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Las Vegas Drug Offense Attorney | Clark County Drug Crime Lawyer

Drug Offenses

Las Vegas is known for its lifestyle and nightlife, but the state still has some of the strictest laws regarding controlled substances and drug offenses. Tourists and residents alike could face with jail or prison time if they are accused of violating drug laws by possessing, manufacturing, selling, or trafficking controlled substances. Drug charges always should be taken seriously, even if it is a low-level offense. Having an experienced drug defense lawyer on your case could be beneficial.

Las Vegas Drug Attorney

If you have been charged with a drug crime in Nevada, contact Las Vegas drug lawyer Jeffrey Jaeger. Jeffrey has experience advocating on behalf of clients, and he can help you fight for a favorable outcome in your case.  Whether it is challenging evidence or arguing for participation in a drug court program, Jeffrey will do whatever it takes to help his clients.

The Law Offices of Jeffrey Jaeger represents clients throughout Clark County, including those in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson. Call (702) 816-3888 to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more about your options. Your future is important, and Jeffrey can work with you to protect it.

Info on Nevada Law and Controlled Substances

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Drug Schedules in Nevada

Controlled substances in Nevada are classified based on schedules. These five categories separate the substances based on their value in medical uses and the likeliness the substance would be abused, according to Chapter 453 of Nevada Revised Statutes.

Schedule V substances are those that have accepted medical uses with the lowest chance of addiction or abuse. Schedule IV substances also have accepted medical use, but they could be considered somewhat addictive. Schedule III substances have medical uses, but a moderate potential for abuse.

Substances classified as Schedule II have a high tendency for abuse and limited medical use. Drugs within this category often have several restrictions placed on them in an effort to prevent or curb abuse. However, they still have accepted medical uses.

Schedule I substances are considered to be some of the most addictive and they are considered dangerous. According to Nevada Revised Statute 453.166, these substances have no medical use in the United States or lack accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision.

  • Schedule I — Ecstasy, acid, marijuana, crystal meth, PCP, and GHB
  • Schedule II — Morphine, Lortab, cocaine, opium, oxycontin, vicodin and Ritalin
  • Schedule III — Anabolic steroids, codeine, ketamine, and testosterone
  • Schedule IV — Valium, Ambien, Tramadol and Xanax
  • Schedule V — Certain over-the-counter cough syrups and medications

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Types of Controlled Substance Charges

Nevada law outlines several acts related to controlled substances that are considered criminal offenses. The charges typically vary based on the amount of drug involved in the alleged offense, what the person planned to do with the substance, and how much of a controlled substance was in a person's possession. Some of the most common Nevada drug charges include:

Possession of a Controlled SubstanceA person could be charged with possession of a controlled substance in Nevada if he or she knowingly or intentionally possesses a substance, unless it was obtained through a prescription from a physician, according to Nevada Revised Statute 453.336. In these cases, possession could be actual or constructive. The severity of the charges depends on the schedule of the drug.

Possession with Intent to DistributeIf a person is in possession of a controlled substance and he or she plans to sell it, the charges could be more severe than simple possession. These are explained in Nevada Revised Statutes 453.337 and 453.338. Possession with the intent to sell can be proven by a variety of factors such as paraphernalia related to selling. This could include scales, baggies, and large amounts of cash.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia — The possession, sale, manufacturing , or delivery of drug paraphernalia could result in criminal charges, according to Nevada Revised Statute 453.558. Paraphernalia could include pipes, smoking masks, roach clips, cocaine spoons, chamber pipes, bongs, scales, and containers to package the substances. This could be considered a Category E felony.

Other charges could include:

  • Possessing or disposing of methamphetamine manufacturing waste;
  • Unlawfully keeping a place where controlled substances are used, kept, or sold;
  • Trafficking in controlled substances;
  • Producing or manufacturing marijuana;
  • Sale of a controlled substance to a minor; and
  • Making a controlled substance available for death.

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Possible Penalties for Drug Crimes

Penalties for drug offenses often vary based on whether the person intended to sell the substance, the schedule of the substance, and how much was involved in the alleged offense. A person's previous criminal record also could affect the degree of the charges.

A first or second offense of possession of a Schedule I, II, III, or IV drug would be considered a Category E felony. This could be punishable by a minimum of one year in a state prison, but up to four years in prison. The court also could impose a fine up to $5,000.

If a person previously has been convicted two or more times, a third or subsequent offense for possession could be considered a Category D felony. This could mean between one and four years in prison and a fine up to $20,000.

The charges for possession with the intent to sell often are more serious. According to Nevada Revised Statute 453.337, a first offense possession with the intent to sell a Schedule I or II substance would be a Category D felony. This is punishable by one to four years in prison plus up to a $5,000 fine.

A second offense of possession with intent to sell a Schedule I or II substance would be a Category C felony, punishable by between one to five years in a Nevada state prison and a fine up to a $10,000.

Possession with intent to sell a Schedule III, IV, or V substance would be a Category D felony for a first or second offense. According to the statute, this could be punishable by one to four years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. A third or subsequent offense could be a Category C felony.

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Property Forfeiture

When a crime related to a controlled substance has been alleged, certain property may be subject to forfeiture. According to Nevada Revised Statute 453.311, all Schedule I substances that are possessed, sold, transferred, or offered for sale would be seized and forfeited to the state.

Under Nevada Revised Statute 453.301, all controlled substances which have been manufactured, distributed, dispensed, or acquired in violation of the law could be seized. This also includes any raw materials, products or equipment that has been used for manufacturing, delivering, or compounding.

Other property used in relation to drug offenses that could be seized includes:

  • Any drug paraphernalia
  • Books, records, research products, and materials used for drug offenses
  • Property used to contain a controlled substance
  • Aircraft, vessels, or vehicles used to transport a substance for the purpose of sale
  • Any imitation controlled substance
  • All firearms in actual of constructive possession of a person charged with a drug offense
  • Computer hardware, equipment, accessories, or software used to operate an Internet pharmacy

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Drug Court Programs

Drug convictions could have a serious impact on a person's life. Fortunately, some people may be able to avoid the consequences by enrolling in a drug court program. The participant still is punished for his or her actions, but there is significant effort to rehabilitate the person.

In the  Eighth Judicial District Court, which includes Clark County, there are six types of drug court programs:

  • Adult criminal drug court for felony cases
  • Prison re-entry drug court for non-violent inmates within two years of release
  • Dependency mother's drug court for women with child custody issues
  • Juvenile drug court
  • Dependency drug court for parents in court for child abuse or neglect
  • Child support drug court for parents who are petitioned for non-payment of child support

According to Nevada Revised Statute 453.3363, the court could suspend proceedings against a person and place him or her on probation with the requirement that the drug court program is attended and completed. This could include a treatment program or a rehabilitation program.

A person could be accepted into the drug court program if he or she does not have any prior drug convictions and is not considered a violent offender. If a person was charged with selling or trafficking drugs he or she likely would not be admitted. The goal of the program is to rehabilitate those with addictions.

Participants are required to attend a one-year outpatient treatment program, which includes attending regularly scheduled court appearances before the Drug Court judge. Counseling, routine drug tests, and education treatment options also could be required.

If the program is successfully completed, the court would dismiss the proceedings against the person.  The dismissal is without adjudication of guilt and is not a conviction for purposes of this section or for purposes of employment, civil rights, or any statute. However, it is considered a conviction for the purpose determining second or subsequent offenses.  

If an offender does not complete the program, the court may enter a judgment of conviction and proceed with the original charges against the person. This could mean jail time, fines , or other sanctions, depending on the offense.

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Drug Offense Resources

Clark County Drug Courts: The Eighth Judicial District, which covers Clark County, operates six drug courts, including adult court, juvenile court, courts for parents, and court for inmates. The program is for nonviolent offenders with serious addiction problems and parents whose addiction has put their ability to care for children at risk.

UNLV Report on Addiction and Substance Abuse in Nevada: This report, from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas's Center for Democratic Culture, contains statistics and facts regarding substance abuse in the state. The report also contains discussion about the need for treatment programs.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Forensic Laboratory, Controlled Substances Unit: This divison of the LVMPD's tests materials for controlled substances and dangerous drugs. The lab determines the net weight of any illicit drug. Results may be used as evidence in criminal court.

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Finding the Best Drug Lawyer in Clark County

If you have been charged with a drug offense in Clark County, contact Las Vegas drug crime attorney Jeffrey Jaeger. Jeffrey can provide quality legal advice and work with you to achieve favorable results in your case. Call The Law Offices of Jeffrey Jaeger at (702) 816-3888 to schedule a free initial consultation.