Marijuana and Driving Under the Influence

Although marijuana is now legal to use, there is continued enforcement of impaired driving laws. Nevada law says a driver can be charged with DUI if the driver’s blood contains 2 nanograms per ml. of marijuana (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) or 5 nanograms per ml. of marijuana metabolite (11-OH-tetrahydrocannabinol). The first one is the active component of marijuana- the part that gets a person “high.” The second one (the marijuana metabolite) is the inactive competent and has no physiological affects on a person whatsoever. It is the Criminal Defense Bar’s goal to ultimately get this metabolite type of DUI charge of the books because it makes no sense to be arrested and even convicted for driving under the influence of something that does not impair your driving in any way. 

What Happens During a DUI Stop

Police officers rely on training to recognize signs of impairment. Through behavior observation and field sobriety exercises, law enforcement can determine probable cause for driver impairment and make an arrest. Once a driver is taken into custody, police can request a blood test to determine if the driver is over the State’s limit of marijuana. The person has a right to refuse to do a blood test and to require the officer to get a search warrant for the persons blood. However, if this is requested the officer has the right to then revoke that person’s driver’s license for 1 year. 

Night Time Police Intervention

Consequences of Marijuana-Impaired Driving

A DUI can have a serious impact on your life and driving privileges. A blood test above the legal limit for marijuana will result in the suspension of your driver’s license and with a DUI conviction you could face multiple classes, a hefty fine, community service, drug evaluation with a certified counselor and even jail time in some cases. 

The severity of your sentence increases with each DUI conviction, and a 3rd DUI charge becomes a felony if the person has had two prior DUI convictions within seven years or if the incident resulted in serious injury or death to another person.

What to Do if You’ve Been Pulled Over 

  • Stay calm and pull the car over as soon and as safely as possible. 
  • Make sure your insurance card, registration card and driver’s license are easily accessible ahead of time.  
  • Roll your window down.
  • Be polite and courteous.
  • Don’t admit anything. Not even that you have a medical marijuana card.
  • Refuse politely to do any Field Sobriety Exercises or any Portable Breath Test. (Law enforcement is currently working on a portable roadside saliva test to detect the presence of Marijuana.)
  • Think carefully before consenting to any blood test. 
  • Call a lawyer as soon as you can. 

Male Driver Being Handcuffed And Arrested By Female Traffic Police Officer For Driving Offence

If you or a loved one have been arrested and charged with DUI, it’s imperative you get legal help right away. Navigating the tricky landscape of the court system can be intimidating, and when facing serious charges, such as driving under the influence, you need a law firm that goes the extra mile for their clients and works relentlessly to get them the best possible result. 

In DUI cases, there is potential for error on the part of the arresting officer. We can usually find some sort of error in every case we handle, but the real question is how big of an error did they make, or did they make enough small errors in the case that causes reasonable doubt to bloom. Additionally, sometimes medical personnel involved in the case as well as eyewitnesses make errors which allow us to call into question certain claims made by the officer.  In short, strict protocols must be followed during a DUI arrest, and if the law enforcement officer does not adhere to the procedures, you could have a solid defense. 

We hope that you or someone you know are never faced with a DUI arrest but if that does happen, we will be ready to help you in anyway that we can. 

K. Ryan Helmick, Esq. 

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