Drug Crimes

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According to a recent Uniform Crime Report, there is one arrest every 3.5 minutes in Nevada. Approximately 26% of those arrests are due to drug abuse violations. 

In Nevada, drug crime charges carry stiff penalties, including possible imprisonment, hefty fines, and a criminal record.  Individuals charged with possession or use of illegal drugs are encouraged to seek the immediate help of an experienced drug crimes law firm as soon as possible.  A strong defense can play a vital role in getting your drug charges and penalties reduced or dismissed.

At The Vegas Lawyers, our drug crimes lawyers have an impressive track record of successfully representing individuals facing misdemeanor and felony drug offenses in Nevada.  If you’re facing drug crime offenses in federal or state court, contact us today to speak with a proven drug crimes lawyer.  Call us at (702) 707-7000.   

How Can A Drug Crime Charge Affect You?

Nevada routinely ranks in the top 10 states with the largest percentage of illicit drug use.  While many professionals have recognized the ineffective nature of the “war on drugs,” Nevada continues to prosecute drug offenses aggressively.

However, individuals convicted of possession, use, or sale of drugs can expect more than legal consequences.  In addition to possible imprisonment, drug offense convictions can lead to the following problems:   

  • Difficulties finding gainful employment
  • Challenges locating affordable housing
  • Reputational damage in the community

Although drug use is more accepted now than it was 10 or 20 years ago, there is still a stigma attached to drug offense convictions that could affect you long after your arrest.  If you’ve been charged with a Nevada drug offense, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation from a trusted and experienced “drug crimes lawyer near me” as soon as possible.   

How Serious Are Drug Offenses?

Drug offenses are among the most serious charges in Nevada.  Overall, the penalties for drug crimes depend upon a few factors, including the type of drug, amount, criminal history, and more.  In some cases, individuals charged with drug offenses can get their charges dismissed by completing a court-ordered drug treatment program.  However, you must be eligible for the program.

Fortunately, recent changes in the law help to protect individuals on probation or parole for drug crimes.  For example, you are less likely to have your probation or parole revoked for inconsequential reasons like forgetting to update your personal information.

A drug crimes jail sentence and criminal record shouldn’t be taken lightly. Our drug offense attorneys understand the severe consequences associated with a conviction.  We will do everything in our power to aggressively advocate for your rights and seek the most favorable outcome for you and your family.

Types Of Drugs And Drug Crimes

Perhaps the most important factor in drug felony and misdemeanor punishments is the type of illegal substance you possess.  Like the federal government, Nevada uses drug crime schedules to classify illegal and addictive substances.  The five drug crime schedules include:

  • Schedule I (NRS 453.166): Drugs with the highest potential for abuse that have little to no medical use.  Examples include cocaine, molly, meth, PCPC, and more.
  • Schedule II (NRS 453.176): Drugs that also have the highest potential for abuse but do have some medicinal benefits when administered by a doctor. Schedule II drugs are usually the most addictive. Examples include Morphine, Adderall, Oxycodone, and more.
  • Schedule III (NRS 453.186): Controlled substances that pose the potential for abuse, but are not as likely to be abused as the previous categories. Generally, schedule III drugs have known medical benefits and a low-moderate dependency rate.
  • Schedule IV (NRS 453.196): Drugs with a low potential for abuse and valid medical use. Popular examples of schedule IV drugs include Xanax and Valium.
  • Schedule V (NRS 453.206): Drugs with a very little chance of causing dependency or addiction but are often used by medical professionals for treatment. Common examples include Robitussin and Motofen.

The Nevada drug crimes schedules are a great starting point to understand drug felony and misdemeanor penalties.  However, the manner in which you possess the illicit substance also plays a major role in drug crime consequences.

What Is The Legal Definition Of Possession In A Drug Case?

Individuals suspected of possession with intent to sell or use can be arrested and charged with drug possession in Nevada.  Generally, there are three types of illegal drug possession cases that trigger prosecution. They include actual possession, constructive possession, and joint possession.

  • Actual Drug Possession – Occurs when law enforcement finds illicit substances on your body or in your clothing. For example, if the police find a bag of cocaine in a suspect’s pant pocket, they can be charged for actual possession. 
  • Constructive Possession – Happens if the police find illicit substances in a regularly accessible location like your bedroom drawer, kitchen cupboard, or similar location.   
  • Joint Possession –  Suppose law enforcement finds drugs in a location you share with someone else (i.e., significant other, friend, family member) like a shared locker, shared dresser, etc.  If they can’t easily identify who owns the drugs, they may charge all parties with regular access to the location.

Whether you’re charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell or use, how and where the police find the drugs can play a major factor in drug possession charges and penalties. If you’re facing drug possession charges, contact us to speak with a drug criminal defense lawyer today.  For a free and confidential consultation, call (702) 707-7000.   

What Bearing Do “Circumstances” Have On The Potential Drug Charge?

The circumstances of your arrest will have a significant impact on the type of drug offense you’re charged with.  Generally, the most common types of offenses a defense lawyer helps clients with include possession, possession with intent to sell or distribute, and drug trafficking charges. Learn more about each below.

Possession Of Illegal Drugs In Nevada

According to NRS 453.336, an individual can face drug possession charges if the police find illegal drugs on your body or suspect that you were in control and had authority over the substance.  The consequences for possession of illegal drugs depends on the type and amount of drugs involved in your case.

Generally, the penalties for possessing schedule I or II drugs include the following:

  • Under 14 grams: Category E felony. Generally, 1st and 2nd-time offenders are sentenced to probation. However, a third (or more) offense can result in up to 4 years imprisonment.
  • 14 – 28 grams: One to six years in prison.
  • 28 – 42 grams: One to ten years in prison.
  • 42 – 100 grams: One to fifteen years in prison.

It’s important to note that Schedule III, IV, and V drugs carry varying penalties depending on the type of drug in your possession.  A conviction for possession can lead to imprisonment for up to 10 years.  Contact us today to speak with a narcotics attorney familiar with the penalties for possession of illegal drugs in Nevada. 

Possession With Intent To Sell Or Distribute

In Nevada, the amount of illegal drugs in your possession is not a determining factor when law enforcement charges you with possession with intent to sell.  Generally, the police can elevate possession offenses to possession with intent to distribute so long as they suspect an intent to sell the drugs.  If convicted, penalties can include, but are not limited to:

  • Schedule I or II drugs: 1 – 4 years incarceration and fines up to $5k for first-time offenders, and up to 15 years imprisonment (plus fines up to $20k) for subsequent convictions.
  • Schedule III, IV, and V: First and second-time offenders face up to four years imprisonment and fines up to $10k.  Individuals convicted of three or more offenses face up to five years imprisonment.  Depending on the circumstances, a judge may sentence defendants to probation only. 

Drug Trafficking Offenses In Nevada

Drug trafficking charges are based on the type and quantity of illegal drugs.  Individuals can be charged with drug trafficking offenses if they manufacture, sell, distribute, deliver, or traffic drugs into Nevada in large amounts.  Generally, the penalties for drug trafficking in Nevada include prison time (10 – 25 years or more), fines potentially as high as $200k, and a felony conviction.  Of all drug charges, drug trafficking is considered the most serious by both state and federal authorities.   

Whether you’ve been charged with possession, possession with intent to sell, or drug trafficking, a conviction could lead to severe consequences.  Working with a proven narcotics attorney can significantly increase your chances of reduced or dropped charges.

What About Marijuana And Drug Crime Charges?

The good news is that marijuana is no longer a Schedule I drug in Nevada under state law.  The same is not true, however, with respect to federal law where marijuana currently remains a Schedule I drug.  However, even under state law, you can still be charged with some marijuana related crimes.  For example, if you possess more than 1-ounce of marijuana or 3.5g of concentrates (but less than the requirement for trafficking), law enforcement can charge you with a criminal misdemeanor and up to $600 in fines.

If you possess between 50lb and 5,000lb (or more) of marijuana, you may face felony drug trafficking charges.  A conviction for trafficking marijuana could result in an extensive prison term (up to life) and fines up to $200k. Since the legalization of marijuana in Nevada is relatively new, there is still a lot of grey area concerning marijuana drug offenses.

If you’ve been charged with illegal possession of marijuana, it’s in your best interest to consult with a drug arrest attorney at your earliest convenience.  Lawyers specializing in drug charges understand the complexities and unclear nature of marijuana drug offenses.  Contact us today to speak with drug offence lawyers you can trust.

Drug Crime Cases Handled By The Vegas Lawyers

The Vegas Lawyers is a premier drug crimes law firm in Nevada.  We handle all types of drug offense cases in both state and federal court and are confident that we can help you as well.  Drug crimes can be complicated and there are many nuances to the laws that require a skilled and experienced attorney to help navigate.  Having the right lawyer in a drug case can mean the difference between going to jail or walking out of court a free person. 

Chapter 453 of the Nevada Revised Statutes outlines various drug offenses and penalties in the state of Nevada.  We’ve provided an overview of the most common drug offenses in Nevada below:   

  • Possession of a controlled substance – NRS 453.336 states that an individual “shall not knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance.” However, exceptions may apply if a licensed medical professional prescribes the substance.
  • Possession with intent to sell or distribute – NRS 453.337 stipulates that an individual can be charged with illegal drug possession with the intent to sell/distribute if they possess certain controlled substances while intending to sell.
  • Drug trafficking – According to NRS 453.8835, a person can face drug trafficking charges in Nevada if they intentionally manufacture, distribute, sell, deliver, etc., specific amounts of any Schedule I drug.
  • Marijuana drug offenses – While recreational use of marijuana is permitted in Nevada, possessing too much or illegally selling marijuana can lead to imprisonment, criminal charges, and fines.
  • Cocaine drug offenses – Cocaine is a popular drug in Las Vegas.  However, getting caught with it can lead to devastating consequences, including jail time.   
  • Prescription pill offenses – Selling or distributing illegal prescription pills can lead to felony charges and up to five years imprisonment.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia – Under NRS 453.566 and 453.560, it is illegal for a person to use, possess, or illegally distribute drug paraphernalia in Nevada. Depending on the circumstances, defendants may face misdemeanor or felony charges.  Common types of drug paraphernalia include pipes, bongs, rolling paper and cocaine freebase kits.    
  • Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) – Driving while under the influence of drugs is treated exactly the same as alcohol-induced DUIs in Nevada.  A conviction could lead to jail, fines, license suspension, and more.

If you’ve been charged with a drug crime in Nevada, it’s recommended that you immediately contact an experienced drug defense lawyer to help you maintain your freedom and keep your record clean.

You Could Be Eligible For A Diversionary Program For Your Las Vegas Drug Charges

Prison isn’t the only solution to drug crime convictions.  Depending on the circumstances of your case, Nevada courts sometimes offer diversionary programs in lieu of prison time.  Diversionary programs offer individuals convicted of low-level drug offenses an opportunity to complete an intensive rehabilitation program.  If accepted into the program, defendants are typically placed under probationary supervision until they finish.

New changes expanding the reach of diversionary programs allow individuals convicted of certain drug offenses more opportunities for rehabilitation and deferred sentencing. Generally, the expansion of Nevada diversionary programs includes the following:

  • 1st and 2nd-time offenders convicted for having Schedule I or II drugs (14g or less)
  • 1st and 2nd-time offenders for possession of a Schedule III or IV drug (less than 28g)
  • Convicted drug offenders who possess under 28g of a Schedule V drug

If you’ve been charged with a low-level drug offense, you may be eligible for a Nevada diversionary program.  However, it can be a complex and complicated procedure, especially without the help of a drug crime attorney.

Can you be charged for having drugs in your system? That depends on the details of your case.  Contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable drug crime attorney for answers to your case-specific questions.

How Can A Drug Crime Lawyer Help Build a Strong Defense For A Case?

Drug crime charges are a serious matter.  However, a skilled drug case lawyer has many defense strategies at his or her disposal that may apply to your situation.  Some of the most commonly used defense strategies for drug crime cases include, but are not limited to the following:

  • You were the victim of entrapment
  • The drugs did not belong to you
  • Your 4th Amendment rights were violated
  • Chemical test inaccuracies or mistakes
  • Procedural errors committed by the police
  • Someone else placed the drugs on your person or property without your knowledge

It’s crucial to remember that the prosecution has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  An experienced drug crime defense attorney can help cast doubt on your case in the minds of the judge or jury which could lead to dismissed or reduced charges. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Crimes In Las Vegas

Nevada’s drug laws can be confusing to many people (tourists and residents alike). With that in mind, we’ve provided answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions about Nevada drug laws.

If you have specific questions about your case, contact us for a confidential consultation.

When Did Marijuana Become Legal In Nevada?

Nevada legalized medicinal marijuana in 2000.  However, the state did not record its first sale of medical marijuana until 2015.  Recreational marijuana became legal in Nevada in 2017.

Even though recreational marijuana is legal, it’s important to note that it is illegal to purchase more than one ounce of marijuana at a time.  Furthermore, individuals who buy, sell, or otherwise unlawfully distribute marijuana are still subject to Nevada drug laws and penalties.

Is It Legal To Grow Marijuana in Nevada?

It’s legal to grow recreational marijuana in Nevada.  However, you must live at least 25 miles away from the closest authorized dispensary.  Individuals are allowed to grow up to 6 plants (no more than 12 in a household).

If someone cultivates more than 12 plants, they may face felony charges.

Drug Laws For Out-of-State Visitors?

The drug crime laws in Nevada are identical for in-state residents and out-of-state visitors. Regardless of where you come from, if you’re convicted of a drug crime in Nevada, you could face jail time, fines, community service, or more.

What Is The Nevada Per Se Law For THC?

Currently, drivers who have any detectable amount of THC in their system can be charged with a marijuana DUI.  Recently the legislature has moved to change the law so that prosecutors must prove impairment (not just the presence of THC) for a DUI conviction.

Since the laws haven’t officially changed yet, it’s in your best interest to abstain from driving after partaking in marijuana.  Otherwise, it could lead to severe penalties.

Can I Seal My Criminal Record in Nevada For Drug Charges?

Most drug charge cases in Nevada are eligible to be sealed.  However, the amount of time it takes to seal a criminal record seal depends on the conviction.  Furthermore, you must wait until the required amount of time has passed before becoming eligible. 

If your case is dismissed, you may be eligible for an immediate criminal record seal.  Contact us today to learn more.

Will I Get Deported If Arrested For Drugs In Nevada?

Potentially, yes.  Non-citizen immigrants who are arrested for drug crimes in Las Vegas can get deported.  It’s important to note that if a non-citizen alien even admits to illicit drug use, they could face deportation proceedings (even if they are not convicted).


Contact The Vegas Lawyers If You’re Facing Drug Charges

If you’re facing drug crime charges in Las Vegas, Nevada, you need a knowledgeable, skilled, and affordable lawyer.  We’re confident that we can help you obtain the best possible outcome for your situation, including a possible acquittal, reduced charges, and lessened penalties.  Don’t gamble with your future when you don’t have to.  Contact The Vegas Lawyers today at (702) 707-7000 for your free and confidential consultation.

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