Joey Gilbert Law Explains Nevada's Marijuana DUI Law

Nevada has led the nation in legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 and over. As trends and similar laws have led us to believe, as well as an increase in medicinal and recreational cannabis programs across the country, marijuana is likely here to stay – even amid a conflicting stance from the federal government. While some states have worked to decriminalize or even legalize marijuana, however, both advocates and opponents find common ground in addressing concerns and adopting laws over how it should be used responsibly – especially when it comes to driving.

The simple truth is that driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime, and one that can pose serious penalties to individuals who are charged and convicted. However, there have been long-standing and new concerns over how to effectively determine when a person is considered too high to drive. Many marijuana DUI laws enacted across the country have been criticized for being arbitrary, and researchers are still struggling to reconcile differences in how pot affects different people and their driving abilities, and how law enforcement officers can accurately determine when a driver is under the influence to the point of being impaired. Still, laws have been and will continue to be passed.

What You Need to Know

In Nevada, a lot of people are familiar with laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol, but those laws don’t always translate to cases involving intoxication by cannabis. As a leading marijuana attorney and Reno criminal defense lawyer who has represented numerous clients charged with a range of DUI offenses, Attorney Joey Gilbert has routinely shared his insight with the public, media organizations, and clients regarding not only an increased law enforcement focus on marijuana DUIs, but the facts of the laws and what local residents need to know:

  • The legal limit under Nevada law is 2 nanograms of marijuana per milliliter of blood (2ng/mL).
  • The legal limit applies only to individuals who have valid medical marijuana prescriptions. Those without prescriptions stopped for marijuana DUI can face license penalties and / or face misdemeanor charges.
  • Certain certified law enforcement officers can test drivers for the presence of pot by testing oral samples using the Draeger Drug Test 5000 machine. However, the machine only indicates the presence of marijuana, not how much is in a person’s system. That will require a blood or urine test after a field test.
  • Nevada Drivers have the right to refuse submitting an oral sample, unlike breathalyzer tests. Still, officers have the right to make arrests if they suspect a driver is too impaired to drive. Although oral samples can be refused, refusing a blood test carries immediate penalties, including an automatic license suspension, under Nevada’s Implied Consent law.

As our legal team has discussed with many clients, advocates, and news representatives, the problem with establishing a legal limit of 2ng of marijuana per ml of blood, is that all individuals process and respond to cannabis differently. As such, it is not always clear how long a person should wait after using marijuana before getting behind the wheel, nor is it easy to determine who much cannabis constitutes driving under the influence. Factors such as individual tolerance, frequency of use, and other issues raise significant questions – and reasonable doubt – when the government claims a driver was too intoxicated by marijuana to safely operate a motor vehicle.

The inherent issues in proving marijuana intoxications provide ample defense opportunities when it comes to challenging an arresting officer’s testimony regarding stops, investigations, and arrests, and cases built by prosecutors. Our legal team at Joey Gilbert Law understands the science involved in these cases, as well as how to tailor defense strategies to the unique facts and circumstances of our clients’ cases to pursue charge dismissals or alternative and positive resolutions involving mitigated charges or penalties.

If you or a loved one have questions about your rights and defense following a marijuana DUI in Reno or anywhere throughout the surrounding areas of Nevada, do not hesitate to call our legal team for a FREE and confidential review of your case. Contact us 24/7 to request your free consultation.


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