Drug Crimes

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Las Vegas Drug Crimes Lawyer

Nevada’s Drug Laws Are Strictly Enforced

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.

Nevada takes all drug crimes very seriously. For legislatures and law enforcement, curbing the proliferation of drug use, abuse, and distribution is necessary for a healthy society.

With that in mind, if you’ve been charged with possession, distribution, or manufacturing a controlled substance, it’s in your best interest to speak with a proven Las Vegas drug crime lawyer as soon as possible.

It’s not about what you did or didn’t do. It’s about what the prosecution can prove (without reasonable doubt).

Our team of Las Vegas drug crime lawyers have the skill, experience, and fight to ensure the best possible results under the circumstances.

Don’t gamble with your freedom. Contact us today for your free initial consultation.

What Types Of Drugs Are Legal In Nevada?

Las Vegas is arguably the party capital of the world. Yet, many are shocked to learn that party drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, molly, etc., can land you in prison in Nevada – for a long time.

However, like 16 other states, Nevada does permit the possession and use of recreational marijuana – with certain exceptions.

Other than marijuana legalization, Nevada’s drug laws are somewhat archaic. That means that drug offenses are strictly punished. Potential consequences include prison time, high fines, and a lifelong criminal record. 

Continue reading to learn about the most commonly prosecuted drug crimes in Nevada. 

What Types Of Drugs Are Illegal In Nevada?

It’s difficult to name every illegal drug in Nevada because there are so many. Nevada uses drug schedule categories to organize drug types, the likelihood of abuse, and consequences for abusers, distributors, and manufacturers to make it more efficient.

Take a look at a brief overview of the drug schedule categories in Nevada below.

  • 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.

What Are The Different Types Of Drug Charges?

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

If you have additional questions or require more information, contact us today to speak with a proven Las Vegas drug crimes lawyer.

Possession of a Controlled Substance in Nevada

According to NRS 453.336, it is against the law to “knowingly or intentionally” possess illegal controlled substances. The only exception is if the controlled substance in question was prescribed by a licensed physician, physician assistant, dentist, etc.

Individuals convicted of possessing a controlled substance in Nevada (Schedule I – IV) face a class E felony conviction.

Penalties For Possession of a Controlled Substance

Generally, the penalties for unlawful drug possession in Las Vegas depend on the type of drug possessed, past drug convictions, and other factors. Under NRS 453.366, potential penalties for unlawful possession include:

  • First or Second Offense (Schedule I – IV): Category E felony, 1 – 4 years in prison, and up to $5,000 in fines
  • Third Offense (Schedule I – IV): Category D felony, 1 – 4 years in prison, and up to $20,000 in fines
  • First Offense (Schedule V): Category E felony, 1 – 4 years in prison, and up to $5,000 in fines
  • Second Offense (Schedule V): Category D felony, 1 – 4 years in prison, and up to $5,000 in fines

If an individual is in possession of flunitrazepam or gamma-hydroxybutyrate (used for date rape), they face a category B felony which can incur a 1 – 6 year prison sentence.

Possession With Intent To Sell

Under NRS 453.337 and NRS 453.338, a person can be charged with illegal drug possession in Nevada with the intent to sell if they possess certain controlled substances with the intention to sell.

Generally, law enforcement determines intent by considering many factors like:

  • The presence of plastic bags, drug scales, and packaging materials
  • Abnormal amounts of cash
  • Large quantities of drug paraphernalia

In many cases, a skilled Las Vegas drug crimes lawyer can negotiate a “possession with an intent to sell” charge down to a simple possession offense. However, the outcome often depends on the circumstances of your case and the caliber of attorney you hire.

Penalties For Possession With An Intent To Sell In Las Vegas

Penalties for unlawful possession with intent to sell depend on the type of drugs, criminal history, where the crime is committed, and a few other factors. Consequences for illegal drug possession include but are not limited to:

Schedule I & Schedule II Offenses

  • First Offense: Category D felony, 1 – 4 years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines
  • Second Offense: Category C felony, 1 – 5 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines
  • Third Offense: Category B felony, 3 – 15 years in prison, up to $20,000 in fines

Schedule II, IV, or V Offenses

  • First or Second Offense: Category D felony, 1 – 4 years in prison, and up to $10,000 in fines
  • Third or Subsequent Offense: Category C felony, 1 – 5 years in prison, and up to $10,000 in fines

Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia

Possession of drug paraphernalia (NRS 453.566) is not punished as severely as possession of illegal drugs. However, it can still lead to a felony conviction, depending on the circumstances. Common examples of drug paraphernalia include:

  • Pipes made of wood, metal, acrylic, etc.
  • Water pipes
  • Rolling papers
  • Bongs
  • Hash pipes
  • Cocaine freebase kits

Drug Trafficking

Individuals caught trafficking large quantities of schedule I drugs (Including Flunitrazepam and gamma-hydroxybutyrate, but not including marijuana) and certain schedule II drugs face felony drug trafficking charges in Nevada.

Drug trafficking charges cover a broad range of applicable criminal offenses, including but not limited to:

  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Possession with intent to distribute
  • Selling illegal drugs, transporting them, or manufacturing

That includes individuals who knowingly sell, manufacture, deliver, or brings illegal controlled substances into Nevada. The penalties for drug trafficking in Nevada are harsh.

Individuals who are convicted could go to prison for as few as two years, but as long as a life sentence (in some instances). Furthermore, they face fines of up to $500,000.

It’s important to note that drug trafficking offenses that take place while crossing state lines are usually prosecuted at the federal level. In that case, the penalties are more severe.

Defenses To Drug Charges

Every criminal defense case is unique. However, working with an experienced drug defense lawyer can help identify potential holes in the prosecution’s case. If uncovered, it could lead to dropped or decreased charges.

A few of the most common drug charge defense strategies in Las Vegas include:

  • Lack of credible evidence
  • Improper handling of evidence
  • Entrapment
  • Mistakes made during the arrest by law enforcement
  • The defendant was never in “actual or constructive” possession of the drugs
  • Illegal search and seizure

Additionally, sometimes individuals charged with drug crimes are eligible for special programs (like Drug Court) that can help to get charges decreased or dismissed (if completed).

No Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer can tell you what defense strategy is best for your case without knowing the details first. Contact us today. We can help.

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. More recently, recreational marijuana has been allowed in Nevada since 2017.

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.

What Are The 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 legislatures have 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 receive 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).

Charged With A Drug Crime In Las Vegas? Contact Us Today

Are you facing drug related criminal charges?  If so, you need a highly experienced and proven Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer who understands what it takes to win. 

Don’t take a gamble with your choice of lawyer.  Your liberty depends upon making the right choice.  The penalties for drug crimes can be severe.  Make the right choice in getting the best lawyer possible for your situation.    


Our highly skilled team of legal professionals will help you get the least amount of penalties possible under the circumstances. At The Vegas Lawyers, criminal defense is all that we do!  Contact us through this website or give us a call at (702) 707-7000 for your free initial consultation today.

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