This article is not intended as advice for your specific matter. Rather, it is a general article about Nevada law. If you have questions about your particular case, please call Mueller, Hinds and Associates, Chtd. immediately at (702) 940-1234. This information is valid as of February 2, 2018.
Driving under the influence, DUI, is a serious accusation that requires a lawyer to defend against. There are a number of ways to be found guilty of felony DUI across the country, here, here and here. They include causing death or serious bodily harm or committing a hit-and-run.
FELONY DUI IN NEVADA – “ONCE A FELON, ALWAYS A FELON” RULE
Under Nevada Revised Statutes 484C.400, the penalty for a first, second or third DUI conviction within seven years are different. For a first or second offense, a DUI is punished as a misdemeanor. A third offense within seven years is punished as a felony. But a third offense in seven years is not the only way to be accused of felony DUI where no one was harmed and you stayed on the scene of an accident. Nevada Revised Statutes 484C.410 provides the “once a felon, always a felon” rule which means that if you’ve been convicted of a felony DUI, then all subsequent DUI charges are felonies no matter how much time has passed.
But what about out-of-state convictions? For instance, if you were convicted of felony DUI in Utah, does that serve as a basis for making any subsequent DUI a felony in Nevada?
The Supreme Court of Nevada addressed this question in Sindelar v. State, 382 P.3d 904 (2016). The appellant, Stella Sindelar, pleaded guilty to felony DUI in Utah in 2004. Almost nine years later, Singelar was arrested in Ely, Nevada for suspicion of DUI. At trial, she was convicted of felony DUI and sentenced to 30 to 75 months in prison.
Although Sindelar tried to argue that she should have only been charged with a misdemeanor because the 2004 Utah conviction would have been a misdemeanor had it occurred in Nevada, the Supreme Court of Nevada disagreed. The reasoning behind Sindelar’s position was that Utah had a longer term of recidivism, repeated offending, at ten years versus Nevada’s seven years. However, under the statute, the Court found that both statutes criminalized the same conduct essentially and this the conviction in Utah could serve as a valid prior felony for enhancement purposes.
Have you or a loved one been accused of a crime and cannot afford to hire experts and investigators? Contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Mueller Hinds & Associates for a free consultation.