Drug Possession is legally known as “unlawful possession not for purpose of sale”. In Nevada Drug Possession is charged when you “knowingly or intentionally possesses a controlled substance, unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a lawful prescription.”
Drug possession is deliberately owning or having control over drugs that you do not plan to trade for cash or valuables. Other common expressions for the crime of possessing narcotics include PCS, straight possession of controlled substances, and possession of drugs for personal use.
Types of possession prohibited
It is a common misconception that you can only be convicted of possession in Nevada if the drugs are physically on your person. In fact, however, “possession” has a broad legal meaning and may extend to any location you exercise control over, such as in your home or car.
Nevada controlled substances law prohibits three types of narcotics possession: 1) actual, 2) constructive, and 3) joint.
- Actual possession of controlled substances in Nevada:
Actual possession is when you physically keeps the narcotics on your person. Examples include holding a baggie of crack in your hand or hiding it in your back pocket.
- Constructive possession of controlled substances in Nevada:
Constructive possession occurs when you stores narcotics in a location you have control over. Examples are hiding an ounce of cocaine in your dresser or keeping a bottle of Ambien (that you don’t have a prescription for) in your medicine cabinet.
- Joint possession of controlled substances in Nevada:
Joint possession refers to when two or more people share control or ownership over the same narcotics. For example if a you knows your husband is storing heroin in their refrigerator, and you permits this to take place, you could also be prosecuted for possession even if you didn’t use the drugs herself.
- Being in Possession versus Being Under the Influence
Being “high” can get you arrested for the Nevada crime of being under the influence of a controlled substance. But unless drugs are found in your possession as well, you won’t face possession charges even if you had been in possession earlier in order to get high.
HOW MUCH TIME CAN I GET FOR A DRUG POSSESSION OFFENSE?
The typical sentence a judge may impose for drug possession in Nevada under NRS 453.336 depends on 1) the drug’s “schedule” classification, and 2) whether you have been convicted of drug offenses in the past.
If you have no prior drug-related convictions, you may be eligible for Nevada drug court. This could allow you to get your possession case totally dismissed as long as you complete a drug education course or (if necessary) a rehabilitation program.
When the drug is a schedule I, schedule II, schedule III or schedule IV
Common drugs that fall under this schedule I-IV category in Nevada include:
- PCP (I)
- Ecstasy (I)
- Methamphetamine (II)
- Heroin (I)
- Hydrocodone (I)
- Cocaine (II)
- Ritalin (II)
- Anabolic steroids (III)
- Xanax (IV)
- Valium (IV)
- Rohypnol (IV)
- Ambien (IV)
A first or second offense of schedule I-IV drugs possession is a category E felony in Nevada, carrying one to four years in prison. But a first offense is often eligible for probation (you may avoid prison and a conviction if you do a drug education or rehab program).
A third or subsequent offense of possession of a controlled substance is a category D felony in Nevada, which carries:
- one to four years in Nevada State Prison
- maybe a fine of up to $20,000
If the drug in your case is the schedule I controlled substance GHB, then the possible sentence range is one to six years in Nevada State Prison. If the drug in your case is the schedule I controlled substance of marijuana, the above penalties do not apply. Visit our page on the Nevada crime of marijuana possession to learn the standard sentence.
When the drug is a schedule V
Key drugs that fall under this schedule V category in Nevada are:
- Robitussin AC
- Codeine (no more than 200 milligrams per 100 grams)
- Opium (no more than 100 milligrams per 100 grams)
- Demerol (no more than 2.5 milligrams and not less than 25 milligrams of atropine sulfate per dosage unit)
A first offense of schedule V simple possession is a category E felony in Nevada, which carries one to four years in prison. But remember, a first-time charge can often be dismissed as long as you successfully complete a diversion program called “Drug court.”
A second or subsequent PCS offense is a category D felony in Nevada, which carries:
- one to four years in Nevada State Prison
- maybe a fine of up to $5,000
When the drug contains flunitrazepam or gamma-hydroxybutyrate:
The common drug that falls under this category is GHB. In this case a narcotics possession conviction is a category B felony in Nevada, carrying one to six years in Nevada State Prison. But a first offense might be dismissed if you complete Drug Court.
EXPEREINCED DRUG POSSESSION DEFENSE ATTORNEY
If you have been arrested for or charged with drug possession, seek the counsel of a Reno criminal defense attorney with experience fighting Nevada drug related cases. We have successfully defended thousands of drug cases.
There are ways to keep you out of jail for drug possession including having the charge reduced to a misdemeanor and attending drug court. Lee knows all the defenses and can help you get the charges dismissed and can help you get the charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.
If you have been arrested for drug possession or a drug related crime, you deserve an experienced criminal defense attorney who will personally handle your case. Call Reno Nevada Law attorney Lee Hotchkin (775) 786-5791 – it’s what we do!