a second-offense violation for anyone who completes the program. This would be a big difference for many offenders, as a second-offense violation would be considered a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
For offenders in the alternative program, the third conviction would be considered a misdemeanor for employment, civil rights and licensing purposes. However if a person in the program were to receive another DUI in the future, the conviction would be treated as a felony DUI conviction punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Wiener said that if people in the alternative program blow this unique chance, they will be immediately sent back to prison.
Examining Other Motives for this Nevada DUI Legislation
In addition to not only allowing third-time Nevada DUI offenders the chance to avoid prison and be rehabilitated, this legislation would take some stress off the state's prison system. Wiener specifically said that allowing judges this discretion for alternative sentencing would reduce the number of DUI offenders in prisons in the "Silver State."
Prison spokesman Greg Smith said in the story that this Nevada DUI legislation would currently apply to 161 male and 31 female inmates on DUI-only convictions. Stay updated on the latest developments with this Nevada DUI legislation, which has been sent to the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee for review.
NV DUI Legislation Is Yet Another Instance of Alternative Sentencing
This Nevada DUI legislation is just another example of how some states are considering alternative sentencing when dealing with drunken driving convictions. Most recently, a new South Dakota DUI law expanded the state's landmark 24/7 sobriety program throughout the Mount Rushmore State.
Specifically, this South Dakota DUI law allows convicted offenders to still drive their cars upon agreeing to abstain from alcohol and take daily breathalyzer tests in both the morning and the evening.