Drug Crime Attorney in Las Vegas
Representation for Sale of Controlled Substance Charges
Sale of a controlled substance in Las Vegas involves the transfer of an
illegal drug from one person to another. These charges are frequently
brought in Las Vegas courts and can be based upon transactions that include:
In Las Vegas, charges for the sale of drugs commonly arise from illegal
drug transactions which occur in nightclubs, strip clubs, pool parties,
as well as hand-to-hand street sales of illegal drugs. Under Nevada law,
a “sale” means that with the intent to exchange an illegal
drug for money or something else of value, a person actually, or attempts
to, barter, exchange, furnish, supply, gift, or offer a controlled substance
to another person for something of value – most often, money.
In Nevada, the act of transfer is essential. The
controlled substance must go from person A (seller), to person B (buyer). If there is no pickup
or delivery of a substance the prosecution cannot convict someone of the
sale of controlled substance. There must be an exchange of something of
value for a controlled substance. The transactional nature of the crime
lies at the heart of the charge.
Requirement of Intent and Transactional Exchange
Another element of sale of a controlled substance requires that the prosecution
prove that the seller
knew that the substance was a narcotic drug. This essential element of the
charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in every instance in which
someone is charged with selling an illegal substance for the charge to
be legally valid. Knowledge of the nature of the substance being sold
is critical and must be supported by adequate evidence in every case.
The prosecution is not required to prove that anyone necessarily profited
from the illegal drug transfer. This means that the prosecution does not
need to show any amount of money exchanged for the drug. Also, the quantity
of drug transferred does not matter. Therefore, all that the prosecution
needs to show in this regard, is that something of value was paid for,
or bartered for, a controlled substance. Again, the amount of money given
for the illegal drug, or the amount of the controlled substance itself,
is irrelevant. As long as a transaction between two persons occurs which
involves money, or an item of value being exchanged for a controlled substance,
criminal liability for sale of a controlled substance will attach.
Our Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyers Handle Third-Party Issues
As one would expect in Las Vegas, sale of a controlled substance fact patterns
usually involve a transaction directly between a seller and buyer. However,
liability can also occur through the conduct of a third-party. A third-party
(agent) transaction for a controlled substance, will be deemed a sale
between the seller (principal) and the buyer. In other words, if a person
(agent) sells an illegal drug on behalf of another person (principal),
the original seller (principal) can still be prosecuted for the act of
his agent and properly be convicted of selling illegal substances.
Nevada courts have consistently held that any party involved in the sale,
who has the requisite criminal intent, can be properly convicted of the
crime. A person cannot be relieved of criminal liability for selling illegal
substances by having the illegal drug sale done by his or her agent. He
or she will be deemed equally culpable for the crime of sale of controlled
substance so long as he or she has the criminal intent to effectuate through
his or her agent.
Mere Presence Defense
Often, innocent persons in the vicinity of a sale of controlled substance
are improperly charged as participants in the drug sale. When this occurs,
it is important to remember that under Nevada law, a person who is merely
present during a drug transaction (meaning a person who is present at
the illegal drug transaction and does not have any criminal intent) cannot
properly be convicted of the crime. This defense occurs often in
Las Vegas drug cases.
Defense Against a Criminal Drug Charge
If convicted, a person will face the following penalties:
First offense: This is a category B felony. The penalties include 1-6 years of prison
time and a fine up to $20,000. For persons convicted of a first offense,
probation is possible.
Second offense: This is a category B felony. The penalties include 2-10 years of mandatory
prison time and a fine up to $20,000. A second offense is non-probational.
Third offense (or more): This is a category B felony. The penalties include 3-15 years of mandatory
prison time and a fine up to $20,000. A third offense is non-probational.
If you’ve been charged with selling illegal drugs, you need the strongest
legal defense available to you to ensure that you are fairly represented
under Nevada or federal law. At
Oronoz, Ericsson & Gaffney LLC, our team of experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys will work
tirelessly to defend your rights.
Call our firm
at (702) 904-8858 today to schedule your
free initial consultation
with our team.