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Las Vegas sale of a controlled substance Lawyer

Last Modified: December 18, 2023

Sale Of Controlled Substance Charges In Nevada

According to Nevada’s drug law in NRS § 453.321, it is illegal to sell a controlled substance, as well as transfer, trade, distribute, or give narcotics, regardless of whether they are real or fake. However, if a significant amount of drugs is involved in the transaction, you may be prosecuted for drug trafficking, which is a more severe offense under NRS 453.3385.

If you sell drugs for the first time, the consequences will vary depending on the type of drug involved in the crime. It can result in a Category D felony with imprisonment of 1 to 4 years, or a Category C felony where the punishment includes 1 to 5 years of imprisonment. According to Nevada law, drug diversion or drug court is generally not an option in sales-related offenses. If you are facing similar drug charges, it is recommended that you seek legal advice from our Las Vegas sale of a controlled substance lawyer. The Spartacus Criminal Defense Lawyers offers a consultation and can assist you in achieving the best possible outcome in your case.

Burden Of Proof For Sale Of Controlled Substance Charges

In Nevada, in order to prove that someone is guilty of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell, prosecutors must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That the person charged unlawfully and knowingly possessed a controlled substance;
  2. That the person knew the nature of the controlled substance; and
  3. That the person intended to sell the controlled substance.

In Nevada, it is not necessary for an actual sale to take place for the State to establish the crime of Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell. Furthermore, there is no requirement for a specific quantity of the substance, as long as the illegal nature of the substance can be proven by the State. Even a small amount of an illegal substance can be considered sufficient. Also, the jury will consider various factors such as the quantity of the substance, where it was found, how it was packaged, and expert witness opinions to determine the possessor’s intent.

Determining “Intent To Sell”

There is a problem with the “Intent to Sell” aspect of the crime of drug possession. If someone is charged with this crime, they may also be charged with the lesser offense of felony Possession of a Controlled Substance. However, both charges cannot lead to a conviction. The State may include both charges in a single criminal indictment or information.

If the jury does not find evidence to support the “Intent to Sell” part of the charge but realizes that the defendant did possess the controlled substance knowingly, they will convict the defendant of the lesser charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance. The punishment for this charge is less severe compared to Drug Possession with Intent to Sell. This means that while it is not a complete acquittal, it can still act as a defense that offers a lesser punishment.

If you’re facing charges for the sale of a controlled substance in Nevada, get in touch with our experienced drug crime attorney at Spartacus Criminal Defense Lawyers as soon as possible. We can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation of the defenses that may apply to your case.

Penalties For Sale Of Controlled Substance Charges

1. Except as authorized by the provisions of NRS 453.011 to 453.552, inclusive, it is unlawful for a person to:

(a) Import, transport, sell, exchange, barter, supply, prescribe, dispense, give away or administer a controlled or counterfeit substance;
(b) Manufacture or compound a counterfeit substance; or
(c) Offer or attempt to do any act set forth in paragraph (a) or (b).
 

2. Unless a greater penalty is provided in NRS 453.333 or 453.334, if a person violates subsection 1 and the controlled substance is classified in schedule I or II, the person shall be punished:

(a) For the first offense, for a category C felony as provided in NRS 193.130.
(b) For a second offense, or if, in the case of a first conviction under this subsection, the offender has previously been convicted of an offense under this section or of any offense under the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district which, if committed in this State, would amount to an offense under this section, for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $20,000.
(c) For a third or subsequent offense, or if the offender has previously been convicted two or more times under this section or of any offense under the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district which, if committed in this State, would amount to an offense under this section, for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 3 years and a maximum term of not more than 15 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $20,000 for each offense.
 
3. Unless mitigating circumstances exist that warrant the granting of probation, the court shall not grant probation to or suspend the sentence of a person convicted under subsection 2 and punishable pursuant to paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection 2.
 

4. Unless a greater penalty is provided in NRS 453.333 or 453.334, if a person violates subsection 1, and the controlled substance is classified in schedule III, IV or V, the person shall be punished:

(a) For the first offense, for a category D felony as provided in NRS 193.130.
(b) For a second offense, or if, in the case of a first conviction of violating this subsection, the offender has previously been convicted of violating this section or of any offense under the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district which, if committed in this State, would amount to a violation of this section, for a category C felony as provided in NRS 193.130.
(c) For a third or subsequent offense, or if the offender has previously been convicted two or more times of violating this section or of any offense under the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district which, if committed in this State, would amount to a violation of this section, for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $15,000 for each offense.
 
5. Unless mitigating circumstances exist that warrant the granting of probation, the court shall not grant probation to or suspend the sentence of a person convicted under subsection 4 and punishable pursuant to paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection 4.

Enhanced Penalties Apply in Some Cases

In addition to the mentioned penalties, selling to a minor results in even harsher ones. For a first offense, the penalty is a fine, imprisonment for one to 20 years or both. For a second offense, the penalty is a fine, life imprisonment, or both.

In case an offense is committed within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, youth center, video arcade, bus stop (during school hours), or while on a school bus, the offender may face double penalties, and they may also be charged with drug sale within a school zone.

Defenses To Sale Of Controlled Substance Charges In Nevada

To secure a conviction in this drug crime case, the prosecution must provide enough proof to establish the offense’s essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt, just like in a criminal case. In cases of drug possession with the intent to sell, issues related to intent and control are often ambiguous, providing the defense with opportunities to contest them. Some common defenses to the sale of controlled substance charges in Nevada include:

  • The extent of the dominion and control that the defendant had over the controlled substance
  • His or her knowledge of the physical presence of the drug
  • The defendant’s specific knowledge of the illegal nature of the drug

If the defense is able to effectively question and weaken the evidence related to these elements, then a decision maker in a legal case must find that there is not enough evidence to support the charge and declare the defendant not guilty. A skilled Las Vegas sale of a controlled substance lawyer knows how to effectively address these concerns. Individuals who are accused of this crime often wrongly assume that because drugs were found near them, they must automatically be guilty of criminal knowledge and intent.

For the drug charge to be valid, the prosecution needs to provide evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew about the illegal substance and had control or possession of it. Without concrete evidence on these issues, the conviction should be considered invalid. To learn more about how we can help, contact Spartacus Criminal Defense Lawyers now for a consultation.

Defenses to Sale Of Controlled Substance – Marijuana

To defend against a charge of unauthorized acts involving marijuana in Nevada, it’s important to consider the specific act you’re being accused of and the facts of your case. However, one potential defense is to demonstrate that you hold a valid license as a cultivator, dispensary, or production license holder under the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program.

Many people think of using entrapment as a defense when they get arrested. However, it’s important to note that it’s a very challenging defense to prove in court. Police officers can pretend to be buyers to catch drug dealers, but it doesn’t always count as entrapment.

It is possible to challenge the charges if there is no audio or video evidence of the sale and the officer’s credibility is questionable. If the sale was not completed, it may result in an “attempt” charge. For instance, if there was just an “offer to sell” and no exchange of marijuana or money occurred, there would be no physical evidence to support the officer’s testimony.

In many cases where purchases are controlled, a lot of planning and investigation goes into it. It is possible that further investigation may reveal improper methods used by the police to obtain evidence leading to the seller. To uncover such defenses, an experienced drug crime defense attorney will need to conduct a thorough review of the evidence and case file.

Understanding Drug Scheduling

Understanding the drug scheduling categories is crucial. These categories are set by the federal government and are based on a substance’s potential for abuse and its medical utility.

  • Schedule 1 Drugs: Contain controlled substances that are considered to have a high potential for abuse and have no known or accepted medical purposes. Examples include heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.
  • Schedule 2 Drugs: Contain substances that have a high potential for abuse but have some used or accepted medical application, albeit with restrictions. Examples include combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.
  • Schedule 3 Drugs: Substances with less potential for abuse than Schedule 1 or 2 drugs, and these drugs also have accepted medical applications with restrictions. Examples include products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone.
  • Schedule 4 Drugs: Substances with a lower potential for abuse than Schedule 3 and are commonly used for medicinal purposes. Examples include Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, and Tramadol.
  • Schedule 5 Drugs: Have the least potential for abuse according to official scheduling and are commonly used for medicinal purposes. Examples include cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, and Parepectolin.

It is recommended that you seek advice from a reliable criminal defense lawyer to discuss your rights and potential defenses based on the specifics of your case. Get in touch with our team now to schedule a cost-consultation.

Las Vegas Criminal Defense ATTORNEY

Frequently Asked Questions

How Is Drug Sale Different Than Drug Trafficking?

If a drug sale involves a certain amount of Schedule I or II drugs or drugs with specific ingredients, it is considered trafficking instead of just a sale. It’s important to note that selling drugs from Schedules III, IV, or V, regardless of the amount, does not qualify as trafficking. Additionally, trafficking has more severe consequences than simple drug sales, and those convicted of trafficking usually do not receive probation unless they agree to help the police as an informant.

Can Sale Of A Controlled Substance Charges Be Dismissed?

Drug sale allegations are treated with great seriousness by Nevada prosecutors. Dismissal of such unless there is not enough evidence. A criminal defense attorney must demonstrate to the prosecutors that their case is weak and unlikely to result in a “guilty verdict” at trial. If the prosecutors begin to have doubts about the likelihood of a conviction, they may offer to lower the charges or dismiss them entirely.

Can I Get My Record Sealed?

If you are found guilty of selling a controlled substance in Nevada, you must wait for five years after the case is closed to have your record sealed. However, if the charge is dropped, you can file a request right away. It is recommended that anyone arrested for drug-related offenses request a record seal from the court as soon as possible. Not doing so may result in the cases appearing on background checks and preventing you from being eligible for specific employment opportunities.

Can I Be Deported For Sale Of A Controlled Substance Charges In Nevada?

If you are a visa or green card holder and are convicted of selling drugs, you may be deported from the U.S. It is important to have a strong drug crime attorney who can work to have the charges dismissed or reduced to a non-deportable offense. Failing to do so may result in deportation after serving the sentence.

Contact Our Las Vegas Sale Of A Controlled Substance Lawyer Now

If you are facing charges related to drug dealing in Clark County or another part of Nevada, it is important to have the support of an experienced criminal lawyer who specializes in drug crimes in Las Vegas. Our drug crime defense attorney will analyze the state’s case thoroughly to identify any inconsistencies or weaknesses. If these issues are discovered, it may lead to a reduction or dismissal of the charges. Contact Spartacus Criminal Defense Lawyers now for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

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