Drug trafficking accusations attract harsh penalties in Nevada. Once you are arrested for such allegations, it is advisable to seek a professional criminal attorney to represent you in court. There are quite a lot of considerations that follow after your arrest, but with an experienced attorney, you will be sure of winning or reducing your case. We at The Law Offices of Martin Hart can offer the kind of services that you need after being arrested for drug trafficking.
Definition of Drug Trafficking in Nevada
Under Nevada laws, drug trafficking is defined as the act of doing the following with large amounts of controlled substances.
- Possession for personal usage
- Possessing to sell
- Transportation and
Drug Trafficking Laws in Nevada
Based on the definition of drug trafficking in Nevada, various laws restrict drug trafficking in Nevada. These laws are as follows:
NRS 453. 336 - Drug Possession
Under this law, it is prohibited to knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled substance unless it was obtained from a prescription. Under this law, possession means that you are having control over something (in this case, the drug) without any intention to sell them. There are other terms used to define possession and are as follows.
- Possession of drugs for personal use
- Recreation possession
- PCS (Possession of controlled substance)
- simple possession
- Straight possession
Under this law, there are three types of possession. These types include:
- Actual possession, which involves the physical keeping of narcotics on the person. One of the examples that suit this type of possession is having a back full of crack at the back pocket or hand
- Constructive possession, which involves storing drugs in a different location you have control of. This includes putting drugs in a dresser or your car’s glove compartment
- Joint ownership, which consists in having shared ownership or control of the same drug
Possessing Drugs to Sell - NRS 453.337 & 453. 338
Under NRS 453.337 & 453.338, possession of sale is explained as having controlled substances with the intent of selling it. This kind of offense is considered to be a more severe offense compared with keeping drugs for personal use and a lesser charge with selling drugs.
Definition of “ intent to sell “
Prosecutors usually rely on circumstantial evidence to prove that a defendant intended to sell drugs. Six common indicators show that one wants to sell, which are as follows:
- The defendant had was ready to sell the drugs by pre-measuring the drugs into small quantities and storing them in bags or containers
- The defendant had a firearm that is presumed to be used as protection in case the drug dealership goes wrong
- The defendant possessed a lot of controlled substance which is more than the amount needed for recreation
- The defendant was not high or had no drug paraphernalia, which shows that he or she is not a user but a seller
- The defendant had cash on him or her which was in small bills, indicating that he or she is involved in an illegal sale
- The defendant was apprehended in an area that is known for drug crimes
Drug Sale in Nevada - NRS 453.321
Under NRS 453. 321, it is prohibited to sell drugs. Selling is considered as the exchange of controlled substances for money or anything else with value. Please note, offering yourself to sell drugs is also considered as a violation under this law.
This offense is abbreviated as SCS (Sales of a controlled substance) and comprises both illegal and prescribed drugs. A drug sale arrest usually happens when a concealed officer witnesses a hand-to-hand drug sale between the defendant and another person. The site which the police officer would have set the covert surveillance is considered as the observation post.
The police officer can as well set up a sting operation, which is referred to as controlled buys. In this kind of activity, the police officer contacts the alleged seller and schedules a drug sale and arrests him or her during the dealership.
Please note, a drug sale is considered as a Nevada trafficking under the following two circumstances:
- There were at least four grams of schedule 1 narcotics during the sale of the drug contained gamma-hydroxybutyrate or flunitrazepam
- There were at least 28 grams of schedule two narcotics
For that reason, it is hard to be alleged as trafficking if you are caught selling schedule three, four, or five drugs, despite the amount at hand.
Types of Narcotic Drugs that are Prohibited in Nevada
NRS 453.3385 applies to gamma-hydroxybutyrate, flunitrazepam, and schedule one drugs. This does not include marijuana. Common schedule one drugs include:
- Magic mushroom
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Nevada
Under 453.3385, the punishment for drug trafficking differs according to the number of drugs that one has been apprehended with. The sentences are as follows:
4 Grams to less than 14 grams
If one gets arrested with four grams or less than fourteen grams of schedule one drugs, this kind of offense is considered as a category B felony. The penalties that follow for such offense include:
- 1- 6 years of imprisonment in Nevada state prison
- Fines amounting to $ 50,000
14 Grams to Less than 28 grams
When one is arrested with fourteen to less than twenty-eight grams of schedule one drugs, Rohypnol and GHB, the offender risks the following penalties:
- 2-15 years of imprisonment
- Fines that amount up to $ 100,000
28 Grams or More
If one gets arrested with twenty-eight grams or more, the kind of penalties that apply are:
- 25 years of imprisonment with possible parole for ten years
- Fines that amount up to $500,000
Possibility of Probation for a Trafficking Conviction
It is mandatory to attend prison once you get convicted of a drug trafficking offense. However, the court can decide to reduce your prison sentence if you help the police during the investigation. Some of the factors that the judge might take into consideration include:
- An evaluation of the usefulness and significance of your involvement during the investigation
- Your truthfulness, reliability, and completeness with the information that you gave
- The extent and nature of your assistance
- Any injuries that you might have incurred due to your aid. This includes injuries sustained by your family members
- The timeliness of your assistance
Immigration Consequences after Drug Trafficking
Drug trafficking is considered a deportable offense in Nevada. Therefore, once you have served your sentence, you might be kicked out of the United States. The only way that non-citizens might avoid deportation is by having the case reduced or dismissed.
Possibility of Sealing Your Drug Trafficking Records
There are chances of having your traffic charges sealed in Nevada. However, you need to wait for a specific period to seal the convictions. The possibility of sealing your drug trafficking records is as follows:
- For category A felony conviction, the records will be sealed ten years after completing the case
- For category B felony convictions, the records will be sealed five years after completing the case
- For dismissed charges, the files will be sealed immediately.
Please note, once your records have been sealed, it means that your criminal records associated with drug trafficking cannot be accessed by anyone conducting a background check on you. However, this does not mean that the court cannot consider this offense when convicting you after a subsequent criminal offense.
Legal Defenses for Drug Trafficking in Nevada
If you hire an attorney to help in your drug trafficking case, he or she will employ a couple of legal defenses to reduce your case or have it dismissed. Here are a few legal defenses that the attorney can use.
Lack of Knowledge about the Drugs
You cannot use ignorance as your defense. However, it can reduce the severity of your charges. Therefore, if you did not know that you were transporting drugs, and the prosecutor cannot prove that you were, then you have a high chance of standing against the case.
Duress means that you were doing something out of fear or coercion. For instance, if you were threatened or a member of your family was threatened, unless you possess or sell the drugs, such a case can help you stand against your charges. An excellent example of duress would be a situation where a cartel is threatening your family if you do not fulfill their wish.
Claim that Drugs are Not Yours
Similar to the lack of knowledge, you can claim that the drugs are not yours, but differently. In this case, you probably were in a friend’s or relative’s vehicle and got pulled over only to realize that there were drugs inside the car. In such a case, your prosecutor should prove that you knew about the drugs to make the lawsuit credible enough. Otherwise, you do not stand to be charged with drug trafficking allegations.
Mistake of Facts
Sometimes you might have a substance, only to realize that it is a drug. For instance, the Sweet ‘N low can be an excellent example of how cocaine can be cleverly distinguished to something completely different from your thinking. Such a defense can be suitable for your case unless the prosecutor proves that you were aware of the substance you were possessing.
Violation of Your Miranda Rights
Under the fifth amendment of the United States, an arresting police officer is supposed to make a statement to the arrestee during the arrest. The statement goes as follows “ you have the right to remain silent, and any statement that you give will be held against you in a court of law. “ If the officer fails to provide this statement, then the court might dismiss your court since it is considered as a violation of your Miranda rights.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
Under the fourth amendment of the United States, the constitution guarantees the right from unreasonable searches and seizures. For that reason, a police officer should have probable cause to search your residence before going further with the search. Therefore, the officers are expected to seize evidence that incriminates you through the search. If there is no evidence to present to the court, then the state will dismiss the charges.
Rogue police officers might force a person into committing a crime on their behalf as a way to conceal their actions. Therefore, if you are a victim of such situations, then you can have your charges dropped by the court. However, you must bring along enough evidence that will prove to the court beyond doubt that you were entrapped to have the drugs.
Lack of Intent
This kind of legal defense is suitable for a situation where one is seeking a lesser charge. According to drug trafficking offenses, a person who is charged with possession of the drugs usually faces lower charges compared to one to sell them. Therefore, if you can prove to the court that you had no intention of selling the drugs, your charges can be reduced to possession, which has lesser charges.
Addiction is a real menace that is affecting a lot of people. Therefore, you will find a lot of addicted people facing drug trafficking charges. In such a case, the court usually offers such people an opportunity to attend drug rehabilitation programs and have their charges dismissed once they complete it. Such programs are usually rigorous and intensive, but it is necessary to complete it to have the charges dismissed.
Find A Las Vegas Criminal Lawyer Near Me
As learned earlier, drug trafficking charges can be serious and can lead to lasting repercussions to the arrestee. Therefore, anyone facing a drug trafficking conviction should find a criminal defense attorney who can help in such a case. This requires a criminal defense attorney who has enough experience and resources needed in such a case. The Law Offices of Martin Hart meets the required criteria, and we are ready to offer help when needed. If you are in Las Vegas, NV, contact us at 702-380-4278 and let us help with your situation.