In Nevada, Felony DUI Court, also known as the Serious Offender Program (SOP), is a way for third offense DUI defendants to avoid prison and a felony conviction by completing a rigorous course of counseling, treatment, and house arrest.
Defendants who choose to go through the program will need to complete three to five years of substance abuse counseling and alcohol and drug testing, including SCRAM anklets. In addition, defendants will need to use breath interlock devices in their vehicles, complete six months of house arrest, and abide by other terms set forth by the judge.
Defendants who successfully complete the program will receive a second DUI conviction, which is a misdemeanor, rather than a felony that carries one to six years in Nevada State Prison.
If the D.A. is unwilling to accept a plea bargain, the SOP is the only way for a third-time DUI defendant to avoid prison. Defendants should carefully consider the program as a last resort if the likelihood of a charge reduction or dismissal is nonexistent.
To qualify for SOP, the defendant must meet all of the following requirements:
Past DUI arrests that were dismissed or reduced do not count as prior DUIs.
The defendant and his or her attorney must appear in District Court and plead guilty to a DUI third offense. At the same time, the attorney will submit a completed application for Felony DUI Court and a substance abuse evaluation completed by a physician or counselor stating the defendant is an addict.
The defendant will then be required to meet with the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation, where the Division will compose a Presentence Investigation Report for the case. This report gives the Division’s opinion on whether the defendant is suitable for DUI Court or not.
The prosecutor may contest the DUI Court application within 10 days of receiving the notice. The judge may also request a hearing if he or she is concerned about the defendant’s suitability for SOP.
If the defendant is accepted into DUI court, the judge will suspend the defendant’s prison sentence and order them to report to Pretrial Services, which is where they will be instructed to begin the program.
The application process for the DUI Court program is very technical and time-sensitive, which is why defendants should retain counsel to ensure everything is done correctly.
Thomas Moskal has served as Las Vegas’s lead DUI prosecutor, where he was in charge of the Felony DUI Court Program for felony DUI 3rd offenses. He knows the ins and outs of the system and knows what it takes to ensure defendants get a fair shot at entering the program.
If you’re facing charges of felony DUI 3rd offense, DO NOT enter the Felony DUI Court Program without first consulting with Thomas Moskal. Call Moskal Law today to obtain the representation you deserve.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter.