Many a tourist has arrived in Las Vegas or Reno with dreams of hitting it big or having the party of a lifetime. Even celebrities have had their Sin City vacations marred by drug charges. Bruno Mars and Paris Hilton have both faced cocaine charges in Clark County. So while vices like gambling and (to a lesser extent) prostitution are legal in Nevada, cocaine use and possession is not.
Nevada authorities crack down heavily on cocaine sale and possession -- both are felonies under state law -- in response to the increased violence surrounding the manufacturing, trafficking, and use of cocaine. This is a brief summary of cocaine laws in Nevada.
State Cocaine Laws
As a Schedule I narcotic, every state criminalizes the possession, sale, or trafficking of cocaine, though their particular cocaine laws may vary in terms of penalties. As a felony crime in Nevada, the sale of cocaine could mean up to 20 years in prison and even simple possession could mean 6 years in prison, depending on the amount and other factors.
Cocaine Statutes in Nevada
It’s not just state cocaine laws you have to worry about: federal narcotics laws also prohibit everything from simple cocaine possession all the way up to manufacturing and cultivation and trafficking and distribution. Federal penalties for cocaine possession or sale across state lines can be severe.
The following table outlines Nevada's cocaine laws.
||453.011; NAC 453.510
||1-6 yrs. and $5000; Subsequent offense: 1-10 yrs. and $10,000; Third offense: 1-20 yrs. and $20,000
||1-20 yrs. and $20,000; Subsequent offense: 5-20 yrs. and $20,000; Third offense: life or 15 yrs. mandatory and $20,000
||4-14 g.: 1-6 yrs. and $50,000; 14-28 g.: 2-15 yrs. and $100,000; Over 28 g.: 25-life and $500,000; Double penalties for sale near school
Nevada Drug Courts
More than 20 years after its inception, Clark County's drug court has been hailed as one of the most successful prison diversion programs. After 20 years, the program has had 5,200 successful graduates through 2012. Follow-up statistics show 70 percent of drug court graduates do not commit another crime, authorities say.
The goal of these courts is to get nonviolent offenders out of the rotating doors of the criminal justice system and provide guidance and treatment to prevent defendants from reoffending, while saving tax dollars. Once a defendant successfully completes specialty court treatment, the original criminal case that landed them there is dismissed. Court officials estimate that drug court has saved more than $40 million.
Nevada Cocaine Laws: Related Resources
As Nevada residents know, state drug laws generally reflect local social attitudes regarding drugs and are therefore subject to change. If you would like legal assistance regarding a drug matter, you can contact a Nevada drug crime attorney. You can also visit FindLaw's Drug Charges section for more articles and information on this topic.