NRS 200.405 - "Administering drugs to aid in the commission of a felony" in Nevada

NRS 200.405 is a Nevada drug law which prohibits giving drugs to other people to enable the giver (or anyone else) to commit a felony. This statute states:

"Unless a greater penalty is provided in NRS 200.408, a person who administers to another person any chloroform, ether, laudanum, or any controlled substance, anesthetic, or intoxicating or emetic agent, with the intent thereby to enable or assist himself or herself or any other person to commit a felony, is guilty[.]"

Violating NRS 200.405 is a category B felony in Nevada, carrying:

But a Nevada plea bargain could be available where the charge gets reduced or perhaps dropped altogether. The defense attorney can argue either:

  • The defendant had no intent to commit a Nevada felony;
  • The drugs were not prohibited under NRS 200.405; or
  • The drugs were not meant to enable a crime

In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss the Nevada crime of administering drugs to aid in the commission of a felony under NRS 200.405. Click on a topic to jump to that section:

man giving pills to another
Violating NRS 200.405 is a category B felony in Nevada.

1. Legal definition of administering drugs to aid in the commission of a felony

Nevada law under NRS 200.405 prohibits people from administering any of the following drugs to another person for the purpose of assisting themselves or others to commit a felony:

  • chloroform,
  • ether,
  • laudanum, 
  • any controlled substance (which includes both illegal drugs and some prescription medications),
  • any anesthetic, 
  • any intoxicating agent, or
  • any emetic agent1

Put another way, it is illegal to dope someone else up in order to get him/her to commit a felony or to make it easier for the person giving the drugs (or a co-conspirator) to commit a felony.

Example: John gives Valium to Jane. While Jane is under the influence of the Valium, John hacks into her bank account and transfers her funds to John.

Note that John would still be liable under NRS 200.405 even if John never succeeded in hacking into Jane's account. That John had the intent to commit a crime by administering the drugs to Jane would be sufficient for prosecutors to press charges.

Also note that it does not matter whether Jane consented to take the Valium. All that matters is John's intent to take advantage of Jane's drug-induced state to effectuate the felonius money transfer. Now consider a slightly different example of this crime:

Example: John gives Valium to Jane. While Jane is under the influence of the Valium, John persuades Jane to transfer her bank account funds to John.

it is immaterial that Jane, not John, is the one transferring the money. That John gave Jane Valium with the intent to use her to give him her money is no less criminal than if John or a co-conspirator took the money himself.

2. Nevada penalties for administering drugs to further a felony

Administering drugs in Nevada to aid in the commission of a felony is a category B felony under NRS 200.405. The punishment is one to ten (1 - 10) years in prison.

Note that if the underlying felony was a Nevada sex crime, the defendant may also have to register as a Tier I sex offender in Nevada.2

sharing a joint
Nevada drug charges may be reduced through a plea bargain.

It is not unusual for prosecutors to substantially reduce drug charges following negotiations with defense attorneys:

In some cases, the D.A. may agree to lessen the charge to the "catch-all" low-level crime called drugs which may not be introduced into interstate commerce in Nevada (NRS 454.351). As only a misdemeanor in Nevada, this offense carries up to $1,000 in fines and/or up to six (6) months in jail.

3. Fighting Nevada charges of administering drugs to further a felony

The most effective method to defend against NRS 200.405 charges turns on the specific situation and available evidence. In general, potential defenses include:

  1. The defendant had no intent to commit a felony;
  2. The drugs were not prohibited under NRS 200.405; or
  3. The drugs were not meant to enable a crime

3.1. The defendant had no intent to commit a felony

Administering drugs to another person is not an NRS 200.405 violation if the person who administered the drugs had no intention to commit a felony crime. If the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had the intent for a felony to be carried out, then the charge should be dropped.

Example: Haylie gives her friend Betty a joint, which Haylie knew would cause Betty to lose her inhibitions. While Betty is high, Haylie instructs her to steal a lipstick Haylie wants from the corner CVS in Mesquite.

Since stealing lipstick is not a felony and only a misdemeanor, Haylie would not face charges of administering drugs to aid in a felony commission. Instead, they could face charges for the Nevada crime of petty larceny (NRS 205.240), the Nevada crime of conspiracy (NRS 199.480) to shoplift, and/or the Nevada crime of being under the influence of drugs (NRS 453.411)

Intent is often a difficult element for the D.A. to prove since it is so intangible. Prosecutors tend to rely on recorded communications and eyewitnesses as "circumstantial evidence" to demonstrate one's intentions.

3.2. The drugs were not prohibited under NRS 200.405

pills
Not all drugs are prohibited under NRS 200.405.

Perhaps the drug(s) that the defendant administered fell outside the bounds of what NRS 200.405 forbids. For instance, giving someone a vitamin, an antacid, or an aspirin is not prohibited under this law. If the prosecutor cannot prove that the defendant dispensed one of the substances referred to in NRS 200.405, then the charge should be dropped.

3.3. The drugs were not meant to enable a crime

For an NRS 200.405 charge to apply, the purpose behind dispensing the drugs must be to enable a crime to occur. But sometimes people take drugs prior to committing a crime, and one has nothing to do with another.

Example: At Mark's birthday party in Boulder City, his friend Henry gifts him a bottle of ecstasy pills. After Mark ingests one, he takes the rest of the pills and sells them to another party guest. Even though Henry gave Mark the drug -- and even though selling drugs is a felony -- Henry had no intention of having Mark commit a crime. Therefore, Henry would not be guilty of violating NRS 200.405.

In the above example, Henry and Mark could instead be prosecuted for the Nevada crime of selling or giving away controlled substances (NRS 453.321).

4. Deportation for administering drugs to aid in the commission of a felony

A Las Vegas immigration judge might find that an NRS 200.405 violation is a crime involving moral turpitude in Nevada. Consequently, a non-U.S. citizen convicted of violating NRS 200.405 could be deported after serving his/her criminal sentence.

Sometimes prosecutors are willing to change criminal charges to non-deportable offenses, so alien defendants are encouraged to retain experienced legal counsel to try to strike a deal that saves their resident status. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.  

5. Sealing Nevada criminal records for administering drugs to further a felony

Magnifying glass over paper with the text criminal record.
Sealed criminal records do not appear on most background checks.

A Nevada conviction for an NRS 200.405 violation can usually be sealed five (5) years after the case ends. But the conviction can never be sealed if the felony the defendant was hoping to further was a sex-related crime.

Note that if the charge gets reduced to a misdemeanor, then the waiting period is only one (1) year after the case ends.3 Also note that there is no waiting period to ask the court to seal criminal records of charges that get dismissed (meaning there is no conviction).4

Learn how to seal criminal records in Nevada.

6. Related offenses

6.1. Administration of controlled substance to aid commission of crime of violence

Like NRS 200.405, the Nevada crime of administering drugs to aid in the commission of a violent crime (NRS 200.408) is a category B felony. But the maximum prison sentence is 20 years instead of 10 years.

6.2. Drug possession

The Nevada crime of drug possession (NRS 453.336) occurs when people have actual, constructive, or joint possession of controlled substances for personal use. The penalties depend on the schedule of drug and whether the defendant has prior convictions.

6.3. Attempts

Nevada attempt crimes (NRS 193.330) are when a person makes an "overt act" to carry out a criminal offense but falls short. The penalty depends on the underlying crime that the defendant was attempting to commit. 

Male receptionist waiting for your call.
Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE for a FREE consultation today.

Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...

Accused of violating NRS 200.405 in Nevada? Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consultation. We are available to discuss all your legal options and how we can help.

In many cases, we are successful in negotiating a favorable resolution with prosecutors. But if you want your day in court, know that we are always ready to pursue a "not guilty" verdict at trial.


Legal References

  1. NRS 200.405  Administration of drug to aid commission of felony: Penalty.  Unless a greater penalty is provided in NRS 200.408, a person who administers to another person any chloroform, ether, laudanum, or any controlled substance, anesthetic, or intoxicating or emetic agent, with the intent thereby to enable or assist himself or herself or any other person to commit a felony, is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 10 years.
  2. Id.; NRS 179D.100.
  3. NRS 179.245.
  4. NRS 179.255.

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370