Prescription painkillers OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone) are schedule II controlled substances. Any unlawful use, possession, sale or trafficking of these drugs in Nevada is a felony, but criminal charges can possibly be plea-bargained down to a misdemeanor or dismissal.
Here are four key things to know:
- Most first-time possession charges can be dropped completely if you complete probation.
- However, non-citizens caught with OxyContin or Vicodin without a prescription face deportation.
- A common defense to criminal charges is that you did not know the drugs were there.
- Another common defense is that the police committed misconduct, such as entrapment or an illegal search.
Below our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers answer frequently-asked-questions about OxyContin and Vicodin crimes in Nevada.
1. What are the penalties for OxyContin or Vicodin crimes?
The more serious the charge, the more extensive the prison term and fine.
|OxyContin or Vicodin crime||Nevada penalties for a 1st-time conviction|
|Possession for personal use (NRS 453.336)||Category E felony (for less than 14 grams): Your case will likely be dismissed if you complete certain court ordered terms.|
|Possession for sale (NRS 453.337)||Category D felony: 1 to 4 years in prison (or probation) and up to $5,000|
|Selling, giving away, or transporting (NRS 453.321)||Category C felony: 1 to 5 years in prison (or probation) and up to $10,000|
|Trafficking (NRS 453.3385)||Category B felony (for 100 to less than 400 grams): 2 to 20 years in prison and up to $100,000|
|Being under the influence (NRS 453.411)||Misdemeanor: Up to 6 months in jail and/or $1,0001|
2. What are the defenses?
Three common arguments to fight OxyContin or Vicodin charges are:
- You had no knowledge that the drugs were there.2 Maybe someone planted the drugs in the defendant’s residence or vehicle. Or perhaps the defendant’s roommate possessed the drugs without telling the defendant. If the prosecutor cannot show the defendant was aware of the drugs, the case should be dropped.
- The police entrapped you. Law enforcement is allowed to go undercover, conduct stings, and lie to suspects. But they cross the line if they threaten or otherwise force suspects into breaking a law they were not predisposed to break. Defendants who were deceived by police may be able to raise the entrapment defense and get the charge dismissed.3
- The police committed an unconstitutional search and seizure. Police are required to conduct their searches within the bounds of the Fourth Amendment. If the police overstep their bounds, defendants may ask the judge to suppress any illegally-obtained evidence. If the court grants the “motion to suppress,” the D.A. may be unable to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
3. Can the record be sealed?
Usually yes, but there may be a wait.4
|Nevada OxyContin or Vicodin conviction||Record seal waiting period|
|Misdemeanor||1 year after the case closes|
|Category E felony||2 years after the case closes|
|Category D felony
Category C felony
Category B felony
|5 years after the case closes|
|Category A felony||10 years after the case closes|
|Dismissal (no conviction)||Right away (no wait)|
Learn about how to petition for a Nevada criminal record seal.
4. Are there immigration consequences?
Non-citizens convicted of any drug crime related to OxyContin or Vicodin face deportation.5 Immigrants should hire an experienced attorney as soon as possible to try to get the charges dismissed.
5. Related offenses
See our articles on:
In California? See our article on California Vicodin laws.