What Is The Ignition Interlock Device?
Driver’s license privileges are a separate issue from a criminal DUI charge. They happen simultaneously but one’s just about your driver’s license and the other one is about the DUI itself in the criminal court. If your blood or breath test from the police station is above 0.8, that gets reported to the DMV and your driver’s license can be suspended immediately whether you’ve been convicted or not. If you so choose you can get your license back immediately by getting a breath interlock device installed. There is some cost to do it, but for most people, it’s a way to get back on the road right away because it’s tough to get along in this world – especially with a job – without a driver’s license.
You have a couple of options. One is that you can ask for an administrative hearing if you feel that there was something wrong with the way that the tests were given or if you have any number of other defenses. However, you should remember that this is a separate court proceeding before a DMV judge; it’s a civil hearing. In criminal court, we’ve got this very high standard of proof for a conviction. They have to prove that you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That means they have to be almost totally sure that you’re guilty. A driver’s license hearing is a civil hearing. It’s not a criminal case, it’s just about your license and that’s a much lower standard called the preponderance of the evidence. That just means that they may be fifty-one percent more sure than not that you were intoxicated.
I do represent people in both courts and sometimes I tell people that it might be less expensive in the long run to have the interlock device installed than to fight it, potentially lose at the DMV, and then have to get it put in anyway. The issue is how aggressively do you want to fight the license portion of your charges. When it comes to the criminal case I think that that’s where you really put the fight in because now we’re talking about fines and jail time. These are things that are going to potentially cost a lot more than just having an interlock ignition device.
What Generally Happens When Someone Is Suspected Of Being Under The Influence of Drugs?
The Breathalyzer test does not detect anything except for alcohol. There are a lot of drugs, both legal prescription medications and illegal drugs, that can affect your ability to drive. If an officer has probable cause to believe that you’re impaired even if they don’t smell alcohol or have any other reason to believe that you’ve been drinking, that’s when they will usually demand the blood test because the blood panel can screen for a lot more options than a Breathalyzer. It usually depends on the suspected driver’s behavior. If the individual is exhibiting behaviors that are erratic and somewhat different than just basic alcohol intoxication then they can demand the blood test which then has a much more comprehensive screening for both.
Again there are some prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines, Ambien, Xanax, or painkillers, that can impair driving even though they’re perfectly legitimate to use under the prescription of a doctor. That’s why they would ask for a blood test if those items are suspected.
How Does Law Enforcement Test For Marijuana Impairment In Nevada?
The breath test would not catch the presence of marijuana. Of course, it’s always been somewhat prevalent, but now it’s completely legal to recreationally smoke marijuana in Nevada. If that’s what’s suspected then they would have to take the blood test.
In an employment test, you could catch the use of marijuana within the last 30 days because the trace amounts of it are stored in the body’s fat cells and then release slowly back into the blood. In a DUI scenario, they’re looking for threshold levels of THC and marijuana metabolite that exceed a certain level to show that you were actually under the influence at the time you were driving.
If you used marijuana a week ago, that isn’t going to get you to the levels that would cause you to be found guilty of a DUI. However, if you do exceed those threshold levels in the blood test you will be treated the same way as an alcohol impairment. The penalties are identical.
What Is A Drug Recognition Expert In Nevada?
Drug recognition experts are their specially trained officers. They receive a special certification to recognize impairment via a 12 step process. We don’t really see them used very much in Nevada. California uses them quite a bit. In Nevada, I think all officers receive roughly the same training and some DRE principles are used but as part of the general officer training. They’re not usually identified as certified experts in drug recognition.
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