Nevada "Transportation of a Controlled Substance" Laws
(NRS 453.321 & NRS 453.3395)
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Transporting drugs is punished just as harshly as making or selling drugs in Nevada. Transportation can even be charged as trafficking depending on the type of narcotic.

Below our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys explain the law, defenses, and possible penalties for the Nevada crime of transporting controlled substances.

Note that this page provides transportation information on every drug except marijuana. If you were charged with transporting pot, refer to our webpage on the subject: Marijuana crimes in Nevada.

The legal definition of drug transportation in Las Vegas, NV

It is illegal to transport controlled substances in Nevada. This law applies to any form of transportation including driving, flying, and boating.

In some cases, drug transportation is charged as the more serious crime of trafficking in Nevada. Transportation becomes trafficking under the following conditions in Las Vegas:

  • The drugs are classified as schedule I, and they amount to at least 4 grams, OR
  • The drugs are classified as schedule II, and they amount to at least 28 grams.

This is why Nevada trafficking charges tend to be reserved for more "big time" drug dealers.

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Defenses

Drug transportation charges lend themselves to several possible defenses depending on the facts of your case. These are three common strategies attorneys may use to fight Nevada transportation charges.

  • You didn't know the drugs were there: You are not liable for this crime if you did not knowingly have the drugs in your possession. For example if a friend leaves cocaine in your car and you do not know it is there, you have committed no crime when you then drive the car.
  • Illegal search: If the police executed an invalid Las Vegas search warrant to find the drugs, your attorney may ask the court to exclude the drugs from evidence. If the judge agrees, your case could be thrown out for lack of proof.
  • Insufficient evidence: The prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that drug transportation took place in order for the defendant to be found guilty. If the only "proof" is a cop's eyewitness account, your attorney may question his/her credibility on the witness stand in an effort to raise that reasonable doubt.

Penalties

Punishments for transporting narcotics in Nevada depend on the type and quantity of the drug.

Remember that the following does not apply to marijuana. For that information refer to our article on the Nevada crime of transporting marijuana.

If the drug is schedule I

Examples of schedule I controlled substances in Nevada are:

  • GHB
  • Hydrocodone
  • PCP
  • Ecstasy
  • Heroin

If the quantity is less than 4 grams:

Transporting less than 4 grams of schedule I narcotics is a category B felony in Nevada. But note that a first-time conviction is often probationable without prison. Otherwise, a first offense carries:

A second offense carries the increased sentence of:

  • 2 - 10 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • up to $20,000 in fines.

And a third offense carries a punishment of:

  • 3 - 15 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • up to $20,000 in fines.

If the quantity is at least 4 grams but less than 14 grams:

Transporting at least 4 grams but less than 14 grams of a schedule I drug is trafficking. The standard penalty in Nevada includes the category B felony sentence of:

If the quantity is at least 14 grams but less than 28 grams:

Transporting at least 14 grams but less than 28 grams of a schedule I drug is also trafficking. The punishment in Las Vegas includes a category B felony sentence of:

If the quantity is 28 grams or more:

Transporting at least 28 grams of a schedule I drug is not only charged as trafficking. It is punished as a category A felony in Nevada, which carries:

  • 25 years - life in Nevada State Prison, and
  • up to $500,000 in fines.

If the drug is schedule II

Examples of schedule II controlled substances in Nevada are:

  • Cocaine/crack
  • Methamphetamine
  • Ritalin

If the quantity is less than 4 grams:

Transporting less than 4 grams of schedule II narcotics in Nevada is a category B felony. A first-time conviction is usually probationable without prison. Otherwise, the sentence includes:

A second offense warrants the increased punishment of:

  • 2 - 10 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • up to $20,000 in fines.

And a third offense is punished by:

  • 3 - 15 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • up to $20,000 in fines.

If the quantity is at least 28 grams but less than 200 grams:

Transporting 28 to under 200 grams of a schedule II drug is trafficking. It's charged as a category C felony in Nevada carrying:

  • 1 - 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • a fine of up to $50,000

If the quantity is at least 200 grams but less than 400 grams:

Transporting 200 to just under 400 grams of a schedule II drug is category B-level trafficking. The sentence in Las Vegas includes:

  • 2 - 10 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • a fine of up to $100,000

If the quantity is 400 grams or more:

Transporting 400 grams or more of a category II drug is prosecuted as a category A felony in Nevada with a punishment of:

  • 15 years - life in Nevada State Prison with the possibility of parole after 5 years, and
  • a fine of up to $250,000

If the drug is schedule III, schedule IV or schedule V

Examples of drugs that fall under this category includes:

  • Xanax
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Valium
  • Ambien
  • Rohypnol
  • Robitussin AC

A first time conviction of transporting category III, IV, or V narcotics is usually probationable. But it's a category C felony in Nevada that potentially carries:

  • 1 - 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • up to $10,000 in fines.

A second transportation offense is a category B felony with the enhanced sentence of:

  • 2 - 10 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • up to $15,000 in fines.

And a third offense of narcotics transportation is also a category B felony, carrying:

  • 3 - 15 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • up to $20,000 in fines.

Note that Nevada trafficking charges do not apply to category III, IV or V level narcotics.

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Related Drug Crimes:

Possession:

The offense of possession of controlled substances in Las Vegas NV makes it a crime to have actual, constructive or joint possession of drugs for personal use. A first offense of straight narcotics possession can usually be dismissed by doing Las Vegas Drug Court.

Possession for sale:

Charges of possession of controlled substances with intent to sell in Las Vegas NV are brought against people suspected of possessing drugs for the purpose of selling them. A first offense is typically probationable without prison.

Sales:

The crime of selling controlled substances in Las Vegas NV punishes the act of trading drugs for money. Probation may be possible if it is your first offense. Transporting drugs may be charged under this same statute (NRS 453.321) depending on the drugs and quantity.

Trafficking:

The offense of trafficking controlled substances in Las Vegas NV comprises cases of selling, manufacturing or shipping large quantities of controlled substances. A defendant may elude prison time if the defendant aids the police to investigate other criminal activity. Transporting over 4 grams of schedule I drugs or 28 grams of schedule II drugs is charged as trafficking.

Additional Resources

Arrested for transporting drugs in Las Vegas? Call us ...

If you have been accused of transporting drugs in Nevada, call 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers can meet with you for free to discuss your case. We may be able to get your narcotics transportation charges reduced or dismissed.

For information about California drug transportation law, go to our webpage on California drug transportation law.

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