Marijuana trafficking is a serious crime in Clark County, Nevada. But according to Nevada criminal defense lawyer Neil Shouse, “It may be possible to have trafficking charges reduced or thrown out completely.especially if we can show the judge that the police acted improperly.”
In this article, our Las Vegas Marijuana Trafficking attorneys will answer the following questions:
- What is marijuana trafficking in Las Vegas, NV?
- What are the defenses to marijuana trafficking in Las Vegas, NV?
- What are the penalties for trafficking marijuana in Las Vegas, NV
(1) What is marijuana trafficking in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Each of Nevada’s marijuana laws are designed to penalize a specific behavior, such as possessing marijuana, possessing marijuana with the intent to sell it in Nevada, or selling marijuana in Nevada. Trafficking law is different because it punishes all behaviors involving marijuana as long as the marijuana itself weighs at least fifty pounds (50 lbs.). This is why big-time drug dealers are usually charged with trafficking.
You may be charged with trafficking in Clark County if you are selling, manufacturing, delivering, importing or merely possessing fifty pounds (50 lbs.) or more of pot. If the pot is less then 50 lbs., then the more specific marijuana crimes (listed above) would apply.
For example, if a cop finds you smoking a joint while walking through North Las Vegas, you may be arrested for simple possession in Nevada. But if you are found with fifty pounds of marijuana in your trunk, you may be charged with trafficking.
Similarly, if a cop sees you selling a baggie of weed on a Henderson street corner, you may be charged with selling marijuana in Nevada. But if you are found selling fifty pounds of weed in a Henderson alleyway, you may be charged with trafficking.
(2) What are the defenses to marijuana trafficking in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Since trafficking marijuana is a very broad crime, the best defense strategy in Clark County depends on the facts of your specific case. The following are some defenses our Las Vegas trafficking attorneys many explore when fighting a trafficking charge:
The marijuana weighed under fifty pounds:
Since trafficking law in Las Vegas applies only when the marijuana weighs at least fifty pounds, a Nevada criminal attorney may try to show that the marijuana fell short of the minimum weight. For example, the attorney can argue that the Las Vegas police methods of weighing the marijuana produced inaccurate results.
The marijuana did not belong to you:
Obviously, if an attorney can show that the marijuana was not in your possession or control, that would work in your favor when trying to dismiss a marijuana charge.
The police failed to follow proper procedure:
Even if you do have fifty pounds of marijuana stowed in your garage, the police need to find the marijuana through a legal search before you can be legally charged. If a Nevada criminal law attorney can show that the police violated the Fourth Amendment “search and seizure” laws in order to find your marijuana, the case should be dropped.
(3) What are the penalties for marijuana trafficking in Las Vegas, Nevada?
The penalties for trafficking marijuana in Nevada increase with the amount of marijuana involved:
Trafficking fifty pounds (50 lbs.) to less than one thousand pounds (1,000 lbs.) of marijuana (or 1 pound or more, but less than 20 pounds of concentrated cannabis) is a category C felony in Nevada. That carries one to five years in Nevada State Prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Trafficking one thousand pounds (1,000 lbs.) to less than five thousand pounds (5,000 lbs.) of marijuana (or 20 pounds or more, but less than 100 pounds, of concentrated cannabis) is a category B felony in Nevada. That carries two to ten years imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.
Trafficking five thousand pounds (5,000 lbs.) or more of marijuana (or 100 pounds or more of concentrated cannabis) is a category A felony in Nevada. That carries imprisonment of fifteen years to life (with the possibility of parole after five years) and a fine of up to $200,000.
The same penalties apply to citizens whether they personally conducted the trafficking, or served as an accomplice by helping someone commit the crime. And because the definition of trafficking marijuana may include the actions of possession in Nevada or possession for the purpose of sale in Nevada of that marijuana, a Nevada court may not convict a citizen of both trafficking and a possession crime based on the same facts.
Drug trafficking of any kind is always a deportable offense in Nevada for aliens. Furthermore, if you are an undocumented alien looking to adjust status, drug trafficking of any kind automatically renders you inadmissible, and you do not even need to have been convicted to be removed from the U.S. Learn more about inadmissible offenses in Nevada here, and read our article about our criminal defense of non-citizens in Nevada here.
Trafficking marijuana is illegal under federal law as well. To learn about the federal crime of marijuana trafficking, read our article on the federal crime of marijuana trafficking