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Understanding Nevada's Marijuana DUI Law

As of January 1, 2017, a new law took effect broadening the legal use of marijuana. As could be expected, this change in the law has also had a change in how police handle drivers who are found to be under the influence of marijuana.

What The Law Entails

The new law that went into effect at the start of 2017 allows adults who were not already in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow up to six plants of marijuana and to possess a certain amount of cannabis for personal use.

This amount was up to one ounce of flower and/or up to 3.5 grams of concentrates. The law also licensed commercial cannabis production and retail sales.

So, what does this mean for individuals who do partake of marijuana and choose to get behind the wheel? 

The Marijuana DUI Test

If a police officer pulls someone over for suspicion of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, before the police will ask the individual to submit to a test, he or she will look to see if: 

  • The driver smells of pot; 
  • He or she is experiencing tremors;
  • The driver’s pupils are dilated;
  • The driver seems to have some type of short-term memory impairment; 
  • The driver is acting unusually calm and relaxed; and/or
  • He or she fails a sobriety test, usually consisting of standing on one leg, following a light with his or her eyes and walking in a straight line. 

If the police officer sees any of the above, the driver could be arrested for driving while under the influence. The police can also have the driver’s blood and urine tested for up to five hours after the arrest is made.

Nevada also has an “implied consent” law, which means that as soon as the driver gets behind the wheel and starts driving, he has essentially automatically consented to have his or her urine tested if the driver is suspected of driving under the influence. 

What Are The Penalties For A Marijuana DUI? 

  • First Offense

A first offense is considered a misdemeanor charge. The penalties can include jail time ranging from two days to six months or community service hours up to 96 hours.

The arrested driver will also be facing a fine ranging from $400 to $1,000. The driver’s license could also be suspended for a period of up to three months, although a driver can normally get a restricted license after 45 days.

The driver will also expect to attend and complete a mandatory DUI school and possibility DUI Rehabilitation. 

  • Second Offense 

If a second offense occurs within seven years of the first offense, it will also be considered a misdemeanor. The driver may face jail time ranging between ten days to six months, as well as up to 200 hours of community service.

The driver could be facing a fine of $750 to $1,000. The driver’s license of the arrested driver may also be suspended for up to one year with no eligibility for a restricted license, as well as a possible vehicle registration suspension.

The driver will also face possible DUI rehabilitation and a possible SR-22 filing. 

  • Third Offense

If the driver is facing a third offense, especially if it is within seven years of the previous offense, the stakes get even higher and the driver is now facing a felony offense, as well as increased jail time, ranging from one to six years.

He or she may also be facing a fine between $2,000 and $5,000. The driver’s license may also be suspended for three years, as well as possible vehicle registration suspension.

The driver will also be required to complete some type of DUI rehabilitation and SR-22 filing. 

Accident Resulting In Injuries Or Death

If the accident resulted in death or serious injury, the penalties get significantly higher. The driver may face jail time ranging between two to 20 years in prison, as well as a fine between $2,000 to $5,000.

If the driver already had three or more DUI convictions on his or her record, the driver who was under the influence of marijuana may also face vehicular homicide, which comes with a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. 

Contact Dan Hill Today

If you have been arrested for a DUI while visiting our state, it is important you contact the Hill Firm today. We can meet with you to discuss your rights and all potential legal consequences from your arrest.

Contact us for a free consultation at (702) 848-5000today. 

Dan Hill