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. 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 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.
Recreational Marijuana & Public Consumption
It is now legal to possess up to 1 oz. of marijuana. However, it is sill illegal to use marijuana in public. The following areas are some of the Nevada locations where smoking marijuana can result in a misdemeanor charges for public consumption of marijuana:
- Common areas of apartment buildings
- Office buildings
- Schools, colleges, or university campuses
- Casinos and hotels (including inside your hotel room)
- Bars and restaurants (including Hookah lounges)
- All public parks, stadium, and event centers
- Inside any public bathroom
- On or inside any public transportation including cars (taxis, uber, or lyft), buses, trains, airplanes, or monorails
Remember: smoking marijuana inside your private residence may still be illegal if you rent your house or apartment and the property owner or homeowner’s association prohibits marijuana consumption on the premises. To read more about marijuana and HOAs click CLICK HERE.
Penalties for Possession of Marijuana
In most cases, if one is merely in possession of marijuana, 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 drug offense can 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.
Defenses to Possession of Marijuana
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).
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.
The attorneys at the Wright Law Group have more than two decades of experience defending drug charges. Call us today at 702.405.0001 for a free consultation.