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Nevada’s DUI Laws May Change for Marijuana Users

On April 20, 2021, (4/20, appropriately enough), the Nevada State Assembly passed AB 400, an attempt to change DUI laws for marijuana users. The guidelines proposed under AB 400 require prosecutors to have a much wider breadth of evidence to convict for a cannabis DUI. Authorities would need to prove your impairment through your behavior. You would need to seem slower, have bloodshot eyes, or be unable to pass a field sobriety tests. Police could use your driving behavior as evidence, showing that you were endangering yourself or others. Body and dashboard cam evidence could also be used against you.

Police could also draw conclusions or find probable cause based on odors in the car, open cannabis containers, a lit joint, etc.

Under current law, any trace of marijuana metabolites in the body is just cause for an arrest. The problem with this procedure, critics argue, is that these metabolites remain in the body long after someone has used cannabis. Even casual users can show positive results in a blood test a full two weeks after using. DUI laws are ostensibly there to keep people from driving impaired. By current standards, someone could be completely sober and still read as positive for cannabis.

AB 400 Criticisms

Nevada’s D.A. Association has openly testified against it. Criminal convictions are meant to be made “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Without concrete numbers to back up an officer’s claims of impairment, a marijuana DUI charge could devolve into a case of one person’s word vs. another’s. Reasonable doubt could, in theory, creep into any charge.

There is also concern about people who crash under the influence. After rescue teams care for the injured, there would be no way to tell if the driver had been impaired at the time of the wreck.

For now, AB 400 is moving along to the state senate. If passed there, it can be signed into law by Governor Steve Sisolak.

The Consequences of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Nevada has steep penalties for a cannabis DUI charge. First offenders can spend up to six months in jail. In lieu of jail, up to 96 hours of community service can be ordered. Judges can order that you attend DUI classes at your own expense, and fines could be as heavy as $1,000. You could also receive a 90-day license suspension. If you’ve been accused of a DUI, contact an attorney today.

At the Law Office of David R. Fischer, we keep a close watch on changing laws and how authorities react. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, contact us today. We can help defend you in court. Our number is (702) 866-9864, and you can reach us online.

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