Can a First-Time Drug Offender Face Felony Charges in Las Vegas?

First time drug offense in las vegasIf you or a someone you love have been arrested for drug possession are you facing any jail time?

The answer: Possession of controlled substance is a very serious criminal offense in Las Vegas and yes, you could be charged with a felony that stays on your record for decades.

This is why it is so critically important to retain the services of a skilled and experienced Las Vegas drug crime defense attorney. A respected and knowledgeable drug crimes defense lawyer in Nevada can help guide you through the complex legal system and advise you on the best path forward for resolving your case.

Drug Possession is a Felony Offense in Las Vegas

According to NRS 453.336, the possession of drugs, narcotics or controlled substances without a prescription is a felony offense. Even if you used the narcotics for your own personal enjoyment and did not intend to sell them, a possession conviction could result in you serving time in jail, along with being ordered to pay a massive monetary fine.

In addition to the prospect of serving time in jail and paying a huge fine, the long-term ramifications of a drug conviction are significant. Having any drug offense on your criminal record is akin to a scarlet letter that may result in employers opting not to hire you and could prohibit you from even being able to pursue certain career paths.

Possession of a Controlled Substance Defined

The definition of “unlawful possession not for purpose of sale” is an individual who “knowingly or intentionally possesses a controlled substance, unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a lawful prescription.” Basically, drug possession in Nevada is deliberately owning or having control over drugs that you do not plan to trade for cash or other items of value.

Nevada Drug Laws Versus Federal Drug Laws

The laws related to drug possession in Nevada effectively mirror the federal laws for drug possession found in 21 U.S.C. § 844. The Nevada laws basically use the same definitions for possession, defenses, and penalties that are found in § 844 of the U.S. Code.

One of the big differences between Nevada law and federal law is that there are no separate penalties for marijuana possession under federal law. In Nevada, there are now a wholly different set of laws pertaining to the possession of marijuana. 

How to Defend Against Charges of Alleged Possession of a Controlled Substance

There are an array of different defenses your Las Vegas criminal defense attorney may explore when fighting a charge of alleged drug or narcotics possession. Here are some of the most common defenses:

  • The drugs did not actually belong to you – If you honestly did not know there were controlled substances in your possession at the time of the arrest, then you could reasonably argue that you have not violated the law.
  • Law enforcement conducted an improper search of your person or premises – Pursuant to Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, law enforcement must adhere to a strict set of rules when searching people, cars, homes and executing search warrants in Nevada. If law enforcement violates these rules (e.g., conducting a search of your vehicle or home without probable cause), then any evidence they find during this unconstitutional search could be excluded from admission as evidence in your case.
  • You were calling an ambulance to alert authorities of a drug overdose – Pursuant to Nevada’s Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, an individual cannot be charged with drug use or possession, or possession of drug paraphernalia, if the drugs were discovered because the individual sought assistance for another person’s overdose or the individual looked after someone who may have overdosed until an ambulance or other assistance arrived at the scene.

Attempting to Get a Drug Possession Charge Reduced to a Misdemeanor

Depending on the specific facts of your case, it may be possible for your Las Vegas drug possession defense attorney may be able to persuade the prosecutor assigned to your case to reduce the charges down to a misdemeanor narcotics charge, which generally carries less severe penalties and would enable you to avoid jail time.

How a Drug Possession Conviction Can Impact Your Immigration Status

If you are an immigrant residing in or around Las Vegas, getting convicted of drug possession is quite serious and can imperil your immigration status. In fact, a conviction exposes you to potentially being removed from the United States. If you are an alien facing a drug possession charge.

Have You Been Charged with Drug Possession in Las Vegas? Take Action by Contacting LV Criminal Defense

If you or a loved one has been charged with drug possession in or around Las Vegas, now is the time for action. You owe it to yourself to have the best defense possible to protect your rights. Contact LV Criminal Defense today.

Our legal team may be able to get your possession charges reduced or even dismissed, depending on the facts of your particular case.

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