Driving under the Influence of Marijuana in Nevada
(NRS 484C.110)
Explained by Las Vegas DUI Defense Attorneys

Driving "high" in Las Vegas subjects the driver to the same harsh DUI penalties that driving drunk does. And even if the driver is not technically under the influence of pot while you are driving, he/she may still be convicted of "Nevada DUI Marijuana" if his/her blood or urine contains sufficient traces of it.

Keep reading to learn all about Nevada marijuana DUI laws and how our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys may be able to help get your case dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge.


Definition of Nevada DUI Marijuana - NRS 484C.110

The legal definition of DUI marijuana in Las Vegas, Nevada, makes it a crime to drive while either of the following conditions is true:

  1. the driver has ingested marijuana "to a degree which renders the driver incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of a vehicle," or
  2. The driver's blood contains 2 nanograms per ml. of marijuana or 5 nanograms per ml. of marijuana metabolite, or
  3. The driver's urine contains 10 nanograms per ml. of marijuana or 15 nanograms per ml. of marijuana metabolite.

Consequently, a driver does not have to be "high" for a cop to arrest him/her for violating DUI marijuana laws. As long as the driver's blood or urine contains the minimum prohibited amount while the driver is operating a vehicle, the law deems it "illegal per se" even if the driver is driving safely.


If a cop sees a driver driving erratically and pulls him/her over, the officer will ask the driver questions, observe his/her behavior and probably ask him/her to take a preliminary breath test (PBT). If the driver passes the breath test, the cop may suspect that the driver has ingested marijuana rather than alcohol if any of the following are true:

  • the driver has failed the field sobriety tests (FSTs), such as walking in a straight line and standing on one leg

  • the driver's pupils are dilated

  • the driver smells of pot

  • the driver is exhibiting short-term memory impairment

  • the driver has eyelid or body tremors

  • the driver's behavior is especially relaxed and uninhibited

An officer with specialized drug recognition evaluation training (DRE) may also join the investigation and may try to determine your blood pressure, pulse and if the driver has dry mouth. And if the cop finds pot on the driver's person or in his/her car, the driver may also face charges for violating possession of marijuana laws in Nevada (NRS 453.336).

Chemical Testing (NRS 484C.160)

Every driver in Nevada is assumed to have given "implied consent" to take a blood and/or urine test if they are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana. In the case of blood tests, the cop can order up to three samples taken within a five-hour time span following the initial arrest.

The chemical tests in Nevada Marijuana DUI cases measure the amount of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) in the person's blood or urine. How much is in the driver's system depends on your personal tolerance to pot, how concentrated the THC was, and how much the driver may have ingested, consumed or smoked.

Driver's License suspension

If a driver is arrested for "dope driving" and take a blood test or urine test, the driver gets to keep your driver's license until the results come back from the lab and they are positive for marijuana. At this point the Nevada DMV notifies the driver by mail that his/her license is being suspended and that you have a right to a Nevada DMV hearing to contest it.



Nothing is scarier than getting slapped with a DUI charge, but a surprisingly high number of Las Vegas DUI marijuana cases get thrown out or reduced to lesser charges like Nevada reckless driving or simple possession. The following are just some defenses an attorney may explore in defending a dope driving case in Nevada.

  • The driver was not under the influence of marijuana. The symptoms of smoking marijuana are very general and can be attributed to various innocent causes such as not having slept, not brushing your teeth, being around cigarette smoke from partying, and just being nervous from the cop's questioning . An attorney may be able to demonstrate that the cop merely mistook the driver's appearance and behavior as indicative of DUI with marijuana in Nevada when the actual cause had nothing to do with drugs.
  • Lack of probable cause. Unless it is part of a coordinated DUI checkpoint, police cannot pull a driver over without adequate probable cause that he/she has broken a law or traffic violation. People who drive while high on marijuana often tend to drive even more carefully than intoxicated people do, so a driver may have a good argument that the cop lacked sufficient probable cause to pull him/her over in the first place.
  • Police mistakes, faulty equipment, inaccurate results. If a driver is charged because his/her blood or urine registered more than the minimum amount of marijuana permitted while driving, then the defense attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether the police or lab technicians could have made any mistakes or contaminated the samples. If the attorney can raise a reasonable doubt about the accuracy of your chemical test results, then the driver's Las Vegas Marijuana DUI case should be dismissed.


Someone who violates Las Vegas DUI marijuana laws will usually be charged with a misdemeanor. However, the prosecutor will instead bring felony charges in two instances:

  • if the incident resulted in an accident that killed or caused serious bodily harm to another person, or
  • if the person already had two DUI convictions in the last seven years.

The standard sentence for a Las Vegas DUI with marijuana conviction is virtually identical to regular Nevada DUI penalties for drunk driving:

First DUI

  • two days to six months in jail or twenty-four hours to ninety-six hours of community service (courts typically order a six month suspended jail sentence)
  • Nevada DUI School (at the person's expense)
  • fines of $400 to $1,000 plus court costs
  • Nevada Victim Impact Panel
  • ninety days suspension of driver's license (drivers can usually can get a restricted license after forty-five days)
  • (Penalties can be doubled if the alleged DUI occurred in a work zone)

Second DUI (in 7 years)

  • ten days to six months in jail or residential confinement
  • fines of $750 to $1,000 or commensurate hours of community service
  • Nevada Victim Impact Panel
  • An alcohol/drug dependency evaluation (which costs $100)
  • one year driver's license suspension or revocation,
  • A long alcohol or drug abuse treatment program (called DUI Court, not Nevada DUI School)
  • (Penalties might be doubled if it happened in a work zone)

Third DUI (in 7 years)

  • one to six years in Nevada State Prison
  • fines of $2,000 to $5,000
  • Nevada Victim Impact Panel
  • three year driver's license suspension or revocation,
  • A alcohol & drug evaluation

Nevada DUI Marijuana causing injury or death

  • 2 to 20 years in prison
  • fines of $2,000 to $5,000
  • (If the driver already has three or more DUI convictions, then the prosecutor will instead charge Nevada Vehicular homicide. The term of incarceration for Nevada vehicular homicide is twenty-five years or a life sentence with the possibility of parole after ten years.)

For a more in-depth explanation on punishments for driving under the influence in Las Vegas, go to our informational page on Nevada DUI Penalties.

For more information about penalties for pot possession in Las Vegas, go to our informational page on possession of marijuana laws in Nevada (NRS 453.336). If the amount of pot in question is one oz. or less, a first-time conviction of simple possession in Las Vegas carries just a $600 fine.

We are here to help you . . . .

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of marijuana in Nevada, do not hesitate to call our Las Vegas DUI Defense Lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free phone meeting. We have had decades of success in achieving favorable resolutions in every kind of DUI case. And for non-citizens, we proceed extra carefully in an effort to ensure that the criminal case will not also threaten your resident status.

For information about California DUI marijuana law, go to our article on California DUI marijuana law.

Additional Resource:

Marijuana Anonymous - A rehabilitation program that offers a free, twelve-step method to help overcome pot addiction.



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