Marijuana DUI Penalties in Nevada: Fines, Jail Time & Consequences

marijuana dui

While recreational marijuana use is legal for adults 21 and over in Nevada, it remains illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Doing so can result in a DUI charge, just like driving under the influence of alcohol. If you are arrested for a marijuana DUI in Nevada, you could face significant fines, jail time, license suspension, and other serious consequences.

At the Benjamin Durham Law Firm, our experienced Las Vegas DUI attorneys can help if you are facing charges for driving under the influence of marijuana. We will fight aggressively to get your charges reduced or dismissed and minimize the impact on your life.

Nevada’s Marijuana DUI Laws

Under Nevada law (NRS 484C.110), it is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana or with a certain amount of marijuana in your blood:

  • For a first or second DUI offense within 7 years, you can be charged if you are impaired by marijuana to a degree that renders you incapable of safely driving, regardless of the amount in your blood.
  • For a third or subsequent DUI offense within 7 years, you can be charged if you are impaired OR if you have at least 2 ng/mL of marijuana (delta-9-THC) or 5 ng/mL of marijuana metabolite (11-OH-THC) in your blood, even if you are not impaired.

Police may suspect marijuana use if you show signs of impairment on field sobriety tests, have dilated pupils, smell of marijuana, exhibit memory impairment, or have body tremors or overly relaxed behavior.

An officer specially trained as a drug recognition expert (DRE) may be called to further evaluate you. If probable cause is established, you will be arrested and required to submit to a blood test.

Alcohol vs. Marijuana DUIs in Nevada

While driving under the influence of either alcohol or marijuana is illegal in Nevada, there are some key differences in how these offenses are charged and proven:

Alcohol DUIs:

  • You can be convicted based on actual impairment OR a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.
  • Police typically use breath or blood tests to measure BAC.
  • There are set legal limits for alcohol intoxication.

Marijuana DUIs:

  • For a 1st or 2nd offense, you can only be convicted based on actual impairment, regardless of THC blood levels.
  • For a 3rd or subsequent offense, you can be convicted based on impairment OR specific THC blood levels.
  • Police must collect a blood sample and send it to a lab for THC testing.
  • There is no set legal limit for marijuana intoxication except for 3rd or subsequent offenses.

Alcohol-related DUIs tend to be more clear-cut since BAC can be easily measured, and there are set legal limits. With marijuana, impairment is more subjective and harder for prosecutors to prove, especially for 1st and 2nd offenses where THC blood levels are irrelevant.

However, the criminal penalties for alcohol and marijuana DUIs are the same under Nevada law. Both are prosecuted as misdemeanors for a 1st or 2nd offense and felonies for a 3rd or subsequent offense within 7 years.

Penalties for a First Offense Marijuana DUI

A first-time marijuana DUI conviction in Nevada within a 7-year period is a misdemeanor, assuming no one was seriously injured or killed.

The penalties include:

  • 2 days to 6 months in jail, or 24-96 hours of community service
  • $400 to $1,000 in fines plus court costs
  • Nevada DUI school at your expense
  • Victim impact panel
  • 185-day driver’s license suspension
  • Stay out of trouble order while the case is pending

The judge will typically impose a suspended 6-month jail sentence rather than actual jail time for a first offense. Penalties may be doubled if the offense occurred in a work zone.

Penalties for a Second Offense

A second marijuana DUI conviction within 7 years is also a misdemeanor with enhanced penalties:

  • 10 days to 6 months in jail or residential confinement
  • $750 to $1,000 in fines or equivalent community service
  • Victim impact panel
  • Alcohol/drug dependency evaluation
  • 1-year license suspension
  • Completion of DUI Court alcohol/drug treatment program
  • Stay out of trouble order

Again, penalties may be doubled for an offense in a work zone.

Penalties for Felony Marijuana DUI Offenses

A third or subsequent marijuana DUI conviction within 7 years is a category B felony. Penalties include:

  • 1 to 6 years in Nevada State Prison
  • $2,000 to $5,000 in fines
  • Victim impact panel
  • 3-year license suspension
  • Alcohol/drug evaluation

A DUI involving death or serious injury is also a category B felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and $2,000 to $5,000 in fines. With 3 or more prior DUIs, a fatal crash is charged as vehicular homicide, a category A felony carrying 25 years to life in prison with parole eligibility after 10 years.

Getting Your Marijuana DUI Charge Reduced or Dismissed

With strong legal counsel, it may be possible to beat a marijuana DUI charge, get a reduction to a lesser offense like reckless driving, or at least minimize the penalties. Some potential defenses include:

  • Showing you were not actually impaired by marijuana
  • Challenging the basis for the traffic stop
  • Exposing errors in the blood testing process or results

At Benjamin Durham Law Firm, we will carefully review the evidence and identify the best defense strategies for your specific case. We have had great success in getting overly harsh DUI charges reduced or dismissed.

Long-Term Consequences of a Marijuana DUI

The criminal penalties for a marijuana DUI can be severe, especially for repeat offenders. But there are also several other consequences that can significantly impact your life:

  • A conviction remains on your criminal record for at least 7 years and can never be sealed if a felony charge.
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended, making it difficult to get to work and take care of daily responsibilities.
  • Your insurance rates will likely increase significantly.
  • A conviction can affect your employment and ability to secure housing.
  • For non-citizens, a felony DUI or possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana may lead to deportation.

With so much at stake, it is crucial to have a skilled Las Vegas DUI attorney fighting for you. We can help you explore options to avoid a conviction, such as negotiating a plea to a lesser charge, like reckless driving, that may be sealed after just one year.

Getting Help After a Marijuana DUI Arrest

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, exercise your right to remain silent and contact an experienced attorney immediately. At Benjamin Durham Law Firm, we provide aggressive defense representation for clients facing DUI charges in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada.

Call our office to request a consultation with a knowledgeable Las Vegas marijuana DUI lawyer. We will fight to protect your rights, freedom, and future.

Author Bio

Benjamin Durham is the principal attorney and founder of Benjamin Durham Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm based in Las Vegas, NV. With over 20 years of experience in the legal field, he represents clients in both injury and criminal cases. Over his career, he has secured favorable verdicts for clients in both state and federal courts and successfully defended numerous high-profile prosecutions.

Ben’s exceptional legal skills and dedication to his clients have earned him recognition as a life member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He also has been honored as one of the Top 100 trial lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association, further solidifying his reputation as a top-notch legal practitioner.

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