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Possession with the Intent to Distribute

Possession of a controlled substance is prohibited in Nevada, but the possible penalties can be much more serious when an alleged offender is accused of possessing an illegal drug for the purpose of selling it. People are typically facing possession with intent to distribute charges when law enforcement apprehends them with quantities of controlled substances that are not enough to constitute drug trafficking offenses.

Unlike drug trafficking charges in which an alleged offender’s plans to sell a controlled substance are irrelevant so long as he or she possessed more than a certain amount of an illegal drug, it is much harder for prosecutors to prove that somebody had the intent to sell the smaller amount of a controlled substance. Prosecutors in these cases are frequently forced to rely on other types of evidence to support the accusations.

Lawyer for Possession with the Intent to Distribute Arrests in Las Vegas, NV

If you were arrested in Clark County for allegedly possessing an illegal drug for the purpose of sale, it is in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation. Gallo Law Office represents clients in Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, and many surrounding areas in southern Nevada.

James C. Gallo is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas who can fight to possibly get drug charges reduced or dismissed. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon you call (702) 385-3131 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.


Clark County Drug Possession with the Intent to Sell Information Center


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Proving Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance in Nevada

When a person is accused of possessing an illegal drug for the purpose of sale, the prosecutor needs to somehow prove that the alleged offender had the intent to sell the controlled substance. The phrase “mens rea” is Latin for a “guilty mind” and is one of the toughest obstacles for any prosecutor to overcome in order to secure a conviction.

Unless an alleged offender actually admitted his or her intention to sell a controlled substance, prosecutors will frequently use other facts or evidence in the case to support the allegation that the person charged with possessing an illegal drug intended to sell it. Some of the most common kinds of evidence that prosecutors will present to support possession with intent to distribute charges include:

  • Alleged offender had a large amount of cash — When a person who was arrested for possessing a controlled substance was also carrying a significant amount of cash, prosecutors will argue that this was proof of previous sales.
  • The way the drugs were packaged — Prosecutors will claim that controlled substances stored in smaller, specific amounts are evidence of intent to sell them.
  • Drug paraphernalia — Prosecutors will use evidence of such paraphernalia as baggies, scales, or other items as evidence of an alleged offender’s possession being part of an alleged offender’s intent to measure and package illegal drugs for sale.
  • The location of the arrest — When an alleged offender is arrested in a certain part of the Las Vegas area that police say a kind of drug possession arrests is common, prosecutors may argue that the person was in that area specifically to sell the drug.
  • Text or other electronic messages by or to the alleged offender about the sale of the controlled substance — If an alleged offender’s cell phone contains any recent communications about the sale of a controlled substance, prosecutors will submit these conversations into evidence as proof of the intent to distribute a controlled substance.
  • Guns, firearms, or other weapons — Prosecutors will argue that an alleged offender was carrying a firearm or other weapon for personal protection because drug deals or the neighborhoods where they occur can be dangerous.

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Las Vegas Possession with the Intent to Sell Penalties

The possible penalties for possession of an illegal drug with intent to distribute depend on the classification of the controlled substance and the alleged offender’s prior criminal record. Under Nevada Revised Statute § 453.337, a conviction for possession of flunitrazepam (also known as Rohypnol or “roofies”), gamma-hydroxybutyrate (also known as gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, GHB, or “G”), or any controlled substance classified in schedule I or II is punishable as follows:

  • First Offense — Category D felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000;
  • Second Offense — Category C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000; or
  • Third or Subsequent Offense — Category B felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000.

Nevada Revised Statute § 453.338 establishes that if an alleged offender possesses for the purpose of sale any controlled substance classified in schedule III, IV, or V, a conviction is punishable as follows:

  • First or Second Offense — Category D felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000; or
  • Third or Subsequent Offense — Category C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

It is important to understand that possession with intent to sell typically becomes the more serious crime of drug trafficking if an alleged offender possesses 4 grams or more of flunitrazepam, gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or any controlled substance classified in schedule I, 28 grams or more of any controlled substance classified in schedule II, or 50 pounds or more of marijuana or concentrated cannabis.


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Nevada Possession for Purpose of Sale Arrest Resources

HELP of Southern Nevada — HELP of Southern Nevada is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps families and individuals throughout Southern Nevada “overcome barriers and attain self-sufficiency through direct services, training, and referral to community resources.” On this website, you can learn more about HELP’s various services, including residential substance abuse treatment, outpatient substance abuse treatment, and other behavioral health services. You can also learn about recent notices, upcoming events, and ways to volunteer.

HELP of Southern Nevada
1640 E. Flamingo Road #100
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 369-4357

Nevada | WestCare Foundation — WestCare is a family of tax-exempt nonprofit organizations that provide a wide spectrum of health and human services in locations nationwide. WestCare Nevada has adolescent outpatient substance abuse treatment programs, adult substance abuse treatment programs, and substance abuse treatment services for pregnant and parenting women. On this section of the WestCare website, you can learn more about the other services WestCare Nevada provides, issues it addresses, and research it has performed.

WestCare Nevada
323 S Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas, NV 89106
(702) 385-3330


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Gallo Law Office | Las Vegas Possession with the Intent to Distribute Lawyer

Were you arrested in Clark County for alleged possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of sale? You should not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact Gallo Law Office as soon as possible.

Las Vegas criminal defense attorney James C. Gallo represents clients all over southern Nevada, including Boulder City, Henderson, North Las Vegas, and several other nearby communities. Call (702) 385-3131 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation that will let our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions.


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