Las Vegas has a reputation for being a party city. You know the saying, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. However, some things don’t stay in Vegas, like being involved in a DUI accident.

So, how common is drinking and driving in the City of Sin? There were 115 fatal DUI accidents in 2019, and this is a statistic you don’t want to be included in. Thankfully, you can take some common sense steps to help avoid being involved in a DUI accident.

Potential Penalties for Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence (DUI) is limited to only operating a motor vehicle after having too many alcoholic drinks. You can be guilty of a DUI if illegal drugs or prescription medication affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

For example, some prescribed and over-the-counter medications have side effects like fatigue and drowsiness. If your medication causes you to nod off behind the wheel, you can face a DUI charge. If an accident occurs, chances are you’re the at-fault driver.

So, what are the potential penalties for a DUI charge? The penalty typically depends on whether it’s your first, second, or third driving offense.

1st DUI offense

Fines range from $600 to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail. You can receive either a monetary fine, jail time, or both.

2nd DUI offense

Fines of $1,000 up to $2,000 and anywhere from 30 days to one year in jail. You can receive either a fine, jail time, or both.

3rd DUI offense

Jail time ranges from one up to four years. Fines can be from $2,000 to $5,000. You can receive a fine, jail time, or both. If this is your 4th or more DUI offense, chances are you will receive a fine and some jail time. You can also lose your driving privileges. If a minor, anyone 16 years old or younger, is a passenger during the offense, you can face an additional penalty: typically 60 days or longer in jail.

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Nevada can also hand down multiple penalties for anyone convicted of a DUI while a minor is a passenger in the vehicle.

How to Avoid a DUI Accident

While you can’t control another driver’s behavior, you can do something about yours. Never getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks is the best way to avoid becoming a to avoid becoming a drinking and driving DUI statistic.

Before heading out, have a plan in place. Whether it’s assigning someone in your group as a designated driver or using a rideshare service to get around, have a plan that eliminates any need for you to drive while intoxicated.

Since you’re in Las Vegas, take advantage of some of the chauffeur options the city offers residents and visitors.

If you’re staying at a hotel, inquire about their chauffeur options. Most Vegas hotels offer shuttles and even limos for their guests’ convenience. Yes, there is a charge but it’s a safe and easy way to get around the city without worrying about watching what you drink.

Along with staying sober if you’re planning on taking the wheel, there are a few other steps you can take to help avoid getting into an accident with an intoxicated driver.

Always Pay Attention

There’s a lot to look at in Las Vegas, even off of the strip—all it takes is a glance away from the road and you can be involved in an accident. Paying attention means a little more than keeping your eyes on the road, it also includes watching the behavior of other motorists.

If you notice a vehicle swerving in and out of lanes or riding too close to the median, it may indicate the driver is under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or potentially both.

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Your best course of action is to keep your distance and report the erratic driving behavior to the authorities. Even though an accident hasn’t occurred yet, you still want to call the emergency 9-1-1 operator, and you can also contact the Nevada Highway Patrol by dialing 6-4-7.

A good rule to follow is to call the emergency line to report a suspected drunk driver in city limits. This is because the city’s police department has jurisdiction. If you see erratic driving behavior on the freeway, call the state highway patrol since they have jurisdiction over the state’s freeway system.

What to Do If You’re Involved in a DUI Accident

If you’re involved in a drinking and driving DUI accident and you’re the suspected intoxicated driver, your best course of action is to follow the responding officers’ commands and contact an experienced attorney. The steps to take after a DUI accident when you’re the victim are a little different.

Chances are, you’re still going to contact an attorney but it’s not the only step you should take:

Seek immediate medical attention

Even if you don’t believe you sustained any injuries, it’s still a good idea to make an appointment with a healthcare professional. Not all injuries are immediately apparent. You also need your medical records if you plan on filing an injury claim.

Get a copy of your accident report

Your accident report should be ready in about ten business days. There’s a small fee to obtain a copy, but you need your accident report to start the claim process. Your report helps prove the accident occurred precisely as it’s noted in your injury claim.

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You also want to pay attention to the statute of limitations, which is the amount of time you have to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. You have two years from the accident date to file an injury claim.

If you miss the deadline, you may not be able to recover compensation for your damages.

Consult with an Injury Attorney

If you’re injured in a DUI accident, you should contact an attorney immediately. Your attorney understands the many complexities that are associated with DUI accident cases and will fight to protect your rights.

Recovering from a Drinking and Driving DUI Accident

Let your attorney work on helping you receive fair compensation for your damages while you concentrate on recovering from the accident. With a skilled attorney by your side, you can focus on healing, knowing that a professional is dedicated to securing the justice and compensation you deserve.