Possession of a Dangerous Drug Without a Prescription

One of the more commonly charged crimes, and one that has seen a huge rise in recent years, is Possession of a Dangerous Drug without a Prescription

NRS 454.316 makes it unlawful to possess a “dangerous drug” without prescription.

NRS 454.201 defines a “Dangerous drug” as any drug, other than a controlled substance, unsafe for self-medication or unsupervised use. The most common example is a drug (or pill) that requires a prescription and can’t be sold “over the counter.”

Punishments For Possession of a Dangerous Drug (without a prescription)

A person who possesses a dangerous drug when they don’t have a prescription is in violation of this law. If it’s a first or second offense, it is a gross misdemeanor, which carries up to a year in jail and a $2,000.00 fine. If a person is caught in violation of this law for a third time, it becomes a category E felony, which can carry a prison sentence of 1-4 years and a fine of up to $5,000.00.

BEWARE: You should not carry prescription medication for which you don’t have a valid prescription. Likewise, you should keep your prescriptions in the bottles you receive from the pharmacy. You should not carry more than one prescription in a single bottle. It is not uncommon for someone to be charged with a drug related crime even when they have a lawfully administered prescription.

Many people make the incorrect assumption that just because a prescription drug is not illegal in the possession of someone who has a lawful prescription, they cannot be charged for having it in their possession.  People will “bum,” “borrow” or “buy” prescription drugs off friends or acquaintances who have come into possession of a prescription drug by legal means.  Unfortunately, this is a commonly charged criminal offense in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada.   Common examples of this include painkillers (Lortab, Oxycontin), muscle relaxers (Soma) or barbiturates (Xanax).  Under Nevada law, these are readily available, and often necessary, drugs prescribed by a medical doctor.  In the possession of someone without that prescription however, it is a criminal offense.  A charge such as this can seem to come from innocuous circumstances.  However, a charge or conviction can have dire consequences to the person’s criminal record and professional career through facing the criminal justice process and the stigma that comes with it.  

There are several defenses available to the charge of Possession of a Dangerous Drug without a Prescription. These include proof of a valid prescription, lack of proof of “possession” under the law, impermissible traffic stops and violations of a person’s constitutional rights against unlawful search and seizure.

If you or someone you know has been charged with Possession of a Dangerous Drug without a Prescription, Contact Hofland & Tomsheck today to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case. Our experienced Las Vegas criminal law attorneys will give you an honest assessment of your situation and let you know what we can do to help. We are available during regular business hours and can be reached 24/7 in the case of an emergency. Call 702-895-6760 or e-mail right now to schedule an appointment.