Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Las Vegas
A DUI with marijuana in Las Vegas is against Nevada law. Driving under the influence of marijuana or driving with an unlawful marijuana level is a misdemeanor. If there are extenuating factors, the offense may even be a felony. If you’re facing DUI charges, our team of Las Vegas DUI attorneys can help you defend your rights and represent your best interests.
When most people think of DUI in Las Vegas, they think of alcohol. But it’s also illegal to drive under the influence or over the legal limit of marijuana. Even though it’s legal to possess and use marijuana under state law, it’s still illegal in Las Vegas and in all of Nevada to drive in violation of Nevada’s DUI marijuana laws. Here’s what you should know about DUI marijuana in Las Vegas.
Nevada’s DUI Marijuana Laws
Nevada Revised Statute 484C.110 prohibits all forms of illegal driving. Among the types of prohibited driving is DUI marijuana. There are two ways to be a drunk driver with marijuana under Nevada law:
Showing Impaired Driving Ability Under the Influence of Marijuana
The first way to be charged as a DUI marijuana driver in Nevada is by being caught showing impaired driving ability under the influence of marijuana. To violate the law, the state must prove that you operated a motor vehicle while your ability to operate the vehicle was impaired by the consumption of marijuana.
It doesn’t matter how much marijuana you ingested before you drove. If the marijuana impaired your ability to drive reasonably and safely, you violated Nevada law. Law enforcement typically shows the influence of marijuana by driving behaviors, but they could also introduce other evidence of your intoxicated state, such as a lack of coordination when stopped by an officer.
Driving With an Unlawful Marijuana Level
In addition to showing impaired driving ability while under the influence of marijuana, it’s also a violation of Nevada’s marijuana laws to drive with an unlawful marijuana blood level. That means showing a result over the legal limit for marijuana in a blood test result. Nevada is one of a handful of states that have enacted a legal limit for marijuana.
If a driver is over the legal limit for marijuana, it doesn’t matter if the marijuana impacts their ability to drive. As long as the marijuana in their blood meets or exceeds the legal limit, they’re presumed to be under the influence for the purposes of the law. It’s not a defense that the marijuana didn’t impact your ability to drive, but you can admit evidence of a lack of influence to demonstrate that your blood levels were below the legal limit.
The legal limit for marijuana DUI in Las Vegas is two nanograms per milliliter of blood. The two nanograms requirement is for only the active ingredient in marijuana. For the metabolite of marijuana, the legal limit is five nanograms per milliliter of blood.
If the police test your blood for marijuana, you can expect them to check for both the active ingredient and the metabolite. In reality, both of these levels of marijuana are low based on how much marijuana an adult typically uses. Marijuana can stay in your blood for a relatively extended period. If you smoke marijuana, it’s important to exercise caution when choosing to operate a motor vehicle. You may find yourself charged with a crime even though your marijuana use may be legal and even though you use marijuana responsibly.
What Are the Penalties for DUI Marijuana?
The penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana or driving over the legal limit for marijuana are the same as the penalties for a DUI involving alcohol. For a first offense, you face at least two days in jail or 24 hours of community service. The court may place you in jail for up to six months or order as many as 96 hours of community service. Other penalties for a DUI marijuana offense include:
- Fines ranging from $400-$1000
- Mandatory attendance at DUI school
- Mandatory attendance at a DUI victim impact panel
- A license suspension of 90 days (you may be eligible for a restricted license after 45 days)
- Conditions for behavior while you await resolution of your case
If there are extenuating circumstances like a prior offense or an injured victim, the penalties may be much more severe. Your DUI lawyer can give you an idea of what to expect as a sentence in your case. Of course, if you’re not convicted, you’re released from temporary conditions, and there’s no sentencing or penalties.
Defenses to DUI Marijuana
If you’re facing a marijuana DUI charge, you have the right to an aggressive and complete defense. You have the right to a trial, and you have the right to call witnesses to testify on your behalf. You have the right to the representation of the DUI marijuana lawyer in Las Vegas of your choice. You don’t have to prove your innocence. It’s the state who has to prove every element of the charges against you. There are many options to defend against allegations of DUI marijuana.
DUI marijuana charges are still relatively new in Nevada. Too many law enforcement officers use their training for alcohol DUI investigations when they’re investigating DUI marijuana offenses. Even though the penalties of a DUI charge for alcohol are the same as a DUI for marijuana, they are very different substances.
Conducting a DUI alcohol investigation for a case that may involve marijuana is often woefully inadequate. For example, standardized field sobriety tests are standardized for use in alcohol-related investigations. Also, a preliminary breathalyzer test can’t measure marijuana because marijuana doesn’t appear in the breath. An experienced DUI attorney can help you review the investigation in your case to determine where you can question law enforcement’s investigation. They can also help you identify and assert any other available defenses in your case.
How a Marijuana DUI Attorney Can Help
If you’re facing a DUI charge for marijuana, it’s essential to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you conduct your own investigation and prepare an aggressive defense under Nevada law.
All criminal driving offenses can have serious consequences for your freedom, your license, and your future. Working with an expert can help ensure the best outcome possible in your case.