Most Las Vegas residents know that drug possession charges can carry severe penalties, including lengthy jail time and high fines. But did you know you can also face legal trouble for possessing drug paraphernalia? These charges usually result in less severe penalties but can make your life challenging even after serving jail time or paying the fines. A criminal record may lead to difficulties in finding employment, applying for college, or even renting property.
Therefore, if you face drug paraphernalia charges in Las Vegas, hiring expert representation is essential. Our criminal defense attorneys at De Castroverde are here to help you avoid harsh penalties and blemishes on your record. Contact us today and read on to learn more about drug paraphernalia charges in Las Vegas.
What Counts as Drug Paraphernalia in Las Vegas?
According to the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 453.554, drug paraphernalia is any object used or intended for use in the cultivating, manufacturing, testing, packaging, storing, or concealing of controlled substances. Drug paraphernalia also includes any object that’s used or intended to be used to introduce controlled substances to the human body. Examples of drug paraphernalia that could result in charges in Las Vegas include:
- Smoking masks.
- Electric pipes.
- Ice pipes or chillers.
- Cocaine spoons.
- Water pipes.
- Propagation kits from which you can cultivate a controlled substance.
- Isomerization devices increase the potency of controlled substances.
- Chamber pipes.
- Carburetion tubes.
How Do Prosecutors Identify Drug Paraphernalia?
While NRS 453.554 notes several examples of drug paraphernalia, possessing one of these objects isn’t inherently a crime. The burden of proof is on the state prosecution to demonstrate that the defendant used or intended to use the drug paraphernalia to store, distribute, or administer a controlled substance. The statute notes that the prosecution can build their case by considering factors such as:
- Statements by the owner or anyone in control of the object relating to its use.
- Prior controlled substance convictions of an owner or anyone controlling the object.
- The proximity of the object to controlled substances.
- The presence of controlled substance residue on the object.
- Written instructions that come with the object to describe its use.
- Local advertising campaigns that describe the object’s intended use.
- Expert testimony concerning the object’s use.
Conversely, it’s important to note that Nevada’s definition of drug paraphernalia is relatively broad. Las Vegas prosecutors could technically build a case regarding your use of any object if they can prove you used it or intended to use it to deliver or administer a controlled substance. For instance, they might bring charges against someone for using a plastic bag to transport cocaine. Charges like these usually accompany drug possession charges but still have the power to increase your sentence and blemish your record.
What Are Possible Drug Paraphernalia Charges?
If you’re facing drug paraphernalia charges, you must be aware of the potential consequences. Here are three possible outcomes if a court were to find you guilty:
A misdemeanor is the least severe penalty you could face if a court finds you guilty of a drug paraphernalia charge. Misdemeanors are specifically given to those who use or intend to use drug paraphernalia to produce controlled substances for personal use or introduce them into their bodies. You may also be convicted of a misdemeanor if you knowingly advertised the sale of objects designed for use as drug paraphernalia. In Nevada, a misdemeanor entails a punishment of no more than six months in county jail and a fine of no more than $1,000.
Class E Felony
Drug paraphernalia charges unrelated to personal use often come with more severe penalties. Suppose a court finds you guilty of delivering, selling, or manufacturing drug paraphernalia or having the intent to deliver, sell, or manufacture these objects. In that case, you could be convicted of a Class E felony. Class E felonies in Nevada require criminals to serve at least one year in state prison and no more than four years. The fine for a Class E felony cannot exceed $5,000. Depending on your case, the court may only require you to spend less than a year in county jail.
Class C Felony
If you’re over 18 and found guilty of delivering drug paraphernalia to a minor, you could be convicted of a Class C felony. In Nevada, this conviction comes with a minimum one-year prison sentence of up to five years. Class C felony fines cannot exceed $5,000. Note that the state only classifies it as unlawful delivery to a minor if the minor is three years the person’s junior. For instance, if an 18-year-old is found guilty of delivering drug paraphernalia to a 17-year-old, a court would convict them of a Class E felony rather than a Class C.
It’s also worth noting that NRS 453.562 allows the court to order the convicted person to pay restitution. This money helps the minor to whom they delivered drug paraphernalia from participating in treatment programs relating to substance abuse.
Why Is It Important To Hire a Good Defense Lawyer?
If you’re facing drug paraphernalia charges, the professional representation of a good defense lawyer can protect you from state prosecutors eager to indict you. De Castroverde’s criminal defense lawyers have years of experience managing cases like yours. Our expertise with Nevada drug paraphernalia laws allows us to build an individual case to reduce your charges or even force the court to dismiss them altogether.
Our specialized knowledge is beneficial for battling the complexities that accompany the legalization of marijuana. Even though adults over 21 can now legally possess and use marijuana, you may still face charges if you have drug paraphernalia relating to the usage or sale of amounts that exceed the legal limit. We can help you prove your innocence or reduce your charges from a felony to a misdemeanor. Obtaining reduced charges is especially important if facing a Class E penalty, as this felony isn’t expunged from your record for at least five years.
Facing drug paraphernalia charges can be scary, but you can trust our De Castroverde Law Group team to protect your future. Contact one of our expert attorneys today for a free case evaluation and start getting the representation you deserve. We can set you up for success in court through our decades of combined experience and familiarity with Las Vegas drug paraphernalia laws. For further endorsement of our expertise, read through the testimonials that clients post on our site, overwhelmingly highlighting our commitment to success and personalized service.