Sometimes, “what happens in Vegas” can have lasting repercussions. Arresting tourists on drug charges is an unfortunate but common occurrence in Las Vegas. Thankfully, there are things you can do to lessen any effect this incident may have on the rest of your life.
For starters, consider retaining a Las Vegas drug charge lawyer. The attorneys at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers are not only familiar with Nevada drug laws but ready to vigorously defend you.
I Have a Drug Charge in Las Vegas, and I Do Not Even Live There. Now What?
With the city’s reputation as a place to party, many Las Vegas visitors do not realize how stringent the narcotics policies are. Confusion about marijuana laws is especially common. Nevada law does permit the use and possession of up to one ounce of recreational marijuana for people above the age of 21. However, you cannot bring it with you.
Suppose you brought marijuana when traveling by car or by plane to Las Vegas. In that case, you can be subject to arrest for drug possession and transport – and you will likely need the services of a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer.
Whether your arrest is for marijuana or any other controlled substance, our drug charge lawyers can help.
Nevada’s Zero-Tolerance Policy for Drug Use
Nevada exercises a zero-tolerance policy for drug use, especially during the operation of a motor vehicle. Driving under the influence (DUI) arrests involve both drug and alcohol use. The severity of the case depends on several factors.
Nevada uses three principal categories to define drug offenses:
- Possession of drugs is assigned when you have physical custody of drugs, including in your pocket, a backpack, a hotel room, or a vehicle.
- Transporting or selling controlled substances is a more severe offense. If you have additional drug paraphernalia, they may assign this charge.
- Manufacturing or compounding drugs, except in cases of marijuana, is a felony offense that can result in severe penalties.
In Nevada, it is illegal to make or sell drugs, drug paraphernalia, or other items associated with the drug trade. Although you may possess certain drugs with an appropriate prescription, that will not necessarily prevent arrest.
What Are the Penalties for DUI in Las Vegas?
Conviction rates vary for DUI arrests in Las Vegas. If convicted, a first offense misdemeanor conviction could result in:
- Up to 48 hours in jail OR 48 hours of community service
- The potential for up to six months in jail
- Fines ranging from $400 to $1,000
- Separate administrative costs
A conviction for a second DUI offense could result in:
- Up to 180 days (six months) in jail
- Fines up to $1,000
- Up to 200 hours of community service
- Suspended driver’s license for one year
- DUI education or admittance to a drug treatment program (or both)
Conviction for three or more DUI arrests continues to increase in severity and could result in:
- Suspended driver’s license for three years
- 1-6 years in prison
- Fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000
If your arrest includes a DUI charge in Nevada, De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers can assist with every step of your chase. Our criminal defense attorneys will work diligently to represent you.
Understanding Your Las Vegas Drug Charge
In Nevada, possessing, creating, or selling any controlled substances is illegal.
Marijuana possession is legal in amounts not exceeding one ounce while in a private residence – not in a public location like a hotel or casino. Someone with a medical marijuana card may possess up to 2 ½ ounces in their private residence.
The seriousness of any drug charge is related to the type of drug as defined by the classification schedule below.
Nevada Drug Classification Schedule
Nevada classifies drugs based on the drug’s potential level of abuse, potential of dependency, and prescribed medical use. There are five schedules in total:
- Schedule I substances have a high level of potential abuse and no accepted medical purpose in recognized treatments. Examples include heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, peyote, and marijuana.
- Schedule II substances have the potential for abuse yet have some accepted medical uses. There are severe restrictions on the medical use of these drugs. Examples include codeine, morphine, opium, oxycodone, Ritalin, and Adderall.
- Schedule III substances have less potential for abuse and more medical uses. However, these may lead to moderate dependence, especially psychological dependence. Examples include anabolic steroids, human growth hormones, and ketamine.
- Schedule IV substances are similar to Schedule III but with a lower potential for abuse or dependence. Examples include Tramadol, prazepam, fenproporex, Clonazepam, and Sibutramine.
- Schedule V substances offer the least potential for abuse. There is not a list of specific Schedule V substances. Instead, this category includes components listed in the other levels with a lower level of dependency and potential for abuse.
To learn more about drug classifications in Nevada after an arrest, do not hesitate to contact our team. Our Las Vegas drug charge lawyers can help you understand the charges against you and navigate the legal process from arrest to resolution.
How Serious Is a Drug Charge?
Drug convictions of any type can have long-lasting ramifications. While a misdemeanor drug charge is not as severe, a felony conviction will likely remain on your record forever.
A drug charge conviction can follow you through every aspect of your life, including background checks for employment, owning firearms, or even your right to vote in some states.
Although first offense cases may only result in probation, a drug charge could result in heavy fines and prison in some cases. After an arrest in Las Vegas, your best line of defense is to contact a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney.
Can I Hire a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney and Go Home?
Yes and no. Your Las Vegas drug charge lawyer can represent you during preliminary proceedings and can file documentation on your behalf. However, you will still need to return to Las Vegas to appear in person for your trial date.
Understanding the Process From Start to Finish
Possession of illegal drugs in Nevada is a felony. If you are arrested while visiting Las Vegas, you may be held in jail for 48 to 72 hours or more.
Exactly Long Will I Be in Jail?
Las Vegas jails are crowded, especially during holiday celebrations and big convention weekends. However, as mentioned above, you can expect to be in jail for 48 to 72 hours or longer.
Most people arrested in Las Vegas on drug charges will have a video hearing within 48 hours. During this short interview, a judge will review your case, specify the charges against you, and assign a bail amount.
For those not released within the first 48 hours, you will have a meeting before the judge after 72 hours or in the morning of the first business day following your arrest, whichever is later. At a 72-hour session, you may have a public defender who will argue for release on your behalf.
There are no set parameters for bail for drug charges in Las Vegas. In some cases, a judge may set your bail at zero or personal recognizance (PR). If the amount is more than you can afford, you may need to enlist the services of a bail bond agent.
Do Not Lose Your Paperwork
When you get out of jail, whether on PR or with the assistance of a bail bond agent, you will receive a bundle of paperwork. This paperwork will include your court date and the charges levied against you. If you retain the services of a drug charge lawyer in Las Vegas, the defense team will need to see these documents.
Please note that the court may change your court date without notifying you. It is your responsibility to stay in contact with the court to verify your court date. A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can monitor any court date changes for you.
A Drug Charge Does Not Have to Ruin Your Future
If you were arrested in Las Vegas on a drug charge, the defense team at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers is here to help. Wading through the complex drug laws in Nevada can be both time-consuming and confusing. Our team has extensive knowledge of these laws and is prepared to guide you through the process.
Contact De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers for a free consultation today, so we can explain your options and get to work on resolving the matter as favorably as possible.