3 IMPORTANT THINGS TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT NEVADA’S DRUG LAWS

Las Vegas is known worldwide for its party culture.  It’s truly the city that never sleeps.  However, residents and tourists alike are often surprised to learn that most drug crime violations committed in Nevada are punished severely.

The potential implications of a drug crime conviction are devastating. With that in mind, there are three important things you should know about Nevada’s drug laws:

Drug crimes have harsh punishments
  1. There’s a huge difference between simple drug charges and drug trafficking charges.
  1. Although recreational marijuana is legal, not following the rules can get you in major trouble.
  1. Individuals charged with drug crimes in Nevada may be eligible for a reduction in penalties and charges by attending Drug Court.

If you’ve been charged with violating Nevada’s drug laws, it’s in your best interest to consult with a Nevada criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.   

There’s A Big Difference Between Drug Crimes And Drug Trafficking Crimes in Nevada

Possessing any amount of an illegal controlled substance is a criminal offense in Nevada. However, individuals charged with possession of larger quantities of Schedule I or Schedule II drugs can expect much harsher sentencing.

Take a look at the differences between possession with intent to sell and drug trafficking charges in the table below.

Possession W/ Intent to Sell – NRS 453.337Drug Trafficking Charges – NRS 453.3385
Category C – Category D FelonyCategory B, C, or D Felony
1 – 15 years in prison (Depending on the drug schedule and other factors)1-year imprisonment to – Life in prison (depending on the Schedule and quantity)
Potentially $5,000 – $20,000 in fines$25,000 – $500,000 in fines

It’s important to note that drug trafficking can be simultaneously charged at the state and federal levels.  With that in mind, defendants potentially face both state and federal penalties.

Although Marijuana Is Legal, Not Following The Rules Can Get You In Big Trouble 

Recreational and medical marijuana is legal in Nevada.  However, unlawfully selling, distributing, or growing marijuana can lead to serious consequences.  A few notable Nevada marijuana law facts include:

Charged with Drug Crimes
  • Individuals are not allowed to possess more than one ounce of recreational marijuana
  • People with a marijuana medical card can possess up to 2.5 ounces
  • It’s illegal to smoke weed in public or anywhere outside of a residence
  • There are strict laws regarding marijuana cultivation
  • Selling marijuana (other than licensed dispensaries) is punished the same as selling any other Schedule I drug

Individuals facing first-time possession of marijuana offenses are not likely to get jail time.  However, there are no guarantees.  If you’ve been charged with illegal possession of marijuana in Nevada, it’s in your best interest to consult with a seasoned criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Attending Drug Court Can Get Your Sentence And Charges Reduced

Nevada Drug Court is an intense drug rehab program that allows first-time drug crime offenders to have charges dismissed as long as they successfully complete the program.

Nevada Drug Court is one of many specialty courts designed to address drug addiction causes, treatment, and rehabilitation.  Generally, Nevada Drug Court is only available to first-time offenders charged with one of the following crimes:

  • Felony drug possession (NRS 453.336)
  • Unlawful use of controlled substances (NRS 453.411)
  • Unlawful possession for sale of substances classified in schedule III, IV, or V (NRS 453.338)

Depending upon the circumstances of the case, some non-addicts may be eligible to take an intensive drug education course in lieu of Drug Court in Nevada.  Here are some important facts about Drug Court:

arrested for drug trafficking
  1. Drug Court typically lasts for one year or longer
  1. Costs start at about $1,500
  1. You must enter a “guilty” or “no contest” plea to qualify
  1. If you break the rules of Drug Court, you could face the original charges and penalties
  1. Once Drug Court is completed, the defendant’s case is completely dismissed

What To Do If You’re Charged With A Drug Crime In Nevada

Drug crime convictions can lead to lifelong consequences.  With that in mind, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can give you the best chances of winning a drug crime case in Nevada.  Don’t just get any lawyer.  Get someone that has experience and can get results.   

A few of the most common defenses to drug crime charges include but are not limited to the following:

  • The drugs did not belong to the defendant
  • The defendant was a victim of an illegal search and seizure
  • Entrapment perpetrated by law enforcement
  • The prosecution lacks sufficient evidence that the alleged substance was an illegal drug

A skilled Nevada drug possession attorney can help you assert your rights, negotiate with the prosecution, and potentially avoid harsh prison sentences.


Author: Tony Abbatangelo, Esq.

Anthony “Tony” L. Abbatangelo Esq. is a smart, compassionate attorney that knows how to get results and is no stranger to the courtroom. Tony and his team are ready to assist you with your criminal and DUI defense.

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