Beginning in October 2018, a new set of DUI laws went into effect in the state of Nevada. These new laws brought about a number of changes designed to discourage drunk driving in the state as well as provide some means of stopping drivers who are driving under the influence of marijuana.
Given the impact that these new laws can have on individuals who have been convicted of a DUI in the state of Nevada, we wanted to take this opportunity to explain these new DUI laws and how they will be enforced.
Expanding the State’s Ignition Interlock Device Program
The most significant thrust of the new DUI laws in Nevada centers around expanding the state’s ignition interlock device program. Ignition interlock devices are devices that can be installed on the ignition of the vehicle owned by an individual who has been convicted of a DUI. These devices essentially require the individual to perform a breathalyzer test before they are allowed to start their vehicle. The devices typically include a camera as well in order to ensure that the person blowing into the device is indeed the person that intends to drive the vehicle.
In the past, ignition interlock devices were largely only installed on the vehicles of repeat DUI offenders. The new laws, however, expand the program so that ignition interlock devices are now required to be installed on the vehicle of anyone who is convicted of a DUI in the state. In addition to requiring that an ignition interlock device be installed on the vehicle of anyone who is convicted of a DUI, the new laws also require that anyone who is arrested for a DUI must have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle as a condition for getting their driver’s license back before their trial.
The goal of expanding the state’s ignition interlock devices program is to not only make the penalty for a DUI stricter but also to cut down on repeat offenders. DUI charges tend to have a high rate of repeat offenders, but ignition interlock devices work to stop anyone who has been convicted of a DUI from being able to drive under the influence again.
Of course, there are still plenty of issues with ignition interlock devices, including their accuracy as well as the various ways that people are able to get around the device. Even more significant is the fact that ignition interlock devices do nothing to prevent people from driving under the influence of marijuana.
Nevada’s New Approach to High Drivers
When the state of Nevada decided to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana, it was well understood that a consequence of this decision would be a significant uptick in drivers operating their vehicles under the influence of marijuana. Right now, though, Nevada – like most every other state that has legalized cannabis – is still struggling to find a way to identify and convict high drivers.
Ignition interlock devices are unable to detect whether THC is present in a person’s body, as are most roadside test kits that Nevada police officers are currently equipped with. Field sobriety tests are likewise not always useful for determining whether or not someone is under the influence of marijuana since THC does not tend to affect a person’s motor skills as dramatically as alcohol does.
Nevada’s new DUI laws, however, attempt to help curb the state’s high driving problem both by increasing the penalties for operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana as well as providing officers with technology and procedures for determining whether or not a person is high.
While devices designed to test for THC in the bloodstream are still not nearly as widespread or as effective as devices designed to measure a person’s blood alcohol content, progress is being made on developing a test that officers can use in the field to determine whether or not someone is under the influence of marijuana. Nevada’s new DUI laws give law enforcement in the state the power to use these new devices as they become available.
The new DUI laws also increase the penalty for driving under the influence of marijuana by requiring that anyone who is convicted of driving high in the state must have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. Even if their offense had nothing to do with alcohol, high drivers in Nevada must still submit to using an ignition interlock device in order to keep their driver’s license.
By increasing the penalty for driving under the influence of marijuana as well as providing law enforcement officers with new devices and procedures for detecting THC in the field, lawmakers in Nevada hope to discourage high driving in a state that is still learning to cope with the consequences of legal marijuana.
What to do if You are Charged With a DUI in Nevada
Being charged with a DUI is always a frightening scenario. Now that the state of Nevada has expanded its ignition interlock devices program, though, being charged with a DUI is now a more serious offense than ever before. Even a single offense can now lead to having to blow into an ignition interlock device every time you want to use your vehicle.
If you have been charged with a DUI in the state of Nevada, it is essential that you seek expert legal counsel right away. The penalties for being convicted of a DUI in Nevada can be life-altering and must be taken seriously regardless of whether or not this is your first offense.
Thankfully, there are things that you can do to fight your charges and push for lighter penalties, even under the state’s new DUI laws. If you have been charged with a DUI in the state of Nevada and would like to learn more about your legal options, we urge you to contact our offices today. Our expert team of DUI defense attorneys will be happy to learn more about your case in order to provide you with the best possible defense.