NRS 212.160 is the Nevada law that makes it a category B felony to give state prisoners deadly weapons, explosives, or drugs, which is punishable by one to six years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. This statute also makes it a gross misdemeanor to give state prisoners alcohol, which carries up to 364 days in jail and/or $2,000 in fines.
NRS 212.160 states it is unlawful when:
A person, who is not authorized by law, who knowingly furnishes, attempts to furnish, or aids or assists in furnishing or attempting to furnish to a prisoner confined in an institution of the Department of Corrections, or any other place where prisoners are authorized to be or are assigned by the Director of the Department, any deadly weapon, explosive, a facsimile of a firearm or an explosive, any controlled substance or intoxicating liquor[.]
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What does NRS 212.160 do?
- 2. What are the penalties in Nevada?
- 3. How do I fight charges of furnishing weapons, drugs, or alcohol to state prisoners?
- 4. Will I be deported?
- 5. Can the record be sealed?
1. What does NRS 212.160 do?
- deadly weapons,
- facsimiles of a firearm or an explosive (such as a fake gun),
- any controlled substance (including prescription drugs or medical marijuana), and/or
- intoxicating liquor.
This state law also makes it a crime to help someone else to give these prohibited items to state prisoners. Even leaving a prohibited item where a state prisoner can obtain it is a crime under the statute.
Note that it does not matter whether the transfer of contraband occurs in a:
- state correctional facility,
- prison bus, or
- any other detention facility or location the state inmate is in custody1
In practice, it is very difficult for outsiders to furnish contraband to prisoners. Friends or family who visit inmates during visiting hours go through metal detectors, leave their bags in a locker, and usually see the inmate only through glass.
Many prisons have a “wall of shame” where they post mug shots of friends and family who were caught with methamphetamine or other contraband in their undergarments in the hopes of passing it on to an inmate.
2. What are the penalties in Nevada?
Knowingly furnishing state prisoners with narcotics, weapons, or explosives is a category B felony in Nevada. The sentence is:
- 1 to 6 years in prison, and
- Up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge’s discretion)
Note that convicted felons also lose their right to own or possess firearms.
Meanwhile, it is a gross misdemeanor to give alcohol to state prisoners. The punishment is:
- Up to 364 days in jail, and/or
- Up to $2,000 in fines2
3. How do I fight charges of furnishing weapons, drugs, or alcohol to state prisoners?
Three potential defenses to NRS 212.160 charges include:
- The defendant did not act knowingly. If the prisoner may have swiped the defendant’s firearm or pillbox without the defendant’s knowledge, the defendant may be able to get the charge dismissed.
- The defendant was falsely accused. Perhaps prison staff accused the defendant of furnishing contraband to prisoners out of anger, revenge, or a genuine misunderstanding.
- The police officers committed misconduct. Criminal charges can be dismissed if the law enforcement agency violated the law, such as by coercing a confession or committing entrapment.
In every criminal case, prosecutors have the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defense attorney can show that the state’s evidence is too insufficient, inconsistent, or inaccurate to sustain a conviction, the district attorney or state attorney general may drop the case.
4. Will I be deported?
Non-citizens convicted of giving firearms or drugs to state penal institution inmates could face deportation.3 That is why immigrant defendants should seek out legal counsel as soon as possible to try to get the charges dismissed or reduced to a non-deportable offense.
5. Can the record be sealed?
Category B felony convictions for giving firearms or drugs to state prisoners can be sealed five years after the case ends. And gross misdemeanor convictions for giving alcohol to state prisoners can be sealed two years after the case ends.
Note that criminal charges that get dismissed can be sealed right away.4 Learn more about how to seal criminal records in Nevada.
Our criminal defense attorneys practice in Las Vegas, NV, Reno, Henderson, North Las Vegas, and throughout the state.
- Nevada Revised Statute 212.160 – Furnishing weapon, facsimile, intoxicant or controlled substance to state prisoner; possession of controlled substance, marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia by state prisoner. See also Glispey v. Sheriff, Carson City, (1973) 89 Nev. 221, 510 P.2d 623. See also Sheriff, Clark County v. Medberry, (1980) 96 Nev. 202, 606 P.2d 181.
- NRS 212.160 subsections (b) and (c). Note that NRS 212.170 makes it a gross misdemeanor to furnish alcohol to inmates in city or county jail, such as the Clark County Detention Center.
- 8 USC 1227.
- NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.