November 10, 2018

Is There a Statute of Limitations on Drug Charges in Nevada?

Drug Crimes in Nevada

Getting charged with a drug crime is intimidating. Punishment for a drug crime in Nevada ranges from minor fines to prison time. If you are fighting a drug charge, then it is essential that you familiarize yourself with the basics of Nevada drug law.

(Jump straight to statute of limitations)

Has the Legalization of Marijuana Changed How Drugs Are Prosecuted in NV?

Yes. However, the legalization of marijuana in Nevada has not had as broad of an effect on drug prosecution as most assume. While marijuana is now legal in Nevada for personal use, there are still a variety of ways one can get in trouble for pot in the state.

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Here is a list of the most prevalent marijuana-related crimes in Nevada:

Possession under the age of 21

Except for Nevada certified medical marijuana patients, possession of marijuana—for personal use—under the age of 21 is a misdemeanor.  

Possession of over 1 ounce of marijuana

Possessing over 1 ounce of marijuana in Nevada is a felony offense that can result in prison time.

Possession of over 50 pounds of marijuana

Possessing over 50 pounds of marijuana in Nevada is considered felony trafficking and entails mandatory prison time.

Driving under the influence of marijuana

Driving while intoxicated from marijuana use is a DUI charge in Nevada and is treated like drunk driving.

Driving with an open container of marijuana in your vehicle

Just as with alcohol, it is illegal to drive with an open container of marijuana in your car.

Possessing marijuana in restricted areas

There are many places in Nevada where marijuana possession is illegal. It is unlawful to possess marijuana on all federal land, many public buildings, casinos, and Nevada universities.

Nevada Drug Laws for Possession

Knowing a few key facts about drug possession laws in Nevada will prepare you to make smart decisions moving forward.   

What is Drug Possession?

Drug possession is the crime of knowingly possessing a controlled substance for personal use. Controlled substances are any drugs that are illegal to own, including prescription medications possessed without a valid prescription.

There are three types of possession:

    • Actual possession – Actual possession is the keeping of a controlled substance on one’s person.


    • Constructive possession – Constructive possession is the storage of an illicit substance in a location one controls.


  • Joint possession – Joint possession is when more than one person shares ownership over the same controlled substance.  

Related: What Happens When You’re Arrested for Drug Possession?

Drug Schedules

Drug scheduling is designed to categorize substances based on their abuse/dependence potential and acceptability for medical use. Schedule I drugs are supposed to have the highest abuse/dependence potential and lowest medical utility while Schedule V drugs are supposed to have the lowest abuse/dependence potential and highest medical utility.

In Nevada, a simple possession charge in any drug schedule can result in 1-4 years in state prison; however, detention is usually avoidable by taking a drug education course or undergoing rehab.

Multiple Offenses

Having multiple possession charges on your record hugely impacts punishment. While avoiding jail time is commonplace for a first possession offense, a third offense almost guarantees 1-4 years in state prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

Drug Trafficking  

Drug trafficking is the crime of producing, selling or transporting large quantities of a controlled substance. Drug trafficking is a much more severe offense than possession, but possessing a large enough amount of a controlled substance will result in a drug trafficking charge.

Possession of any schedule I-V drug in Nevada can result in a felony conviction, but like most other felonies in Nevada, drug possession has a statute of limitations.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is the maximum length of time between the committal of a crime when one can be prosecuted for committing a crime. Therefore, if the statute of limitations for a crime expires before law enforcement takes any action, that crime is no longer a prosecutable offense.

It is important to understand that the statute of limitations timer stops as soon as law enforcement files a criminal complaint or warrant. If a warrant is out for one’s arrest, then the statute of limitations no longer applies.

Is there a Statute of Limitations on Drug Charges in Nevada?

Yes. Felony drug charges in Nevada have a three-year statute of limitations while misdemeanor drug charges have a two-year statute of limitations.

A drug charge is a serious offense. Even if it is your first offense, simple possession of a controlled substance can result in prison time and a hefty fine. Fighting a drug charge requires expert assistance from a lawyer with experience fighting cases like yours. If you are charged with a drug crime, it is essential that you find experienced representation immediately. Failing to do so can mean the difference between jail time or no jail time, a $5000 fine or no fine at all.