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Therefore, any action that involves any amount of cocaine is treated as a felony charge in Nevada. Though a first- or second-time recreational possession charge can be completely dismissed if:
you complete a diversion program, and
the amount was less than 14 grams.
Otherwise, the penalties for cocaine felonies can be very severe:
Nevada cocaine felony
Possession of a controlled substance (“simple possession”)
A first- or second-time cocaine possession charge of less than 14 grams is a category E felony, and the court will dismiss it if you complete a diversion program. Though third offenses are category D felonies carrying 1 to 4 years in state prison and up to $25,000.
Possessing 14 to less than 28 grams of cocaine is a category C felony carrying 1 to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000.
Possessing 28 to less than 42 grams of cocaine is a category B felony carrying 1 to 10 years in prison and up to $50,000.
Possessing 42 to less than 100 grams of cocaine is also a category B felony. The penalties are 2 to 15 years in prison and up to $50,000.1
The reason these offenses are only misdemeanors is that they do not involve any cocaine being present. As misdemeanors, the penalties include:
up to 6 months in jail, and/or
up to $1,000 in fines.
Sometimes, prosecutors charge simple cocaine possession not as a felony but instead as a misdemeanor under NRS 454.351. This statute is a “catch-all” drug misdemeanor reserved for non-serious cases.5
Defense law firms may get charges for actual- or constructive possession of cocaine dismissed.
Can cocaine felonies get reduced to misdemeanors?
Nevada criminal defense attorneys may be able to persuade prosecutors to reduce felony cocaine charges to misdemeanors. Depending on the type of drug offense, your lawyer can argue that the police committed entrapment or that the police search was an illegal search.
In addition to lesser penalties, misdemeanors have the following advantages over felonies:
Misdemeanor convictions involving controlled substances can be sealed one year after the case ends. Though category B-, C-, or D felonies cannot be sealed for five years. Category E felonies are sealable after two years.
Unlike misdemeanor convictions, felony cocaine convictions take your gun rights.
Misdemeanor convictions involving illegal drugs look better on background checks than felony convictions.
As discussed in the first section, many first- and second-time charges of simple possession can be completely dismissed if you complete a diversion program.
If you are suffering from an acute addiction, you may be eligible for drug court, an intensive rehab where your case also gets dismissed upon successful completion.
For additional help…
Arrested for a cocaine offense or other drug charge? Contact our drug crime attorneys. Our DUI and criminal defense lawyers practice throughout Clark County, Las Vegas and Henderson. Our Nevada law offices are available 24/7.
Nevada Revised Statute 453.336. Note that cocaine is a schedule II drug like methamphetamine. Schedule I drugs include marijuana, heroin, and ecstasy.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.