The penalties vary based on the type of drug and if the defendant has previously been convicted for a drug offense.
For Schedules I, II, III, or IV (see drug schedules below):
For 1st or 2nd offense: a Category E Felony and 1 to 4 years in state prison.
For a 3rd or subsequent offense: a Category D Felony and 1 to 4 years in prison plus a fine of up to $20,000.
For Schedule V:
For a 1st offense: a Category E Felony and 1 to 4 years in prison.
For a 2nd offense or subsequent offense: a Category D Felony and 1 to 4 years in prison plus a fine up to $5,000.
For gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) or flunitrazepam (Royhypnol): a Category B Felony and 1 to 6 years in prison.
Marijuana was legalized in 2017. However, there are still some limitations on Marijuana possession.
Nevada Law says that persons 21 years of age or older may:
1. Possess, use, consume, purchase, obtain, process, or transport marijuana paraphernalia, one ounce or less of marijuana other than concentrated marijuana, or one-eighth of an ounce or less of concentrated marijuana;
2. If you live more than 25 miles from a marijuana retailer, possess, cultivate, process, or transport not more than six marijuana plants for personal use and possess the marijuana produced by the plants on the premises where the plants were grown, provided that:
(a) Cultivation takes place within a closet, room, greenhouse, or other enclosed area that is equipped with a lock that allows access only to persons authorized to access the area; and
(b) No more than 12 plants are possessed, cultivated, or processed at a single residence, or upon the grounds of that residence, at one time;
3. Assist another person who is 21 years of age or older in any of the acts described in this section.
The only legal way to buy marijuana in Nevada is from a state-licensed store or dispensary. It remains illegal to buy marijuana from any other source.
Adults 21 years and older can legally possess marijuana in the following amounts:
Up to 1 ounce of marijuana
Up to 1/8 of an ounce of concentrated marijuana (the separated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from marijuana)
Adults 21 years and older can legally consume marijuana, but with restrictions on where it can be consumed:
You cannot use marijuana in any public place
You cannot use marijuana in a moving vehicle, even if you're a passenger
Essentially, this means it can only be consumed on private property (at home, for example), and as long as the property owner has not prohibited it.
Driving and marijuana
It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Any amount of marijuana consumption puts you at risk of driving impaired and could result in a DUI.
Possession For Sale of a Controlled Substance
Possession with intent to sell (or even having a large enough quantity) is a felony in Nevada and is covered under Nevada Revised Statutes 453.337 and 453.338.
Possession with intent to sell does not have to involve selling drugs but the intention to do so. Intention is a mental state and can involve situations such as:
Drugs stored in large quantities in separate containers.
Large amounts of money on the defendant or near where the drugs were found.
The defendant is in a high crime or high drug sale area.
The defendant was carrying a firearm.
The defendant possessed drug paraphernalia.
For Schedule I, II, or GHB:
- First Offense: a category D Felony and 1 to 4 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000;
- Second Offense: a category C Felony and 1 to 5 years in prison with a $10,000 fine;
- Third Offense for a category B Felony and 3 to 15 years in prison with a fine of up to $20,000.
For Schedule III, IV, or V drugs:
First and Second Offense: a category D Felony and 1 to 4 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000;
Third and Subsequent Offense: a category C Felony and 1 to 5 years in prison with a fine of up to $10,000.
For possession, sale, manufacture, or delivery of drug paraphernalia, with intent to sell for a category E Felony and 1 to 4 years in prison. However, the court shall suspend the sentence and grant probation. Probation may include requiring the person to serve not more than 1 year in the county jail. In addition to any other penalty, the court may impose a fine of not more than $5,000.
Selling Drugs including importing, transporting, selling, exchanging, giving away, manufacturing or even offering or attempting any of these actions:
For Schedule I, II: for a category B felony
First offense: 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine up to $20,000
Second offense: 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $20,0000
Third or subsequent offense: 3 to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $20,000 for each offense.
For Schedule III, IV, or V:
First offense, for a category C felony and 1 to 10 years in prison with a fine up to $10,000
Second offense: for a category B felony and 2 to 10 years in prison, and a fine up to $15,000.
Third offense: for a category B felony and 3 to 15 years in prison, and a fine up to $20,000 for each offense.
For Flunitrazepam, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and schedule I substances: a person who knowingly or intentionally sells, manufactures, delivers or brings into this State or is in actual or constructive possession if the quantity involved:
(a) 4 to 14 grams, for a category B felony and imprisonment for 1 to 6 years and by a fine of not more than $50,000.
(b) 14 to 28 grams, for a category B felony and imprisonment for 2 to 15 years and by a fine of not more than $100,000.
(c) 28 grams or more, for a category A felony, by a fine of not more than $500,000 and by imprisonment:
(1) For life with the possibility of parole after 10 years, or
(2) For a definite term of 25 years, with eligibility for parole after 10 years.
For Schedule II substances: a person who knowingly or intentionally sells, manufactures, delivers or brings into this state or is in actual or constructive possession, if the quantity involved:
1. 28 to 200 grams, for a category C felony, 1 to 5 years in prison, and by a fine of not more than $50,000.
2. 200 to 400 grams, for a category B felony, 2-10 years in prison, and by a fine of not more than $100,000.
3. 400 grams or more, for a category A felony, a fine up to $250,000 and by imprisonment:
(a) For life with the possibility of parole after 5 years, or
(b) For a definite term of 15 years, with eligibility for parole after 5 years.
Under the Influence of Illegal Drugs
Schedules I, II, III, or IV: for a category E felony and 1 to 4 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000
Schedule V: for a gross misdemeanor and jail time not more than 364 days and a fine up to $1,000
Nevada Drug Schedules and SOME examples:
1. Has high potential for abuse, and
2. Has no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision.
- opium derivates such as heroin, morphine
- hallucinogens ie GHB, Mescaline, Lysergic Acid, peyote
- Datura plant derivatives
- drugs containing phencyclidine, mecloqualone or methaqualone
- methamphetamines and other high stimulant drugs
- cocaine and coca leave derivatives
1. The substance has high potential for abuse;
2. The substance has accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, or accepted medical use with severe restrictions; and
3. The abuse of the substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
- certain other opium and opiate derivatives such as opium poppy and poppy straw
1. The substance has a potential for abuse less than the substances listed in schedules I and II;
2. The substance has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
3. Abuse of the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
- derivatives of barbituric acid
- hydrogen iodide gas
- anabolic steroids
- Human growth hormone
1. The substance has a low potential for abuse relative to substances in schedule III;
2. The substance has currently accepted medical use in the United States; and
3. Abuse of the substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the substances in schedule III.
1. The substance has a low potential for abuse relative to substances listed in schedule IV;
2. The substance has accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
3. Abuse of the substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the substances listed in schedule IV.
The most common defense strategies include the following:
Lack of Intent: You were not aware of the drugs or had no intention of possessing them. For example, someone else used your car and left drugs in the center console. If you did not know they were there, you have a valid defense to the charge.
Illegal Search/Seizure: If police obtained evidence by violating your 4th-Amendment rights, perhaps with an illegal search or no probable cause, we can file a motion to suppress and have that evidence excluded. This would weaken the prosecutor’s case against you and could lead to a reduction or dismissal of the charges.
Seeking medical attention during an overdose: Under NRS 453C.150, or the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, if you seek medical attention for yourself or someone else during an overdose, you should not be arrested, charged, prosecuted, or convicted.
Improper weight or quantity of drug: the drugs were weighed incorrectly and the amount was actually less than alleged.
Improper field testing of drug: the field tests done by the officers were inaccurate either because the machines had not recently been calibrated, or the machines simply gave a false positive.
Involuntary intoxication: someone else drugged you.
Having a prescription: it is not illegal to possess and use certain drugs if a medical professional wrote you a prescription.
Call Today To Explore Your Defenses.
There are other options to explore such as drug court, a drug diversion program, or reduced charges.
Most Nevada drug crimes carry stiff penalties. Criminal defense attorney Jherna Shahani has successfully handled hundreds of drug cases.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Simple Possession, or for personal use, of a controlled substance is the least serious drug crime in Nevada, but it is still a felony. Under Nevada Revised Statute 453.336, a person shall not knowingly and intentionally possess a controlled substance (excluding from a doctor) on his person, or under his control.
Possession can mean actual possession or on your person; constructive possession, or under your control; or joint possession, when more than one person is in control of the drug.
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