Nevada has strict laws on drug and alcohol abuse. You can lose your license, incur fines, and go to prison for driving drunk, selling drugs, or committing other crimes. Keep reading to learn about this state’s drug and alcohol laws.

DUI Laws in Nevada

Nevada bans drivers from operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. If you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.08% within 2 hours of driving, you can face a DUI. For commercial drivers, the limit is just 0.04%.

These are the penalties for DUIs in Nevada:

  • 1st DUI: 2 to 180 days in jail or 48 to 96 hours community service, $400 minimum fine, and lose license for 185 days.
  • 2nd DUI: 10 to 180 days in jail or house arrest, $750 minimum fine, and lose license for 1 year.
  • 3rd DUI: 1 to 6 years in prison, $2,000 minimum fine, and lose license for 3 years.

In addition, if your BAC is 0.18% or lower, you must have a breathalyzer on your vehicle for 185 days for the 1st and 2nd offences. If your BAC is higher than 0.18% or it’s your 3rd offence, the penalty lasts for 1 to 3 years.

Zero Tolerance Laws for Nevada

Nevada has zero tolerance rules for young drivers. If you are under 21, you can face a DUI if you have any trace of alcohol in your blood. The limit for drivers is this age group is 0.02%.

To reduce accidents, the state has also used zero tolerance programs. For example, in 2013, highway patrol cracked down on all violations on I-15 from the California-Nevada border to Las Vegas. Officers issued over 2,700 citations. This led to a 31% decrease in accidents. 

Is Marijuana Legal in Nevada?

Marijuana is legal in Nevada, but the drug is still controlled. Here are some of the main laws:

  • You may only buy marijuana from state-licensed stores. Weed cannot be purchased from private sellers.
  • You must be over 21 and show ID to buy marijuana. 
  • If you are over 21, you can possess up to 1 ounce of flower or up to 1/8 ounce of concentrate.
  • You cannot use marijuana in public. Using the drug in a moving vehicle is also banned, even if you’re not driving. 

Drug and Alcohol Related Crimes

To keep people safe, Nevada has numerous laws relating to drugs and alcohol. In addition to banning driving while under the influence, the state also has laws against these activities:

  • Maintaining a place for the sale, gifting, or use of drugs.
  • Possessing or disposing of meth manufacturing waste.
  • Having signed and blank prescription forms.
  • Allowing children to be present during drug violations, excluding marijuana.
  • Making controlled substances that cause death available.
  • Failing to seek medical help for someone hurt or killed by using controlled substances.
  • Selling drugs to minors.
  • Possessing drugs for personal use.
  • Possessing drugs with the intent to sell.
  • Processing marijuana concentrate or extract.
  • Running illegal internet pharmacies.
  • Stealing records of people charged with possessing drugs.
  • Trafficking drugs.

Penalties for Drug or Alcohol Abuse in Nevada

In Nevada, if you have up to 4 grams of a Schedule 1 to 5 controlled substances, you can be charged with a Category E felony. These drugs include cocaine, meth, heroin, prescription opiates, and even some antidepressants. The penalties can be severe, but in most cases, the judge must offer offenders diversion opportunities and probation. 

Theoretically, these options allow nonviolent drug offenders the chance to avoid jail time in exchange for entering drug treatment programs and being on probation. However, if they cannot complete the diversion program or if they violate the terms of their probation, they can face between 1 and 4 years in prison.

For selling drugs, the penalties are much stricter: 

  • Selling schedule 3, 4, and 5 drugs is a category D felony, and the penalty can include up to a $10,000 fine.
  • Selling schedule 1 or 2 drugs is a category D felony the 1st time, but if you get caught again, you can face a category B felony, 3 to 15 years in prison, and up to a $20,000 fine.

The penalties are worse for selling drugs to minors. This is a category A felony. On top of any other penalties, you can face up to 15 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 5 years and up to a $20,000 fine plus the cost of sending the minor to a drug treatment program.

If you are using drugs in Nevada, don’t wait until you face criminal penalties. Get help now. Contact a treatment center in your local area. Reach out today to learn about options.


  1. Egan, J. (2010, July 7). Nevada drunk driving laws and penalties
  2. NRS: CHAPTER 453 – Controlled substances. (n.d.)
  3. NRS: CHAPTER 453 – Controlled substances. (n.d.)
  4. Possession and consumption. (n.d.)
  5. Prevention – I-15 zero tolerance – News & events – Zero fatalities. (n.d.)
  6. Some drug possession penalties don’t make sense. (n.d.)

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