Illegal Drugs Law

It stands to reason that when people hear the term DUI, they think of “drunk driving” and naturally alcohol. Many people don’t realize that, in Nevada, a large number of DUI arrests, charges and convictions are not based on alcohol at all. In Las Vegas, and throughout Nevada, many people are arrested and charged for Driving under the Influence of substances completely unrelated to the consumption of alcohol. Many people are arrested, charged and convicted of DUI in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada when they have not been drinking any alcoholic beverages. To be clear, in Nevada, a person can be convicted of driving under the influence, even when they appear sober and are acting normally, because the police believe they have drugs in their system.

While it is true that in many cases law enforcement makes and arrest DUI after the police come into contact with someone driving a vehicle and their observations lead the police to believe the person has been drinking and is impaired to the point they cannot safely drive a vehicle, in other cases the police may believe the driver is under the influence of a controlled substance unrelated to alcohol. The law in Nevada defines precisely how much of a particular controlled substance, or “drug,” may be present in a person’s system to presume a driver is “under the influence” or “impaired” as to render the driver incapable to drive safely.

Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 484C.110 provides that there are there are minimum levels of illegal drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, PCP, LSD, marijuana (“weed,” “pot,” etc.) methamphetamine and other such illicit drugs, that can be present in a person’s system at the time they are in actual physical control of a vehicle before they are assumed to be under the influence and unable to safely drive.

According to Nevada law, the baseline amount a driver may have in his or her system depends on whether the amount is measured via a test of the person’s blood or their urine. For instance:

Prohibited Substance (Drug)

  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Cocaine Metabolite
  • Heroin

Urine (Nano grams per milliliter)

  • 500
  • 150
  • 150
  • 2,000

Blood (Nano grams per milliliter)

  • 100
  • 50
  • 50
  • 50

* metabolite is the term for the substance created by a person’s body after a drug is ingested. This law provides that metabolite present at these levels is legally prohibited, even if a forensic test does not reveal any of the actual drugs in a person’s system. The reasoning is that the presence of a metabolite usually means that the person had previously ingested the actual drug and the law assumes a person is still “under the influence” of actual drug while driving.

When a person driving is suspected of being under the influence of a controlled substance, the police will likely mandate that person undergo testing for the presence of drugs. In Nevada, a test for the presence of drugs is usually done in the form of a blood test, although Nevada law allows for testing to be conducted via urine test as well. If a test is done and it is revealed that the person has a controlled substance in his or her system in excess of the allowable legal limit, the person will undoubtedly be charged with DUI.

The simple fact that a driver is charged however does not mean that they don’t have defenses to their case. In many cases, when the lawyer defending a charge of DUI Drugs is well trained in not only the legal allowable limits, but also the way in which the body metabolizes substances, the proper method for taking blood and urine samples and preserving forensic evidence, there may be many valid legal defenses to a DUI drug charge.

It is important to remember that DUI charges involving an allegation of being under the influence of a controlled substance, commonly called “DUI Drug” cases, are particularly complex and usually have significant legal, scientific and technical issues. For this reason, it is crucial that a person facing this type of charge ensure that he or she is represented by a well trained, knowledgeable and experienced DUI Drug lawyer who will be able to identify and exploit the best possible defenses to the charge.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or is facing a charge for a DUI Drug related offense, remember that an arrest is not a guarantee of conviction. An experienced and highly rated DUI Defense attorney like Josh Tomsheck at the law firm of Hofland & Tomsheck can help you through the process and ensure that you receive the best representation possible. Call us today and allow us to start fighting your case immediately.

For a free initial consultation, please call the law offices of Hofland & Tomsheck at (702) 895-6760

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