What you need to know about Marijuana DUI Charges in Nevada
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal in every state. Marijuana is one of the substances that fall under the DUI laws in Nevada. It is a crime to drive with weed in your system. However, it isn’t all that straightforward. There are some interesting twists and turns.
If you have been charged with driving while under the influence of marijuana, you need to read this.
Is Marijuana Legal in Nevada?
In the state of Nevada, the recreational use of marijuana is legal for adults who are 21 years old or older. They may possess as much as 1 ounce of weed or up to 1/8 of an ounce. However, like alcohol, driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime and is treated in a manner that is very similar to a DUI of alcohol.
In 2016, the voters of Nevada approved the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana. It went into effect on January 1, 2017. This made it legal for adults to consume, possess, and purchase recreational marijuana.
What are the Nevada DUI Laws for Marijuana?
Several laws govern a DUI of marijuana in Nevada.
- NRS 484C 400 – Penalties for first, second and third offenses; segregation of offender; intermittent confinement; consecutive sentences; aggravating factor.
- 1st DUI (within 7 years)
- 2nd DUI (within 7 years)
- 3rd DUI (within 7 years)
- NRS 484C 410 – Penalties when offender previously convicted of certain felonious conduct or homicide; segregation of offender; intermittent confinement; consecutive sentences; aggravating factor.
- DUI after felony DUI conviction
- NRS 484C 430 – Penalty if death or substantial bodily harm results; exception; segregation of offender; plea bargaining restricted; suspension of sentence and probation prohibited; affirmative defense; exception; aggravating factor.
- DUI causing injury or death
While Nevada’s DUI laws are geared toward both alcohol and prohibited substances, the circumstances are a little different:
- A person can be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana if the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is impaired by marijuana use.
- There is no marijuana blood content limit as there is with alcohol. The amount of marijuana detected in the blood of the driver is not relevant.
- The only time the marijuana blood content is relevant is if the driver has had at least two DUIs within the past seven years.
- If a driver has had at least two DUIs within the previous seven years, they can be charged with a DUI of marijuana if:
- Their driving was impaired by marijuana use; or
- Their blood contains a minimum of 2 nanograms of ml. of marijuana or 5 nanograms per ml. of marijuana metabolite.
How do Marijuana DUI Arrests Happen?
A DUI of marijuana can be difficult to prove. It begins with a traffic stop that is typically initiated because the police officer observed the accused driving erratically. Once the driver has stopped, the officer will observe the driver’s behavior, ask them questions, and may request they take a preliminary breath test.
If the driver passes the breath test, the officer may suspect that the individual is driving under the influence of drugs instead of alcohol. There are several clues that they may observe that would indicate this:
- The officer smells marijuana in the car or on the driver
- The driver failed the field sobriety test
- The driver had dilated pupils
- The driver has body or eyelid tremors
- The driver exhibits an impairment of their short-term memory
- The driver seems overly uninhibited or relaxed
If the officer feels that they have probable cause to arrest the driver for a DUI of marijuana, they will make the arrest and take the driver to the station where a blood test will be administered.
What are the Penalties for DUI Marijuana in Nevada?
A first-offense DUI of marijuana carries several penalties, including:
- One of the following
- Minimum 2 days – Maximum 6 months in jail
- Minimum 24 hours – Maximum 96 hours of community service
- Nevada DUI School (paid for by the person convicted of the DUI)
- Minimum $400 – Maximum $1,000
- Court costs
- Nevada Victim Impact Panel
- Driver’s license suspension for 185 days
- Stay out of trouble order while the case is open
What are the Best Defenses for a Marijuana DUI Charge?
Many DUI marijuana cases in Nevada get reduced to lesser charges or thrown out completely simply because it is very difficult to prove impairment. While a marijuana DUI charge is similar to an alcohol DUI charge, it is usually easier to prove impairment from alcohol than it is to prove marijuana impairment.
Some of the most common defenses for DUI of marijuana are:
- The individual was not driving under the influence of marijuana
- There was a lack of probable cause to pull over the driver in the first place
- Faulty administration of testing equipment
- Faulting testing equipment
If you have been charged with a marijuana DUI charge in Nevada, you should not try to take care of it yourself. You need an experienced DUI attorney to help protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome of your case.
Call the ATAC Law firm today and get the justice you deserve.
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