Category Archives: Las Vegas News

Nevada Prescription Drug Abuse

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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 City Council Passes Limited Ban on Open Liquor Containers On Fremont Street Experience

bottles-smallOn Wednesday, Las Vegas City Council passed a ban on open glass or aluminum containers containing liquor on the Fremont Street Experience, a pedestrian mall downtown popular with tourists. The new ordinance puts most of the onus on store owners, particularly souvenir stores, who sell liquor. Store owners whose employees allow people to violate the law may face a $500 civil penalty.

The FSE ban is actually significantly watered down from the original proposal. The original proposal would have banned open containers in a 32-block area, and made it a misdemeanor offense with up to a $1,000 fine for a person to possess an open container.

Las Vegas remains a city with liberal laws surrounding alcohol. People may still carry open containers in most of the city and on the Vegas Strip (which is not within city limits). However, Las Vegas residents would be incorrect to think they cannot face legal trouble for certain actions that pertain to alcohol.

While Nevada does not contain a charge for public intoxication, it does have a charge called “breach of the peace.” This is similar to what other jurisdictions call “disorderly conduct.” Breach of the peace is a charge police and prosecutors may pursue if they believe a person is intoxicated and causing problems in public.

Under NRS § 203.010, a person is guilty of breach of the peach if he or she maliciously or willfully disturbs the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, person or family with loud or unusual noises, tumultuous and offensive conduct, threatening, quarreling, fighting or challenging people to fight. It is a misdemeanor, with penalties of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

The situation becomes dramatically different once an intoxicated person gets behind the wheel. It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or with a blood-alcohol content level at or above 0.08. A conviction for a first offense will result in jail time between 48 hours and six months, or 96 hours of community service, between $340 and $1,175 in fines and a 90-day suspension of driving privileges. Consequences could become harsher if the BAC is at or above 0.18 or if it is a second or subsequent offense.

A Las Vegas DUI defense lawyer can challenge the traffic stop, the DUI test, the arrest and any other matter to seek to have the charges dropped or reduced. An attorney can also help the accused maintain his or her driver’s license.

While Las Vegas may have looser laws for alcohol than most places, it is not a free-for-all on the Fremont Street Experience or anywhere else. Those in the city and surrounding area are advised to know their rights in case of a criminal accusation, including the right to an attorney.

Know Your Rights During an Arrest at the Las Vegas Electric Daisy Carnival

The 16th Annual Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) will be taking place over the weekend, from June 8th to the 10th. This will be the second year the electronic dance music festival has been held in Las Vegas and it will once again use the Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the primary location. In 2011, the event drew roughly 240,000 people. This year, the event is expected to attract about 350,000 music lovers.

Along with increased attendance comes heightened scrutiny by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Nevada Highway Patrol. They will most certainly be on the lookout for illegal behavior that can take place at large scale festivals such as the EDC. This commonly includes offenses such as:

  • Driving Under the Influence, DUI (NRS 484.379)
  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, DUI, Drugged Driving (NRS 484C.110)
  • Marijuana Possession (NRS 453.336)
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (NRS 453.566)
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance (NRS 453.336)
  • Drug Possession for the Purpose of Sale (NRS 453.337-8)
  • Assault (NRS 200.471)
  • Battery (NRS 200.481)
  • Sexual Assault (NRS 200.366)
  • Indecent Exposure (NRS 201.220)
  • And other Nevada misdemeanor or felony offenses

Unless you are under arrest, you are not required to consent to a search of your person unless the officer has a search warrant or reasonable suspicion that you are carrying a weapon. Acknowledging this, if the officer asks you to empty your pockets or bags, you have the right to say no unless he or she has probable cause to believe you possess weapons. However, if you are entering a venue and they ask to search your person and you decline they can refuse your entry into the venue. Be aware that you have the right to not be search without a warrant, but there may be consequences for exercising that right.

Keep the following points in mind if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being arrested at the 2012 Electronic Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas this weekend:

  • Do not ignore the officer’s request for you to stop, whether you are driving or standing.
  • You may ask if you are under arrest or not. If you are not under arrest, calmly ask the officer if you may leave.
  • Treat the officer with respect and do not antagonize or argue with him or her, even if you think the arrest is unfair.
  • Even if you want to explain to the officer the situation and your innocence, it is in your best interest to remain silent after providing your name and address. In the confusion, you may accidently misspeak, omit details, or otherwise endanger your case accidentally.  So it is better that you just remain silent.
  • You do have a right to speak with your attorney before questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, ask the officer for a court appointed attorney. If you are under the age of 18, you also have the right to have a parent or guardian present during police questioning.
  • Do not answer the officer’s questions until you speak with your attorney, even if you are promised leniency. The officer does not have the authority to make any special deals.

Of course, it is possible for a law enforcement officer to infringe upon your rights during an arrest or even make an erroneous judgment. However, the arrest is not the time to protest your rights. Instead, remain calm and document as many details as possible, from the law enforcement officers involved to any witnesses present. Your Las Vegas criminal lawyer can help you understand your legal options and use every detail surrounding your situation to build a strong case in your defense.

Remember to stay safe at the Las Vegas Electronic Daisy Carnival this weekend and know your rights.

Crime in Las Vegas on the Decline Though No Change in Arrest Rates

On Tuesday, Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie reported a drop in several crime rates in Las Vegas. Compared to data collected from 2010, the reported cases of robbery, auto theft and homicide dropped in 2011, along with traffic fatalities and sexual assault. The Las Vegas Metro Police point to several different factors for this drop in crime, including increased traffic patrol, better documentation of domestic violence cases, new technology, and others.

Also, according to these statistics, arrests in Las Vegas have seen a negligible change between 2010 and 2011 with a 0.44% increase, an interesting contrast to the drop in certain crimes. An arrest does not mean that a conviction will necessarily follow. The police may arrest a person if there is probable cause to suspect he or she has committed a criminal offense. However, probable cause does not give a police officer automatic permission to search a person, their belongings, vehicle, or property without a warrant, since this would violate the Fourth Amendment.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” (Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution)

Probable cause that a crime has been committed may not be as objective as we’d like to believe. It is not unknown for a person to be arrested because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time or if there were false charges made against them. In certain cases, such as in responses to calls of domestic violence in Las Vegas, police must make quick judgments based on the evidence before them. Whether this decision is found to be justified later or not, it can severely impact the life of the person arrested in the short-term and maybe even long-term.

Many people choose to exercise their right to remain silent and speak with an attorney after arrest for these very reasons. Regardless of the circumstances of the arrest, an experienced Las Vegas defense lawyer can help determine if any constitutional rights were violated and if the police had probable cause to arrest or not.

The 2010 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Report can be downloaded from their website in PDF format. While the 2011 police report has been released, it is not currently available for review online.

Nearly 100 Arrested for DUI in Las Vegas and Surrounding Areas During New Year’s

Las Vegas is a popular destination to celebrate the New Year, both for residents and tourists across the globe. In fact, roughly 300,000 visitors joined the celebration recently. With the increased amount of people consuming alcohol, police in Las Vegas and throughout Clark County were out in force over the holiday weekend. Last year, roughly 80 people were arrested in the area for driving under the influence (DUI) in the area. This year the number rose to about 100, due in part to the increased presence of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies in Henderson and Boulder City.

Tactics employed by Clark County law enforcement included the placement of several DUI vans across the valley. These vans helped expedite the processing of suspected drunk drivers before they were sent to jail during the busy holiday weekend. No DUI checkpoints were used during New Years this year, though there was heightened patrol presence by police, particularly in the Las Vegas Strip and downtown areas on December 31st.

First time offenders who were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs this weekend are facing Nevada’s less than lenient DUI laws. For a first DUI with blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher, a person can find themselves facing:

  • Between 48 hours and 6 months in jail;
  • Between $400 and $1,000 in fines;
  • 90 days driver’s license suspension;
  • DUI school completion; and / or
  • Alcohol treatment.

Penalties for a first DUI increase if there was serious bodily injury or death involved, or the BAC was 0.15% or higher.

However, it’s critical to remember that an arrest for DUI does not mean that conviction will necessarily follow, even if the alleged offender fails the blood or breathalyzer test. Science is not infallible and the results from chemical tests can be skewed due to poor testing machine maintenance, improper testing procedure, certain medical conditions, and other factors. An experienced Las Vegas DUI lawyer understands this and does not settle for the easiest outcome. Depending on the circumstances of a person’s case, there are many defense options to DUI that can be pursued, including case dismissal, and motion to suppress or exclude evidence.

Officers cracking down on DUI offenders

Officers cracking down on DUI offenders.

Know Your Rights Before the Las Vegas DUI Checkpoints Halloween Weekend

Sobriety Checkpoint

Las Vegas is a popular destination during the holidays by tourists and Nevada residents alike. DUI checkpoints during these periods are increasingly common, no matter how hotly their constitutionality and effectiveness are debated. Also called sobriety roadblocks, this police operation is intended to find and arrest drug or alcohol impaired drivers. This year, two checkpoints will be created by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

According to KTNV, the first checkpoint will be conducted on October 28th during 7pm and 5am near Valley View and Desert Inn. The second will be on October 29th between 7pm and 3am in the Desert Inn and Paradise area. These areas have reported particularly high levels of drunk driving incidents during the past six months. Please keep in mind that there will be a heavy patrol of police officers throughout Las Vegas, not just near these checkpoints. Law enforcement officials from Boulder City, Las Vegas, Henderson, and the Nevada Highway Patrol will also be saturating the roads.

Are these roadblocks legal? That is the current billion-dollar question. In 1990, the United States Supreme Court ruled that these check points did not violate the 4th amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. However, these checkpoints must be performed under strict guidelines in order to ensure minimal invasiveness.

Under NRS 484B.570, the requirements for an administrative roadblock (including sobriety checkpoints) are established. This statute states that:

  • The roadblock must be created on a highway location that is visible at least 100 yards in both directions
  • A “stop” sign must be placed at the roadblock that is visible at least 50 yards in both directions
  • At least one flashing light must be placed at the roadblock, visible at least 100 yards to oncoming traffic
  • “Police Stop” warning signs must be placed at least a quarter of a mile from the roadblock at the side of the road
  • A flare, light, or lantern must also be placed by the “police stop” warning to attract attention to the sign

Your Las Vegas DUI attorney can use any lack of adherence to this Nevada statute by the police to your advantage. It’s also important to remember that you do have constitutional rights, whether you are stopped at a checkpoint or pulled over elsewhere by a police officer. The police are currently allowed to stop you briefly as part of the checkpoint process, but they do not have the right to search your vehicle without probable cause or your consent. In this situation, probable cause may include one or more of the following:

  • Visible presence of alcohol/ drugs
  • Odor of alcohol/drugs
  • Gaze nystagmus (involuntary eye movements)
  • Blood-shot eyes
  • Slurred speaking
  • Clumsy physical movements
  • Verbal admission of drug/alcohol use
  • Inconsistency in answers

You do have the right to remain silent after providing identification information and registration. This can help you avoid giving the officer additional ammunition to use against you should the stop lead to arrest. You are not required to submit to any field sobriety test, however you can be required to submit to a blood or breath test under Nevada’s implied consent law. In cases where drug use is suspected, a urine sample may be asked for.

Can you refuse to take a blood or breathalyzer test? Yes, but under the state’s implied consent law, Nevada law enforcement still maintains the discretion to forcibly take a blood sample after obtaining a warrant. With the preparation and foresight that goes into a holiday weekend checkpoint, a paramedic, nurse, or other qualified individuals will be on hand to withdraw the blood sample.

If you do submit to the DUI testing, your criminal defense attorney can still help you pursue a favorable outcome. DUI testing is not infallible. There are a variety of ways in which the results could be excluded from evidence or explained by your attorney. This includes a wide range of items such as medical conditions, interference of radio frequencies, lack of maintenance in testing equipment, improper use of testing equipment, use of mouthwash or medicine containing alcohol, and others. Additionally, lack of probable cause and improper roadblock procedure may also be used in your defense.

Whether you are driving in Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, or the surrounding communities this coming Halloween weekend, remember to drive safely. No amount of entertainment is worth the risk of injury to yourself or others. The police will also be out en masse. In the unfortunate event that you do find yourself in the stressful experience of a sobriety checkpoint, remember: you do have rights.

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