Possession of a Controlled Substance Las Vegas Nevada
The most common marijuana related charge in Las Vegas is “Possession of a Controlled Substance” or PCS. This charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the amount of cannabis in your possession or the number of times you have been charged with the offense.
Nevada Revised Statutes 453.336 concerns the possession, NOT intended for sale, of all different types of controlled substances, from prescription drugs to hardcore drugs such as meth and heroin. However, as it pertains to marijuana, the following penalties apply:
For greater than one ounce of marijuana, a person who is convicted of PCS is guilty of Category E Felony. A Category E Felony is punishable per NRS 193.130(e). A category E felony is a felony for which a court shall sentence a convicted person to imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 4 years. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of NRS 176A.100, upon sentencing a person who is found guilty of a category E felony, the court shall suspend the execution of the sentence and grant probation to the person upon such conditions as the court deems appropriate. Such conditions of probation may include, but are not limited to, requiring the person to serve a term of confinement of not more than 1 year in the county jail. In addition to any other penalty, the court may impose a fine of not more than $5,000, unless a greater penalty is authorized or required by statute.
However, a person who is convicted of the possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana:
(a) For the first offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be:
(1) Punished by a fine of not more than $600; or
(2) Examined by an approved facility for the treatment of abuse of drugs to determine whether the person is a drug addict and is likely to be rehabilitated through treatment and, if the examination reveals that the person is a drug addict and is likely to be rehabilitated through treatment, assigned to a program of treatment and rehabilitation pursuant to NRS 453.580.
(b) For the second offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be:
(1) Punished by a fine of not more than $1,000; or
(2) Assigned to a program of treatment and rehabilitation pursuant to NRS 453.580.
(c) For the third offense, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.140.
(d) For a fourth or subsequent offense, is guilty of a category E felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130. (See above for felony treatment).
Thus, if one is merely in possession, without intending to sell, in all likelihood, probation will be the punishment even in the situation of a felony conviction. Depending on the facts and the prosecuting agency, many misdemeanor cases can be dismissed through negotiations and this can be true of felony charges as well. This is all case specific and you should not attempt to defend yourself in any scenario, even a misdemeanor case a conviction can still affect your employment, security clearance and even eligibility for programs in the future.
Oftentimes, however, these charges get trumped-up based on the perception that you intend to sell as evidenced by the amount of cannabis in your possession, the way it is packaged, the place it is located or the proximity of scales or cash nearly which might lead someone to believe you were in the business of selling marijuana. If these facts are present, you may also be charged, or charged alternatively with Possession With Intent To Distribute /Sell.
Having a state-issued medical marijuana license can be used as a complete defense to simple possession cases so long as your license is issued by Nevada or a recognized equivalent issued by another state, and you are within the legal limits (2 ½ ounces of usable marijuana for instance).
This charge applies to all forms of marijuana including edibles and concentrates- however there is still much confusion as to the legal amount of these items which is allowed under current law. If you would like more information on this subject click here to read our blog on the topic of edibles and concentrates.
Besides medical use defenses, other possible defenses that will be explored include the method of search and whether that search was lawful as well as whether the state can prove actual or constructive possession.
Click here for a discussion of how we base our fees for these charges. As always, consultations are free – please contact us to discuss your case and to obtain a quote.