Drug Possession in Nevada

The most common type of drug charge in Nevada, is a possession of a controlled substance charge.  Contrary to Las Vegas’s image as a party town, possession charges carry severe penalties.  If convicted of possession a controlled substance in Nevada, it is a felony, a first-time offense carrying up to 4 years of prison time and up to $5,000 in fines.  Beyond that, a conviction will show as a narcotics offense on your record precluding you from finding meaningful employment, and carrying the stigma of a serious criminal offense. 

If you came to town intending to party, and leave town with a possession charge, or worse, your life will be forever changed.  Luckily being charged is not being convicted, and there are defenses that a knowledgeable attorney can employ, which may result in charges being reduced, or even possibly dismissed.

It’s not uncommon for controlled substances to be present at many popular Las Vegas attractions, such as casino pool parties, night clubs, strip clubs, or the annual Electric Daisy Carnival.  Such places are targeted by Law Enforcement and generate a large number of Possession charges in Las Vegas.

Possession Defined

It’s important to know what constitutes possession, in order to protect yourself.  Under Nevada statutes possession is defined to: “…knowingly and intentionally possess a controlled substance, unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a prescription…” NRS 453.336

Under Nevada law, there are three types of possession:

Actual Possession – you had controlled substances in your pocket or in your hand. 

Constructive Possession – controlled substances were found in a place where you had control over the substance, such as your hotel room, your apartment, or in the trunk of your car.

Joint Possession – controlled substance is under control of more than one person, for example, if you were in your car with your spouse or girlfriend and she had controlled substances in her purse, you could both be charged under joint possession.

Intent of Possession

The intent of the possession is also considered in such charges.  If the controlled substance is for personal use it is still considered a felony, but if it is concluded that the intention was to sell the product, you can now be subjected to more serious charges.  In many cases, a large amount of product in possession can imply and intent to sell or distribute. 

For example, Nevada has made it legal to for an adult to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.  It you are in possession of several ounces of marijuana at the time of your arrest, it can be inferred that you intended to sell or distribute.

Penalties if convicted

Most first and second offenses in Nevada, with no intent to sell, are considered Category E felonies and carry prison terms of 1-4 years, and may also have fines imposed up to $5,000.  Category E felonies will have their sentences suspended and probation granted.  Terms of probation are then set, which if not followed, the original prison term is then imposed. 

Third and subsequent offenses are considered a Category D felonies with prison terms of 1-4 years and up to $20,000 in fines.

If you are a first-time offender, your attorney may be able to negotiate a lesser penalty, by going through Drug Court under NRS 453.3363.  If you qualify for Drug Court, the charges will be dismissed, and you will be placed on probation, requiring attendance at a drug education class, and/or drug rehabilitation, is applicable.  Under this arrangement for otherwise law-abiding citizens, they are able to go on with life, without the stigma of narcotics charges remaining on their record.

The Defenders can represent you if you’ve been charged with Possession

Possession charges carry imposing penalties and can ruin your life.  Furthermore, the statutes governing drug crimes are complex.  If you have been charged with a drug crime you will require the skills of a well-qualified attorney to navigate the charges and provide an aggressive defense.  If you have been charged with the crime of Possession of a Controlled Substance, call the Defenders today at (702) 333-3333.

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