Unfortunately, the old adage of “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” has little truth when you’ve been arrested in Las Vegas. Even something as small as a common traffic citation can stay on your license for several years, so it’s no surprise that an arrest will have an even bigger impact on your record.

Few people intend to go to Vegas and come back with an arrest report attached to their name, but it happens more often than you would think. Las Vegas’s many bail bond companies stay pretty busy in Sin City. DUI is largely to blame.

If you’re wondering what happens when you’re arrested for DUI in Las Vegas, keep reading.

Las Vegas DUI Charge and Arrest: What Happens?

In Las Vegas, if you are arrested for DUI, you will be taken to the Clark County Detention Center, where you will be booked and held until your initial appearance before a judge, which typically occurs within 48 hours of your arrest.

However, you may be able to secure your release more quickly by posting bail through a reputable bail bond company.

As for sentencing, Nevada has approved certain lighter sentencing alternatives when a person has a first-offense misdemeanor charge for DUI. A first-time DUI in Las Vegas is characterized as a misdemeanor.

First-Time Offense

A standard first offense, classified and prosecuted as a misdemeanor, occurs when an individual has been charged for operating a motor vehicle while either drunk or high.

If a person hasn’t had a prior DUI issued within the past seven years, the charge could be labeled as a first offense. It doesn’t matter whether the offense occurred in Nevada or another state so long as it was seven years prior.

Drivers could potentially be charged with a “DUI per se” if they are found to have illegal amounts of a controlled substance, such as prescription drugs or marijuana, in their blood. The driver may not be impaired, yet a conviction is still possible. A drug DUI is sometimes referred to as a DUID.

For a first-time offender, it could be possible to get the record sealed seven years after the case is over, or the offender may be able to plea bargain the first offense down to a reckless driving charge or dismissal. These situations can be sealed after just one year.

Even First-Time Offenses Can Have Harsh Penalties:

A first-time DUI could result in jail time or fines. Moreover, the defendant might receive a license revocation of up to 185 days, be forced to complete an eight-hour DUI school, and undergo mandatory attendance at a Victim Impact Panel.

Depending on the offense, first-timers may be able to petition the court for a change in sentencing. Community service may be served rather than jail time, and a driver may be able to change a license revocation to a restricted driver’s license with an additional ignition interlock control. In some cases, a judge will dismiss the charge or reduce it to a lesser consequence.

For those from out of state, the thought of spending time in a Las Vegas jail is unsettling. While you may be able to avoid jail time if the judge decides not to impose a sentence that includes incarceration, you can still enlist the help of All n One Bail Bonds to secure your release from jail.

Note: A minimum mandatory sentence could look like the following:

  • Citation fine and court costs (at either Las Vegas Municipal or Las Vegas Justice Court)
  • Attendance at a Mothers Against Drunk Drivers or similar Victim Impact Organization (plus the cost of attendance)
  • Completion of an eight-hour traffic safety and alcohol awareness program (paid for by the defendant)
  • Order to comply with laws and pick up no citations or arrests while the DUI remains open (six months to a year)
  • 185-day license revocation or restricted license with a breath interlock device (installation and maintenance paid by the defendant)
  • Guarantee of SR-22 certificate of insurance for three years following the arrest

Additional Offenses

Though the consequences of a first offense should be enough to deter future DUI driving incidents, the severity of consequences increases as the number of arrests increases.

Second Offense: A second offense can lead to jail time or residential confinement that can span 10 days to six months, and the fines increase up to $1,100 with court costs.

Third Offense: Third offenses within seven years are considered a category B felony with one to six years in State prison and fines that can reach up to $5,000. License revocation or suspension can last for three years, and the record is never sealed.

If a DUI causes injury or death, the offense is automatically a category B felony, regardless of a clean criminal record. Any DUIs that occur after a felony DUI has already been served is automatically a category B offense. Prison time is anywhere from two to 15 years.

Before you head out to Vegas, you should know that the laws and penalties in Nevada for drunk driving are some of the nation’s toughest. For some, a DUI is a temporary lapse in judgment, while others deal with an addiction problem.


Many people use the terms DUI and DWI interchangeably when referring to driving while under the influence. However, they mean different things.

Here are the main differences between these terms:

  • DUI: Driving Under the Influence
  • DWI: Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired
  • DUI typically refers to impairment by alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
  • DWI usually refers specifically to alcohol-related offenses
  • Some states use DUI as a general term for any impaired driving offense
  • In certain states, a DWI may signify a more severe offense than DUI
  • The specific wording of laws varies by state
  • Both DUI and DWI are illegal in all 50 states

Regardless of terminology, both refer to operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs

Nevada uses “driving under the influence” as the official term for those who have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% within two hours of driving. Additionally, they use the term for anyone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and anyone impaired to the degree that it is unsafe to operate a motor vehicle.

Contact Us Bail Bond Assistance

If you or a loved one ever face a DUI charge, you may be able to avoid spending the night in jail by contacting Lightning Bail. A Las Vegas bail bonds company, we provide the best, most affordable bail bonds for the entire state. Our offices provide 24-hour efficient, confidential services for any jail in Nevada with flexible payment programs and multiple ways to pay. Fill out our online request form or give us a call at 702-333-2663.