Like other states and the federal government, Nevada makes it illegal to manufacture, possess, and sell drugs classified as controlled substances. Penalties for drug crimes vary depending on the type of controlled substance, the amount involved, and other variables.
Under the Nevada Uniform Controlled Substances Act, drugs are placed into one of five different controlled substance schedules based on criteria explained in the law. These schedules provide a scale of sorts to allow people to judge the drug’s relative value in treating certain conditions and potential for abuse. Substances in categories with lower numbers have the highest potential for abuse. The responsibility for classifying controlled substances falls to the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy.
You may wonder about the significance of these drug schedules and how they relate to Nevada drug law and sentencing guidelines. The criminal law team at De Castroverde Law has put together this guide to explain what you need to know.
Overview of Nevada Drug Laws
Drug offenses fall into three principal categories in Nevada, with penalties increasing in severity:
- Possession of drugs, which can include actual possession, such as having substances in your pocket; constructive possession, such as a substance is found in your house; or joint possession, where a controlled substance is in the car you are driving with a significant other.
- Transporting or selling controlled substances, which can become more severe if you are found with baggies, scales, or other paraphernalia.
- Manufacturing or compounding drugs, except for marijuana.
Nevada law also makes it illegal to make or sell drug paraphernalia with the intent for it to be used in the drug trade, whether for planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or related activities.
It’s important to note that every case is different and depends on the circumstances. For instance, you may possess certain controlled substances if you have a valid prescription from a licensed physician.
What are Nevada Drug Schedules?
Nevada categorizes drugs into five distinct drug schedules. The schedules are used to evaluate the relative dangers of abusing certain substances. For example, Schedule I drugs include some of the most dangerous and addicting substances, while Schedule V drugs offer a lower risk comparatively. Of course, circumstances matter greatly, so even drug offenses involving controlled substances that are lower on the scale can result in stiff prison sentences if they involve factors such as sale or possession near a school. Here’s an overview of Nevada’s controlled substances schedules.
Schedule I Controlled Substance Criteria
Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use for treatment in the United States or lack accepted safety provisions for use in treatment even with medical supervision. Examples of Schedule I drugs include methamphetamine, heroin, GHB, Ecstasy (also known as MDMA), PCP, LSD, and Peyote.
Schedule II Controlled Substance Criteria
Schedule II drugs also have a high potential for abuse. But the particular substance involved has an accepted medical use for treatment or an accepted medical use with severe restrictions and may lead to psychological or physical dependence. Examples of Schedule II drugs include cocaine, codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, opium, barbiturates, and Ritalin.
Schedule III Controlled Substance Criteria
Schedule III substances are considered to have a lesser potential for abuse compared to the substances in Schedules I and II. The particular substance also must have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and abuse of the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs include substances such as anabolic steroids, ketamine, nalorphine, or testosterone.
Schedule IV Controlled Substance Criteria
Schedule IV drugs have a low potential for use compared to substances in Schedule III. They also must have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse of the substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the substances in Schedule III. Schedule III drugs include Ambien, Valium, Xanax, Rohypnol, Clonazepam, and other sedatives.
Schedule V Controlled Substance Criteria
Finally, Schedule V drugs have a low potential for abuse relative to substances listed in Schedule IV. They also have an accepted medical use in the United States, and under the statute, abuse of the substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the substances listed in Schedule IV. These can include substances with small amounts of codeine and opium.
Penalties for Drug Offenses in Nevada
Convictions for drug crimes in Nevada can carry a wide range of penalties, depending on the underlying facts of a case. A first or second offense typically results in the charge of a Class E felony in Nevada, which carries penalties of one to four years and a maximum $5,000 fine but often leads to probation upon a first offense. Further offenses can increase the charges to a Class D felony, which also has a statutory maximum of one to four years but with fines of up to $25,000.
Aggravating Factors in Nevada Drug Sentences
As we said earlier, circumstances are important in determining sentences for certain drug offenses. Selling cocaine near a school, for example, is a more serious offense in Nevada than selling it somewhere else. Nevada law also makes it illegal to allow a child to be present when controlled substances are illegally being used or sold. These factors can apply in the most severe of outcomes. For instance, under Nevada law, providing a controlled substance that causes someone’s death can result in a prosecution for murder.
Contact De Castroverde Today
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Nevada, don’t press through alone as the penalties are steep. Let the team at De Castroverde Law explain the stakes involved in your casework with you to build a credible defense. The stakes are too high to not have experienced criminal defense attorneys by your side.
Serving Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada, De Castroverde Law Group attorneys include former prosecutors who are ready to take up your cause. We will work with you to investigate the case, gather evidence, and then give you our best professional recommendation on how to resolve the charges. Contact us today for a free consultation.