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Marijuana DUI

Nevada residents voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2000, but it took 15 years for a dispensary to begin selling cannabis in the Silver State. A ballot initiative in 2016 is seeking to legalize possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for recreational use.

While the law regarding cannabis possession may be changing in Nevada, driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana remains a criminal offense. People arrested for driving while they are high can face penalties that are just as serious as if they had been under the influence of alcohol.

Lawyer for Marijuana DUI in Las Vegas, Nevada

If you were arrested for being under the influence of marijuana when you were driving in Nevada, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Law Offices of Jeffrey Jaeger represents clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, and surrounding communities in Clark County.

Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Jaeger is co-author of Westlaw's Courtroom Handbook of Nevada Evidence, a guide used by judges and lawyers throughout Nevada. He can review your case and discuss all of your legal options as soon as you call (702) 816-3888 to schedule a free initial consultation.


Clark County Marijuana DUI Information Center


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Marijuana DUI Charges in Nevada

Nevada Revised Statute 484C.110(3) makes it illegal for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle with certain amounts of prohibited substances in their blood or urine. With marijuana, the legal nanograms per milliliter—or parts per billion—limits are:

 

Urine

Blood

Marijuana

10 ng/mL

2 ng/mL

Marijuana metabolite

15 ng/mL

5 ng/mL

“Marijuana” refers to the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. “Marijuana metabolite” typically refers to 11-nor-9-Carboxy-THC (also referred to as just carboxy-THC), the primary metabolite of THC that forms in the body after cannabis is consumed.

The limits established for marijuana under state law in Nevada are incredibly problematic for a number of reasons. First, both nanograms per milliliter figures are among the lowest set for prohibited substances—lower than the limits for amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and phencyclidine (PCP).

Secondly, marijuana and its metabolites stay in a person’s system for much longer periods than those other illegal drugs. Thus, it is possible that a person could be arrested for DUI relating to marijuana after failing a blood or urine test several days—or even weeks—after consuming cannabis and after the hallucinatory effects have worn off.

While these legal limits constitute “per se” intoxication—meaning a person can be charged with DUI even if they do not exhibit any physical symptoms of intoxication—police officers may still arrest people who refuse tests or pass chemical tests when they believe the subjects are visibly impaired by cannabis. In many cases, authorities will rely on the opinion of a so-called “Drug Recognition Expert” (DRE), which is a police officer specifically trained to recognize people impaired by controlled substance—although DREs essentially conduct a variety of tests that reinforce the opinion of the arresting officer.


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Marijuana DUI Penalties in Las Vegas

A person arrested for a DUI relating to marijuana is subject to the same penalties as those arrested for an alcohol-related DUI. In most cases, this is a misdemeanor offense although the crime becomes a category B felony if the offender has been convicted of marijuana DUI twice in the previous seven years or was involved in an accident that caused death or substantial bodily harm.

Some of the specific consequences for cannabis DUI arrests include:

  • First Offense — Minimum of two days up to six months in jail, minimum fine of $400 up to $1,000, and driver’s license suspended for 90 days;
  • Second Offense with Seven Years — Minimum of 10 days up to six months in jail, minimum fine of $750 up to $1,000, and driver’s license suspended for one year; and
  • Third Offense with Seven Years — Minimum of one year up to six years in state prison, minimum fine of $2,000 up to $5,000, and driver’s license suspended for three years.

A person convicted a DUI relating to marijuana can also be ordered to attend a Victim Impact Panel, DUI School, and undergo substance abuse treatment. Any one of a number of defenses may exist in these cases, which can result in the criminal charges being reduced or dismissed.


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Nevada Resources for Marijuana DUI Arrests

Nevada Drugged Driving | National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) — NORML is a nonprofit organization with chapters throughout the United States. Its mission is “to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults.” You can learn more about penalty enhancers, sobriety checkpoints, and case law relating to drugged driving on NORML’s website. The organization’s Las Vegas chapter is located at:

Las Vegas NORML
2866 Culloden Street
Henderson, NV 89044
(702) 750-0346

Wellness Education Cannabis Advocates of Nevada (WECAN) — WeCan702.org is a nonprofit advocacy group in Las Vegas that aims to inform and educate patients and the general public about medical cannabis through the state’s medical marijuana program as well as the laws surrounding and governing the program. The group meets every month and you can learn more about meetup events as well as local and national news on this website. You can also find videos and sign up for the group’s newsletter.

WeCan702.org
1771 East Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(932) 267-0258

Detection times of marijuana metabolites in urine by immunoassay and GC-MS — You can view the full text of this study published in the October 1995 edition of the Journal of Analytical Toxicology. This research studies the detection times for marijuana metabolites based on low dosages and high dosages of THC while accounting for such factors as age, height, weight, body fat, and the amount of marijuana the subjects consumed per week. The results of this study indicated that reductions at that time in cannabinoid cutoffs from 100 to 50 ng/mL by military and federally mandated programs increased detection times and improved sensitivity—although both of those limits clearly exceed the limits established under Nevada law.

DA wants state’s marijuana DUI law changed — In September 2014, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said the state’s “DUI marijuana laws need to be changed to reflect the impairment of the driver, not just a standard blood level.” Wolfson said his office had been offering certain penalty reductions in DUI marijuana cases because it was difficult to prove impairment under the current state law. The article also details the arrest of one Las Vegas resident who spent 35 days in state prison who was charged with marijuana DUI—even though he had a medical marijuana card and had not smoked cannabis since the night before his arrest. His blood came back with 7.7 nanograms per milliliter and he failed field sobriety tests because of his lumbar disk disease, sciatic nerve issues, and restless leg syndrome.


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Find a Lawyer for Marijuana DUI Arrest in Las Vegas, NV

Were you recently arrested for DUI in Nevada because you were under the influence of marijuana? You should contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey Jaeger as soon as possible for help achieving the most favorable outcome to your drugged driving case.

Jeffrey Jaeger is a criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas who is also the former Director of Litigation Support for the Clark County Public Defender’s Office where he assisted defense lawyers in presenting evidence for their cases. Call (702) 816-3888 or complete an online contact form to have Jeffrey provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.


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