Many people would be surprised to know that you do not need to have any alcohol in your system to be charged with a DUI. Being under the influence of marijuana or other prohibited substances can also lead to a DUI charge which will be treated as a DUI and charged as a DUI charge connected with alcohol consumption.
A person who cannot safely drive or assert actual physical control of a vehicle due to the use of marijuana, prohibited substances, chemicals, organic solvents, compounds, or controlled substances can be charged with a DUI. This would be what is known as impaired driving. Prosecutors would have to prove from the totality of the circumstances, that the substance(s) rendered you incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of the vehicle. See Cotter v. State, 738 P.2d 506 (Nev. 1987).
Unfortunately for many people you can also be charged with a DUI related to marijuana use even if you are not too intoxicated to safely drive. This is known as a “per se” violation. A per se violation occurs if a person’s blood or urine has a certain concentration of marijuana, prohibited substances, or controlled substance in it even if they are fully capable of driving or have prescribed medical marijuana or medications.
Your medical marijuana card does not protect you from getting a DUI. In fact, it may unfairly lead the police to believe you are impaired and warrant a blood test.
- If a person’s urine contains ten nano-grams or more of marijuana per milliliter then they have committed a per se violation.
- A person with a concentration of two nano-grams per milliliter in their blood has also committed a per se violation.
- If a person has a concentration of marijuana metabolite equal to or greater than fifteen nano-grams in their urine or five nano-grams in their blood they have also violated a per se statute.
Other prohibited substances include, cocaine, heroin, and meth, which all have a per se limit as well. Furthermore, a controlled substance, such as pain medications or antidepressants like Xanax, even if legally prescribed by your doctor, are a controlled substances and if found in your blood may be used to prove you were impaired.
A simple traffic stop may lead to a DUI if law enforcement decides to ask questions regarding any medication you may be on. This is why it is important to exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 484C.110 has stringent and sometimes hard to understand language concerning marijuana, prohibited, and controlled substances related to DUIs. Because of this it is very important to obtain a lawyer to fully explain the legal issues. Contact The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata for a free consultation.