Driving under the influence does not only constitute alcohol but drugs as well. In fact, controlling a vehicle while influenced by drugs is even worse as substances can have a longer and more extreme effect on a person.
In Nevada, drugged driving is counted as a DUI (Driving under the influence) violation and is under a no-tolerance policy: meaning, if you are caught under these circumstances, you are automatically charged as guilty. The state of Nevada is stringent with this law as there are countless fatalities caused by drugged driving and the laws to enforce this severity is seen in the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) particularly in section 484C. 110.
Let us look at the prime causes of driving under the influence of drugs, its impending penalties, and how you can avoid being convicted for it.
The Nevada Revised Statutes describe drugged driving as the act of controlling a vehicle on a highway or on public premises while or had inhaled, ingested, and applied any chemicals or something equivalent that render a person incapable of driving safely.
The NRS had provided a list of the prohibited substances as well as the blood and urine concentration levels that a person cannot equal to or exceed. Read this table for your reference:
Urine Nanograms per millimeter
Blood Nanograms per millimeter
· 6-monoacetyl morphine
|Lysergic acid diethylamide
Marijuana, which is legal in Nevada, is also under the prohibited substances when driving. You can be arrested if the amount of marijuana found in your blood is equal or greater than 2 for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and 5 for 11-OH-tetrahydrocannabinol.
Prescription drugs are also not excluded in the equation. Unbeknown to many, over the counter and legally prescribed drugs are also treated as prohibited substances as it can cause lethargy and weakness that are dangers for driving.
Preliminary and Evidentiary Testing
The police holds the rights to extract evidence from people who are suspected of having substances in their bloodstream. Just like a sobriety test, a police officer can perform several field tests to discover if a driver is under the influence of drugs. If this is not enough, the police can take the suspect to the headquarters to to perform blood and urine tests. For example, if the arrest happened in the Strip, the LVMPD (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department) will take you to the head office for drug testing in Las Vegas.
If you refuse any test to be conducted, the police officer will have even stronger probable cause to arrest you as it means that you are actually intoxicated of drugs. You cannot waive your right to refuse for this matter. Once you hit the road, you are providing consent for police officers to pull you over and test you for evidence.
Driving under the influence of Drugs Penalties
Drugged driving leads to a DUI sentence. When caught as a first time offender, you will be under misdemeanor charges where you will have to face a 48 hour mandatory detention in jail, 48 hours’ worth of community service and a fine of at least $400 to $1000. For a second drugged driving offense, you will be subjected to not more than six months behind bars, 200 hours of community service, license suspension of one year, and a fine of $1000.
A third offense entails severe consequences. First is prison time of one to six years, a license suspension of at least three years, and fines goes up to $5,000.
But even graver than this is a DUI case with fatalities. Usually when there is injuries or death involved, a charge is comprised of two to 20 years of prison time.
Defenses against Drugged Driving
Even though drugged driving is under a no-tolerance policy, you can still find ways to contest the arrest and eventual charges. First, you need to understand the defenses that might not be applicable in court. Like we have discussed earlier, saying that you are on doctor prescribed drugs will not help dismiss your case as prescribed drugs such as anti-depressants and sleeping pills are still considered substances that can badly influence your driving. Other defenses that will not work are saying you only had a small amount (tests can prove otherwise) and that you are sleepwalking or in this case, sleep driving.
For defenses that you can use, you will have to work closely with your DUI defense lawyer but usually, the valid defenses are as follows:
1. You were unlawfully stopped
This means contesting that the police officer does not have a strong probable cause to pull you over. You can also contest that the police’s aggressiveness that caused them to bump your car or do extreme and unethical measures. Of course you will need hard evidences for this claim.
2. You involuntarily digested the substance
Ingesting a wrong drug can happen. You can prove that you have mistaken prohibited substances for legal medication that you need to take.
3. You were treated unfairly
This denotes the police not respecting your rights such as the right to speak or be silent, as well as performing physical or verbal harassment.
4. You went through faulty tests
You can claim that the field sobriety tests you performed were not rightly executed and the officers obviously lack knowledge of such measures. Also dispute the Breathalyzers and other testing kits that are not well calibrated as well as the flawed test results.
Drugged driving is a serious manner as it endangers lives and resources. To not end up behind bars because of driving under the influence of drugs, be a responsible individual. Drug use is prohibited in Nevada in almost every area and category. Las Vegas is a popular spot for visitors but know that drugged driving is illegal. If you have been using or just wants to make sure you are clean, undergo some Las Vegas drug testing.
If you are, however, an obedient citizen who are falsely accused of drugged driving, know that you have every right to prove that you are innocent. For this to happen, you will need the aid of a DUI defense lawyer. Read more about the NRS 484C. 110 to avoid driving under the influence of drugs penalties today!