DUI Criminal Court Process


A driver’s Arraignment is scheduled either by the police officer (by placing a date and time to appear in court on the Citation) or is scheduled by the court using a Summons (please see our COVID Court Process page).

The five Clark County District Court judges rotate through the Arraignment docket on a five week rotation.  The driver is assigned a judge and prosecutor based on the week they are scheduled for court.  At Arraignment the court engages in five activities:

1.) Informing the driver of the charge(s)

2.) Determining if the driver will be represented by an attorney

3.) Taking an initial plea

4.) If a plea of “Not Guilty” is entered by the driver, setting release conditions

5.) Scheduling a return court date (either Pro Se or Mandatory Pre-Trial)

Pro Se Pre-Trial

A Pro Se Pre-Trial takes place if a driver enters a “Not Guilty” plea at Arraignment and is representing him or herself.  The Pro Se Pre-Trial is an opportunity to meet with a representative from the Prosecuting Attorney’s office to discuss the case.  It can additionally be a second opportunity to request a Court Appointed Attorney.

Mandatory Pre-Trial

All drivers entering a “Not Guilty” plea at Arraignment are scheduled for a Mandatory Pre-Trial.  For out of custody drivers the timeframe between Arraignment and Mandatory Pre-Trial is usually 60 days.  During this time our office secures radio communications, dash cam videos, police reports and conducts witness interviews.  We will generally meet with the assigned Prosecuting Attorney prior to the Mandatory Pre-Trial to discuss the case, negotiate and then strategize with our client.  The intention at the Mandatory Pre-Trial if we cannot resolve the case is to either:

1.) Schedule the case for an appropriate return date where case resolution can take place (this may involve a client having to complete pre-conditions for reduction in charge or finishing up potential probation conditions).

2.) Schedule the case for a Suppression Motion

3.) Schedule the case for Trial

Suppression Motion

A suppression motion is the request of the defense attorney to exclude evidence that was gathered during the investigation of the driver.  A suppression motion is ruled on by the judge alone- jurors are not present for suppression motions.  Most suppression motions involve the prosecution and the defense submitting written “briefs” (informing the court of the appropriate law to apply) and often supplementing these legal briefs with witness testimony.  The result of a suppression motion is both the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney understanding what evidence will be admissible for a jury to hear if the case proceeds to trial.  The outcome of some suppression motions can limit a witnesses’ testimony at trial, or the type of evidence a jury can see, while other suppression rulings prevent the prosecuting attorney from proceeding with the charge altogether.  The result of a suppression motion is subject to appeal by both the prosecution and the defense.


DUI cases in Clark County District Court always take place before a 6- person jury.  At trial the prosecuting attorney needs to prove the three or four elements of DUI beyond a reasonable doubt.

For DUI charges with a breathalyzer or blood  result:

1.) The driver was operating a vehicle

2.) The vehicle operation was in the prosecutor’s jurisdiction

3.) Within two hours of vehicle operation the driver had a breath alcohol or blood result greater than .08 for alcohol OR a blood result over 5 ng/mL of active THC for marijuana.

(For alcohol or marijuana DUI charges with results under the per se limits)

4.) At the time of the driver’s vehicle operation they were appreciably affected by alcohol and/ or marijuana.

For DUI charges where the breath test was refused

1.) The driver was operating the vehicle

2.) The vehicle operation was in the prosecutor’s jurisdiction

3.) At the time of vehicle operation the driver was appreciably affected by alcohol and/ or drugs

4.) The driver refused the breathalyzer test

Each element of the charge needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and all 6 jurors need to reach a unanimous decision.  If a unanimous decision cannot be reached by all 6 jurors a mistrial is declared and the case can be re-tried before another jury at a later date.