Possession with the intent to sell
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POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE WITH INTENT TO SELL
Drug Possession with Intent to Sell, or as it is known in Nevada: Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell is a drug charge commonly seen in Las Vegas Courts.
Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 453.337 and 453.338 cover this charge which in general terms, make it a crime for a person to “sell” a controlled substance.
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WHAT PROSECUTORS MUST PROVE AT TRIAL
To obtain a conviction for Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell, prosecutors in Nevada must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the person charged unlawfully and knowingly possessed a controlled substance;
- That the person knew the nature of the controlled substance; and
- That the person intended to sell the controlled substance.
Under Nevada law no actual sale need occur for the State to prove the crime of Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell. No specific quantity is necessary. So long as the State can prove the illegal nature of the controlled substance, they need not prove that a certain quantity exists. Under Nevada law, a very small amount of the illegal substance may suffice. Finally, the jury will be allowed to determine the intent of the possessor from all the circumstances of the case, including: the quantity of the controlled substance, the place where it was found, the manner of packaging, and the opinions of expert witnesses.
POSSIBLE DEFENSES TO DRUG POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO SELL
As in all criminal cases, to sustain a conviction for this drug crime, the prosecution must present sufficient evidence to establish the essential elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Drug possession with the Intent to Sell cases – which necessarily contain factually ambiguous issues of intent and control – frequently present opportunities for the defense to contest the following:
- The extent of the dominion and control that the defendant had over the controlled substance
- His or her knowledge of the physical presence of the drug
- The defendant’s specific knowledge of the illegal nature of the drug
If the defense can effectively challenge and undermine the evidence which goes to these elements, legally, a trier of fact must find the count lacking in evidence, and render a verdict of not guilty. A good criminal defense lawyer knows how to effectively attack these issues. Often persons charged with this crime incorrectly conclude that because the drugs were found within their immediate proximity that criminal knowledge and intent is therefore automatically imputed to them. This is not the case. The prosecution must absolutely present evidence which establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knows of the illegal substance, and controls, or possesses it. Unless concrete facts are established to underscore these issues, a conviction for this drug charge should be deemed invalid.
DETERMINING “INTENT TO SELL”
Another significant issue arises in relation to the “Intent to Sell” element of the crime. Drug possession with Intent to Sell includes within it the lesser charge of felony Possession of Controlled Substance. While the State can alternatively charge someone with both crimes in the same count of the criminal indictment or information, a conviction cannot be had for both. If the jury finds that there is no evidence to support the “Intent to Sell” element of the charge, but nevertheless finds that the defendant in fact knowingly possessed the controlled substance, they will be instructed to convict the defendant of the lesser included charge of Possession of Controlled Substance. This charge carries a lesser sentence than Drug possession with Intent to Sell and therefore while not a complete acquittal, can nevertheless serve as a defense which provides a lesser potential punishment.
These are just some of the possible defenses which relate to this charge. If charged with Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell in Las Vegas, call the experienced drug defense lawyers at Oronoz, Ericsson & Gaffney for a comprehensive and detailed evaluation of the defenses which may pertain to your case.
PENALTIES APPLICABLE TO DRUG POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO SELL
A person convicted of this drug offense may be sentenced with the following:
- For a first offense: D Felony 1-4 Years in the Nevada Department of Corrections. Probation is possible for a first offense.
- For a second offense: C Felony 1-5 Years in the Nevada Department of Corrections. Probation is not possible for a second offense. The judge must impose incarceration in the Nevada Department of Corrections for a second offense.
- For a third or subsequent offense: B Felony 3-15 Years in the Nevada Department of Corrects. Probation is not possible for a third or subsequent offense. The judge must impose incarceration in the Nevada Department of Corrections for a third or subsequent offense.
CALL OUR AGGRESSIVE DRUG CRIME DEFENSE FIRM IN LAS VEGAS – FREE CONSULTATION!
When charged with Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell in Las Vegas, dramatically increase your chances of a successful outcome by hiring the best legal counsel possible. The lawyers at Oronoz & Ericsson have the skill and expertise to defend your case in a way that helps you both avoid a conviction, and most importantly, avoid losing your liberty.