In Nevada, it is a serious offense to possess drugs with intent to sell. Having any drugs or narcotics conviction on your record may affect you in several ways. First, the court may require you to pay high fines, and you may serve prison time. The case may make it hard for you to find employment because most employers conduct background searches on prospective employees. If you are currently facing charges for Possession with Intent to Sell in Las Vegas, contact The Law Offices of Martin Hart for immediate help.
Understanding the Charges of Possession with Intent to Sell
The NRS 453.337 and NRS 453.338 cover the unlawful possession for sale in Nevada. It is a crime for an individual to possess a controlled substance, illegal drugs, or narcotics with intent to sell. In Las Vegas, the abbreviation for possession with intent to sell is PCSWITS. The crime also goes by the name possession for the purpose of sale or possession for sale of drugs.
The law can punish you for a drug sale that you have not executed yet or for a drug sale that you may never complete. It is common for innocent people in Nevada to face charges for possession of controlled substances with intent to sell. You may face charges for possessing illicit drugs and even prescription drugs as long as you intend to sell them.
You may legally be in possession of prescription drugs. However, it is illegal to possess drugs with the intent to sell, even if you have a prescription and you lawfully possess the pills. Therefore, no other person should buy pills from you.
What Must the Prosecutor Prove?
The prosecutor has to prove that you are in possession of and you intended to sell the drugs, which is a violation of NRS 453.337 and NRS 453.338.
Possession of Drugs
According to Nevada law, you may be guilty of possession if you are carrying the drugs on your person. The law defines this as an actual possession of drugs. You may also be guilty of possession if it is evident that you were keeping the drugs in a location where you can easily access them. The location is any place over which you have control and may include your vehicle, a storage facility, or your home. The law defines this as constructive possession.
It is possible to share drug possession with other parties. The law defines this as joint possession. For instance, if you purchase drugs together with another person and store the drugs in a common area, you are in joint possession of the drugs.
According to Nevada law, drug possession is not the same as ownership. For example, if you steal drugs belonging to another person with the intent to sell, you would still be guilty of being in possession. You may face possession with intent to sell charges even if you are not the owner of the drugs.
Proving Intent to Sell
How can the prosecutor prove that you are in possession of drugs with intent to sell? Intent to sell is an intangible concept, and this makes it hard to prove. Intent to sell is not like making actual drugs, which you can witness. Intent to sell lies in your state of mind. The police may lookout for specific circumstances and items to prove intent to sell. Some indicators of possession with intent to sell include:
Packaging of Drugs
The police can tell that you are in possession of drugs with intent to sell depending on the packaging of the drugs. If you have measured the drugs in different quantities and stored them in various bags, it is a clear indication of intent to sell. A prosecutor will argue why you would keep the drugs in pre-measured quantities if you possess the drugs purely for personal use. However, your attorney will come to your defense and assert that you are a recreational drug user and you bought the drugs packaged that way.
Possession of a Weapon
Dealing in narcotics and drug sales is a risky operation in Nevada. Therefore, most drug sellers are always in possession of a weapon. Therefore, if you own a weapon in addition to being in possession of drugs, it may be an indicator of intent to sell. The prosecutor may argue that the possession of both drugs and weapons means you intended to engage in the sale of drugs. In your defense, your attorney may argue that you were exercising your 2nd amendment right to bear arms.
Drug Paraphernalia and Being High
If you are in possession of drugs for personal use, the chances are that you would be high from consuming the drugs. The chances are that you would also be in possession of drug paraphernalia. Paraphernalia may include syringes that you use to inject yourself with drugs. The prosecutor may assert that if you are in possession of drugs, but you are not high, you are not the intended consumer of the drugs. The same argument may apply if you do not have the paraphernalia. However, this argument has no basis because most recreational drug users do not carry paraphernalia.
Large Quantities of Drugs
If you are in possession of drugs for personal use, you are not likely to have substantial quantities of the drugs. Therefore, if you have vast quantities of drugs and narcotics, the prosecutor may assume that you intend to sell the drugs. However, you may assert that you merely stocked up the drugs to ensure that you do not run out of stock in the future.
Carrying a lot of Money Especially Small Denominations
If the law enforcement officers arrest you in possession of drugs and large amounts of money, they may assume that you got the money from the sale of drugs. This assumption is particularly true if you are in possession of small bills. The small denominations are deemed as proceeds you received from selling portions of the drug. You may fight this allegation by asserting that you like carrying money around. You may argue that you like carrying many small bills to help you make multiple small purchases. This way, you can fight the allegations that you got the money from selling drugs.
Areas Popular for Drug Dealing
The police may assume that you are in possession of drugs with intent to sell if they find you in an area popular for drug dealing and you are in possession of drugs. However, this allegation may not hold as you may have been in the area with the intent to buy drugs and not to sell drugs. You may just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but you were not selling drugs. It is important to note that NRS 453.337 and NRS 453.338 does not punish a person for intending to buy drugs in Nevada. The crime punishes a person who possesses drugs with the intent to sell. If you are guilty of intending to purchase drugs, you may face different charges under the Nevada drug trafficking laws.
Penalties for Drug Possession for Sale in Nevada
The punishment for possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell may depend on several factors. The consequences will depend on the schedule under which the drug is qualified. The penalties will also depend on your criminal history. If you are a first-time offender, you may serve probation with no prison time.
Schedule I or Schedule II Drugs
Under NRS 453.337, several substances fall under the category of schedule I and Schedule II drugs. The substances that fall under schedule I include GHB, Ecstasy, PCP, Heroin, and Hydrocodone. Drugs that fall under schedule II include Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Ritalin. You may face similar charges as prescribed in Schedule I and Schedule II for any substance that contains flunitrazepam and gamma-hydroxybutyrate.
If you are in possession with intent to sell marijuana, a Schedule I drug, different consequences apply. Nevada crime of marijuana possession for sale outlines the consequences of possessing marijuana for sale.
If you commit a first-time offense of being in possession of drugs with intent to sell in Nevada, you will be guilty of a category D felony according to Nevada laws. For this offense, you may serve probation instead of jail time. However, the court may recommend a prison term of 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison. The court may also require you to pay a fine that does not exceed $5,000.
If you commit a second offense of possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell, you may face category C felony charge under Nevada law. This charge may require you to serve a prison time ranging from one to five years in Nevada State prison. You may also pay a fine that does not exceed $10,000.
A third offense of possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell is a category B felony according to Nevada laws. The applicable consequences may include prison time ranging from three to fifteen years in Nevada State Prison. The court may also require you to pay a fine that does not exceed $20,000.
Schedule III, Schedule IV, or Schedule V Drugs
According to NRS 453.338, Anabolic steroids fall under Schedule III drugs. Schedule IV drugs include Rohypnol, Valium, Ambien, and Xanax. Schedule V drugs include Robitussin AC, Codeine, Demerol, and Opium For the first time or the second-time offense of possessing narcotics with intent to sell, is category D felony in Nevada. The consequences may include probation for a first offense. However, the court can impose imprisonment of 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison. You may also have to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
If you commit a third or subsequent offense of being in possession of narcotics with intent to sell, you are guilty of a category C felony under Nevada laws. The applicable consequences include imprisonment ranging from 1 to 5 years in Nevada State Prison. The court may also require you to pay a fine that does not exceed $10,000.
Possessing Drug Paraphernalia with Intent to Sell
In Nevada, possessing drug paraphernalia with intent to sell is a distinct crime from possessing drugs with intent to sell. This crime falls under category E felony in Nevada. The consequences may include imprisonment of 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison. You may also pay fines not exceeding $5,000. For a first time offense, you may evade jail and serve probation instead.
Reduction of Possession with Intent to Sell Charge to a Misdemeanor
With the assistance of an attorney, you may negotiate for a plea bargain. Although the prosecutor may not be willing to dismiss your charges, a plea bargain would lead to reduced charges. Your case will be reduced from a felony offense to a misdemeanor offense. For a misdemeanor offense, the consequences may include rehab, community service, and probation. You may enjoy a suspended jail sentence whereby you will not serve imprisonment unless you violate the terms of a plea bargain. The court may also issue an order to avoid arrest again as long the case is ongoing.
Fighting Possession with Intent to Sell Charges
With proper defense, the court may reduce your charges or drop all the charges. Some of the common defenses for possession with intent to sell include:
- The drugs belong to another person. Your attorney may raise doubt as to whether you were in possession of drugs
- Your attorney can assert that you had no intention of selling the drugs. The attorney will instead portray that you only possessed the drugs for personal use
- You may assert that the arresting officer violated your rights. Police should follow strict guidelines when searching for people, vehicles, and homes. If police mishandle you, you may quote the incident as your defense.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
If you are currently facing charges for Possession with Intent to Sell, do not attempt to fight it alone. Contact The Law Offices of Martin Hart in Las Vegas at 702-380-4278 and speak to one of our experienced attorneys today.