Category Archives: Drug Crimes

Drug Arrests at EDC 2016

Electric Daisy CarnivalElectric Daisy Carnival (EDC), one of the largest electronic dance music festivals in the world, starts this Friday, June 17, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since its inception in 1996, EDC has become world-renowned for its marquee acts, emerging artists, circus-style performers, and Las Vegas-style party atmosphere.

The three-day music festival has also become synonymous with recreational use of party drugs like cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), LSD (Acid), and methamphetamines. While the organizers of Electric Daisy Carnival have publicized the festival has a zero-tolerance for illegal drugs, possession and use of controlled substances remains a common practice.

Drug-Related Deaths at EDC

According to an investigative report from the LA Times, 19 drug-related deaths have occurred during the EDC festivities from 1996 to 2015. Last year, a 24-year old UC Irvine graduate died of an MDMA overdose.

In 2014, another 24-year old EDC attendee also died from ecstasy intoxication or an MDMA overdose in the parking lot outside of the festival. That same year a 25-year old male died of ecstasy and cocaine intoxication in his hotel room.

In 2012, a 22-year old female under the influence of ecstasy, methamphetamines, and gamma –hydroxybutryic suffered paranoid delusions and fell from a 20-story hotel building to her death.

Drug Arrests at EDC

Due to the frequency of drug-related deaths at EDC, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) is stationed outside and inside the festival. According to the Electric Daisy Carnival website, all attendees are subject to a TSA-style search or a search similar to search performed at the airport. The search will require all attendees to empty pockets and bags, have all items examined, a full pat-down, and possibly require removal of shoes.

In the past many festival goers have still attempt to smuggle illicit drugs into the festival. In 2014 LVMPD made 73 felony narcotics arrest during the three-day festival. Law enforcement also seized smaller amounts of controlled substances and issued citations.

Considering EDC celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, the festival is expected to be bigger than ever. Last year more than 400,000 people attended Electric Daisy Carnival (approximately 134,000 each day). Las Vegas law enforcement expects more people and more drugs and will be on high alert as a result.

Las Vegas Drug Charges

Commonly, an individual will be charged with the following drug offenses in Las Vegas, Nevada:

The specific charge an individual may sustain after being caught with drugs depends on several factors, including the type of drug, the amount or weight of the drug, and prior drug offenses.

Ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, GHB, Methamphetamine, Marijuana, and Cocaine are popular in the party and rave scene in Las Vegas. Although many people view these drugs as recreational and not as serious as other controlled substances, the criminal penalties are severe.

MDMA, LSD, and Meth are considered Schedule I drugs under Nevada law. Schedule I drugs are considered highly addictive and have no accepted medical use.  Cocaine is considered a Schedule II drug. Schedule II drugs have an accepted medical use, but a high tendency of abuse.

A first offense possession of a Schedule I or II drug is considered a category E felony. Category E felonies are punishable by one to four years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

Marijuana is also considered a Schedule I drug; however, the criminal penalties differ. First-offense possession of marijuana (1 ounce or less) is considered a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of no more than $600.

Conclusion

A conviction for a drug offense can have serious personal and professional consequences, including jail, fines, employment restrictions, and housing restrictions. It is important to consult an experienced drug defense attorney immediately following an arrest.

Joel Mann of The Law Office of Joel Mann, Chtd. is an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney. Immediately following your arrest he will use his skills and experience to obtain the best possible bail arrangement and begin building a strong defense on your behalf.

The Law Office of Joel Mann, Chtd. diligently defends clients throughout Clark County, including Las Vegas,  Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, and surrounding areas. Contact Joel Mann at (702) 474-MANN (6266) for a confidential review of your case.

References:

  1. Las Vegas Sun, 22 Arrested at EDC, 10 Taken to the Hospital http://lasvegassun.com/news/2015/jun/20/22-arrested-edc-friday-10-taken-to-hospital-/
  2. Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Man, 24, dies at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-edc-death-rave-20150624-story.html
  3. Los Angeles Times, UC Irvine Grad Fatally Overdose d on Ecstasy at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ecstasy-overdose-death-edc-nick-tom-20150724-story.html
  4. Electric Daisy Carnival Website, http://lasvegas.electricdaisycarnival.com/info/

 

What Happens in Vegas Can Affect Your Career

iStock_000003792613SmallcropLas Vegas is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World and for good reason. Vegas offers a wide variety of tourist attractions, including casinos, performance venues, luxury hotels, and fine dining. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority 41,126,512 tourists visited the city in 2015. Many tourists regard Las Vegas as a place where they can figuratively let their hair down, because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?  That’s not necessarily the case.

While Las Vegas has several features to brag about, like The Strip, Venetian Hotel, Caesar’s Palace and The Colosseum, and the Stratosphere Tower, it also has a more sinister side.

Las Vegas Drug Statistics

According to the 2015 Nevada Crime and Corrections Statistics, 10.8 percent of the state’s populations are illicit drug users; ranking the state number 14 in the U.S. All drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, acid, and prescription drugs, are widely available.

During the last 10 years per capita sales of Oxycodone increased by 366 percent.1 Hydrocodone sales increased by 233 percent.1 In recent years club drugs, including MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, LSE, and K2, have also spiked in popularity, especially among the nightclub and adult entertainment scenes.

The wide availability of illicit drugs and the “what happens in Vegas” mantra often results in serious criminal charges for tourists, including possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance (PCS), or driving under the influence of drugs (DUID).

Drug Possession and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Nevada

Possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia are two of the most common drug-related offenses in Nevada. An individual may be charged with possession of a controlled substance, if the individual has in his or her possession or custody a narcotic such as marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, or other controlled substance.

Depending on the circumstances, an individual may be charged with possession of a controlled substance without having said controlled substance in his or her custody or control. It is possible to be charged with possession of a controlled substance for simply being around a controlled substance.

As earlier stated, possession of drug paraphernalia is another common drug-related offense in Las Vegas. Drug paraphernalia is considered any product, material, or equipment which is used for the purpose of producing, concealing, or using narcotics.

Nevada Drug Possession Penalties

Any conviction for possession of a controlled substance has serious consequences, including steep fines and/or jail time. In the state of Nevada, the penalties for drug possession depend on the amount of drugs possessed, the schedule the drug falls under, and whether the individual has previously been convicted for a drug offense.

In Nevada, drugs are divided into 5 schedules.

  • Schedule I consists of drugs that are considered highly abused and have no accepted medical use. Schedule I consists of heroin, MDMA, LSD, GHB, Methamphetamine, PCP, and Marijuana (THC).
  • Schedule II consists of drugs that have an accepted use, but still have a high tendency of abuse. The following drugs generally require a prescription. Schedule 2 consists of Cocaine, Opium, Oxycontin, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Morphine, and Ritalin.
  • Schedule III consists of drugs that have less potential for abuse and may have an accepted medical use. These substances include Codeine, Ketamine, Testosterone, and Anabolic Steroids.
  • Schedule IV consists of drugs that have low potential for abuse or addiction and an accepted medical use. These drugs include Xanax, Tranquilizers, Valium, Clonazepam, and Sedatives.
  • Schedule V consists of drugs that have an accepted medical use and limited addictive properties. Schedule V includes cough suppressant and Codeine.

As mentioned earlier, Schedule I drugs like MDMA, LSD, and GHB are popular among Las Vegas’ nightclub scene and are widely available to tourists. A conviction for possession of these substances can be particularly problematic for a tourist, because first-offense possession of a schedule I narcotic is considered a category E felony in Nevada. A category E felony carries a penalty between one to four years in prison and a fine of no more than $5,000.

Las Vegas Drug Possession Conviction Can Affect Your Career

A felony drug possession conviction does not stay in Vegas. The collateral consequences can follow an individual for years and negatively impact all aspects of life, especially one’s career.

Most employers perform a criminal background check before extending an official offer of employment. While a criminal conviction may not automatically bar an individual from employment. Most employers will deny employment if there is a correlation between the drug possession conviction and the position.

Depending on the profession, a drug possession conviction may have more damning consequences.

  • Teachers– In certain states a felony drug conviction may bar an individual from obtaining a professional licensure or certification. For example, in Ohio an individual may not obtain a certification to teach if he or she is convicted of a felony drug-related offense.2
  • Lawyers– In certain states, including Kansas, Texas, Missouri, and Mississippi, an applicant is automatically barred from bar admission if convicted of a felony. Other states, including Georgia, Alabama, Connecticut, and Indiana, place significant barriers to bar membership if convicted of a felony.3
  • Police Officer– Most states do not allow convicted felons to become police officers. For example, Texas does not allow individuals convicted of a felony become a police officer at any time after the conviction.4

Conclusion

Joel Mann of the Law Office of Joel M. Mann, Chtd. is a criminal offense attorney based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has extensive experience defending tourists and out-of-state residents in drug-related offenses, including possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug trafficking, possession with the intent to sell or distribute, and prescription pill offenses.

Joel Mann is a trial proven attorney, who will achieve the best result in your case based on your unique circumstances. For many first-time drug possession offenders, Attorney Mann gets the charges reduced or dismissed.

The Law Office of Joel M. Mann, Chtd. diligently represents both tourists and local residents facing drug charges in Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada. Contact Joel Mann at (702) 474-6266 for a confidential consultation.

Resources

  1. National Geographic, Facts: Last Vegas “Interesting Facts Related to This Episode, September 28, 2012- http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/drugs-inc/articles/facts-las-vegas/
  2. Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-20-01: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3319.31
  3. Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements: http://www.ncbex.org/pubs/bar-admissions-guide/2016/index.html#p=19
  4. Requirements for Licensed Law Enforcement Careers: https://www.tcole.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/le_careers_lic_requir_11.pdf

 

Nevada Prescription Drug Abuse

Pills2

Nevada Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug dependency and abuse has become a nationwide health epidemic claiming approximately 50 lives each day and over 16,000 lives each year. Compared to national averages:

  • Nevada ties as one of the top states in writing painkiller prescriptions
  • Nevadans consume over two times as many prescription drugs as any other state; and
  • Clark County has more deaths by drug overdose from prescription narcotics than by any other street drug

The ease of obtaining a prescription and the lack of transparency in prescription drug history are both to blame for the prescription drug abuse epidemic.

New Law SB288

Senate Bill No. 288 was created in an attempt to combat the rise in prescription drug abuse by monitoring prescription history. The Bill proposed that all authorized personnel who handle commercially manufactured prescription narcotics be granted access to a prescription drug database, and required to maintain access to this database by logging in at least twice a year.

It also granted the State Board of Pharmacy and the Investigation Division of the Department of Public Safety the authority to discipline those who failed to comply. These new requirements for those authorized to write and fill prescriptions would help support the National Drug Control Strategy. After months of revisions, Senate Bill 288 was passed and went into effect as NRS 453.1545 on January 1, 2016

NRS 453.1545  outlined the state’s computerized prescription monitoring program (PMP) requirements:

  1. Board of Pharmacy Registrants who prescribe controlled substances are required to register with the PMP
  2. Board of Pharmacy Registrants registered with the PMP are required to monitor the system and view
  3. Provision’s to NRS 453.1545 are enforceable by the occupational licensing boards within that state

The new law tightens regulations on doctors, pharmacist, and other medical personnel to ensure that they are using the prescription monitoring database to track drug prescriptions as well as flag cases of potential drug abuse.

Prescription Pill Offenses

Contrary to popular belief, charges for possession of a controlled substance (which includes prescription pills) is very serious offense in Nevada. Types of arrest for prescription pill offenses include:

  • doctor shopping
  • possession of a medication without proof of a prescription
  • illegal possession of medication; and
  • prescription fraud

Individuals charged with prescription pill fraud can result in:

  • a category C felony for doctor shopping punishable by a 1-5 year prison sentence and fined up to $10,000
  • First and Second convictions for illegal possession of prescriptions is punishable by a category E felony punishable by 1-4 year prison sentence
  • Three or more conviction for illegal possession of prescription pills can result in a category D felony punishable by a 1-4 year prison sentence and/or a fine up to $20,000

Additionally, doctors and medical personnel who are charged with prescription pill offenses in Nevada can be charged with a category C felony punishable by a1-5 year prison sentence and fined up to $10,000.

Conclusion

In the state of Nevada, drug crimes are not treated leniently, and penalties for the sale, use or possession of controlled substances can be harsh.

If you have been arrested and charged with prescription fraud, illegal possession of a prescription or doctor shopping in Clark County or the surrounding areas, contact the Law Office of Joel M. Mann to discuss your criminal charges.

Joel Mann is an experienced Las Vegas drug lawyer who will do everything in his power to help you achieve the most desirable outcome in your situation. Call (702) 474-6266 today for a free consultation about your alleged drug crime in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Arrests on New Year’s Eve 2015-16

iStock_000003177126SmallIf you are coming to Las Vegas to celebrate on New Year Eve you need to be aware of the dangers in your revelry.  The amount of tourist traveling to nightclubs and gentlemen’s club will substantially increase as many people come to Las Vegas to ring in the New Year. Many club-hoppers, who overindulge in drugs and alcohol, make bad decisions. The loud music, dancing, and crowds often influence people take chances they wouldn’t normally take.  Make sure you do not put yourself another statistic.

Law enforcement officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (“LVMPD”) use this opportunity to crack down on drug crimes and rack up arrests for a variety of related offenses, including DUI.

If you going to a nightclub in Las Vegas on the evening of December 31, 2015, or the early morning hours of January 1, 2016, you should expect local law enforcement officers to be out in full force.

In some cases, overly aggressive bouncers and security officers work with law enforcement to help them arrest a patron of the club. An arrest for using or selling any controlled substance comes with serious consequences under Nevada law.

It is important for you to recognize that the Las Vegas nightclubs have staff watching at every location, especially the bathrooms.  Joel Mann has had many drug cases originate from club staff waiting in the bathroom for any signs of drug use.  Once they suspect you of using drugs they will take you into custody and bring you down to the casino’s holding room, awaiting for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to arrive.

The most commonly used drugs in Las Vegas nightclubs include: marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, GHB and heroin.

Defenses to drug crimes after an arrest in a Las Vegas nightclub can include:

  1. The law enforcement officer conducted an illegal search in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution that should lead to the suppression of the evidence at trial;
  2. The law enforcement officer or someone acting in cooperation with the officer manufactured the crime and entrapped the defendant into using or selling drugs when the defendant was not otherwise predisposed to commit the crime; or
  3. The defendant did not actually or consecutively possess the drug because he didn’t know of its presence.

Knowledge often becomes in issue in drug cases in area nightclubs because another person could secretly plant the drugs on the defendant in order to avoid detection.

The penalties and punishments for drug possession in Las Vegas, Nevada, depend on a host of factors including the type of narcotics possessed, the quantity of the narcotics, and the surrounding circumstances.

Under Nevada law, a criminal charge of selling drugs is classified as either a Category C felony or a Category B felony depending on the type of drugs sold. The maximum sentence for these offenses includes a lengthy prison sentence and stiff fines.

For possession with intent to sale, the offense is classified as a Category D felony.

Simple possession of a controlled substance is a Category E felony in Nevada that carries with it one to four years in prison. For first time offenders charged with a possession charge, it is usually possible to avoid any incarceration by completing counseling and probation.

Drug crimes involving marijuana involve an entirely different set of penalties.

The top nightclubs in Las Vegas, Nevada, include:

  • Bellagio:
    • The Bank
    • Hyde
  • The Cromwell:
    • Drai’s
  • Delano:
    • FDR
  • Hard Rock Hotel:
    • Vanity
    • Body English
  • Luxor:
    • Savile Row
    • LAX
  • Mandalay Bay:
    • Foundation Room
    • LIGHT
  • Mirage:
    • 1OAK
  • Palms:
    • Rain
    • Moon
    • Ghostbar
  • Paris:
    • Chateau
  • Planet Hollywood:
    • Extra Lounge
  • SLS:
    • LiFE
  • The Sayers Club
    • Foxtail
  • Wynn:
    • XS
    • Tryst
    • Surrender
  • Venetian:
    • Tao

Additional Resources

Statistics on New Year’s Eve Arrests in Las Vegas – Each year the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) releases final statistics on the number of arrests made on New Year’s Eve. The 2014-2015 New Year’s Eve celebration stood out as one of the most orderly within recent history with 19 people being booked into the Clark County Detention Center on various felony and misdemeanor offenses. Two other people received Class II citations from within the Strip corridor. The Downtown Area Command, which covers the Fremont Street Experience, reported 3 arrests. Only 9 DUI arrests occurred within the Metro’s jurisdiction. By comparison, for the New Year’s Eve celebration four years earlier, 159 people were arrested including 68 arrests for DUI by the police department and another 48 arrests for DUI by the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Conclusion

Joel Mann is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has extensive experience defending clients charged with drug and alcohol related offenses. He is experienced with the tactics used by officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in drug cases in area nightclubs during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Joel Mann also knows the importance of obtaining the surveillance video of the incident when it is likely to be helpful to the case. In many cases the surveillance video might help establish important defenses to the charges.

For your New Year’s Celebration, keep in mind that area police will be out in full force. If an arrest occurs, contact Joel Mann to discuss your case and important defense to protect your good name after a criminal charge is made against you. For charges related to drug crimes or DUI, Joel Mann has the experience to help you fight for the best result in your case.

Hydrocodone Combinations Moved Into Schedule II in Federal Controlled Substances Act

Pills2The Drug Enforcement Agency has moved hydrocodone combination products (HCPs), a popular prescription drug for managing pain, from Schedule III to more restrictive Schedule II. HCPs are combinations of hydrocodone, an opioid,  and other painkillers or substances, including acetaminophen. Hydrocodone itself has been in Schedule II since the Controlled Substances Act’s inception.

The DEA is citing a high number of overdoses from prescription painkillers as the reason behind the move. Schedule II substances have been determined to have a high potential for abuse with potential for severe physiological and/or psychological dependence. Schedule III substances have a lesser potential for abuse with moderate to low physiological and/or psychological dependence.

The decision follows the trend of the government “cracking down” on prescription drug abuse. The media has been full of horror stories in recent years of teenagers using substances available from pharmacists instead of illegal substances like cocaine and heroin.

The change means that hydrocodone combination products may be more complicated to obtain by patients. For instance, a doctor can rarely use an oral prescription for a Schedule II drug. A patient may need to just through more hoops if prescribed an HCP for pain management.

It also has implications for federal criminal law. The maximum penalty for trafficking a Schedule II substance (20 years in prison, with a fine up to $1 million) is twice the maximum for trafficking a Schedule III drug (10 years, with a fine up to $500,000).

The change only applies to cases heard in federal court. Most drug cases, including possession cases, are tried under state law. Under the Nevada Controlled Substances Act, hydrocodone combination products remain under Schedule III. However, state law on controlled substances in regards to what substances are illegal and how severe they are judge to be, with some notable exceptions, like medical marijuana.

The Board of Pharmacy may make similar findings as the DEA and move HCPs into Schedule II. Like with federal law, this has some implications on state drug law. Most drug charges in Las Vegas and Clark County are tried under state law.

Unlawful possession for sale of any Schedule III substance charges are a Category D felony for a second offense and a Category C felony for a third or subsequent offense. The same charges for a Schedule II substance are a Category C felony for a second offense and a Category B felony for a third or subsequent offense.

Whether or not this change may seem substantial, they reflect a more punitive and aggressive stance by the federal government, which often sets the trend for state governments. If you face charges for any crime relating to controlled substances in Clark County, immediately contact a Las Vegas drug defense lawyer.

Brianna’s Law Now in Effect, Las Vegas Police Can Now Search Your DNA For Any Crime Without Probable Cause

Arrested man and gavelA new law went into effect July 1 that requires police to take a swab of your cheek to collect DNA when you are arrested for a felony. If a court finds police had probable cause to arrest you, police can then run a search of your DNA against a database of all crime scenes.

The basic effect of this new law is that if you are a suspect for one felony, you are then a suspect for all crimes committed. Police and prosecutors now have the power to conduct a warrantless search on a person for crimes they have no probable cause— or any reason at all — to believe that person committed.

The law is a mockery of the Constitution and an affront to the principles of privacy and liberty it espouses. Unfortunately, a slim majority of the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t think so. In the Maryland v. King case decided last month, the Court decided that a similar law was constitutional. The majority opinion outrageously compared taking DNA, which contains all biological data on a person, to taking a fingerprint — that is used for “identification.”

The minority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, correctly points out that the DNA is, in fact, to be taken to search the suspect for other crimes, skipping the normal process that would require police to show probable cause in order to obtain a warrant to collect a sample from the suspect.

The law in Nevada is called “Brianna’s Law.” It is named after a girl who was murdered in Reno in 2008, under the unknowable pretense that it would have somehow kept her alive. It is unfortunate that the Nevada Legislature believed it was necessary to destroy every person’s right to privacy by passing this bill. Every senator, Republican and Democrat alike, voted for it. There were nine members of the Assembly with the bravery and sufficient concern for the privacy of their citizens to vote against it.

While, with the recent United States Supreme Court decision it seems unlikely the law will be repealed or overturned by a Court, it makes it much more important now to hire an effective Las Vegas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest for a felony. If your lawyer can show there was no probable cause for the arrest, the DNA sample should be destroyed.

Similarly, if you are arrested for a felony, but the charge is reduced to a misdemeanor, a request can be made to destroy the evidence. For example, you are arrested for possession with intent to sell marijuana, a felony. Your Las Vegas marijuana defense lawyer could challenge evidence or negotiate down to a misdemeanor possession charge, and then move that the DNA sample be destroyed.  Also, it is important that If you were arrested for a felony and the prosecution did not file charges that you notify the Nevada Criminal Repository to remove your name and your DNA from their database.  Your Las Vegas Record Sealing Attorney will be able to assist you in getting your privacy back.

Post-Las Vegas Spring Break FAQ

Many, many students across the country decide that Spring Break is a time for getting a little wild, and decide that Las Vegas is the best place to do it. Most have a good time, but many find themselves in trouble with the law in Nevada as the result of Spring Break partying. A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can help reduce the repercussions as much as possible.

The following questions are hypothetical — do not take my words as legal advice, even if your situation sounds exactly the same. Contact a lawyer and discuss your situation.

Q: I got pulled over while driving back to the hotel after a few drinks and got charged with a DUI. Can I go home and ignore it?

A: If you go home and ignore the charges, they’re very likely to come back to haunt you in the form of a suspended license. Nevada shares information, including information about DUI convictions and arrests, with other states via the National Driver Registry and the Problem Driver Pointer System. After a DUI arrest in Nevada, you have seven days to request an administrative license suspension hearing. If you do not, your license is suspended in Nevada. Nevada will share that information with other states, though, and your license is likely to be suspended there, as well.

When you do not appear for court hearings, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The warrant will not expire, and any time you are in Nevada you could be arrested. It’s even possible for Nevada to attempt to extradite you from your home state. You’d be well-advised to hire a Las Vegas DUI lawyer to handle the matter here.

Q: I was arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution while on Spring Break in Vegas. Am I going to have to stay in Nevada to deal with this?

A: If you hire a Las Vegas prostitution lawyer, you may not have to return at all. Your attorney can seek to get your charges reduced or dismissed. He can appear on your behalf in required hearings, and make arrangements so you will not have to return until your offense is set for trial.

Q: I thought medical marijuana was legal in Nevada, so we bought a half ounce. Police found it on me and now I face possession charges. What gives?

A: Medical marijuana was legalized in Nevada, but you must have a prescription to be able to legally carry it. So, unless you have a prescription properly made out to you, you can be charged with possession of marijuana, a crime that carries up to a $600 fine and a punishment of up to six months in jail.

Q: I’m a student at UNLV, but I went to South Padre over Spring Break and got arrested for assault. Can I hire a Las Vegas attorney to represent me on that case?

A: Only if that Las Vegas attorney is licensed to practice in Texas — which few are. For a lawyer who can handle the charge itself, you need someone who is licensed in the jurisdiction in which you are charged. However, if the state you are charged in seeks to extradite you from Las Vegas, a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can represent you in extradition hearings. Extradition is the process by which a state requests that a suspect in another state be brought back to the charging state to face criminal proceedings.

Hope for Better Nevada Medical Marijuana Policy

iStock_000003348172SmallWhile the federal government continues its failed prohibition policy, several states have led the way in changing the approach toward narcotics to a more sensible one that removes criminal penalties for, at least, marijuana. On November 6, voters in Washington state and Colorado took particularly bold steps, making it legal to possess a certain amount of marijuana for personal use.

Those two states are the first to go so far. However, 16 other states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of medical marijuana law, legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes. Nevada is among those states. These states face a roadblock, though, in that federal law still makes marijuana totally illegal and recognizes no valid medical use, despite studies that clearly show the contrary. The discrepancy has caused different problems in the 18 states and DC. In some states, the state government has enforced state law but has faced interference from federal officials. In Nevada, however, local police have also been an issue, as well. Advocates for sensible marijuana policy hope the coming legislative session brings positive change.

In 2000, Nevada voters passed Ballot Question 9 with 65 percent of the vote. The ballot question allows Nevada residents, with a doctor’s written statement that marijuana would alleviate certain approved conditions, may obtain a card that would permit that resident to possess one ounce of usable cannabis, three mature plants and four immature plants. However, the law did not make provisions for those who cannot grow marijuana for how to obtain it. Nevada police have been steadily raiding more and more growhouses. In 2011, they raided 146, up from 138 in 2010 and 108 in 2009.

However, some members of the Nevada Legislature have recognized the inadequacies in the current law. Assembly Tick Segerblom, of Las Vegas, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal of his intent to seek legislation in the upcoming session, which starts February 4, that allows for dispensaries, similar to what Colorado voters passed November 6. In Colorado, licensed dispensaries may grow marijuana under tightly controlled conditions.  Similarly, Segerblom wants to license facilities to grow marijuana.

Voters overwhelmingly decreed in 2000 that they want a state where patients suffering from painful ailments to have access to the alleviating possibilities of cannabis. In failing to create the legal structure to allow for medical marijuana, lawmakers have failed to honor the will of voters. That must change in the next legislature session.sed dispensaries may grow marijuana under tightly controlled conditions.  Similarly, Segerblom wants to license facilities to grow marijuana.

In the meantime, anyone arrested for medical marijuana charges would be best advised to have a Las Vegas marijuana lawyer on their side until the laws can be straightened out.

Crack Down on Synthetic Drugs in Las Vegas Continues After Recent National Ban


Synthetic drugs are designed to mimic the effects of marijuana, cocaine, meth, LSD, and other drugs, and have seen an increase in use during the past several years. These imitation drugs are manufactured in underground laboratories and sold in convenience stores, smoke shops, and even adult bookstores. They go by names like “K-2”, “Vanilla Sky,” “Tranquility,” and produce feelings of euphoria, hallucinations, and disorientation among others.

Many states have recently adopted legislation banning synthetic drugs. While Nevada has no such legislation currently, synthetic drugs were banned by the Nevada Pharmacy Board under an order earlier this year. President Obama has also signed a law banning synthetic bath salts in July of this year. This federal law bans currently identified bath salt compounds and similar compounds that produce the same effects. It also covers both online and interstate sale of the listed synthetic drugs.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration have also taken part in a nationwide, 109 city, federal crackdown of synthetic drugs known as “Operation Log Jam.” Over 90 people were arrested and millions of packets of synthetic drugs were seized in total during the nationwide bust. This unified operation by several law enforcement agencies shows a concerted effort to penalize users, manufacturers, and traffickers of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones.

There are consequences to synthetic drug crimes in Nevada. NRS 453.2043 defines a controlled substance analog as a substance that has a similar chemical structure to Schedule I and Schedule II drugs. Other drugs within these schedules include Methamphetamine, PCP, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin.  The synthetic drugs act as stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and depressants or are represented to have these effects.

The Nevada State Board of Pharmacy determines the synthetic drugs that are considered illegal under the scheduling. Synthetic drugs that fall under the Nevada state ban are treated as schedule I substances. If convicted, a person has the potential to face severe penalties. For example, possessing a synthetic drug in Nevada can result in a Category E felony for a first time offense, punishable by up to 4 years in prison and / or a fine of $4,000. Selling or manufacturing synthetic drugs in Nevada can lead to a category B felony for a first offense, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and / or up to $20,000 in fines.

A person arrested for charges related to synthetic drugs should remain extra aware of their legal options. Just because a drug charge involves synthetic drugs rather than their other illegal counterparts does not mean a charge will be taken lightly by prosecutors. In fact, given the recent nature of the synthetic drug bans, it is in the best interests of a person to consult with a criminal lawyer in Las Vegas who understands state and federal drug laws in light of the recent synthetic drug bans.

This video was recently released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and discusses synthetic drugs uses and side effects:

Nevada Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Authorized Users Still Face Potential Criminal Penalties

Marijuana Plant

On November 7, 2000, 65% of voters in Nevada approved Question 9 on the ballot. Question 9 amended the state’s constitution to recognize the use of marijuana medicinally. The law, NRS 453A, took effect nearly one year later, and removed state penalties for the use of marijuana by adults who have official documentation from a physician stating that marijuana would help alleviate their patient’s medical condition. The law did set limits for how much marijuana could be possessed or cultivated by the patient.

While NRS 453A did allow for thousands of people across Nevada to use marijuana for approved medicinal purposes, it did not set a clear path for patients to actually obtain the marijuana. Growing marijuana is not a skill that many medicinal marijuana users have the time or knowledge to take advantage of. Special medical marijuana dispensaries opened throughout the state to fill this gap.

However, state and federal law enforcement officers have shut down many of these dispensaries on the grounds that the law only permits caregivers to grow for one person. This has resulted in arrests and prosecutions among marijuana growers, including many dispensaries in the Las Vegas area. The police have also been targeting individuals who have exceeded the limit of growing seven plants as specified under the law.

For individuals without official marijuana cards or even those in the dispensary industry, the consequences of a conviction can be very dire. Nevada isn’t any more lenient on those convicted of marijuana charge simply because a majority of voters favored legal medicinal marijuana use.

In Nevada, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin, codeine, methamphetamine (meth), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and other drugs. Possession of marijuana for the purpose of sale is a felony offense. A first time offender may receive between one and four years in prison and / or a fine up to $5,000 as a category D felony.

There is a specific statute in Nevada for the trafficking of marijuana. Trafficking generally applies when an individual knowingly or intentionally sells, manufactures, or delivers marijuana. Trafficking of less than 100 lbs. of marijuana is a category C felony offense under NRS 453.337. This can be punished with up to $25,000 in fines and / or up to five years in prison.

A person who violates the law, even though he or she is a medical marijuana card carrier or is providing marijuana for authorized users can potentially face these serious criminal penalties. While the laws remain the way they are, individuals facing marijuana charges may not be shown leniency for helping marijuana card carriers. Working with a qualified marijuana lawyer in Las Vegas to find other possible defenses is still in their best interests.

It is currently being debated if the current medical marijuana law is what voters intended, since it can be difficult for a marijuana card carrier to obtain marijuana with the tight restrictions on growing. The Nevada Supreme Court is set to hear the issue soon and briefings will reportedly be filed by the end of the month. Additionally, several state lawmakers are still pushing for a bill that would allow licensed dispensaries to legally buy, grow, and sell marijuana to individuals with marijuana cards. The criminal courts will continue to hear related cases unless the matter is decided by the Nevada Supreme Court or state legislature.

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