Las Vegas Drug Possession Attorney
Nevada has made it legal for an adult to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana or cannabis products for use on private property. However, you can still be arrested and face harsh penalties for possession of more marijuana or other drugs in Las Vegas.
If you have been charged with drug possession in Nevada, you need to speak with our seasoned criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. At Adras & Altig, our respected Las Vegas drug possession attorneys have more than three decades of combined experience successfully defending residents and visitors who are facing serious drug charges. We understand the stakes and will work diligently to fight for your freedom and your future.
Contact us now to set up a free consultation. We will want to get started immediately working on your case.
How We Fight Drug Possession Charges
There are several opportunities to fight drug possession charges that our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys can explore on your behalf. We have extensive experience in Nevada’s drug courts, and our lawyers may be able to argue to have the charges you face reduced or dropped without you ever appearing in court.
We will begin by thoroughly investigating the circumstances of your arrest and the alleged evidence against you. Depending on what transpired, we may argue that:
- The arrest was improper. For example, was your arrest the result of an illegal search? Did the officers fail to advise of you of your Miranda rights?
- The witnesses in your case are unreliable or unavailable. This is common in a tourist city like Las Vegas.
- There are problems with evidence, such as chain of custody issues.
- We have found evidence that supports your innocence.
If you honestly did not know you had a controlled substance in your possession, such as if the drugs were in your car or a coat pocket after a friend borrowed it, you should not be convicted.
Additionally, Nevada’s Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides protection against drug possession charges for a person who:
- Seeks help after overdosing on drugs
- Seeks help with another person’s overdose
- Helps someone who may have overdosed
In most first-offense drug possession cases that do not have aggravating circumstances (such as driving while under the influence of drugs (DUID), violence, illegal gun possession, etc.), we will work to get our client into a drug diversion program followed by probation as a means of avoiding harsher penalties. Our goal is to do what’s best for our clients, and that means taking a strategic approach to each case.
Contact our Las Vegas drug possession lawyers today to set up a free consultation, and let us go over all your legal options.
Nevada Drug Possession Laws NRS 453.336
As restrictions against marijuana possession and use change, it crucial to keep in mind that possession of other drugs, or controlled substances, remains illegal and subject to harsh penalties in Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 453.
Nevada drug laws recognize three types of illegal possession of controlled substances:
- Actual possession: A controlled substance is found on your person, such as in your hand, pocket, or purse.
- Constructive possession: A controlled substance is found in a location you control, such as your car or home, or a locker you have been assigned.
- Joint possession: A controlled substance is found in a home or other location you legally share ownership of, and you knew and allowed the drugs to be there.
You may be arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance (i.e., “high” or “stoned”) in Nevada, but there should be no possession charge unless drugs are found in your possession as well. Evidence of having previously possessed drugs does not warrant a possession charge.
If you are arrested for drug possession, you need to obtain experienced legal representation as soon as possible. Being found guilty may lead to heavy fines, prison time, and damage to higher education and/or employment opportunities.
Schedule of Controlled Substances
Under Nevada law, it is illegal to intentionally and unlawfully possess on your person or otherwise have under your control any “controlled substance,” unless you have a valid prescription for the drug.
There are numerous illicit and prescription drugs classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V controlled substances.
Among the controlled substances most often cited in arrests for drug possession in Las Vegas are:
- Schedule I: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), peyote, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy”), gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB)
- Schedule II: cocaine, morphine, opium, codeine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), methadone (Dolophine), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), fentanyl (Sublimaze, Duragesic)
- Schedule III: products containing not more than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with Codeine), buprenorphine (Suboxone), benzphetamine (Didrex), phendimetrazine, ketamine, anabolic steroids (Depo-Testosterone)
- Schedule IV: alprazolam (Xanax), carisoprodol (Soma), clonazepam (Klonopin), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Versed), temazepam (Restoril), triazolam (Halcion)
- Schedule V: cough preparations containing not more than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters or per 100 grams (Robitussin AC, Phenergan with Codeine), ezogabine
It is important to understand that even possession of prescription drugs in Schedules III through V is illegal if you do not have a current, lawful prescription for that drug.
Marijuana Possession in Nevada
As of January 1, 2017, adults age 21 or older (proven with a valid ID) may possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use in a private residence. You cannot legally use or possess marijuana in a public place (street, restaurant, casino, park, etc.)
Also, if a doctor states that you suffer from a disease protected under the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, you may apply to the Nevada State Health Division to obtain medical marijuana. If approved, you must pay registration fees for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a Registry Identification Card. It is good for one year and allows you to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in any 14-day period.
If you are not registered with the medical marijuana program, and are found to possess more than 1 ounce of marijuana, you can be charged with possession of a Schedule I controlled substance.
Possessing 50 pounds or more of marijuana subjects you to being arrested for drug trafficking, a serious drug crime that could result in several years in prison.
Nevada Drug Possession Penalties
Nevada levies some of the harshest penalties for drug possession in the country:
- A first or second conviction for possession of any class of controlled substance is punishable by 1 to 4 years behind bars.
- A third or subsequent offense is punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.
- Possession of the drug GHB, a central nervous system depressant known as the “date rape” drug, may be punished by 1 to 6 years in prison.
Our experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys have helped many people charged for the first time get the opportunity to complete a drug court diversion program and get probation instead of jail time. We also work with those who are facing second, third, or subsequent offenses to build a strong defense against the prosecution.
Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance
You may be charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell in Nevada even though you have not sold drugs nor have you ever intended to sell an illegal drug. A “possession for sale” charge is usually added to regular drug possession charges to put pressure on the defendant.
An additional charge of possession with intent to sell creates pressure because the punishments are more severe:
- For Schedule I or II drugs: 1 to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offense; 1 to 5 years in prison with a $10,000 fine for a second offense; and 3 to 15 years in prison with a fine of up to $20,000 for a third offense
- For Schedule III, IV, or V drugs: 1 to 4 years in prison with a fine of up to $10,000 for a first or second offense (with probation possible for first-time offenders); and 1 to 5 years in prison with a fine of up to $10,000 for a third offense
A possession for sale charge might be levied if you are arrested with a large quantity of drugs and/or if you are found to have drugs in multiple packages – as if for distribution. Having a large amount of cash, particularly in small bills, and a sizable quantity of illegal drugs may lead to a possession-for-sale charge, as well.
Talk to Our Las Vegas Drug Defense Lawyers Now
If you or a loved one has been arrested for possession of drugs in Las Vegas, Nevada, do not wait to talk to our seasoned criminal defense attorneys about protecting your rights and your freedom. A drug possession conviction can cost you time and money, and it can cause lasting damage in your life. Do not take an arrest for possession of any amount of drugs lightly.
Contact our law firm today for a prompt response and a free legal consultation.