Category Archives: Drug Offense

Drug Arrests at EDC 2016

Electric Daisy CarnivalElectric Daisy Carnival (EDC), one of the largest electronic dance music festivals in the world, starts this Friday, June 17, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since its inception in 1996, EDC has become world-renowned for its marquee acts, emerging artists, circus-style performers, and Las Vegas-style party atmosphere.

The three-day music festival has also become synonymous with recreational use of party drugs like cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), LSD (Acid), and methamphetamines. While the organizers of Electric Daisy Carnival have publicized the festival has a zero-tolerance for illegal drugs, possession and use of controlled substances remains a common practice.

Drug-Related Deaths at EDC

According to an investigative report from the LA Times, 19 drug-related deaths have occurred during the EDC festivities from 1996 to 2015. Last year, a 24-year old UC Irvine graduate died of an MDMA overdose.

In 2014, another 24-year old EDC attendee also died from ecstasy intoxication or an MDMA overdose in the parking lot outside of the festival. That same year a 25-year old male died of ecstasy and cocaine intoxication in his hotel room.

In 2012, a 22-year old female under the influence of ecstasy, methamphetamines, and gamma –hydroxybutryic suffered paranoid delusions and fell from a 20-story hotel building to her death.

Drug Arrests at EDC

Due to the frequency of drug-related deaths at EDC, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) is stationed outside and inside the festival. According to the Electric Daisy Carnival website, all attendees are subject to a TSA-style search or a search similar to search performed at the airport. The search will require all attendees to empty pockets and bags, have all items examined, a full pat-down, and possibly require removal of shoes.

In the past many festival goers have still attempt to smuggle illicit drugs into the festival. In 2014 LVMPD made 73 felony narcotics arrest during the three-day festival. Law enforcement also seized smaller amounts of controlled substances and issued citations.

Considering EDC celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, the festival is expected to be bigger than ever. Last year more than 400,000 people attended Electric Daisy Carnival (approximately 134,000 each day). Las Vegas law enforcement expects more people and more drugs and will be on high alert as a result.

Las Vegas Drug Charges

Commonly, an individual will be charged with the following drug offenses in Las Vegas, Nevada:

The specific charge an individual may sustain after being caught with drugs depends on several factors, including the type of drug, the amount or weight of the drug, and prior drug offenses.

Ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, GHB, Methamphetamine, Marijuana, and Cocaine are popular in the party and rave scene in Las Vegas. Although many people view these drugs as recreational and not as serious as other controlled substances, the criminal penalties are severe.

MDMA, LSD, and Meth are considered Schedule I drugs under Nevada law. Schedule I drugs are considered highly addictive and have no accepted medical use.  Cocaine is considered a Schedule II drug. Schedule II drugs have an accepted medical use, but a high tendency of abuse.

A first offense possession of a Schedule I or II drug is considered a category E felony. Category E felonies are punishable by one to four years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

Marijuana is also considered a Schedule I drug; however, the criminal penalties differ. First-offense possession of marijuana (1 ounce or less) is considered a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of no more than $600.

Conclusion

A conviction for a drug offense can have serious personal and professional consequences, including jail, fines, employment restrictions, and housing restrictions. It is important to consult an experienced drug defense attorney immediately following an arrest.

Joel Mann of The Law Office of Joel Mann, Chtd. is an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney. Immediately following your arrest he will use his skills and experience to obtain the best possible bail arrangement and begin building a strong defense on your behalf.

The Law Office of Joel Mann, Chtd. diligently defends clients throughout Clark County, including Las Vegas,  Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, and surrounding areas. Contact Joel Mann at (702) 474-MANN (6266) for a confidential review of your case.

References:

  1. Las Vegas Sun, 22 Arrested at EDC, 10 Taken to the Hospital http://lasvegassun.com/news/2015/jun/20/22-arrested-edc-friday-10-taken-to-hospital-/
  2. Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Man, 24, dies at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-edc-death-rave-20150624-story.html
  3. Los Angeles Times, UC Irvine Grad Fatally Overdose d on Ecstasy at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ecstasy-overdose-death-edc-nick-tom-20150724-story.html
  4. Electric Daisy Carnival Website, http://lasvegas.electricdaisycarnival.com/info/

 

What Happens in Vegas Can Affect Your Career

iStock_000003792613SmallcropLas Vegas is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World and for good reason. Vegas offers a wide variety of tourist attractions, including casinos, performance venues, luxury hotels, and fine dining. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority 41,126,512 tourists visited the city in 2015. Many tourists regard Las Vegas as a place where they can figuratively let their hair down, because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?  That’s not necessarily the case.

While Las Vegas has several features to brag about, like The Strip, Venetian Hotel, Caesar’s Palace and The Colosseum, and the Stratosphere Tower, it also has a more sinister side.

Las Vegas Drug Statistics

According to the 2015 Nevada Crime and Corrections Statistics, 10.8 percent of the state’s populations are illicit drug users; ranking the state number 14 in the U.S. All drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, acid, and prescription drugs, are widely available.

During the last 10 years per capita sales of Oxycodone increased by 366 percent.1 Hydrocodone sales increased by 233 percent.1 In recent years club drugs, including MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, LSE, and K2, have also spiked in popularity, especially among the nightclub and adult entertainment scenes.

The wide availability of illicit drugs and the “what happens in Vegas” mantra often results in serious criminal charges for tourists, including possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance (PCS), or driving under the influence of drugs (DUID).

Drug Possession and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Nevada

Possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia are two of the most common drug-related offenses in Nevada. An individual may be charged with possession of a controlled substance, if the individual has in his or her possession or custody a narcotic such as marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, or other controlled substance.

Depending on the circumstances, an individual may be charged with possession of a controlled substance without having said controlled substance in his or her custody or control. It is possible to be charged with possession of a controlled substance for simply being around a controlled substance.

As earlier stated, possession of drug paraphernalia is another common drug-related offense in Las Vegas. Drug paraphernalia is considered any product, material, or equipment which is used for the purpose of producing, concealing, or using narcotics.

Nevada Drug Possession Penalties

Any conviction for possession of a controlled substance has serious consequences, including steep fines and/or jail time. In the state of Nevada, the penalties for drug possession depend on the amount of drugs possessed, the schedule the drug falls under, and whether the individual has previously been convicted for a drug offense.

In Nevada, drugs are divided into 5 schedules.

  • Schedule I consists of drugs that are considered highly abused and have no accepted medical use. Schedule I consists of heroin, MDMA, LSD, GHB, Methamphetamine, PCP, and Marijuana (THC).
  • Schedule II consists of drugs that have an accepted use, but still have a high tendency of abuse. The following drugs generally require a prescription. Schedule 2 consists of Cocaine, Opium, Oxycontin, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Morphine, and Ritalin.
  • Schedule III consists of drugs that have less potential for abuse and may have an accepted medical use. These substances include Codeine, Ketamine, Testosterone, and Anabolic Steroids.
  • Schedule IV consists of drugs that have low potential for abuse or addiction and an accepted medical use. These drugs include Xanax, Tranquilizers, Valium, Clonazepam, and Sedatives.
  • Schedule V consists of drugs that have an accepted medical use and limited addictive properties. Schedule V includes cough suppressant and Codeine.

As mentioned earlier, Schedule I drugs like MDMA, LSD, and GHB are popular among Las Vegas’ nightclub scene and are widely available to tourists. A conviction for possession of these substances can be particularly problematic for a tourist, because first-offense possession of a schedule I narcotic is considered a category E felony in Nevada. A category E felony carries a penalty between one to four years in prison and a fine of no more than $5,000.

Las Vegas Drug Possession Conviction Can Affect Your Career

A felony drug possession conviction does not stay in Vegas. The collateral consequences can follow an individual for years and negatively impact all aspects of life, especially one’s career.

Most employers perform a criminal background check before extending an official offer of employment. While a criminal conviction may not automatically bar an individual from employment. Most employers will deny employment if there is a correlation between the drug possession conviction and the position.

Depending on the profession, a drug possession conviction may have more damning consequences.

  • Teachers– In certain states a felony drug conviction may bar an individual from obtaining a professional licensure or certification. For example, in Ohio an individual may not obtain a certification to teach if he or she is convicted of a felony drug-related offense.2
  • Lawyers– In certain states, including Kansas, Texas, Missouri, and Mississippi, an applicant is automatically barred from bar admission if convicted of a felony. Other states, including Georgia, Alabama, Connecticut, and Indiana, place significant barriers to bar membership if convicted of a felony.3
  • Police Officer– Most states do not allow convicted felons to become police officers. For example, Texas does not allow individuals convicted of a felony become a police officer at any time after the conviction.4

Conclusion

Joel Mann of the Law Office of Joel M. Mann, Chtd. is a criminal offense attorney based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has extensive experience defending tourists and out-of-state residents in drug-related offenses, including possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug trafficking, possession with the intent to sell or distribute, and prescription pill offenses.

Joel Mann is a trial proven attorney, who will achieve the best result in your case based on your unique circumstances. For many first-time drug possession offenders, Attorney Mann gets the charges reduced or dismissed.

The Law Office of Joel M. Mann, Chtd. diligently represents both tourists and local residents facing drug charges in Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada. Contact Joel Mann at (702) 474-6266 for a confidential consultation.

Resources

  1. National Geographic, Facts: Last Vegas “Interesting Facts Related to This Episode, September 28, 2012- http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/drugs-inc/articles/facts-las-vegas/
  2. Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-20-01: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3319.31
  3. Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements: http://www.ncbex.org/pubs/bar-admissions-guide/2016/index.html#p=19
  4. Requirements for Licensed Law Enforcement Careers: https://www.tcole.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/le_careers_lic_requir_11.pdf

 

Nevada Prescription Drug Abuse

Pills2

Nevada Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug dependency and abuse has become a nationwide health epidemic claiming approximately 50 lives each day and over 16,000 lives each year. Compared to national averages:

  • Nevada ties as one of the top states in writing painkiller prescriptions
  • Nevadans consume over two times as many prescription drugs as any other state; and
  • Clark County has more deaths by drug overdose from prescription narcotics than by any other street drug

The ease of obtaining a prescription and the lack of transparency in prescription drug history are both to blame for the prescription drug abuse epidemic.

New Law SB288

Senate Bill No. 288 was created in an attempt to combat the rise in prescription drug abuse by monitoring prescription history. The Bill proposed that all authorized personnel who handle commercially manufactured prescription narcotics be granted access to a prescription drug database, and required to maintain access to this database by logging in at least twice a year.

It also granted the State Board of Pharmacy and the Investigation Division of the Department of Public Safety the authority to discipline those who failed to comply. These new requirements for those authorized to write and fill prescriptions would help support the National Drug Control Strategy. After months of revisions, Senate Bill 288 was passed and went into effect as NRS 453.1545 on January 1, 2016

NRS 453.1545  outlined the state’s computerized prescription monitoring program (PMP) requirements:

  1. Board of Pharmacy Registrants who prescribe controlled substances are required to register with the PMP
  2. Board of Pharmacy Registrants registered with the PMP are required to monitor the system and view
  3. Provision’s to NRS 453.1545 are enforceable by the occupational licensing boards within that state

The new law tightens regulations on doctors, pharmacist, and other medical personnel to ensure that they are using the prescription monitoring database to track drug prescriptions as well as flag cases of potential drug abuse.

Prescription Pill Offenses

Contrary to popular belief, charges for possession of a controlled substance (which includes prescription pills) is very serious offense in Nevada. Types of arrest for prescription pill offenses include:

  • doctor shopping
  • possession of a medication without proof of a prescription
  • illegal possession of medication; and
  • prescription fraud

Individuals charged with prescription pill fraud can result in:

  • a category C felony for doctor shopping punishable by a 1-5 year prison sentence and fined up to $10,000
  • First and Second convictions for illegal possession of prescriptions is punishable by a category E felony punishable by 1-4 year prison sentence
  • Three or more conviction for illegal possession of prescription pills can result in a category D felony punishable by a 1-4 year prison sentence and/or a fine up to $20,000

Additionally, doctors and medical personnel who are charged with prescription pill offenses in Nevada can be charged with a category C felony punishable by a1-5 year prison sentence and fined up to $10,000.

Conclusion

In the state of Nevada, drug crimes are not treated leniently, and penalties for the sale, use or possession of controlled substances can be harsh.

If you have been arrested and charged with prescription fraud, illegal possession of a prescription or doctor shopping in Clark County or the surrounding areas, contact the Law Office of Joel M. Mann to discuss your criminal charges.

Joel Mann is an experienced Las Vegas drug lawyer who will do everything in his power to help you achieve the most desirable outcome in your situation. Call (702) 474-6266 today for a free consultation about your alleged drug crime in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Arrests on New Year’s Eve 2015-16

iStock_000003177126SmallIf you are coming to Las Vegas to celebrate on New Year Eve you need to be aware of the dangers in your revelry.  The amount of tourist traveling to nightclubs and gentlemen’s club will substantially increase as many people come to Las Vegas to ring in the New Year. Many club-hoppers, who overindulge in drugs and alcohol, make bad decisions. The loud music, dancing, and crowds often influence people take chances they wouldn’t normally take.  Make sure you do not put yourself another statistic.

Law enforcement officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (“LVMPD”) use this opportunity to crack down on drug crimes and rack up arrests for a variety of related offenses, including DUI.

If you going to a nightclub in Las Vegas on the evening of December 31, 2015, or the early morning hours of January 1, 2016, you should expect local law enforcement officers to be out in full force.

In some cases, overly aggressive bouncers and security officers work with law enforcement to help them arrest a patron of the club. An arrest for using or selling any controlled substance comes with serious consequences under Nevada law.

It is important for you to recognize that the Las Vegas nightclubs have staff watching at every location, especially the bathrooms.  Joel Mann has had many drug cases originate from club staff waiting in the bathroom for any signs of drug use.  Once they suspect you of using drugs they will take you into custody and bring you down to the casino’s holding room, awaiting for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to arrive.

The most commonly used drugs in Las Vegas nightclubs include: marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, GHB and heroin.

Defenses to drug crimes after an arrest in a Las Vegas nightclub can include:

  1. The law enforcement officer conducted an illegal search in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution that should lead to the suppression of the evidence at trial;
  2. The law enforcement officer or someone acting in cooperation with the officer manufactured the crime and entrapped the defendant into using or selling drugs when the defendant was not otherwise predisposed to commit the crime; or
  3. The defendant did not actually or consecutively possess the drug because he didn’t know of its presence.

Knowledge often becomes in issue in drug cases in area nightclubs because another person could secretly plant the drugs on the defendant in order to avoid detection.

The penalties and punishments for drug possession in Las Vegas, Nevada, depend on a host of factors including the type of narcotics possessed, the quantity of the narcotics, and the surrounding circumstances.

Under Nevada law, a criminal charge of selling drugs is classified as either a Category C felony or a Category B felony depending on the type of drugs sold. The maximum sentence for these offenses includes a lengthy prison sentence and stiff fines.

For possession with intent to sale, the offense is classified as a Category D felony.

Simple possession of a controlled substance is a Category E felony in Nevada that carries with it one to four years in prison. For first time offenders charged with a possession charge, it is usually possible to avoid any incarceration by completing counseling and probation.

Drug crimes involving marijuana involve an entirely different set of penalties.

The top nightclubs in Las Vegas, Nevada, include:

  • Bellagio:
    • The Bank
    • Hyde
  • The Cromwell:
    • Drai’s
  • Delano:
    • FDR
  • Hard Rock Hotel:
    • Vanity
    • Body English
  • Luxor:
    • Savile Row
    • LAX
  • Mandalay Bay:
    • Foundation Room
    • LIGHT
  • Mirage:
    • 1OAK
  • Palms:
    • Rain
    • Moon
    • Ghostbar
  • Paris:
    • Chateau
  • Planet Hollywood:
    • Extra Lounge
  • SLS:
    • LiFE
  • The Sayers Club
    • Foxtail
  • Wynn:
    • XS
    • Tryst
    • Surrender
  • Venetian:
    • Tao

Additional Resources

Statistics on New Year’s Eve Arrests in Las Vegas – Each year the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) releases final statistics on the number of arrests made on New Year’s Eve. The 2014-2015 New Year’s Eve celebration stood out as one of the most orderly within recent history with 19 people being booked into the Clark County Detention Center on various felony and misdemeanor offenses. Two other people received Class II citations from within the Strip corridor. The Downtown Area Command, which covers the Fremont Street Experience, reported 3 arrests. Only 9 DUI arrests occurred within the Metro’s jurisdiction. By comparison, for the New Year’s Eve celebration four years earlier, 159 people were arrested including 68 arrests for DUI by the police department and another 48 arrests for DUI by the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Conclusion

Joel Mann is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has extensive experience defending clients charged with drug and alcohol related offenses. He is experienced with the tactics used by officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in drug cases in area nightclubs during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Joel Mann also knows the importance of obtaining the surveillance video of the incident when it is likely to be helpful to the case. In many cases the surveillance video might help establish important defenses to the charges.

For your New Year’s Celebration, keep in mind that area police will be out in full force. If an arrest occurs, contact Joel Mann to discuss your case and important defense to protect your good name after a criminal charge is made against you. For charges related to drug crimes or DUI, Joel Mann has the experience to help you fight for the best result in your case.

Will Recent Deaths Prompt Bigger ‘Party Drug’ Crackdown?

Party Drugs

The deaths of two young women from suspected drug overdoses at the Hard Summer music festival in Pomona, California, last month prompted calls for action about the use of controlled substance at similar events. The Los Angeles Times reported that the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors agreed the following Tuesday to develop a plan to impose a moratorium on similar electronic dance music events.

Despite opposition from electronic dance music event promoters, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis said the events deserved special attention not only because of a history with drugs, but also because recent fatalities have occurred on county-owned properties. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that increased security measure this year at Hard Summer actually resulted in less drugs being seized than last year while the number of hospitalizations quintupled.

According to the Tribune, patdowns and drug-sniffing dogs led to less than five pounds of drugs—roughly one pound of which was ecstasy and the remaining amount being marijuana—being confiscated this year while the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department seized over 30 pounds in 2014. Pomona Police Department Deputy Police Chief Michael Olivieri told the Tribune that the security was “the most thorough” he’s ever seen.

“I don’t know how you could increase or become more intrusive at a concert, unless you really did submit people to a strip search,” Olivieri told the Tribune. “If you can smuggle drugs and dope into a prison facility … there is no way security measures at a concert venue can be as tight.”

An Associated Press story published in the Las Vegas Sun on August 3 noted that there “at least 19 people have died from overdoses or in drug-related incidents involving music festivals in California and Las Vegas since 2006.”

This past June, 24-year-old Nicholas Austin Tom was pronounced dead at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the Electric Daisy Carnival, a festival attended by roughly 135,000 fans that saw 1,400 medical calls and 27 incidents involving people being taken to the hospital. The Clark County Coroner’s office later said Tom died of ecstasy intoxication.

The increased attention that these deaths and hospitalizations this summer have garnered will only lead to additional pressure on local authorities to get more drug charges. This could very well lead to additional searches of younger people even before they ever enter concert venues.

The idea of more young adults being searched without any suspicion or probable cause inevitably calls into question the legality of any such searches. Any person who has been stopped by police for a common traffic infraction needs to remember that an offense such as speeding or an unsafe lane change does not authorize a police officer to search the motor vehicle.

While a first offense for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is classified as a misdemeanor in Nevada, ecstasy (otherwise known as methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA) is considered a Schedule I controlled substance. This means that a first offense for MDMA possession is a category E felony.

Any drug crime can have serious consequences for an alleged offender, but this is especially true for young adults. A conviction for a controlled substance offense can make the offender ineligible for financial aid for college, and the criminal record can have damaging employment consequences later on.

If you have been charged with possessing an illegal drug or even drug paraphernalia in the Las Vegas area, you will want to immediately seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can evaluate all of your possible defenses. If there was any police misconduct or procedural errors during your arrest, you could possibly have your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Supreme Court Hears Case on Whether Officer’s Mistake of Law Justifies Traffic Stop

Traffic ViolationThe U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday on Heien v. North Carolina, a case involving whether police officers can justify a traffic stop due to a reasonable belief of the law that is inaccurate. The case could have implications

In the case, an officer in North Carolina pulled over a driver who only had one brake light working. The brake light malfunction was cited as the reason for the stop. During the stop, the officer searched the car and found cocaine. The driver was charged with cocaine trafficking and cited for the broken brake light.

However, North Carolina law only requires a driver to have “a stop lamp.” It is not, therefore, against the law to driver with only one brake light working. The officer had made the stop on the basis of a mistaken belief about what the law says.

The case was appealed in state court. The appeals court found that the mistaken belief that the driver had committed a traffic violation did not warrant “objectively reasonable justification” for a traffic stop. The North Carolina Supreme Court disagreed, saying the officer’s mistake was “reasonable” and therefore justified reasonable suspicion.

The matter before the U.S. Supreme Court now is whether a perceived violation of the law can be sufficient grounds to give officers reasonable suspicion to conduct a stop. The implications of their decision could extend to whether a similar mistake could give probable cause to conduct a search or make an arrest.

If the Court rules that a mistake in law can lead to a reasonable suspicion, traffic stops would be significantly affected, as demonstrated by the case Heien is based upon. Traffic laws are complex, and it would be easy for a police officer to make a mistake about vehicle requirements or any of the other myriad laws that regulate motor vehicles and how they are operated under the law.

A traffic stop can lead to drug arrests, DUI arrests and many other criminal charges.

The implications may extend beyond traffic stops, though. Gun rights groups filed a brief siding with the defendant, in part because weapons laws are similarly technical and could lead to searches and stops based on officers’ mistakes on the law.

The case may have profound implications on police’s ability to make stops that often lead to arrests on more serious charges. According to observers, the justices seemed split on their leanings during oral arguments.

 

Nevada Considering Performance-Based Test for DUI – Marijuana

CopLightsMembers of the Nevada Legislature are currently considering changing policy for determining when a person is considered too impaired by marijuana to drive. A committee of state legislators voted in favor of moving forward with implementing performance-based tests for marijuana, instead of testing the blood or urine for metabolites and other chemicals associated with cannabis use.

Currently, Nevada Revised Statutes § 484C.110 sets policy for driving while under the influence of marijuana. Under the present law, a person is considered per se intoxicated if he or she has 10 ng per milliliter in the urine or 2 ng per milliliter in the blood for marijuana, or 15 ng per milliliter in the urine or 5 ng per milliliter in the blood for marijuana metabolite. A person with this amount of substance in his or her system is considered “per se” intoxicated, meaning he or she is intoxicated despite to which he or she has full use of his or her faculties.

The Advisory Commission of the Administration of Justice’s Subcommittee on the Medical Use of Marijuana, chaired by Sen. Tick Segerbloom of Las Vegas, voted 9-3 to request a draft modeled after the law in California. Under California law, it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana to the extent that a person in unable to act with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, this effects-based approach has been adopted by 33 states.

The proposal would better reflect the reality of marijuana impairment. THC, the most significant impairing chemical in marijuana, does not operate in the same way as alcohol, in which BAC has a very heavy correlation with level of intoxication. Different people’s bodies process THC in different ways. People develop a tolerance to THC. It also remains in the system for a much longer time than alcohol, often long after the user stops feeling effects.

This is especially critical for the many people who use medical cannabis to treat a condition, which is legal in Nevada.  A person who ingests medical cannabis may have sufficient THC in their system to violate DUI-marijuana laws for hours or more after no longer experiencing any type of real impairment of their faculties.

The Nevada Legislature will consider changing the law during their regular 2015 session. It is expected to have some pushback from law enforcement and prosecutors.

Nevada Leads Nation By Far in Electronic Wiretapping Per Person

Using iPhone - 21209382 - SAccording to a report released this month by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, courts in Nevada authorized 38.2 electronic wiretaps for every 500,000 residents of the state in 2013. It is the highest number of wiretaps per person in the nation – more than three times the rate for the next highest state, Colorado.

Courts in Nevada authorized 213 wiretaps, or “intercept orders.” The federal U.S. District of Nevada issued 26, and state courts in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and Henderson, issued 187, meaning the overwhelming majority of wiretaps were in the Las Vegas area. Though federal officials only actually executed one, Clark County installed 178. The wiretaps results in 725 incriminating intercepts, according to the report.

The wiretaps resulted in 134 people being arrested and 78 people being convicted in Nevada, all due to orders issued by Clark County. It is a significantly higher conviction rate than the nation, in which only 19 percent of arrests due to a wiretap resulted in a conviction.

The vast majority of these wiretaps (97 percent for the nation, 100 percent for Nevada) are for portable devices, including cell phones and digital pagers. Using a wiretap, police can listen in on a suspect’s conversations and collect evidence to be used against that person.

Every intercept order authorized in Nevada in 2013 was for a narcotics charge. Nationwide, drug offenses are the reason behind about 90 percent of wiretaps, according to an analysis of the report by the Pew Research Center.

The Pew Research Center could not confirm any reason why Nevada would be at the top of the list. However, Las Vegas law enforcement officials told the Las Vegas Review-Journal  they believed they were simply more effective at obtaining them. The Clark County District Attorney’s Office has two federally funded prosecutors who work full time on drug cases, the Review-Journal reported.

Conversations obtained by a wiretap may seem like damning evidence. However, even if obtained by a warrant (always a requirement for a wiretap), this evidence is not always admissible. To obtain an order, law enforcement must show probable cause that the suspect is committing a crime listed in the Wiretap Act, that a communication against that crime will be intercepted, and that the phone is used in connection with the offense.

Your attorney may be able to call into question the grounds on which the intercept order was obtained. If the order was wrongly obtained, all evidence obtained may be determined to be “fruit of a poisoned tree.”

Brianna’s Law Now in Effect, Las Vegas Police Can Now Search Your DNA For Any Crime Without Probable Cause

Arrested man and gavelA new law went into effect July 1 that requires police to take a swab of your cheek to collect DNA when you are arrested for a felony. If a court finds police had probable cause to arrest you, police can then run a search of your DNA against a database of all crime scenes.

The basic effect of this new law is that if you are a suspect for one felony, you are then a suspect for all crimes committed. Police and prosecutors now have the power to conduct a warrantless search on a person for crimes they have no probable cause— or any reason at all — to believe that person committed.

The law is a mockery of the Constitution and an affront to the principles of privacy and liberty it espouses. Unfortunately, a slim majority of the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t think so. In the Maryland v. King case decided last month, the Court decided that a similar law was constitutional. The majority opinion outrageously compared taking DNA, which contains all biological data on a person, to taking a fingerprint — that is used for “identification.”

The minority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, correctly points out that the DNA is, in fact, to be taken to search the suspect for other crimes, skipping the normal process that would require police to show probable cause in order to obtain a warrant to collect a sample from the suspect.

The law in Nevada is called “Brianna’s Law.” It is named after a girl who was murdered in Reno in 2008, under the unknowable pretense that it would have somehow kept her alive. It is unfortunate that the Nevada Legislature believed it was necessary to destroy every person’s right to privacy by passing this bill. Every senator, Republican and Democrat alike, voted for it. There were nine members of the Assembly with the bravery and sufficient concern for the privacy of their citizens to vote against it.

While, with the recent United States Supreme Court decision it seems unlikely the law will be repealed or overturned by a Court, it makes it much more important now to hire an effective Las Vegas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest for a felony. If your lawyer can show there was no probable cause for the arrest, the DNA sample should be destroyed.

Similarly, if you are arrested for a felony, but the charge is reduced to a misdemeanor, a request can be made to destroy the evidence. For example, you are arrested for possession with intent to sell marijuana, a felony. Your Las Vegas marijuana defense lawyer could challenge evidence or negotiate down to a misdemeanor possession charge, and then move that the DNA sample be destroyed.  Also, it is important that If you were arrested for a felony and the prosecution did not file charges that you notify the Nevada Criminal Repository to remove your name and your DNA from their database.  Your Las Vegas Record Sealing Attorney will be able to assist you in getting your privacy back.

Post-Las Vegas Spring Break FAQ

Many, many students across the country decide that Spring Break is a time for getting a little wild, and decide that Las Vegas is the best place to do it. Most have a good time, but many find themselves in trouble with the law in Nevada as the result of Spring Break partying. A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can help reduce the repercussions as much as possible.

The following questions are hypothetical — do not take my words as legal advice, even if your situation sounds exactly the same. Contact a lawyer and discuss your situation.

Q: I got pulled over while driving back to the hotel after a few drinks and got charged with a DUI. Can I go home and ignore it?

A: If you go home and ignore the charges, they’re very likely to come back to haunt you in the form of a suspended license. Nevada shares information, including information about DUI convictions and arrests, with other states via the National Driver Registry and the Problem Driver Pointer System. After a DUI arrest in Nevada, you have seven days to request an administrative license suspension hearing. If you do not, your license is suspended in Nevada. Nevada will share that information with other states, though, and your license is likely to be suspended there, as well.

When you do not appear for court hearings, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The warrant will not expire, and any time you are in Nevada you could be arrested. It’s even possible for Nevada to attempt to extradite you from your home state. You’d be well-advised to hire a Las Vegas DUI lawyer to handle the matter here.

Q: I was arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution while on Spring Break in Vegas. Am I going to have to stay in Nevada to deal with this?

A: If you hire a Las Vegas prostitution lawyer, you may not have to return at all. Your attorney can seek to get your charges reduced or dismissed. He can appear on your behalf in required hearings, and make arrangements so you will not have to return until your offense is set for trial.

Q: I thought medical marijuana was legal in Nevada, so we bought a half ounce. Police found it on me and now I face possession charges. What gives?

A: Medical marijuana was legalized in Nevada, but you must have a prescription to be able to legally carry it. So, unless you have a prescription properly made out to you, you can be charged with possession of marijuana, a crime that carries up to a $600 fine and a punishment of up to six months in jail.

Q: I’m a student at UNLV, but I went to South Padre over Spring Break and got arrested for assault. Can I hire a Las Vegas attorney to represent me on that case?

A: Only if that Las Vegas attorney is licensed to practice in Texas — which few are. For a lawyer who can handle the charge itself, you need someone who is licensed in the jurisdiction in which you are charged. However, if the state you are charged in seeks to extradite you from Las Vegas, a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can represent you in extradition hearings. Extradition is the process by which a state requests that a suspect in another state be brought back to the charging state to face criminal proceedings.

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