Criminology 101: The Truth About DUI

“I Only Had One Beer Man..”

Before the latest Nevada legislative session end, the Nevada Assembly can’t help but to take another crack at DUI in their never ending quest to “prevent even one more death.” While drinking and driving can be hazardous, studies show that you are two times safer in a drinking related accident than one not involving alcohol. The most common “fact” bandied about is that 1/3 of traffic fatalities involve drinking and driving. Aside from the statistical leeway given to defining an alcohol related traffic accident, like counting each person involved as a separate accident, that still means 2/3 are caused by either stupidity or simple accidents. If drinking and driving was such a public health threat, why not prohibit bars from having parking lots.

Drinking and driving in Las Vegas is not only permitted, shy of impairment, I would argue it is encouraged at every level. Lowering an already lowered and arbitrary level from .08 to .05 would have virtually no effect on behavior or safety of Nevada highways. Impairment should be based on objective, observed driving. Not all people are affected by alcohol the same and .08 may even be too high for some. After prosecuting for almost ten years and defending for seven, I have seen thousands of DUI case files and can say unequivocally that very, very few people arrested for DUI are under even .10. The vast majority are in the teens or higher because people impaired at lower levels are already passing the keys. Changing the law to .05 is not going to cause a single .20 driver to reconsider driving.

Rather than lumping an unimpaired driver, stopped for any variety of reasons without signs of impaired driving should not be lumped into the same offense and penalty as serious dangerous drunk drivers. Currently a person driving fine, struck by a sober driver faces the exact same penalty as the blind drunk driving on the wrong side of the road with his lights off at night. Instead of encouraging the courts to penalize within statutory guideline according to the danger posed, the assembly would rather find more ways to bring more people into the DUI tent and generate funds. The end result is it dilutes the serious offenders and hinders their cancer at getting the help needed to secure our roads. Charging everyone with a trace of alcohol in their system ensures cases will take 12 months to get to trial instead of the usual 8 it takes now. Rather than encouraging responsible behavior, like designated drivers, the assembly would prefer to pass a lawyers full employment statute. While I accept new clients, I don’t need them at the expense of the safety of the same roads I drive on. If the assembly wishes to overburden the system, the only beneficiary will be the serious dangerous drinker who will hide amongst the crowd and desensitize the public. The focus should encourage people to be responsible, drink less before driving, or just effect an outright ban on drinking while driving or within 12 hours of driving.

If you have been accused of driving under the influence, call Attorney Greg Knapp, 702-380-4199 to discuss the best defense available to you.