Drug trafficking is Nevada’s most serious narcotics crime. In addition to carrying long prison terms and high fines, a conviction mars your criminal record and can keep you from ever finding work again.
Our Las Vegas drug trafficking lawyers investigate your case for every instance where law enforcement may have violated the law and policing procedures. Your criminal charges could be completely dropped based on police misconduct alone.
1. What are the penalties for drug trafficking?
The consequences of a drug trafficking conviction are very harsh, which is why our legal team fights so hard to get the charges dismissed or reduced to a minor charge.
The penalties for trafficking marijuana turn on the amount:
|Marijuana Amount||Trafficking penalty in Nevada|
|50 pounds to less than 1,000 pounds of marijuana, or 1 pound to less than 20 pounds of concentrated cannabis||Category C felony: |
|1,000 pounds to less than 5,000 pounds of marijuana, or 20 pounds to less than 100 pounds of concentrated cannabis||Category B felony: |
|5,000 pounds or more of marijuana, or 100 pounds or more or more of concentrated cannabis||Category A felony: |
Meanwhile, the penalties are even more severe for trafficking schedule I controlled substances, schedule II controlled substances, Rohypnol or GHB:
- Low-level drug trafficking (100 grams to less than 400 grams) is a category B felony carrying 2 to 20 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
- High-level trafficking (400 grams or more) is a category A felony carrying 25 years to life in prison (with parole possibility after 10 years) and up to $500,000 in fines.1
2. How can I fight the charges?
Five potential defenses that our Las Vegas drug trafficking lawyers rely on are:
- You were not aware of the drugs. For example if someone hired you to deliver a package – and you genuinely had no reason to know the contents included drugs – then you committed no crime.
- The police found the drugs through an illegal search. When this happens, we would file a motion to suppress the illegally obtained evidence. If the judge agrees, the D.A. could be left with too weak a case to continue prosecuting.
- The drugs did not weigh enough. Trafficking charges apply only if the drugs in question exceeded a certain weight. If it turns out the police overestimated the quantity of drugs involved, the charges could be reduced to a lesser offense.
- The police coerced your confession. If law enforcement pressured you into confessing or failed to read you your Miranda rights before interrogating you, the judge can suppress the confession. And the D.A. may have to drop the case for lack of proof.
- The police entrapped you. Police routinely go undercover in drug stings to catch alleged drug dealers. But if the police pressured or threatened you into committing drug trafficking when you were not predisposed to it, then the court should dismiss the charge.
3. What if I agree to be an informant?
In some drug trafficking cases, the court may reduce or even suspend the prison sentence if defendants agree to aid police in their investigation of other drug dealers and manufacturers. Our Las Vegas drug trafficking attorneys can help broker a deal to everyone’s benefit.
4. How long do prosecutors have to file charges?
The statute of limitations for Nevada prosecutors to bring drug trafficking charges is three years after the trafficking allegedly occurred.2
5. When can my criminal record be sealed?
If our Las Vegas drug trafficking lawyers can get the charges dismissed, then we can begin the Nevada record seal process right away. Or if we can get the charge reduced to a misdemeanor drug offense, then the wait-time to get a record seal is only one year after the case ends.
Otherwise, the waiting period to seal category C- or category B felony drug trafficking convictions is five years after the case ends. And the wait-time to seal category A felony drug trafficking convictions is ten years after the case ends.3
6. Is it necessary to have a lawyer?
Drug trafficking can carry decades in Nevada State Prison and hundreds of thousands in fines. So all defendants facing these allegations should retain an aggressive and experienced attorney in pursuit of a charge reduction or dismissal.
Public defenders are too overworked and under-resourced to do a deep dive into each case. Prosecutors know this, so they over-charge defendants and offer bad plea deals because they expect no push-back from public defenders.
But when our Las Vegas trafficking attorneys investigate your case, we may find instances where the police made procedural errors that get all your charges overturned. And we may find previously unearthed evidence that raises a reasonable doubt as to your guilt.
Once the prosecutors realize that our Nevada criminal defense attorneys are resolved to keep fighting until we achieve a favorable resolution, the D.A. may be more willing to lessen the charges or drop the case.
- NRS 453.3385. NRS 453.339. Andrews v. State, (2018) 412 P.3d 37, 134 Nev. Adv. Rep. 12. Vidal v. State, (1989) 105 Nev. 98, 769 P.2d 1292.
- NRS 171.085.
- NRS 179.245. NRS 179.255.