Nevada has some of the strictest laws in the country regarding driving under the influence of marijuana. Even more problematic, the prosecutor can attempt to prove DUI regardless of impairment using Nevada's Per Se laws if you had a certain concentration of marijuana or marijuana metabolites in your blood. Unfortunately, Nevada's marijuana laws, particularly those involving metabolites are not based upon reliable scientific findings. There is no scientific evidence showing that metabolites in a person's bloodstream causes impairment. However, Nevada Law authorizes prosecution for DUI based upon metabolites only being found in one's bloodstream.
If you are facing a DUI with alleged marijuana use, having a skilled attorney could make the difference in your case.
Las Vegas DUI Marijuana Attorney
If you were arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana in Las Vegas, Nevada, or any of the surrounding areas in Clark County, Nevada, contact Gallo Law Office. As an experienced DUI defense attorney, James C. Gallo understands the complexities of these cases and can help you fight to get a favorable outcome.
Call (702) 385-3131 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique situation. A charge does not have to mean a conviction. Gallo Law Office represents clients throughout Clark County, including Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson.
Information About DUI Marijuana
- Nevada's Laws for DUI with Marijuana
- Is a Medical Marijuana Card a Defense to DUID?
- Nevada DUI and Marijuana Metabolites
- Marijuana Substance Levels and Impairment
Nevada's Laws for DUI with Marijuana
Nevada Revised Statute 484C.110(3) sets forth the substances prohibited under Nevada's drug DUI laws, creating a per se law for drugs. This often is called “DUID” for driving under the influence of drugs. The statutes make it a crime to drive with certain levels of specific drugs in a person's blood or urine.
Nevada's DUI Drug Per Se law does not require proof of impairment. Instead, it only requires that a person drive while having a certain level of the drug in the blood, according to Williams v. State, 118 Nev. 536, 50 P.3d 1116 (2002).
Nevada's prohibited substance DUID per se law under NRS 484C.110(3) has been upheld against various constitutional challenges, although many additional challenges could be raised in the coming years, especially in regard to marijuana.
NRS 453.411 provides that it is unlawful to knowingly use or be under the influence of a controlled substance except in accordance with a legal prescription. A conviction for driving under the influence of a prohibited substance under NRS 484C.110(3) requires the State to prove that a person did the following:
- drove or was in “actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access,”
- with an amount of a prohibited substance in his or her blood or urine,
- that is equal to or greater than an amount of the prohibited substance found in NRS 484C.110(3).
For marijuana, the amount of the prohibited substance has been set by statute at 2 nanograms per milliliter of blood.
NRS 484C.110(2) alternatively allows for a conviction where the person is under the influence of a controlled substance. This way of proving DUI requires evidence that the level of the controlled substance in the blood would cause a person to be impaired in addition to merely proving that the person had the threshold statutory amount for a DUI conviction.
Is a Medical Marijuana Card a Defense to DUID?
The state of Nevada has enacted a statute that allows certain people to possess and consume marijuana for medical purposes. Nevada's medical marijuana statute has no effect on Nevada's DUI laws including the prohibited substance statute.
Although NRS 453A.200 provides that a person possessing a medical marijuana card is immune from prosecution for certain drug offenses, NRS 453A.300 provides that the medical marijuana exception does not apply to a charge of:
“(a) Driving, operating or being in actual physical control of a vehicle . . . while under the influence of marijuana; or
(b) Engaging in any other conduct prohibited by NRS 484C.110 [i.e. the per se prohibited substance section of NRS 484C.110].”
This is similar to some prescription drugs. Although a person could have a valid prescription for the substance, he or she still could face charges for driving under the influence if caught driving while intoxicated by the prescription medication. A medical marijuana prescription does open the door for an argument of similar treatment under Neva's prescription DUI laws. Therefore, the focus shifts to factors showing impairment.
Nevada DUI and Marijuana Metabolites
A person still could face charges for driving under the influence in Nevada if he or she is found to have marijuana metabolites in their system. According to NRS 484C.080, a prohibited substance could include:
[A]ny of the following substances if the person who uses the substance has not been issued a valid prescription to use the substance and the substance is classified in schedule I or II pursuant to NRS 453.166 or 453.176 when it is used.
- Cocaine or cocaine metabolite
- Heroin or heroin metabolite (morphine or 6-monoacetyl morphine)
- Lysergic acid diethylamide
- Marijuana or marijuana metabolite
Although marijuana metabolites are not listed in schedule I or II of NRS 453.166, they are specifically listed as a prohibited substance in the statute.
Marijuana Substance Levels and Impairment
The prohibited substance levels set in NRS 484C.11 for marijuana are not even related to actual impairment. A person is not under the influence of marijuana when he or she is at the level set forth in Nevada Revised Statute 484C.110.
Instead, most of the levels set by Nevada's DUID statute relate to the cutoff amounts used by forensic crime labs in determining whether a blood sample has tested positive for that particular drug. For example, most crime labs will report a negative result for marijuana if the blood test result is below two nanograms.
Finding a DUI Marijuana Attorney in Las Vegas
If you were arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis, often called marijuana, weed, or pot, contact an experienced DUI attorney at Gallo Law Office. Nevada's DUI laws effectively make it a crime to drive if you smoke marijuana for medical purposes even if you are otherwise in compliance with Nevada law. Call (702) 385-3131 to find out the best ways to aggressively fight these charges.