Las Vegas Drug Lawyer
Nevada has some of the most strict drug laws in the United States. Even possession of a small amount of a controlled substance intended for personal use, with no intent to sell or distribute the substance to anyone else, can land the person accused of a Nevada drug charge in serious legal trouble. Suspects of drug offenses in the state face the risk of fines, jail time, and certain other penalties as the law may allow, which is why no suspect of drug charges should face those charges alone. Instead, those facing drug charges should contact an experienced Las Vegas drug lawyer right away.
Possession of Controlled Substance
Possession of a controlled substance in Nevada is the knowing and intentional possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription and without the intent to sell or trade the substance for something of value.
For a prosecutor to show that a person has committed the crime of possession of a controlled substance, he or she must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the suspect charged with the offense possessed the controlled substance either knowingly or intentionally. To make the case in support of a conviction, a prosecutor may rely on a person’s own statements made to police and investigators regarding the controlled substances prior to an arrest. This is why anyone who has contact with police who are investigating a possession related offense should immediately invoke the right to remain silent. This can done by simply stating to officers or investigators asking questions that no answers or comments will be provided until legal counsel has been consulted. This should be done as early as possible, because full protections under the 5th amendment only become “active” when the right to remain silent is invoked by either the suspect or when advised by a police officer. The 5th amendment, for those who may not remember, is the amendment that provides for the right to remain silent and the right against being forced to testify against oneself.
Accidentally picking up the wrong bag to discover later it contains a controlled substance is not a crime, because taking accidental possession of the wrong bag is not knowingly or intentionally taking possession of an illegal drug.
Types of Control
Many people are under the mistaken belief that possession of a controlled substance means having the controlled substance on their person. While this is one type of possession, known as actual possession in legal circles, simply exercising control over an area where controlled substances are knowingly and intentionally stored can give rise to allegations of drug possession. This type of control is known as constructive.
Technically, even allowing a half empty bottle of prescription pills to remain in a home after the prescription has expired could result in a possession of controlled substance charge.
A third type of control which a person can exercise over a controlled substance is called joint control. This type of control occurs when two or more people exercise control or ownership over a controlled substance.
For example, if a husband stores drugs in a car or in a home which is shared by a wife who is aware of the presence of the illegal drug, then the wife can face drug possession charges under this theory of joint possession even if the drugs were not actually hers, even if she has never used drugs in the past, and even if she had no intention of ever using the stored drugs herself.
Possession of Controlled Substance Penalties
The possession of drugs is considered a felony in the state of Nevada, with the exception of marijuana. Many people incorrectly believe that it is legal to carry marijuana in Nevada. However, that is not the case unless you are licensed to use medical marijuana. Possession of marijuana can be treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony in Nevada, depending on the circumstances of the case. Assuming that you are caught with less than one ounce of marijuana, the charges and penalties may be as follows:
- The first offense will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to $600 in fines and a drug treatment program.
- The second offense will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and a drug treatment program.
- The third offense will be a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and $2,000 in fines.
- The fourth offense will be a class E felony punishable by up to four years in jail and $5,000 in fines.
However, if you are under the age of 21 and charged with possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, it will be considered a class E felony and punishable by up to four years in jail. If it is your first offense, you may be offered probation instead of a jail sentence.
Outside of marijuana, it is also illegal to possess heroin, cocaine, meth, Ecstasy, mushrooms and prescription drugs. For these drugs, first and second drug possession charges are considered a class E felony and punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $5,000. If you are convicted of drug possession more than twice, you will face harsher penalties. A third drug possession offense is classified as a class D felony and punishable by up to four years in jail and a fine of $20,000.
An Experienced Las Vegas Drug Lawyer
Before they face their legal troubles on their own, suspects of drug possession crimes in Nevada should seriously consider partnering with an experienced Las Vegas drug lawyer. The attorneys with the Fletcher Firm have several decades of combined legal experience and have represented a wide range of clients for matters relating to drug possession.
In some cases, hiring a Las Vegas drug lawyer to oversee your legal representation can mean the difference between a favorable legal outcome and a devastating one, but suspects of crimes won’t know how much help a Las Vegas drug lawyer can offer until they actually reach out and contact one.