Understanding Pot DUIs: What You Need to Know

Driving under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, is a severe offense.

In Nevada, it carries significant legal and personal consequences. 

Suppose the State charged you with pot DUI. 

In that case, you need to understand the following:

  • charges against you, 
  • the potential penalties you may face, 
  • and the legal options available to defend yourself. 

This blog post will provide an overview of pot DUI charges. Plus, share what you need to know to protect your rights and future.

What is a Pot DUI?

There is no legal standard for determining whether marijuana impairs driving. 

A pot DUI is driving under the influence charge related to marijuana use. Like alcohol, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.

In states where marijuana is legal for recreational use, there is a legal limit for THC. 

THC is the active ingredient in marijuana, allowed in a driver’s blood. 

But, this limit is often arbitrary and may not reflect a person’s level of impairment.

THC can remain in a person’s bloodstream long after the effects of marijuana have worn off. Some frequent users may have a high level of THC in their bodies even when they are not currently impaired. 

Additionally, the effects of marijuana can vary depending on factors such as:

  • person’s tolerance, 
  • the potency of the marijuana, 
  • and how a person consumes it.

To determine whether marijuana causes driver impairment, law enforcement officers may administer the following:

  • field sobriety tests, 
  • blood tests, 
  • or other types of drug tests. 

Yet, these tests are unreliable and may produce false positives or negatives. 

Being charged with a pot DUI can be a complex legal issue. 

If charged with this offense, it is crucial to seek help from an excellent criminal defense attorney. 

An attorney can help you:

  • understand the charges against you, 
  • explore your legal options, 
  • and work to protect your rights and your future.

What is the Difference Between a Pot DUI and a Regular DUI?

The substance the driver is under the influence of is the difference between a pot DUI and a standard DUI. 

A regular DUI involves driving under the influence of alcohol. In contrast, a pot DUI involves driving under the influence of marijuana.

Standard DUIs differ from marijuana DUIs in Nevada. 

For example, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Nevada is 0.08% for drivers who are 21 or older. 

But, there is no legal limit for marijuana in Nevada. That means a pot DUI case may get based more on the following:

  • observations of the police officer, 
  • the results of field sobriety tests, 
  • and the driver’s behavior and appearance.

Additionally, the penalties for a pot DUI may differ from those for a regular DUI.

For example, a first-time pot DUI conviction in Nevada may result in a license suspension of 90 days to one year. In contrast, first-time alcohol-related DUI conviction suspensions range from 90 days to six months.

Both DUI charges are serious offenses in Nevada that can have significant consequences. Talking with a criminal defense attorney if you face either type of charge is always advisable.

What Is a Pot DUI in Nevada?

In Nevada, a person can get charged with a pot DUI if they are:

  • Driving,
  • or physically controlling a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. 

They may also get charged with DUI if they detect marijuana or have metabolite in their blood or urine. 

Nevada has a legal limit for the amount of THC allowed in a driver’s blood. It is set at two nanograms per ml for active THC and five nanograms per ml for THC metabolites. 

A skilled pot attorney will challenge this in court. You must note that this limit is not a conclusive determination of impairment.

Nevada also has a “per se” law for driving under the influence of any controlled substance.

If drivers have drugs in their system, they can get charged with a DUI even if they don’t seem drunk or impaired.

A person charged with a pot DUI in Nevada could face penalties such as:

  • fines, 
  • license suspension, 
  • mandatory drug education or treatment programs, 
  • and even jail time in some cases. 

 It is vital to seek the advice of a pot lawyer who can help protect your rights and your future.

What Impact Can a Pot DUI Have On You?

A pot DUI charge can impact your life in significant ways.

Here are some potential effects of a pot DUI on your life.

Legal Consequences

A pot DUI conviction can result in the following:

  • fines, 
  • jail time, 
  • license suspension, 
  • mandatory DUI school, 
  • community service, 
  • and probation. 

How much you get punished for a DUI depends on the situation and if you have gotten convicted of one before.

Employment Consequences

Finding or keeping employment may be difficult, especially if it requires a clean driving record or security clearance.

Personal Relationships

A pot DUI conviction can strain personal relationships. Especially if an accident was involved or hurt someone while under the influence.

Financial Consequences

A pot DUI conviction can result in significant financial penalties, such as:

  • fines, 
  • legal fees, 
  • and increased insurance premiums.

Future Opportunities

If caught driving under the influence of pot, it can have serious consequences. It may prevent you from traveling to other countries and getting certain jobs.

Personal Well-Being

A pot DUI conviction can also impact your mental and emotional well-being, leading to:

  • shame, 
  • guilt, 
  • and anxiety.

The specific impact of a pot DUI will depend on the case’s individual circumstances. 

There may be ways to mitigate some of the potential consequences with the help of a good defense attorney. 

Seeking counseling or treatment for the pot issue can help your legal defense—and personal well-being.

What are the Consequences Of a Pot DUI Conviction?

In Nevada, it is against the law to drive while high on marijuana. If you do this, you could get into legal trouble.

The penalties for a pot DUI in Nevada can vary depending on several factors, such as the drivers:

  • age, 
  • prior DUI convictions, 
  • and level of impairment.

Here are the potential consequences for a first-time pot DUI conviction in Nevada.


The court may impose penalties of up to $1,000 plus court costs.

Jail Time

A first-time offender may face up to six months in jail, although the court may suspend all or part of the sentence.

License Suspension

You could get your driver’s license suspended for 90 days to one year.

DUI School

You may get ordered to attend DUI school, ranging from eight to 24 hours of classroom instruction.

Community Service

You might get required to perform community service.


If convicted of a pot DUI in Nevada, you could get sentenced to probation for up to three years.

It’s important to note that these penalties can increase in a big way for:

  • repeat offenders,
  • or drivers who cause injury or death while driving under the influence of marijuana.

What Are Some Defenses to a Pot DUI Charge?

In Nevada, if you have gotten charged with a DUI related to marijuana use, there are ways to defend yourself. 

It all depends on the situation.

Here are some examples of possible arguments.

Lack of Probable Cause

The police officer must have had probable cause to pull you over. That means they had to suspect you were driving under the influence of marijuana.

If the officer lacked probable cause, the charges might get dismissed.

Improper Testing

It might be possible to question the results of a marijuana test if the office administered it wrong.

Medical Marijuana

If you have a valid prescription for medical marijuana and were using it as recommended, you may be able to argue that you were not impaired and not guilty of a DUI.

Field Sobriety Test Errors

Field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand, are unreliable.

That means a good attorney can challenge them in court.

Rising Blood THC Content

It is possible that the THC levels in your blood were lower while driving and raised afterward.

It’s important to note that the best defense strategy will depend on the specific facts of your case.

It’s always advisable to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney for guidance.

What Can I Expect If Charged with a Pot DUI?

You can face legal ramifications like an alcohol-related DUI charge if charged with a pot DUI.

Here are some of the potential consequences:

Arrest and Booking

The person may get arrested and taken to a police station for booking.

Chemical Testing

A sample of the person’s blood or urine will get taken to test for the presence of marijuana.

Court Appearance

A court appearance is necessary for a person facing pot DUI charges. At this hearing, they will enter a plea (not guilty, guilty, or no contest), and the judge will set a trial date.


If you plead not guilty, you will have to go to court.

There, the prosecutor will present evidence and try to prove that you were driving while using marijuana.

Your defense attorney will:

  • cross-examine witnesses, 
  • present evidence, 
  • and make arguments on their behalf.

Potential Penalties

If convicted of a pot DUI in Nevada, you may face the following:

  • fines, 
  • jail time, 
  • license suspension, 
  • mandatory DUI school, 
  • community service, 
  • and probation. 

The punishment for a DUI will vary depending on the situation and if you have gotten caught for it before.

It’s important to note that a pot DUI charge can be severe and can have long-term consequences. 

It’s always advisable to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to:

  • understand the potential outcomes,
  • and to develop the best defense strategy. 

If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, getting help could keep you out of trouble and make you feel better.

What are the Potential Outcomes of Getting Charged with a Marijuana DUI?

If you get a DUI with marijuana in Nevada, the consequences will depend on your situation and the prosecutor’s evidence against you.

If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove their case against you, they may dismiss the charges.

If your case goes to trial and the jury finds you not guilty, you will get acquitted of the charges.

The prosecution may offer you a plea agreement.

You can get a lighter punishment if you agree to do certain things, like attending classes or helping your community. This is called a plea deal.

Being convicted of a marijuana DUI will result in the judge imposing a criminal sentence.

Criminal sentencing may include the following:

  • fines,
  • jail time,
  • probation,
  • DUI school,
  • community service,
  • and license suspension.

Ultimately, the potential outcomes of your marijuana DUI case will depend on the following:

  • specific facts of your case,
  • the strength of the evidence against you,
  • and the skill of your attorney in defending your case.

If you are facing criminal charges, speaking to a lawyer with experience in defending these cases is vital.

They can explain your options and help create a plan for your defense.

Further Reading

For those seeking insights on criminal defense in Nevada, here’s a concise list of our online resources:

Our website is packed with valuable information. If you require legal assistance, don’t hesitate to connect with us!

Why You Haven’t Hired a Las Vegas DUI Attorney Yet​

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Next Steps

What's Next?

If you’ve recently been charged with a pot DUI in Nevada, you owe it to yourself to get the best possible defense. 

The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm is here to help. 

Our DUI lawyers have lots of experience and offer excellent legal help. We will work hard to protect your rights.

We understand the complexities of Nevada’s marijuana laws and will strive to get you the best outcome possible. 

Don’t let one mistake mess up your future – call us today at (702) 433-2889 and find out how we can represent your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered a motor vehicle in the context of DUI charges?

In the context of DUI charges, a motor vehicle refers to any self-propelled vehicle that can transport individuals or property on public roads or highways. This includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other motorized vehicles. Even non-traditional motor vehicles such as boats, ATVs, and golf carts may be considered as such depending on the state's laws and circumstances of the case.

What does "physical control" mean in the context of DUI charges?

"Physical control" refers to the legal concept where a person has the present ability to operate a motor vehicle, even if the vehicle is not currently in motion. This means that a person could still face DUI charges if they are found in the driver's seat with the ability to start the vehicle, even if the engine is off or the vehicle is parked. The focus is on the individual's capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether they were driving at the time of arrest.

Can the presence of marijuana metabolites in my system lead to a DUI charge?

Yes, in some jurisdictions, marijuana metabolites in your system can result in a DUI charge, even if you are not currently impaired. Some states have per se laws that establish a legal limit for marijuana metabolites in a person's blood, urine, or saliva. You could face DUI charges if your test results show levels above the specified limit. However, these laws can vary by state, and it is crucial to consult a qualified marijuana DUI attorney to understand the specific laws and defenses relevant to your case.

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