The 2012 Memorial weekend is fast approaching. Las Vegas expects to see an influx of visitors, including out-of-state residents and international guests as we celebrate and honor the service men and women who have fallen while protecting our country. Hotels and venues throughout the city have scheduled many special events, both traditional and eclectic, from Friday, May 25th to Monday the 28th.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will also be out in force to ensure the safety of the community over the long holiday weekend. With the volume of people celebrating this week, the police will be especially vigilant. However, this does not mean that they’re just keeping an eye out for repeat criminal offenders. The presence of the police is partly to deter individuals from committing a criminal offense for the first time.
Common first time offenses in Nevada include:
- Driving Under the Influence (NRS 484C.110)
- Possession of a Controlled Substance (NRS 453.336)
- Solicitation for Prostitution (NRS 201.354 )
- Shoplifting (NRS 205.0832)
The Nevada criminal justice system will take the criminal record of the defendant into account, along with many other factors, in determining the penalties for a criminal offense. The fact that an Individual has no prior criminal record and has not committed a violent crime or felony crime, can help lead to more favorable and lenient solutions if case dismissal is not an option. There are also certain alternative sentencing programs that may be available, depending on the offense in question.
First Time DUI Offender – A person arrested for their first DUI may face between 48 hours and 6 months in a Clark County jail. The court may also impose a fine between $400 and $1,000 (plus court costs). The Court may also order an 8-hour DUI school course (at a state approved traffic school) and the victim impact panel class.
Additionally, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend the driver’s license for a period of up to 3 months in a separate administrative process. If the first DUI involved a blood or breath alcohol concentration level over 0.18%, there may be additional penalties such as an alcohol treatment program, or a breath interlock device.
First Time Possession of a Controlled Substance (PCS) – The penalties associated with a first time PCS offense depend largely on which schedule drug was used and the amount of the drug. Penalties may possibly include a fine up to $5,000 (up to $600 in the case of one ounce or less of marijuana) and / or between 1 and 4 years in jail. The court may also order a substance abuse evaluation at an approved facility.
First Time Offender for Solicitation of Prostitution – Even if no money was exchanged, soliciting a prostitute remains illegal in Clark County. For first time offenders may have to pay up to $1,000 fines and / or serve up to 6 months in jail. The Court may also order several hours of community service, along with an AIDS awareness class or a prostitution awareness class.
First Time Shoplifting Arrest – Penalties for shoplifting depend on the fair market value of the goods stolen at the time of the offense. Shoplifting under $650 of goods is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and / or a fine up to $1,000. A crime involving between $650 and $3,500 of goods can be punished with between one and 5 years in prison and / or a fine up to $10,000. The more serious of shoplifting offenses is a category B felony, punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and between 1 and 10 years in a Nevada state prison.
If you were arrested in Las Vegas over the Memorial weekend, you should not take your position for granted. Your lack of criminal history may work in your favor, but discussing the unique details about your situation with an experienced defense attorney can help ensure that you are not taken advantage of and that your constitutional rights are protected.