Drug Possession Attorney in Las Vegas

Don’t let the glamour, neon lights, and nightclubs of Las Vegas fool you into thinking Nevada takes a lenient approach toward drugs. While there have been some recent changes, Nevada has some of the toughest drug possession, distribution, and trafficking laws in the country. In Clark County, law enforcement officers and prosecutors strictly enforce those laws for residents and visitors alike.

If you have been arrested in Nevada on drug charges, you could be facing heavy fines, prison time, and other grave consequences. In fact, even people who have “paid their debt” for a drug crime are still haunted by their past when they search for jobs, apply to colleges, or form new relationships.

Take control of your future by contacting skilled Las Vegas drug crimes attorney Joel M. Mann. With more than a decade of experience as a Clark County criminal trial attorney, Joel has a long track record of getting drug charges dismissed or reduced for his clients. He and his team work tirelessly to protect the rights of Nevada residents, out-of-state visitors, college students, and juveniles charged with drug crimes.

You Can Trust Your Drug Crime Attorney to:

  • Fight for your release while charges are pending, demanding the lowest possible bail amount
  • Thoroughly review any evidence against you to identify potential problems in the case
  • Fight fiercely to have disputable evidence thrown out
  • Identify opportunities for completing a diversion program to wipe the charges from your record
  • Negotiate aggressively in plea deal talks
  • Craft a thoughtful defense strategy if your case must go to trial
  • Argue for the minimum possible sentence if a conviction is unavoidable, including pushing for any alternatives to incarceration
  • Always think ahead to your options for appeal

The stakes are too high to hesitate. You need to hire a knowledgeable Las Vegas drug crimes lawyer today. The dedicated legal team at the Law Office of Joel M. Mann is ready to get started on your case now. Contact us for a consultation and learn how we will fight to protect you and your future.

How Can Our Las Vegas Drug Defense Attorney Make a Difference for You?

The evidence is key to any criminal case. But what many people don’t realize is that there are numerous reasons evidence could be thrown out. As a veteran drug crimes defense attorney, Joel has reviewed the evidence in countless cases, and he can quickly identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

Joel will immediately begin combing through any photos, lab test results, police reports, and witness statements the prosecution plans to use against you. He will then decide whether the evidence is questionable. For example:

  • Did the police obtain any evidence in violation of your rights?
  • Did law enforcement stop and/or search you without a warrant, reasonable suspicion, or probable cause?
  • Was the arrest or search warrant invalid for some reason?
  • Was your constitutional right to an attorney violated by not being informed of your Miranda rights?
  • Did your arrest involve a flawed lineup or other misleading forms of identification?
  • Are the test results being used against you the result of faulty lab equipment?
  • Were procedural mistakes made?
  • Does the evidence show that you actually were in possession of a controlled substance?
  • Does the evidence really show “intent” to sell drugs?
  • Were you the victim of entrapment?

If there is shaky evidence in your case, Joel will argue aggressively to have it suppressed or excluded. Without key evidence, the prosecution may be forced to drop the drug charge against you. Joel has achieved this result for clients in numerous cases.

Contact Joel today to talk about the details of your case. Joel will personally manage your case from start to finish, so you never feel like “just a number.” After all, this is your freedom and your future on the line, and Joel takes his role in defending those rights very seriously.

Are You Eligible for a Diversionary Program for Your Las Vegas Drug Charges?

Diversionary programs offer defendants who have committed low-level crimes an alternative to a criminal conviction or jail time. Instead, defendants will usually be placed under probationary supervision and required to complete specific rehabilitation programs, such as a drug rehab program.

Recent changes to Nevada’s drug laws that went into effect in July of 2020 under Assembly Bill 236 greatly expand the diversionary program options for people accused of drug crimes. If you are accepted into the diversion program, under the terms of the new law, first-time and second-time drug offenders who are convicted of possessing 14 grams or less of a schedule I or schedule II controlled substance are guilty of a Category E felony, and their sentence must be deferred.

If you are accepted into the diversion program, the new law also states that first-time and second-time offenders convicted of possessing less than 28 grams of schedule III and schedule IV controlled substances — except for flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB, a known “date rape” drug) — are guilty of a Category E felony and their sentence must be deferred.

Finally, anyone convicted of possessing less than 28 grams of a schedule V controlled substance is guilty of a Category E felony under the new law, and their sentence can be deferred, if they are accepted into the diversion program.

If you think you may be eligible for a diversionary program, you need to speak with a knowledgeable drug crime attorney in Las Vegas. Joel can review the details of your case right away and guide you through this complicated process, which could possibly remove the entire mistake from your record.

Schedule a consultation today to learn more.

Understanding the Seriousness of Nevada Drug Charges

The potential consequences you face in your case will largely depend on four factors: the schedule of the drug; the amount; the act you are accused of doing (possession, sale, or trafficking); and your prior record. Nevada drug laws are strict. However, the passing of Assembly Bill 236 in Nevada reduces the penalties for some drug offenses and, in some instances, prioritizes probation options over jail time.

Weight thresholds are now taken into account in drug possession cases, meaning the severity of the penalties will vary depending on the amount of the controlled substance involved. Eligible defendants may be assigned treatment for drug use. Successful completion of the program could mean the dismissal of charges. New laws also protect probationers or parolees from having their probation or parole revoked for certain technical reasons, such as failing to submit a change of address.

We understand the seriousness of facing a drug charge. We will leverage our detailed knowledge of the current laws in Nevada to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

The Type of Drug Matters.

The type of drug involved in your case will affect the severity of the punishment you are facing. Nevada places controlled substances – addictive or illegal drugs – into five categories, or “schedules”:

  • Schedule I drugs are those with a high tendency for abuse and no accepted medical use. These include heroin, MDMA (Ecstasy), LSD (acid), GHB, mescaline (peyote), methamphetamine (crystal meth or speed), and PCP (angel dust).
  • Schedule II drugs are those that have a high tendency for abuse but may have an accepted medical use. These include cocaine, opium, oxycontin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, and methylphenidate (Ritalin).
  • Schedule III drugs have less potential for abuse or addiction and may have an accepted medicinal use. They include anabolic steroids, testosterone, and ketamine.
  • Schedule IV drugs have low potential for abuse, accepted medicinal use, and a low chance of abuse or addiction. They include tranquilizers, alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), clonazepam, and sedatives.
  • Schedule V drugs have an accepted medical use and a low chance of addiction or limited addictive properties. Cough suppressant is a Schedule V drug.

The Circumstances Matter.

In Nevada, the circumstances surrounding your arrest will affect the types of drug crimes you may be charged with. The most common drug charges are:


Under Nevada law (NRS 453.336), you may be accused of possession if law enforcement found the drug on your person or if they believe you were in a position to exercise “dominion and control” over the drug. For instance, if police found the drug on the ground next to you, lying on the floorboard of your car, or on a table in your home, you can be charged with possession. The recent changes to Nevada’s drug laws have drastically altered the penalties for drug possession, and the penalties will vary greatly depending on the drug in question.

The penalty for possessing less than 14 grams of a schedule I or II controlled substance is classified as a Category E felony. First- or second-time offenders must receive a mandatory probation for the offense. For third-time or subsequent offenders, the potential penalty is one to four years’ incarceration.

The penalty for possessing between 14 grams and 28 grams of a schedule I or schedule II controlled substance is one to six years in prison. Being caught with between 28 and 42 grams of a schedule I or schedule II drug could land you in jail for one to ten years. Possessing between 42 and 100 grams could result in a jail sentence of between two and 15 years.

It’s a similar situation with schedule III, schedule IV, and schedule V drugs, with the potential penalties ranging from one year to ten years in jail for possessing up to 200 grams of these substances. Penalties increase as the weight of drugs increases. Flunitrazepam and GHB have their own sentencing guidelines, in that possessing any amount less than 100 grams of these drugs will result in a one-year to six-year jail term.

Possession with intent to sell or distribute:

Unlike in other states and with other kinds of drug charges, in Nevada, there is no specific weight threshold to elevate a possession charge to possession with intent to sell or distribute (referred to as “unlawful possession for sale” in Nevada). Instead, the revised law simply says that it is illegal to possess schedule I, II, II, IV, or V controlled substances for the purposes of selling them. The same is true for possessing Rohypnol or GHB for the purpose of selling them.

According to the revised law, the penalties for a first-time conviction of possession for sale of schedule I and schedule II drugs, along with Rohypnol and GHB, include one to four years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. The penalties for subsequent convictions increase to up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

The penalties for schedule III, schedule IV, and schedule V controlled substances work a little differently. The penalty for a first or second offense is up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The penalty for subsequent offenses is up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. It should be noted that the new laws also allow judges to impose probation as a sentence if extenuating circumstances apply, except in cases where the drug in question is Rohypnol or GHB.


Under NRS 453.3385, 453.339, and 453.3395, you can be accused of drug trafficking if you knowingly possess, sell, manufacture, deliver, or bring into Nevada controlled substances in certain quantities. The quantity of drug that qualifies for a trafficking charge depends on the schedule of the controlled substance.

The recent changes to Nevada’s drug laws have created a new tiered system of penalties for drug trafficking, as well as raising the weight threshold for someone to be charged with trafficking. The new system works like this:

  • Schedule I and schedule II drugs – Possessing between 100 and 400 grams is a Category B felony punishable by between two and 20 years in jail. Being caught with more than 400 grams is a Category A felony, and the penalties include a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, or 25 years with eligibility for parole after 10 years.
  • Rohypnol and GHB – Being found with between 100 and 400 grams of either of these drugs is a Category B felony, and you could go to jail for between two and 20 years. If you’re found with more than 400 grams of either substance, it’s a Category A felony. In these cases, the penalty is either a lifetime prison sentence or 25 years in prison with parole eligibility after 10 years.
  • Marijuana – While marijuana is now legal in Nevada for personal, recreational use, you can still be charged with trafficking if you’re caught bringing large amounts of it into the state. Marijuana laws are also complicated because there are different weight thresholds for marijuana and marijuana concentrate (known as resin).
    • Trafficking between 50 and 1,000 pounds of marijuana, or between 1 and 20 pounds of resin, is a Category C felony, and you could be punished with a fine of up to $25,000.
    • Trafficking between 1,000 and 5,000 pounds of marijuana, or between 20 and 100 pounds of resin, is a Category B felony punishable with two to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $50,000.
    • Lastly, trafficking more than 5,000 pounds of marijuana or more than 100 pounds of resin is a Category A felony. If you’re convicted of trafficking that much marijuana, you could be sentenced to either 15 years or life in prison, with eligibility for parole kicking in after five years. You’d also have to pay a fine of up to $200,000.

Remember, the charges you are facing are just the starting point, not the end. When you meet with Joel, he will go over all the details of your case to identify any opportunity to push for the charges to be reduced or dropped. Joel has even been successful in getting the prosecution to agree to dismiss charges after completion of certain requirements.

In addition, Joel can help you with federal charges related to drug possession, sale, or trafficking. Federal drug laws differ in many ways from Nevada’s state laws, but Joel has extensive experience handling both types of cases.

Contact Joel today to start building the strong defense you need to get through this difficult time.

What Are the Nevada Marijuana Laws?

Marijuana used to be classified as a Schedule I drug in Nevada, but it is now allowed for recreational use. As of January 1, 2017, it is legal in Nevada for an adult (age 21 or older) to purchase from a legal dispensary and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana (3.5 grams of concentrates) and consume it on private property.

Possession of more than 1 ounce (less than a trafficking amount) or possession/use of marijuana in a public place is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum $600 fine.

Marijuana trafficking is still a serious crime with severe consequences. Penalties for trafficking marijuana in Nevada (50 pounds to 5,000 pounds or more) can include fines of up to $200,000 and a sentence of up to life in prison (with parole possible after five years).

Note: Marijuana is still considered an illegal drug under federal laws. And the Nevada Legislature is still adapting the state laws to comply with the recent change to make recreational marijuana legal.

Get Help from an Experienced Las Vegas Drug Crimes Attorney

If you or a loved one is facing a drug charge in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Clark County, you need to start working on your defense immediately. Call experienced Las Vegas drug crime lawyer Joel M. Mann or contact him online today for the next steps after drug charges. He represents clients in all of Nevada’s state and federal trial and appeals courts and is among the few attorneys across the country who have been sworn in before the U.S. Supreme Court. He will listen to you and understand your goals before making recommendations about how to proceed with your case. Call today to begin mounting your defense.

How Can Joel Help You?

Nevada Drug Crime Resources