Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in Nevada

What is considered drugged driving in Nevada and the penalties for a conviction.

Like many states, Nevada has legalized the recreational use of marijuana. However, driving while under the influence of drugs (including marijuana) is still illegal. This article will explain the different types of DUI charges and the penalties that can result from driving high.

What Qualifies as Being "Under the Influence" of Drugs

Nevada's drugged driving laws are separated into two main types: driving under the influence (DUI) and per se DUI.

DUI. A driver is considered to be under the influence when the consumed substance has substantially deprived the driver of normal control or clarity of mind so that the driver is incapable of safely driving. An officer will often use special drug recognition tests and other observations to determine if a driver is impaired. The fact that a driver held a physician's prescription for the drug is not a legal defense to driving under the influence.

Per se DUI. A driver can also be convicted of a DUI if a blood or urine test shows a certain threshold of drugs or metabolites. For a per se DUI, a valid prescription can be a legal defense. Here are the cutoff levels for various substances that can lead to a per se DUI conviction:

Blood (nanograms/liter)

Urine (nanograms/liter)

Amphetamine

100

500

Cocaine

50

150

Cocaine Metabolite

50

150

Heroin

50

2000

Heroine Metabolite

50

2000

6-Monoacytal Morphine

10

10

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide

10

25

Methamphetamine

100

500

Phencyclidine

10

25

Marijuana

2

Marijuana Metabolite

5

Criminal Penalties

The penalties for a DUI and per se DUI are identical and generally depend on the number of prior convictions within the last seven years.

First offense. A first-offense DUI will generally result in 48 hours to six months in jail (or 48 to 96 hours of community service), $400 to $1,000 in fines, a 185-day license revocation, a 185-day ignition interlock device (IID) restriction, and having to complete a substance abuse education course.

Second offense. A second DUI within seven years generally carries ten days to six months in jail, $750 to $1,000 in fines, having to complete substance abuse treatment, a one-year license revocation, and one year with an IID.

Implied consent and unlawful refusals. Drivers who are lawfully arrested for impaired driving are required by law to submit to a blood or urine test to measure and determine the presence of drugs. An unlawful refusal will result in a license suspension of one year for a first offense and three years for a second offense Drivers who submits to a chemical test and shows positive for a controlled substance will be revoked for 185 days (even without a criminal conviction) unless they have a valid prescription or registry card.

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