Drugs are bad. We know this. But, drugs are a problem for many people in the Las Vegas Valley. Nevada has been historically quite strict when it comes to possession of controlled substances (other than marijuana).
Possession of a small amount of cocaine, meth, heroin, or other controlled substances (other than marijuana) is a felony. Please see my other articles about the level of felony for different offenses.
For example, if a tourist in Las Vegas is caught with a small amount of cocaine in a nightclub, that is an E Felony. If it is a first offense, it is very common that the person will be required to take a drug class and pay a fine. Sometimes, the case will be reduced to a misdemeanor, and sometimes it will be dismissed. This generally occurs in less serious cases.
In more serious cases, or those where the person appears to need treatment, there are several options. Each Court in Nevada has a drug treatment program where the person can go into a program to help them recover from addiction and there is some benefit at the end. The benefit is generally a reduction or dismissal of the underlying case. This is commonly called “drug court.” Different courts in Nevada do this kind of thing differently. But, many people have had great experiences in these programs. Many have been brought back from the brink by Nevada’s diversionary programs.
There is also another option. In certain circumstances, a defendant can receive a plea subject to NRS 458.3363. Under this statute, the defendant will complete probation and receive a dismissal. Also, under that statute, the conviction is sealed automatically, for most purposes. This is a great tool that attorneys use to negotiate a case for someone who has picked up a drug habit, but has little record outside of that. Often, a condition of probation under 3363 is to complete drug court.
Over the last few years, the State of Nevada has become much more compassionate when it comes to drug addiction. There are several tools we can use to help someone who needs it.