When it comes to deciding whether or not a driver is too drunk to operate a motor vehicle, officers have the option to conduct a field sobriety test, breathalyzer, or blood test. A blood-alcohol level of over 0.08 percent will result in a DUI charge, and a night in the drunk tank.
However, when it comes to assessing the level of THC intoxication, it’s not so straightforward. Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson is advocating against Nevada’s current marijuana DUI laws, insisting that they are ineffective at accurately determining a motorist’s true level of impairment.
Marijuana DUIs in Nevada
In Nevada, the legal limit for THC in the blood stream is 2 parts per billion, but many states have a zero tolerance policy. Wolfson believes that a standard blood test can’t accurately determine a driver’s level of impairment, because a number of factors influence how a driver behaves while under the influence of marijuana.
Wolfson said. “So much of it depends on the person and their tolerance level and the strain of marijuana.
He believes that Nevada should have a standard beyond just the blood test, such as a field sobriety test. Like in California, he would like to see the responsibility of determining a driver’s level of intoxication fall primarily on an officer’s discretion. If an officer in the field determines that a motorist is too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle, a blood test will then be administered. If blood tests positive for THC, the burden of proving that an individual was too impaired to drive falls on the prosecution.
Although Wolfson has been offering penalty reductions for individuals charged with felony and misdemeanor DUIs, he still maintains that his primary concern is public safety. He believes that in many cases, it is difficult to prove actual impairment of the driver.
“A DUI might go to a reckless driving if the only thing we can show is that they had marijuana in their system without other independent proofs of impairment,” Wolfson said.
A draft request bill to model Nevada’s laws after California marijuana DUI laws has been recommended for the 2015 legislative session.