WOOUP! WOOOOOUUUUUP! Uh oh. You know that sound is? It’s the police, and you’re about to get your first marijuana DUI in Nevada.
Oh well. Nothing you can do now except take your medicine. And we’re not talking about the good kind either. At least, not the kind that we specialize in.
And don’t think for a second that flashing your medical marijuana card will get you out of trouble. The state expects you to be stone-cold sober before you climb behind the wheel. Not only that, medical marijuana patients are required to report any new criminal convictions to the Nevada State Health Division.
In other words, a marijuana DUI in Nevada could put your medical marijuana patient status in jeopardy.
We’re committed to educating our patients, so we want you to have as much information as possible regarding marijuana DUIs.
However, we’re not lawyers. Don’t take anything written here as bona fide legal advice. You’ll need a bona fide lawyer for that.
That being said, we can share our understanding of the law, and our opinion on it. So as long as you understand that, we’re good to go!
Marijuana and Driving – Quick Facts
- Marijuana affects the part of your brain that regulates balance, movement, memory, and coordination. When it comes to driving a car, that’s not a good thing.
- Marijuana can also have a negative impact on your perception of time, speed and your ability to focus.
- The more marijuana you smoke, the more impaired your driving will be.
This is How You Get a Marijuana DUI in Nevada
- You drive while “under the influence” of marijuana, which means you’re incapable of safely driving your vehicle.
- Your blood or urine contains an illegal amount of marijuana. Here are the exact numbers:
- 2 nanograms of marijuana per milliliter or 5 milligrams of marijuana metabolite in your blood.
- 5 ng/ml of marijuana or 15 ng/ml of marijuana metabolite in your urine.
The problem here is that the amount of marijuana in your blood or urine doesn’t necessarily determine whether you’re intoxicated.
People have different metabolism rates and tolerance levels. Someone with a high concentration of marijuana in their blood may not be impaired at all. Whereas someone with a low concentration could be a danger behind the wheel.
There is an effort underway to change this law, but until that happens, this is what we’re stuck with.
How Marijuana DUI Tests are Administered
When you get pulled over on suspicion of being under the influence, the police officer will look to see if:
- You smell of pot
- Your pupils are dilated
- You have tremors
- Your short-term memory is impaired
- You seem unusually calm and relaxed
- You fail a sobriety test (standing on one leg, following a light with your eyes, walking in a straight line)
The police officer can also have your blood and urine tested up to five hours after you’ve been arrested.
Nevada has an “implied consent” law. It means that the minute you get in your car and start driving, you’ve automatically consented to have your urine and blood tested if you’re suspected of driving under the influence.
Penalties for a Marijuana DUI in Nevada
The penalties for a marijuana DUI in Nevada are virtually identical to the penalties you receive for an alcohol-related DUI.
First Offense (Misdemeanor)
- Jail Time: 2 days to 6 months
Community Service: 96 hours
- Fine: $400 to $1000
- Suspended License: 3 months, although you can get a restricted license after 45 days
- Mandatory DUI School
- Possible DUI Rehabilitation
- Required SR-22 Filing
Second Offense (misdemeanor, within 7 years)
- Jail Time: 10 days to 6 months
- Fine: $750 to $1000
- Community Service: 100 to 200 hours
- Suspended license: 1 year (no eligibility for a restricted license)
- Possible vehicle registration suspension
- Possible DUI rehabilitation
- Required SR-22 filing
Third Offense (if it occurs within 7 years of the previous offenses, it’s now a felony)
- Jail Time: 1 to 6 years
- Fine: $2000 and $5000
- Suspended license: 3 years
- Possible vehicle registration suspension
- DUI rehabilitation
- Required SR-22 filing
If you don’t already know, an SR-22, or Certificate of Financial Responsibility, is a certificate that your car insurance provider has to file with the state DMV. It proves that you have the minimum, state-required level of liability insurance.
Don’t be surprised if your insurance premiums go up substantially. Your new rate could be 30 to 40 percent higher than that of the average driver, and in some cases, your insurance company may drop you altogether, leaving you without coverage.
What Happens If You Injure or Kill Someone in an Accident?
The penalties get worse, that’s what.
- Jail Time: 2 to 20 years in prison
- Fine: $2000 to $5000
- If you already have three or more DUI convictions on your record, you can be charged with vehicular homicide. That comes with a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. A parole board might release you after 10 years if you’re lucky.
What If You’re Under the Influence of Marijuana, but the Accident Isn’t Your Fault?
The short answer is, “It doesn’t matter.”
The state can still charge you with a felony DUI anyways, regardless of whether or not you were at fault.
The implication here is chilling.
Let’s say you eat an edible at night and get into a car accident the following morning. It wasn’t your fault; the other driver hit you. You weren’t driving under the influence because you consumed that edible hours ago.
But if you have more than the legal amount of marijuana in your blood, you’ll still be charged with a felony DUI.
Here’s What to Do If You’re Pulled Over While High
First of all, please don’t drive while you’re high! It’s against the law, so don’t do it!
But if you decide to ignore our warnings, the law and common sense…
- Stay calm and pull the car over as soon and as safely as possible. Trust us: nobody wants to see you on the six o’clock news, involved in a high-speed car chase with the cops.
- Make sure your insurance card, registration card and driver’s license are easily accessible ahead of time. That way, you’re not groping around in your glove compartment like a maniac, panicking because you can’t find your documents.
- Roll your window down just enough to hear the officer and for him or her to hear you.
- Be polite and courteous.
- Don’t admit anything. Not even that you have a medical marijuana card.
- If the police officer wants to conduct a blood or urine test, don’t refuse. The “implied consent” law means that the officer can use force to make you comply. That’s a road you don’t want to go down.
- Call a lawyer if the police arrest you.
As you can see, a marijuana DUI in Nevada is no joke. You’re not just putting your own life at stake, but also the lives of the people around you.
Use your marijuana in a safe and responsible manner. If you’re too high to drive, then don’t drive.
If you have any more questions about how to avoid getting a marijuana DUI in Nevada, contact a lawyer.