Driving under the influence (from marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or any controlled substance) is illegal. Those who allegedly commit this offense may face fines and time in jail. If convicted, they may have difficulty getting a job or buying a home. The government could also take away their driving and voting rights.
However, you may be able to avoid harsh penalties. A Las Vegas DUI attorney can represent you throughout legal proceedings. They can investigate what happened, build a defense strategy, and attempt to get your charges dropped or reduced.
It Is Illegal to Drive High in Nevada
According to NRS 484C.110, it is unlawful for someone to drive a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance. If convicted, they may have to pay steep fines and go to jail. However, the severity of these penalties depends on their criminal background, subsequent charges, and if anyone was harmed or killed.
Penalties for Driving High in Nevada
According to the Legislative Counsel Bureau:
For the 1st offense without injury (misdemeanor) within 7 years:
- 2 to 6 months in jail, or
- 48 to 96 hours of community service, and
- $400 to $1000 in fines
For a 2nd offense without injury (misdemeanor) within 7 years:
- 10 days to 6 months in jail, or
- A treatment program for alcohol and drug abuse, and
- $750 to $1000 in fines
If someone was injured or killed (Felony B):
- 2 to 20 years in prison
- $2000 to $5000 in fines
Any subsequent offense after committing a Felony B:
- 2 to 15 years in prison
- $2000 to $5000 in fines
How Nevada Law Enforcement Determines Whether You’re Impaired
If police officers have probable cause or reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence, they have a right to pull you over and conduct a sobriety test. You cannot refuse it and must follow the officer’s orders. If you try to refuse the test, the officer can use reasonable force to conduct it.
According to NRS 484C.150, Nevada operates under the implied consent law, which means that any person on the road is deemed to have given consent to a preliminary breath test and a blood test.
Law enforcement may also call an officer who has special training in drug recognition evaluation (DRE). They may estimate your pulse and blood pressure and see if you have dry mouth. If they think you drove under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, or any other controlled substance, they will have you take a blood test.
The Effects of Driving High
Because controlled substances can impact your brain and inhibit its functions, driving under the influence puts you and other road users at risk.
Not all drugs have the same effect on the brain, though. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that marijuana in particular slows reaction time and impairs coordination and judgment. As a result, a driver may end up weaving in and out of lanes. Alternatively, methamphetamines and cocaine often lead the user to drive more recklessly. In addition, opioids, benzodiazepines, and some prescription medications may cause dizziness and fatigue.
Driving under the influence of any of these substances can lead to a car accident.
You Could Face More Severe Charges When Driving High
Getting charged with a DUI already comes with serious penalties, but the prosecution can add on more if other people were harmed in an accident. In that case, you may also face charges for:
- DUI manslaughter
- DUI with great bodily harm or death
- DUI with property damage
- Vehicular homicide or manslaughter
Fighting these charges on your own may seem insurmountable. You could have a Las Vegas DUI attorney on your side fighting on your behalf before you start working with law enforcement and tackling the legal system.
How a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Fight DUI Charges
A DUI lawyer in Las Vegas can protect your rights and help fight for a favorable outcome, ideally keeping you out of jail or prison. In doing so, they can assume all tasks involved with managing your DUI case, including:
- Collecting and examining evidence
- Fighting for a plea bargain
- Establishing which laws apply to your case
- Working to reduce or drop your charges
- Interviewing and examining witnesses
- Building a strong defense for you
Common Defenses Strategies Criminal Defense Lawyers Use in DUI Cases
Nevada courts dismiss cases and reduce charges more often than you’d think. In an attempt to achieve this goal for you, your Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer can form a solid defense strategy.
Common defenses for DUI cases are:
- Lack of probable cause: For law enforcement to arrest you for driving under the influence, they must have probable cause (e.g., you violated a traffic law).
- Faulty testing results, administration, or equipment: The arresting officer may have incorrectly conducted the sobriety test. On the other hand, the blood samples could have been contaminated when in the lab or while the officer was transporting them to the lab.
- Mistaken identity: You weren’t the one driving the car that law enforcement pulled over.
- Failure to read your Miranda Rights:In most circumstances, the arresting officer must read your Miranda Rights. If you or your attorney discovers that they violated these rights, then you can request to suppress any evidence law enforcement collected at the time. If this applies to you, you may get your charges dropped right away.
Your attorney could use one or more of these defense strategies.
Partner with Our Nevada Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
If you were charged with a DUI in Nevada, remember that you have rights and that getting charged does not guarantee a conviction. We’re ready to fight on your behalf.
Connect with De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers today to schedule your free consultation.