Drug Possession With Intent To Distribute

Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute in Las Vegas

If you’re facing charges for possession with intent to distribute in Las Vegas, in violation of NRS 453.337 and/or 453.338 or under Federal in 18 U.S.C. § 841 you could face severe penalties if convicted. Punishments for a felony drug possession with the intent to sell can include a long prison sentence, harsh fines, a criminal record, and an inability to vote or possess a firearm. Police officers often attempt to enhance drug charges to this more serious offense instead of a simple drug possession charge. The arresting officers will usually look for certain types of evidence to support the allegations including drug paraphernalia, the defendant’s statements, large quantities of controlled substances, possession of large amounts of cash or currency, plastic bags or other packaging items, cash, scales, or other devices used to weigh drugs. Even if you never intended to distribute the drugs, but there is evidence that may appear that you are, you could still face possession with intent to distribute charges in Nevada. If you’ve been charged with a similar offense, it’s critical to contact a skilled and aggressive Las Vegas drug crime attorney who will make every effort to have your charges reduced to a lesser offense. Contact the Spartacus Law Firm today to receive a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.


How Does Nevada Define Possession With Intent To Sell?

Possession with intent to distribute is exactly what it sounds like, being in possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell to another. However, what many people fail to understand is the definition of “intent”. Intent is defined as a mental state that the prosecution has to prove. Intent can be proven using many factors including the following:

• The quantity of drugs in hand is more than a normal supply for an individual
• Weapons found on the person, presumably for defense during sales
• The individual is found in a location where drug deals frequently happen
• The individual has materials for aid in selling
• The individual has the drugs neatly separated into many small bags or containers

The intent is the key piece that must be proven by the prosecution. The intent part of a possession/distribution charge is what makes the penalties so much greater than a simple possession charge. However, in many of the examples above, there are defenses that an experienced drug crime attorney can deploy in your favor. In fact, there are plenty of instances that can present reasonable doubt and suggest that the person is just a recreational buyer of drugs, rather than a seller.

Penalties For Possession With Intent To Distribute In Las Vegas

If you’ve been convicted of possession with intent to distribute in Las Vegas, you can face serious penalties. However, these penalties will vary depending on the type of substance, what schedule the drug is categorized in, where the offense took place, and whether the alleged offender has previously been convicted of a drug offense. There are many different variables involved when determining accurate consequences, but having a strong Las Vegas drug crime attorney representing your case will provide you with the best chance of securing lesser penalties. If the substance possessed and being distributed is a Schedule I or II substance, such as GHB, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, or LSD, you will likely face the following penalties:

• A first conviction for drug possession with intent to distribute in Nevada can result in a category D felony, which is punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.
• A second conviction for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute can result in a category C felony, which is punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
• A third conviction for possession with intent to distribute in Nevada can result in a category B felony, which is punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison and/or a fine up to $20,000.

On the other hand, if the substance falls into a Schedule III, IV, or V, such as codeine, Valium, Xanax, or cough suppressant, you will face the following penalties:

• A first or second conviction for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute in Nevada can result in a category D felony, which is punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
• A third or subsequent conviction for drug possession with intent to distribute in Nevada can result in a category C felony, which is punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

What Are Frequently Used Federal Drug Statutes And Penalties?

Five year mandatory minimum and maximum 40 years (21 USC 841(b)(1)(B)) if:

Ten year mandatory minimum and maximum life (21 USC 841(b)(1)(A) if:

Penalties also can be increased if defendant has a prior felony drug conviction or is a career offender (two or more felony drug offense or crimes of violence). Twenty year mandatory minimum if death or serious bodily injury results from use of the drug. Enhanced penalties also available for distribution to individuals under 21 (21 USC § 859) or distributions near schools, playgrounds, youth centers, arcades, pools, and public housing (21 USC § 860).

21 USC § 846 (Conspiracy/Attempt)

Penalties identical to distribution penalties.

21 USC § 843(a)(3) (Obtaining Controlled Substances by Misrepresentation, Fraud, etc.)

Four year maximum for drug diversion offenses.

21 USC § 843(b) (Use of a Communication Facility to Facilitate Drug Felony)

Four year maximum for each use of a telephone to arrange a drug transaction.

18 USC § 1952 (Interstate Travel in Aid of Racketeering - “Travel Act”)

Five year maximum for traveling or using the mail or instruments of interstate commerce (telephone/internet) with intent to facilitate drug trafficking.

21 USC § 844 (Simple Possession)

Misdemeanor - One year maximum. Can become felony with higher penalties if prior drug convictions.

21 USC § 848 (Continuing Criminal Enterprise - “Drug Kingpin Statute”)

Mandatory minimum 20 years and maximum of life can be imposed on a leader of an organization of five or more individuals who engage in a continuing series of drug violations from which the person derived substantial income. Mandatory life and death penalty available under certain circumstances.

21 USC § 856 (Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises - “Crack House Statute”)

Twenty year maximum for opening, leasing, renting, or maintain a premises for drug manufacturing, use or distribution. Also applies to those who manage or control such premises (including owners and landlords of rental properties).

Defenses To Possession With Intent to Distribute In Las Vegas

Every drug crime case is different, however, depending on the facts of your particular case, a drug defense lawyer may be able to find specific defenses or mitigating factors that are applicable to your unique case. A custom defense approach is necessary for every drug case in order to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome. When deployed correctly, these defenses and factors can often result in a reduction or even dismissal of your charges. Although they are not available in every case, it's crucial to consult with an experienced drug crime attorney in Clark County to identify your best legal strategy, our Firm has been successful in utilizing motions to suppress evidence in dealing with intent to distribute charges. Commonly used defenses to possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of sale can include the following:

• Faulty or insufficient evidence
• Illegal search by law enforcement of your home, person or car for drugs and evidence
• Law enforcement officers did not give you Miranda warnings
• Procedural violations by law enforcement
• Violations of your constitutional rights
• You were entrapped to commit the offense
• You were not actually or constructively in possession of the drugs

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If you're facing drug charges in Nevada, do not delay when seeking experienced legal representation. The Spartacus Law Firm routinely represents these types of charges and has a proven track record of successful outcomes. Don't settle for anything but the best criminal defense for your case. Contact our drug defense attorney in Clark County today.

Contact the Spartacus Law Firm Now for a FREE initial consultation, call (702) 660-1234.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Have To Sell Drugs To Be Convicted Of Possession With Intent To Distribute?
No, you do not need to sell drugs to be convicted of possession with intent to distribute. In fact, just intending to sell controlled substances is enough for a conviction if the prosecution has enough evidence. The state does not need to prove any sales actually happened as long as there is clear reason to believe that if given the opportunity, the sale of drugs would have happened.
Does The Offense Of Possession With Intent To Sell Require Proof Of Intent To Sell Drugs?
No, a person who drives a car with a substantial amount of marijuana in it may be charged with and convicted of the felony. Possession with intent to distribute does not necessitate proof that the accused intended to sell the narcotics. Furthermore, there is no requirement for proof that the accused intended to deliver the narcotics to anyone. Even if there is no evidence of who was intended to get the drugs, a substantial quantity of drugs found in the person's home can be evidence of possession with intent to distribute.

The quantity of prohibited substance that the individual possesses is used to support a conviction of possession with intent to distribute. Possession with intent to distribute is defined as an amount greater than that required for personal use and is sufficient evidence to convict a person. Of course, evidence showing the accused was seeking to sell or buy more drugs than he or she needed for personal use will suffice to establish possession with intent to distribute. Drug conspiracy is often charged with possession with intent if there are two or more persons involved in the offense.
How Do Prosecutors Prove Intent To Sell?
In order to prove that there was intent to sell, prosecutors rely on circumstantial evidence to show a defendant intended to distribute drugs. However, in order for this charge to stick, the prosecution must be able to prove there was intent to sell beyond a reasonable doubt. Six common indicators of intent to sell include the following:

• The defendant stored the drugs in “ready to sell” pre-measured quantities in separate containers or baggies
• The defendant was carrying a firearm, presumably to protect him/herself should the drug deal go wrong
• The defendant had a large number of drugs, more than what most recreational users keep
• The defendant was not high and had no drug paraphernalia, which could indicate he/she was a seller and not a user
• The defendant carried a lot of cash which could indicate illegal sales
• The defendant was found in an area that was known for drug deals
Can My Record Be Sealed?
Yes, possession with intent to distribute charges in Nevada may be sealed five years after the case has concluded. However, the waiting period may be shorter if the case gets reduced to a lesser charge. And if the case gets dismissed, no wait is required to have it sealed from your record. For the best possible results, it’s crucial to work with an experienced drug crime lawyer who has a successful track record with these types of cases.
Can Possession With Intent To Distribute Charges Be Dismissed?
Yes, possession with intent to distribute charges can be dismissed with a strong defense. In fact, prosecutors in drug cases are frequently willing to negotiate a plea bargain in exchange for not going to trial. Prosecutors may agree to dismiss a possession with intent to distribute charge if your criminal defense attorney can prove that the state’s case is weak and at risk, if taken to trial. Additionally, prosecutors may also agree to reduce the charge down to possession for personal use which carries lesser penalties. This is typically a category E felony with no jail time for a first offense. Another option is for prosecutors to reduce the charge down to a misdemeanor under NRS 454.351. As long as the defendant completes all the sentencing terms such as community service, the judge will not impose jail time. It’s important to remember that you have options when facing these charges, and an experienced drug crime lawyer can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
What Are The Elements That A Jury Would Have To Find For A Verdict Of Guilty?
A jury would have to find the following elements:

1. That the accused knowingly and willfully possessed the controlled substance, and
2. That the accused possessed the controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Possession with intent to distribute refers to having a controlled substance in your possession with the intention of delivering or transferring it to another person, whether or not you have a financial stake in the transaction.

Contact A Las Vegas Drug Crime Attorney

If you or a loved one are facing drug charges in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Clark County, you need to start working on your defense strategy as soon as possible. At the Spartacus Law Firm, we specialize in these types of cases and have an extensive background in similar cases. Don’t leave your fate in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer, contact our qualified Las Vegas drug crime attorney today to learn more about how we can help. We offer free consultations to better explain the legal process and exactly what we can do for you. Call the Spartacus Law Firm today to begin fighting the drug charges brought against you.

For a FREE initial consultation, call (702) 660-1234.

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