Las Vegas, Nevada Laws on Possession of Controlled Substances

There is a perception that possessing drugs for personal use without intent to sell them to other people is a crime without victims and therefore not very serious. The idea is that the police are really after violent drug dealers  and members of cartels. In reality, all drug crimes are taken seriously by the police in Nevada, even for simple or “straight” possession for recreational use.

Convictions for drug offenses can have long jail times, expensive fines, and a negative impact on your future job prospects or immigration status, even if you only had drugs for your personal use.

If you have been arrested for possession of controlled substances in Las Vegas, contact an experienced drug crimes defense attorney as soon as possible to handle your case.

What is drug possession in Las Vegas? Nevada Drug Laws

Possession of a controlled substance is:

  • knowingly or intentionally;
  • possessing a controlled substance;
  • which was not obtained directly from a valid prescription.

Possessing means any of the following:

  • Actual possession, such as carrying drugs on your body;
  • Constructive possession, such as keeping drugs in your nightstand in your bedroom which you do not share with anyone; or
  • Joint possession. If you share a bedroom with someone like a spouse, and know that he or she keeps drugs in the nightstand, this is considered joint possession.

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Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


What are the penalties for drug possession in Las Vegas?

Punishments for a possession conviction depend on two things:

For example, first time offenders may be able to complete Drug Court. Drug Court includes a course about drugs and, if needed, rehab.

If you successfully complete Drug Court, your possession of controlled substances charge may be dismissed completely.

Drug court is a great opportunity for first time offenders to keep their record clean. Leave your case to a qualified Las Vegas defense lawyer who is experienced in negotiating for Drug Court.

Nevada controlled substance schedule and penalties for drug possession

Penalties for Schedule I through Schedule IV Drugs (Schedule 1-4)

Schedule I-IV (1-4) drugs have the most serious penalty for possession in Nevada. Possession of a Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV drug is a Category E felony. Category E felonies carry 1 to 4 years in a Nevada prison and fines up to $5,000.

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Address: 400 S, 7th Street #401, Las Vegas, NV 89101 United States, 400 S, 7th Street #401, 89101, US, $$$ | Tel: + 1 (702) 623-6362

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Examples of these drugs include:

  • Heroine (Schedule I);
  • Meth and cocaine (Schedule II);
  • Steroids (Schedule III); and
  • Rohypnol (Schedule IV)

The Category E felony applies for the first or second offense of a Schedule I-IV drug.

Possession of a schedule V drug such as codeine is also a Category E felony for the first offense, but increases to a Category D felony on the second offense.

Repeated possession of controlled substances can increase the penalty to a Category D felony. A Nevada Category D felony carries 1 to 4 years in prison and fines up to $20,000.

Plea Bargains in Possession Cases

A skilled Las Vegas criminal lawyer can usually negotiate a plea bargain to reduce the possession charges, suspend any jail sentence, or even get the charges dismissed.


Supreme Court of Nevada – Drug Court articles

Nevada Board of Pharmacy – Controlled Substances (CS)

More Information

Drug crimes of all types are taken very seriously by law enforcement in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a conviction can have disastrous consequences for your future. Contact LV Criminal Defense today to begin you defense if you have been arrested for possession of a controlled substance.