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Prescription Drug Charges

Nevada Prescription Drug Crime Lawyers

person handcuffed reaching for prescription drugs

Possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription or a doctor’s order is illegal in Nevada and conviction of a prescription drug crime may carry harsh penalties including imprisonment and fines. If you have been arrested in Las Vegas on charges of possessing or selling prescription drugs or for prescription fraud, you should contact an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer immediately.


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You should never try to deal with the police on your own in hopes that they will drop the drug charges or go easy on you. You need the help of a reputable drug crimes defense lawyer. The Las Vegas drug crime attorneys at Adras & Altig have more than a decade of experience defending the rights of clients facing criminal charges, including Nevada residents and visitors. We understand all aspects of Nevada criminal laws related to prescription drugs. We are dedicated to the principle that no one’s life should be ruined by a one-time mistake. If you have not had previous prescription drug convictions, we will try to get you enrolled in a drug diversion program and get the pending charges reduced or dismissed. We work diligently to find resolutions to drug charges that protect the interests of our clients.

Speak with a knowledgeable Las Vegas prescription drug crime lawyer to learn how we may help. Call Adras & Altig today.

Possession of Prescription Drugs in Las Vegas

It is legal to have and to take medications prescribed to you by a doctor for medical purposes, of course. But police in Las Vegas have become more aggressive about filing charges of unlawful possession of prescription drugs because of widespread abuse of certain medications.

Nevada Revised Statutes 453.336 makes it illegal to possess a controlled substance in Nevada without a prescription or order from a health care provider. You may face charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance in Nevada if you do not have a valid prescription for the prescribed drug. You also may be charged with unlawful possession of a prescription drug if police find a stash of drugs in your car, home, office or a storage locker that you own or control.

Examples of frequently abused prescription drugs that are often cited in prescription drug charges in Nevada include:

  • Oxycontin
  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Vicodin
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Percodan
  • Percocet
  • Dilaudid
  • Demerol
  • Oxycodone
  • Dexedrine
  • Lortab
  • Sublimaze
  • Ambien
  • Ativan
  • Librium

Many prescription drug charge cases do not go to court because the prosecutors recognize there are issues with the evidence. Given the party atmosphere in Las Vegas, a valid defense may be that you honestly did not know that you had an unlawful prescription drug in your possession.

Penalties for Conviction of Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drugs in Nevada

The penalties for conviction of possession for prescription drugs in Las Vegas depend on the type and quantity of the controlled substance and whether you have prior convictions for drug crimes.

First or Second Offense—A first or second conviction of unlawful possession of prescription drugs is a class E felony in Nevada. A conviction may carry a sentence of one to four years in a Nevada prison. The attorneys at Adras & Altig may be able to help you avoid going to prison by enrolling in a drug education or rehabilitation program if you do not have a record of prior drug offenses.

Third Offense—A third or subsequent conviction of illegal possession of prescription drugs is a class D felony in Nevada. It carries a sentence of one to four years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

If you are facing charges of unlawful possession of prescription drugs or narcotics, you should seek the help of an experienced Las Vegas drug crimes attorney to navigate the Nevada criminal justice system. Our goal is to help you resolve legal charges with the minimum amount of impact on your life and liberty.

Unlawful Sale of Prescription Drugs

If the facts suggest that you have a significant quantity of one or more prescription drugs and plan to sell the drugs in Las Vegas, the police may charge you with unlawful possession of narcotics with intent to sell, even if you have a doctor’s order for the medicine. You may be charged even if the drug deal has not been completed. Only doctors and pharmacies are licensed to dispense and sell prescription medications in Nevada.

In order to get a conviction, prosecutors must prove that you had intent to sell the drugs. Our defense attorneys may be able to argue effectively that the circumstances of your arrest do not prove that you intended to sell drugs.

Penalties for Conviction of Selling Prescription Drugs in Nevada

The penalties for possession of prescription drugs for the purpose of sale depend on the number of times you have previously been convicted of drug crimes or drug dealing.

First Offense—A first conviction of possession of prescription drugs with intent to sell is a category D felony in the state of Nevada. The judge has discretion to impose probation for a first offense of selling prescription drugs. But the court may hand down a sentence of one to four years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.

Second Offense—The second conviction for possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell is a class C felony. You may be sentenced to one to five years in a Nevada prison and be fined up to $10,000.

Third Offense—Third and subsequent convictions of drug possession for sale are a class C felony in Nevada. The court may impose a sentence of three to 15 years in a state prison and fines of up to $20,000.

The penalties are stiffer for the sale of a controlled substance to a minor.

Prescription Fraud in Clark County

There are multiple forms of prescription fraud. An individual may try to alter the number of pills listed on a valid prescription. An individual may be charged with fraud for falsely impersonating a doctor and calling in an unlawful prescription to a pharmacy.

A person may try to obtain prescriptions for the same controlled substance from multiple doctors without the providers knowing about the other prescriptions. This is also known as doctor shopping. It is illegal in Nevada.

A pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription if he or she believes the prescription is fraudulent or not for a valid medical purpose.

Nevada treats prescription fraud as a class C felony. An individual convicted of drug crimes involving fraud may face a sentence of one to five years in prison and fines. However, if the attorneys at Adras & Altig can show that you are a drug addict, you may be eligible for drug treatment and qualify for a deferred sentence.

The precise nature of the charges will depend on the type of drug involved, the classification of the drug and whether you have prior drug convictions.

Can You be Charged for Selling Your Prescription Drugs?

If you lawfully purchased prescription drugs with a valid prescription, you may assume that the medicine is yours to do with as you wish. But, in fact, it is illegal to sell your prescription drugs to anyone else. You may be charged with a drug crime if you sell a controlled substance unlawfully.

Prescription drugs are a controlled substance and may not be dispensed except by a doctor, other health care provider, or pharmacy.

Legal Consequences of Sharing Prescription Drugs

Many people assume incorrectly that if they have unused medicine, they can give a friend or family member a few pills from the bottle of prescription medication without running afoul of the law. It is against the law in Nevada to share prescription drugs.

Prescription medications are dangerous. They can have adverse interactions with other drugs that an individual is taking.

It is against the law in Nevada to give or share prescription drugs with others if you do not possess a valid license to write prescriptions.

Facing Las Vegas Prescription Drug Charges?

If you have been arrested on charges involving illegal prescription drugs in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Nevada, you should understand your rights and not do anything to jeopardize your case. You should seek the representation of a drug crime defense attorney as soon as you are allowed to make a phone call. We will evaluate your case free of charge and discuss how we can help you with your legal issue. If the charge is a misdemeanor, you should not attempt to represent yourself and hope that the prosecutor will give you a break. Our experienced prescription drug crime defense attorneys will analyze the facts of your arrest and develop an effective defense strategy.

The attorneys at Adras & Altig are respectful and non-judgmental in dealings with our clients and hard-nosed when it comes to protecting our clients’ rights. If you call with questions about your case and we are in court, we will try to respond by the end of the day when possible. Call us to use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with Adras & Altig. Let us review how we can assist you.

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