Reno DUI drug charges a complex matter best handled by experienced attorneys

Posted By Joey Gilbert Law || 14-Jan-2013

The federal government is urging states to crack down on motorists who are driving under the influence of drugs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced the launch of $7 million in advertising and is urging states to adopt mandatory testing policies.

Our Reno DUI Defense Attorneys understand the complexities of representing someone facing allegations of driving under the influence of drugs in Nevada.

Drivers who refuse a breath test will typically face an automatic suspension of their driver’s license for a period of one year on a first offense. However, your license will be suspended anyway if you are convicted of drunk driving. By refusing the breathalyzer, you will be denying the state a key piece of evidence used to convict you. And there are many additional penalties associated with a DUI conviction, including fines and court costs, possible jail time, alcohol treatment and probation.

Nor are suspects required to submit to a blood or urine test to test for the presence of drugs. Exceptions are if a serious or fatal accident has occurred or if the defendant has been convicted of DUI within the past 7 years. In such cases, an officer may direct that a test be conducted using reasonable force, if necessary.

In the absence of a blood or urine test, it can be extremely difficult to convict someone of DUI drugs. That is part of the reason why the federal government is encouraging states to pass laws that would permit on-call judges to issue immediate warrants for forced testing.

“The ‘No Refusal’ strategy helps support prosecutions and improves deterrence, which means fewer drunk drivers on the road,” NHSTA Administrator David Strickland said. “I want to remind everyone this holiday season: if you’re over the limit, you’re under arrest. So please, for safety’s sake, find a designated driver or take a taxi if you are under the influence.”

However, even the federal government admits that testing positive for drugs does not mean a driver was under the influence at time of arrest. Marijuana, for instance, can remain in a person’s system for a month after consumption. This issue is becoming increasingly problematic when a driver has a medical marijuana card. Even when legally allowed to consume medical marijuana, a driver can be charged with a negligence per se violation in Nevada. This means the driver can be charged simply by virtue of being found to have the presence of drugs in his or her system.

Additionally, drivers in border areas, like South Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Sacramento, may have a medical marijuana card in one state, but may routinely drive back and forth across the border. Being stopped and found to be in possession of marijuana in Nevada, with a California medical marijuana card (or vice versa) can have serious legal consequences. In such cases, it is probable that you will face charges of illegal drug possession.

In many cases, a Nevada criminal defense attorney will attack these cases on probable cause grounds. Law enforcement is busy sending officers to training, which allegedly permits them to detect the presence of drugs in a driver’s system. From a defense perspective, such training is no more legitimate than field sobriety testing — which is simply an officer’s opinion of your guilt. In light of the fact that the officer’s job is to collect evidence of your guilt, a motorist doesn’t stand a chance.

Thus far, the NHTSA’s Drug Evaluation and Certification program has trained 6,000 officers and 1,000 instructors in 46 states. Allegedly, the training permits the officer to recognize symptoms of impairment by drugs other than alcohol.

If you are facing charges in Reno or Lake Tahoe, contact Joey Gilbert Law to discuss your rights. Call (775) 574-4774

Categories: Criminal Defense
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