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Posted On November 08, 2021

When DUI Turns Deadly in Las Vegas

Former Las Vegas Raiders player Henry Rugs III, 22, is currently facing Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and reckless driving charges after a fatal crash. The crash resulted in the death of Tina Tintor, a 23-year-old woman, and her 3-year-old dog. Ruggs is reported to have had a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit at the time of the accident and reached a speed of 156 mph just before the crash. 

Judge Joe Bonaventure set a bail of $150,000 for Ruggs during his initial hearing, although the prosecutors had set it at $1 million. Ruggs was also ordered to abstain from controlled substances and alcohol, refrain from driving, and surrender his passport. 

Sadly, this crash, which happened in Rainbow Boulevard near Spring Valley Parkway, is just one of the many that occur every other day on Las Vegas roads due to impaired driving.

Incidents of DUI are on the Rise in Las Vegas, Nevada

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that, on average, a drunk driver drives 80 times before getting his or her first-time arrest. This statistic shows that motorists are driving impaired on Las Vegas roads every day.

The I-Team recently analyzed a whole year’s DUI data from Metro Police. Based on the analysis, about 70% of 2,300 drugged driving arrests involved Marijuana. Prescription drugs accounted for 28% of the arrests, while methamphetamine constituted 25% of the arrests.

 Many drugged drivers had more than one drug in their systems. In one incident in 2020, investigators found meth and six different prescription medications in the blood of an intoxicated driver. This blend of different drugs impaired the driver’s driving abilities.

Since 2018, four cases involving drivers had one thing in common — at least six drugs were in the drivers’ system. Investigators detected THC in each driver and potent opioids (morphine, fentanyl, and buprenorphine) in three of the four cases. 

Alcohol Accounts for Just a Small Proportion of DUI Accidents 

From 2016 through mid-2020, drugs caused over 75% of fatal DUI crashes on Nevada roads. Drivers intoxicated with both drugs and alcohol outnumbered those who had only alcohol in their systems. 

In 2020, only about a quarter of the 645 DUI accidents reported in Henderson involved alcohol only. Without extensive testing to detect new and novel drugs, many DUI driving incidents are likely to go unreported. 

Some of the most common substances reported in DUI drivers are meth, cannabis, cocaine, and antianxiety medications. All these can affect someone’s driving capabilities. Just like alcohol, opioids like Kratom can make a driver severely drowsy. 

Wrongful Death Caused by DUI Accidents

The grounds for a wrongful death claim are that a person acted negligently and that negligence led to the loss of another person’s life. This applies even to a DUI situation. Family members of the deceased person can recover their damages through a court or out-of-court process.

The plaintiff must prove the following elements beyond reasonable doubt for the wrongful death claim or lawsuit to be successful:

  • The defendant acted negligently;
  • The negligent conduct led to the death of a person;
  • The plaintiff incurred legally recognizable losses because of that death.

Searching for a “personal injury lawyer near me” is the best way to find aggressive legal representation that will help family member(s) demonstrate the above elements. The lawyer will look at the facts of the DUI accidents, gather more proof, and file a strong lawsuit against the liable party.

Damages recovered from a successful wrongful death claim can cover funeral costs, medical bills, and lost income. It may also compensate the family member(s) for the pain and suffering caused by the death of the loved one.

Penalties for DUI Convictions in Nevada 

If a person is convicted of his or her first DUI in Nevada, the standard sentence can range from 2 days to 6 months, or 48 to 96 hours of doing community service. The person may face a suspended 6-month sentence or a fine of $400 to $1000, plus additional court charges. 

If a person causes an accident that results in substantial bodily harm to other road users, the offense is classified as a felony. This applies even if the person driving under the influence didn’t have any criminal history at the time of the crash.

Substantial bodily injuries or death charges are classified as Category B Felonies and are punishable by a jail time of at least 2 years and at most 20 years. This offense also carries a fine of $2,000 to $5,000. Most of these offenses are non-probationable – the convicted driver must serve jail time. 

A third-time DUI conviction falls into category B felony. Offenders don’t qualify for probation. They must serve a compulsory jail time of 1 to 6 years and pay between $2,000 and $5,000 in fines.

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