Charged with Drug Trafficking in Nevada?
Drug trafficking in Nevada is a very serious charge. Depending on the type of drug, and the weight of the substance, it can carry up to a life sentence in prison.
What Nevada Statute Criminalizes Drug Trafficking?
NRS 453.3385 is Nevada's drug trafficking statute. It makes it a felony to intentionally possess, sell, manufacture, transport, or import 100 grams or more of schedule I controlled substances (other than marijuana), schedule II controlled substances, Rohypnol or GHB.
What are the Levels of Drug Trafficking?
In Nevada, drug trafficking can be categorized as low-level, or as high-level. If the illicit drug being trafficked is more than 100 grams and less than 400 grams, it is low-level trafficking, which is punished as a Category B felony, and 2 to 20 years in prison.
High-level drug trafficking involves 400 grams or more of an illicit substance covered by the statute. It is punished as a Category A felony, with penalties of 25 years to life in prison, or with parole eligibility after 10 years.
What are the Elements of Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking is committed when the defendant “knowingly or intentionally sells, manufactures, delivers or brings into this State or who is knowingly or intentionally in actual or constructive possession of” controlled substances, and the weight of the substances is over 100 grams.
Nevada's legal definition of drug trafficking is thus incredibly broad, and it does not require any proof of the existence (or breadth) of distribution, transportation, or trafficking involved in the offense. In fact, mere possession over the minimum weight threshold is a trafficking offense per se. In other words, if you possess a large weight of these substances, you are conclusively presumed to be trafficking in the drug. Over 100 grams of a substance cannot be argued to be for personal use.
What are the Penalties for Trafficking Marijuana?
Marijuana is treated differently than the other “hard” drugs when it comes to trafficking penalties. 50 pounds to 1,000 pounds of marijuana is a Category C felony, with 1 to 5 years in prison and up to $25,000.00 in fines. 1,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds is a Category B felony, with 2 to 10 years in prison and up to $50,000.00 in fines. 5,000 pounds or more is a Category A felony with 15 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 5 years and up to $200,000.00 in fines.
Can Drug Trafficking get Probation?
Nevada law does not permit those convicted of drug trafficking to receive probation. However, with the help of a skillful attorney, many drug trafficking cases can be negotiated via plea bargaining to an offense which is probationable. Alternatively, a drug trafficking defendant may seek probation under NRS 453.3405(2), which creates an exception through which drug trafficking defendants can be sentenced to probation where they cooperate and provide "substantial assistance" to prosecutors (in other words, give up information on other high level drug traffickers which assists the State in prosecuting them).
Are there any Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges?
A skillful defense attorney will pursue numerous different potential avenues for defense in a drug trafficking case. The best strategy depends on the facts of each unique case. Common defenses may include:
- The defendant did not knowingly possess the drugs
- The defendant did not constructively possess the drugs
- The State has misidentified the chemical substance
- The State has incorrectly weighed the substance
- Law enforcement violated the defendant's rights when investigating the case or when obtaining evidence to be used against the defendant
- There is insufficient evidence to convict the defendant
- Mistaken identity – someone trafficked the drugs, but not this defendant
- False accusation – a witness has accused the defendant, but that witness has a motive to lie to harm the defendant.
If you or your loved one has been accused of this serious offense, you need an attorney to uncover every stone, and investigate every avenue, to give you the best chance of success. Call our Liberators Criminal Defense attorneys today for a free initial evaluation of your case.