While many states have decriminalized the recreational or medical use of marijuana for adults, there are still several strict laws related to the substance. In Nevada and most other states, you can still be arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana. It is imperative to know and follow the state laws or risk severe criminal penalties if convicted.
At the Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata, we provide dedicated representation for individuals who have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Attorney Ogata is an award-winning DUI defense attorney proudly serving clients throughout Las Vegas. Arrested for a marijuana DUI? Contact our office at (702) 366-0891 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
What Are Nevada’s Marijuana DUI Laws?
Prior to 2021, Nevada had both a per se marijuana driving under the influence law and an impairment law.
Nevada’s Per Se Marijuana DUI Law
Under the state’s original per se law, it was illegal to operate a motor vehicle with 2 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) or 5 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite (11-OH-tetrahydrocannabinol) in their blood.
On June 2, 2021, the governor approved Assembly Bill 400, which amended provisions of the Nevada Revised Statutes concerning the use of marijuana and other controlled substances.
Pursuant to this bill, the per se marijuana limits (specified amounts of marijuana and marijuana metabolite) are only to be applied in cases where the violation is punishable as a felony. The law went into effect on July 1, 2021.
Nevada’s Impairment Marijuana DUI Law
A person, however, is not free to drive while under the influence of marijuana. Nevada law still prohibits a person from being under the influence of a controlled substance while driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle.
If you are pulled over, and the officer suspects that you are under the influence of marijuana, you can still be arrested for DUI. A prosecutor could then use evidence in the police report such as the officer’s observation of your behavior, bad driving, slurred speech, etc., in addition to the amount of marijuana or marijuana metabolite in your blood to convince a jury that you were impaired by a prohibited substance and should be convicted of a DUI.
What Is Considered Under the Influence?
Nevada law prohibits a person from driving under the influence of a prohibited substance. Marijuana and marijuana metabolites are prohibited substances under the Nevada Revised Statutes. Therefore, driving under the influence of or while impaired by marijuana or marijuana metabolites is unlawful.
However, it can be challenging to determine what is considered under the influence. Prior to July 2021, a person was considered (per se) under the influence if they had 2 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana or 5 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana metabolite in their blood. Today, the specified amounts for impairment are only applicable where the violation is punishable as a felony.
How Much Is Too Much?
Without the specified amounts as a threshold, a prosecutor would have to use additional evidence (not just the blood results) to show that there was actual impairment.
To prove impairment, a prosecutor may use:
- Expert testimony
- Blood results
- Arresting officer’s report
- Arresting officer’s testimony
- Audio or video of the arrest
- Eyewitness statements
If you are suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana, you will be required to submit to a blood test. While you will not be presumed to be under the influence of marijuana based on these levels unless the violation was punishable as a felony, it can be used against you to prove impairment.
Can I Be Arrested for a Marijuana DUI?
Yes, you can be arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana in Nevada. Even though medical and adult use of marijuana is legal, you can still be arrested for DUI if an officer believes that the prohibited substance impaired your driving abilities.
An officer or drug recognition expert (DRE) may note the following observations in their report for driving under the influence of drugs:
- Slowed driving, weaving, or other poor driving patterns
- Delayed reaction time, poor coordination
- Red eyes and dilated pupils
- The smell of marijuana in the vehicle or on the driver’s breath
- Driver admission of recent marijuana use
- Rapid heart rate or rapid breathing
If you are arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, you need an attorney. You can fight the charges against you. Without the help of an experienced attorney, you may end up facing the maximum penalties under the law, including a lengthy license suspension, high fines, and jail time.
Fighting Marijuana DUI Charges in Nevada
Were you arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana in Las Vegas or the surrounding areas? Attorney Garrett T. Ogata can help prove your innocence and fight the criminal charges. Contact our office at ((702) 366-0891 for a free consultation.