Drug Crime Charges and Penalties in Las Vegas

Drug Crime Charges and Penalties in Las Vegas

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A Guide By Criminal Defense Attorneys at Conviction Solutions

If you’re facing criminal charges in Las Vegas, you need to be aware of the drug crime charges and penalties that you may face. From possession to trafficking, there are a variety of criminal charges that can result in serious penalties. 

What Drugs are Illegal in Las Vegas?

The following is a list of some of the drugs that are illegal in Las Vegas.

  • Heroin/Fentanyl
  • Cocaine/Crack Cocaine
  • Ketamine
  • LSD (acid)
  • MDMA (ecstasy)
  • Methamphetamine
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

What Drug Charges are There in Las Vegas?

In Las Vegas, drug charges can include various offenses, from possession to trafficking and carry serious penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and fines.

1. Drug Possession

Penalties for possessing a controlled substance vary depending on the type of drug involved and the amount possessed. Las Vegas shares the distinction of having some of the most severe penalties for drug possession in the United States. The punishment for simple possession of any controlled substance in Nevada can range from 6 months in jail to a $2,000 fine. In addition, anyone convicted of drug possession may be subject to lifelong penalties, such as mandatory drug treatment and/or probation.

In addition to these criminal penalties, Nevada also has an expansive list of civil actions that can be taken against someone convicted of drug possession. These actions include seizure or forfeiture of assets, denial or suspension of licenses, and even deportation.

2. Possession with Intent to Sell

In Nevada, possession with intent to sell a controlled substance is a felony punishable by up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine. This crime is charged when someone possesses a controlled substance with the intent to sell it. The prosecutor must show that you intended to sell the drug and that you had control over the drug. If convicted, you may also face an additional criminal charge of trafficking a controlled substance.

If you are found guilty of possession with intent to sell a controlled substance, your sentence will likely include probation, jail time, and a fine. You may also be required to undergo addiction treatment or community service. If you have previous drug convictions, your sentence may be longer.

3. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

You could face harsh penalties if convicted of driving under the influence of drugs in Las Vegas. In Nevada, driving under the influence of drugs is a category A misdemeanor, with a maximum punishment of 6 months in jail and a $2,000 fine. If your blood alcohol content was over 0.08 percent, you could also face additional penalties, such as probation, community service, and a possible driver’s license suspension. Depending on the type of drug you were using and how much it affected your ability to drive, your sentence could be even more severe. For example, if you were driving under the influence of marijuana, your sentence could range from no jail time to 364 days behind bars and a $5,000 fine. If you were driving under the influence of ecstasy or cocaine, your sentence could range from no jail time to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine. If you are convicted of driving while impaired by drugs in Las Vegas and there was an accident that resulted in death or serious injury, your punishment can be even more severe. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, you could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

4. Drug Trafficking

In Las Vegas, drug trafficking is a serious crime with severe penalties. Penalties for drug trafficking vary depending on the number of drugs involved and the type of drug. In most cases, drug trafficking charges are felonies that can lead to prison time and a criminal record.

Drug crimes in Las Vegas can be prosecuted under federal or state law. Federal law sets harsher penalties for drug trafficking than state law. Drug trafficking charges prosecuted under federal law may include:

  • the cultivation of more than 1,000 plants
  • conspiracy to cultivate more than 1,000 plants
  • distribution of more than 50 grams of marijuana
  • distribution of more than 5 kilograms of marijuana
  • possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of marijuana

What Penalties Can a Person Receive for Drug Charges in Las Vegas?

The severity of penalties for drug charges can depend on the drug’s schedule or class. There are five categories, grouped into two main groups – one for schedules one and two and the other for schedules three, four, and five. Factors like a drug’s potential for abuse or dependency are weighed against its medical benefits in all groups.

Schedule I drugs generally carry harsher sentences than Schedule V drugs. Your lawyer may be able to advise you of exceptions to this rule further.

1. Penalties for Schedule One Drugs

The penalties for Schedule One drugs in Las Vegas can vary significantly, depending on the drug and the amount involved. In general, however, most Schedule One drugs carry a penalty of a minimum of one year, a maximum of life imprisonment, and a fine of up to $100,000. Any money or property obtained through a Schedule One drug is also subject to seizure. 

Drugs on the schedule I list are the most dangerous and have no medical use. These drugs include heroin, LSD, and cocaine.

2. Penalties for Schedule Two Drugs

Drugs on the Schedule II list have a recognized medical use and may be prescribed by a doctor. However, they still pose a risk to public health and must be kept in a safe place where they cannot be accessed by children or others without permission. Schedule II drugs are meth, cocaine, and codeine, also including prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as marijuana. Those convicted of trafficking or possession with intent to distribute these drugs can face up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

3. Penalties for Schedule Three Drugs

Schedule Three drugs are generally considered less harmful than Schedule Two drugs but still present a risk to public health. Those convicted of trafficking or possession with intent to distribute these drugs can face up to 2 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Drugs in this schedule include anabolic steroids, ketamine and Suboxone.

4. Penalties for Schedule Four Drugs

Schedule IV drugs have no recognized medical use but may be used for recreation or relaxation. They can be possessed and used by adults but must not contain more than .5% of any controlled substance other than THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Drugs on this list include:

  • barbiturates like GHB (grapefruit juice beverage) and propofol (Diprivan)
  • benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax
  • opioids like tramadol (Ultram) and tapentadol (Nucynta)
  • stimulants like modafinil (Provigil) and phentermine (Adipex-P)

Penalties for Schedule IV possessions are misdemeanors with up to six months in jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.

5. Penalties for Schedule Five Drugs

These drugs have a very low potential for abuse and addiction and present minimal risks to public health. They include substances like cough suppressants with limited codeine content and drugs used to treat diarrhea or constipation or to control nausea or vomiting. Possession of a Schedule V drug is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.

How Conviction Solutions Can Help You With Drug Crime

The drug defense attorney understands the impact a drug crime charge can have on your life. That’s why we take our job seriously and strive to get the best possible outcome for our clients. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

To learn more about penalties for drug crimes, Las Vegas laws, or other legal issues, please request a legal case evaluation or call us at 702-483-7360. We’ll be happy to hear from you.


If you have been arrested on drug crime charges in Las Vegas, you need to know that serious penalties are associated with these crimes. The penalties will be even more severe if you have prior convictions for drug crimes. You may also face additional sanctions, such as being prohibited from owning or possessing firearms or driving vehicles. If you have any questions about the criminal justice system in Las Vegas, don’t hesitate to consult with an attorney who is experienced in defending drug crime cases.

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