While recreational use of cannabis is considered legal for adults 21 years of age or older living or visiting Nevada, driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana is still treated as a criminal offense that is subject to the same penalties as DUI of alcohol.
According to state DUI laws, a person is deemed under the influence of cannabis if one of the following is true:
- The substance has impaired the motorist’s ability to safely drive the vehicle.
- The driver’s blood contains two nanograms per ml. or cannabis or five nanograms per ml. of cannabis metabolite.
If law enforcement pulls you over due to suspicion of driving under the influence, they will typically ask you questions, observe your behavior, and probably ask you to take a preliminary breath test (PBT).
If you pass the PBT, the officer may suspect that you have consumed controlled substances as opposed to alcohol if:
- You failed the field sobriety tests (FSTs)
- You smell like marijuana
- Your eyes are red or your pupils are dilated
- You exhibit short-term memory impairment
- Your behavior is particularly relaxed and uninhibited
A police officer may contact a drug recognition evaluation (DRE) officer to join the investigation. The DRE may attempt to determine your pulse, blood pressure, and if you have dry mouth or not. If law enforcement finds probable cause that you have committed a DUI with cannabis, you will be arrested and subject to a chemical blood or urine test.
The penalties for a first-time marijuana DUI offense is punishable by the following:
- Up to six months in jail or up to 96 hours of community service
- Maximum fine of $1,000
- Driver’s license suspension for 90 days
- Nevada DUI School
- Nevada Victim Impact Panel
- A stay-out-trouble order while the case is open
However, many cannabis DUI cases are dismissed or reduced to lesser charges like reckless driving or simple possession. If you have been arrested for a marijuana DUI, it is important to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to develop a strong defense strategy on your behalf.