Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substance Act (CSA), but Nevada Administrative Code § 453.510 includes coca leaves, cocaine base or free base, or salts, compounds, derivatives, isomers or preparations containing or identical to such substances among schedule I controlled substances under state law. Essentially, cocaine charges can result in some of the most severe penalties of any drug in Nevada.
Possession of even seemingly trivial amounts of cocaine can still result in felony charges. Despite the city's famous slogan, visitors to the Las Vegas area should not assume that an arrest for cocaine will just “stay in Vegas.”
Lawyer for Cocaine Possession Arrests in Las Vegas, NV
Were you recently arrested in Clark County for alleged possession of cocaine? You should avoid making any kind of statement to authorities until you have first contacted Gallo Law Office.
Las Vegas criminal defense attorney James C. Gallo represents clients all over southern Nevada, including North Las Vegas, Henderson, and Boulder City. Call (702) 385-3131 right now to have our lawyer review your case and help you explore your legal options during a free initial consultation.
Overview of Cocaine Possession Charges in Clark County
- What are the consequences of being convicted of possessing cocaine?
- How are the possible sentences different if an alleged offender is accused of having intent to sell cocaine?
- Where can I learn more about cocaine issues in the Las Vegas area?
Nevada Cocaine Possession Penalties
Because cocaine is classified as a schedule I controlled substance in Nevada, the criminal penalties for simple possession of the drug can be quite serious. Depending on whether alleged offenders have been previously arrested for drug-related offenses, convictions can be classified as follows:
- First or Second Offense — Category E felony punishable by a minimum of one year, a maximum of four years in prison and/or a $5,000 maximum fine; or
- Third or Subsequent Offense — Category D felony punishable by a minimum of one year, a maximum of four years in prison and/or a $20,000 maximum fine.
When a person is charged with simple possession, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney examine the legality of the police search. In cases of constructive possession (defined as not being in actual possession of a drug, but knowingly having “the power and the intention at a given time to exercise dominion or control over” the drug, either directly or through another person or persons) or joint possession, it can also be difficult for a prosecutor to prove that the alleged offender was the actual owner of the cocaine in question.
Penalties for Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell in Las Vegas
In certain cases, alleged offenders may be charged with possessing cocaine for the purpose of sale. Possession with intent to sell charges are typically the result of people possessing quantities of a controlled substance that exceed the amounts normally accustomed with personal use, but police officers may base these charges on other factors such as an alleged offender carrying a large amount of cash or having cocaine stored in smaller, specific amounts.
A conviction for possession of cocaine for the purpose of sale is punishable as follows:
- First Offense — Category D felony punishable by a minimum of one year, a maximum of four years in prison and/or a $5,000 maximum fine;
- Second Offense — Category C felony punishable by a minimum of one year, a maximum of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 maximum fine; or
- Third or Subsequent Offense — Category B felony punishable by a minimum of three years, a maximum of 15 years in prison and/or a $20,000 maximum fine.
It is important to note that if a person is arrested while in possession of four or more grams of cocaine, the alleged offender could be charged with the much more serious crime of drug trafficking. Trafficking offenses involving cocaine are punishable as follows under Nevada Revised Statute § 453. 3385:
- 4 Grams or More, But Less than 14 Grams — Category B felony punishable by a minimum of one year, a maximum of six years in prison and/or a $50,000 maximum fine;
- 14 Grams or More, But Less than 28 Grams — Category B felony punishable by a minimum of two years, a maximum of 15 years in prison and/or a $100,000 maximum fine; or
- 28 Grams or More — Category A felony punishable by a definite term of 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 or life in prison with parole eligibility beginning after a minimum of 10 years have been served.
Gallo Law Office | Las Vegas Cocaine Possession Lawyer
If you were arrested in Clark County for alleged possession of cocaine, it will be in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Gallo Law Office can fight to possibly get these criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
James C. Gallo is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas who represents clients in Boulder City, North Las Vegas, Henderson, and many surrounding areas in southern Nevada. He can provide a full evaluation of your case as soon as you call (702) 385-3131 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.