Category Archives: Las Vegas

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.

Hit and Run Crashes on the Rise in Las Vegas

Dangerous city traffic situation

Hit and Run Crashes on the Rise in Las Vegas

Studies show that automobile accidents, specifically those involving fleeing the scene or hit and runs, have been on a steady increase on a national scale for the past few years now. To no surprise, hit and run incidents occurred most often in larger suburban cities. And more often than not, the fleeing suspect did so to evade stiff DUI/DWI charges.

In an effort to boost traffic safety and lower fatalities for motorist and pedestrians, the Nevada legislature was one of the first to propose bills that would make offenders think twice before fleeing the scene of an accident.

In March of 2015 the Nevada State Legislature introduced a bill that called for stiffer penalties on drivers who have left the scene of an automobile accident that resulted in serious bodily injury, property damage and/or death. The bill was passed and went into effect on October 1, 2015 as  NRS 484E.010.

NRS 484E.010 states that if you have been involved in an automobile accident that has resulted in bodily injury, property damage or death:

  • All parties should immediately stop his/her vehicle(s) at the scene of the crash, or as close as safely possible, and remain at the scene of the accident until all measures outlined in NRS 484.030 – Duty to Give Information and Render Aid – have been fulfilled
  • All stops must be made without further hindering traffic

Under this new law, a driver found fleeing the scene of an accident that has caused bodily injury, property damage and/or death will be penalized with a category B felony. Punishments mirror those placed on convicted DUI/DWI offenders and include:

  • a fine of no less than $2,000 and no more than $5,000; and a
  • mandatory sentence of two years served in state prison (maximum term set at 15 years)

Prior to the passing of this law, penalties in Nevada for fleeing the scene of an automobile accident resulting in property damage could be as miniscule as a misdemeanor carrying a maximum of six months in jail time.

Las Vegas “Hit and Run”  Cases Shock the Nation

Legislators have a valid purpose for proposing that “hit and run” laws have harsher penalties. Being only two months in to 2016, Las Vegas law enforcement has already responded to several fatal hit and run accidents.

On February 7th, 2016 North Las Vegas Police responded to a fatal hit and run. Witnesses of the event described the suspect as a middle aged man driving a white panel van who had struck an individual attempting to cross the street prior to fleeing the scene. The victim, two year old Evelyn Green, was rushed to North Vista hospital where she later died of her injuries. A suspect has not been identified.

The month prior to the death of Baby Evelyn, Lakeisha Holloway became one of the first individuals to be tried under NRS 484E.010 for a crime she committed in December 2015. Holloway was facing over 70 charges, including fleeing the scene of an accident, for repeatedly driving her 1996 Oldsmobile into the busy Las Vegas strip sidewalk at 30-40 miles per hour with her three year old child present in the vehicle. Holloway’s actions claimed the life of one pedestrian and severely injured nearly 40 others. Rather than stopping, Holloway fled approximately one mile from the scene before pulling over and calling 911. Toxicology reports later revealed that marijuana was found present in Holloway’s blood.

Since her arrest, Holloway has been held without bail at a Las Vegas jail. Holloway’s defense team recently announced that she planned to plead not guilty. She is scheduled to appear in court on February 18th, and if convicted Holloway could face over 1,000 years in prison.

With Las Vegas, Nevada – specifically the strip – being the most toured destination in the U.S. bringing in a record breaking 42 million visitors in 2015 alone, the news of these heinous crimes quickly spread and sparked nationwide outrage against hit and run cases.

Hit and Run Statistics

Statistics from the Nevada Department of Public Safety and Highway Patrol (NHP) released earlier this year shed insight on the rise of Hit and Run accidents within Las Vegas, Nevada. According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety and Transportation, overall traffic accidents resulting in deaths in 2015 increased by nearly 10 percent from the previous year for a total of 321 fatalities. To no surprise, this increase nearly doubled for Clark County at a soaring 18.9 percent (207 fatalities). Of the thousands of hit and run cases reported there were over 700 reported fatal hit and run instances in 2015 (including auto-pedestrian cases).

Though drunken driving fatalities in the Clark County area dropped by nearly 20 percent, studies found that drugs and alcohol are to blame for an overwhelming amount of automobile incidents involving a fleeing party.

Conclusion

If charged with a hit and run or fleeing the scene following an accident, it is imperative to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. An individual charged with fleeing the scene may also face related charges, such as DUI or possession of a controlled substance.

Joel Mann is an experience, trial proven criminal defense attorney. He has extensive experience representing individuals facing charges of fleeing the scene and other criminal offenses. Call the Law Office of Joel M. Mann at (702) 474-6266 for a confidential attorney review of your case.

 

Recent Changes to Nevada’s DUI Laws

Awesome-Whiskey-Keys

Under NRS 484C.160, Nevada’s implied consent law previously allowed a police officer to use “reasonable force” to obtain a warrantless sample of blood from the person who refused to consent.

After the most recent changes in the law, now an officer can only make the request that the driver submit to an evidentiary test if the officer had sufficient reason to believe that the person was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle or vessel while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.  Should a person not provide their consent to an evidentiary test, the law requires the officer to obtain a warrant signed by a Judge.  However, there are dramatic consequences to your license, that you need to be aware of, should you request a warrant first.

The officer can request different types of evidentiary tests depending on the circumstances. Those evidentiary tests include a blood or breath test to determine the alcoholic content of the blood or breath. A blood or urine test can also be used to test to determine the presence of:

  1. a controlled substance;
  2. chemical;
  3. poison;
  4. organic solvent; or
  5. another prohibited substance.

Knowing that the law allowed warrantless and forced blood draws, officers started pushing the envelop by taking blood by force under circumstances that shocked the public. Officers across the country started conducting “No Refusal Weekends” and conducting forced blood draws during DUI checkpoints.

Since judges were not involved in signing warrants, officers continued to find new ways to take blood. The evening news started showing videos of ordinary citizens being strapped down so that officers could oversee forced blood draws. Public outrage over some of the practices started to mount.

Missouri v. McNeely

Despite the public outrage over forced blood draws, the law enforcement community in Nevada and throughout the county was shocked when the United States Supreme Court decided Missouri v. McNeely, 569 U.S. ––––, ––––, 133 S.Ct. 1552, 1568, 185 L.Ed.2d 696 (2013) (plurality opinion). In McNeely, the Court found that warrantless  forced blood draws violated the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.

A warrantless search is reasonable only where it falls within a recognized exception such as consent or exigent circumstances. The McNeely court then rejected the proposition that exigent circumstances resulted merely from the fact that alcohol or drugs would dissipate in the driver’s blood after a DUI arrest.

Prior to the McNeely decision, many judges used the landmark decision in Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757 (1966) to support the proposition that the rapid dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream, by itself, creates an emergency that justifies a warrantless blood draw.

Under McNeely, the court held that the court must review of the totality of the circumstances, not just the rapid dissipation of alcohol, in determining whether any exigency existed.

The McNeely Court recognized that there is no justification for applying the exigent circumstances exception when “officers can reasonably obtain a warrant before a blood sample can be drawn without significantly undermining the efficacy of the search.” Id. at ––––, 133 S.Ct. at 1561.

Although the McNeely Court found that the decision should be made on a case-by-case basis considering the totality of the circumstances, the decision did not provide a list of factors to be considered. Because the totality of the circumstances was not litigated in the case, the Court found there were no exigent circumstances and that the warrantless blood draw was unconstitutional. Id.

Byars v. State

Shortly thereafter, the Nevada Supreme Court held that the consent implied by a person’s decision to drive in this State is not voluntary consent to an evidentiary blood test and, thus, existing laws that allow a police officer to obtain a blood sample from a person without a warrant and without voluntary consent are unconstitutional. Byars v. State, 130 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 85, 336 P.3d 939 (2014)).

Given the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in McNeely, the Byars Court concluded that the natural dissipation of alcohol or controlled substances did not, standing alone, create exigent circumstances justifying a warrantless blood draw.

The court further concluded that NRS 484C.160(7) was unconstitutional because it permits officers to use force to take a suspect’s blood without a warrant, valid consent, or another exception to the warrant requirement.

Nevada’s 2015 Assembly Bill 67

In response to the Byars decision, the Nevada Legislature passed 2015 Assembly Bill 67. The new law made several changes to Nevada’s implied consent scheme.

First, 2015 Assembly Bill 67 eliminated the constitutional defect identified by the Nevada Supreme Court by requiring that if a person refuses to submit to an evidentiary blood test at the request of a police officer:

  1. the officer may apply for a warrant or other court order directing the use of reasonable force to obtain the blood sample; and
  2. the person’s driver’s license must be revoked for a certain period.

NRS 484C.210 now provides that if the subject fails to submit to an evidentiary test as requested by a police officer pursuant to NRS 484C.160, the license, permit or privilege to drive of the person must be revoked as provided in NRS 484C.220, and the person is not eligible for a license, permit or privilege to drive for a period of:

  1. One year; or
  2. Three years, if the license, permit or privilege to drive of the person has been revoked during the immediately preceding 7 years for failure to submit to an evidentiary test.

Secondly, 2015 Assembly Bill 67 authorizes the revocation of a person’s license, permit or privilege to drive if an evidentiary test reveals the presence of a detectable amount of a controlled substance or prohibited substance in his or her blood or urine for which he or she did not have a valid prescription or hold a valid registry identification card.

In those cases, the permit or privilege of the person to drive must be revoked as provided in NRS 484C.220 and the person is not eligible for a license, permit or privilege for a period of 90 days.

A driver should be aware that a person whose license is revoked for refusing to submit to an evidentiary test and is found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more could be look at a loss of license for the one-year period plus the 90-day period, for a total of 15 months.  Under the current law there is no provision that allows a person to be able to drive for a recognized hardship during the one-year period.

Thirdly, the Nevada legislature corrected an issue that kept being litigated in DUI cases regarding a person asleep in a car when the car had not been driven.  AB 67 states that “a person shall be deemed not to be in actual physical control of a vehicle if:

  1. The person is asleep inside the vehicle;
  2. The person is not in the driver’s seat of the vehicle;
  3. The engine of the vehicle is not running;
  4. The vehicle is lawfully parked; and
  5. Under the facts presented, it is evident that the person could not have driven the vehicle to the location while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a controlled substance or a prohibited substance.

This allows a person to do the right thing and realize before they drive home under the influence that they can fall asleep in the passenger’s seat and not be assumed to have driven or in actual physical control of the car.  The previous law punished a person who did not drive but fell asleep in the car.  The new law has fixed this issue.

Conclusion

The McNeely and Byars decisions have impacted thousands of DUI cases across the State of Nevada involving a warrantless and non-consensual blood draw.  Even felony DUI cases involving serious bodily injury or death were impacted. Lower courts are making totality of the circumstances decisions in a case by case basis with little guidance from the higher courts.

If your case involves a non-consensual warrantless blood draw, then find out more about how recent decisions will impact the admissibility of the evidentiary blood test in your case. Contact Joel Mann, an experienced criminal defense attorney focused on drunk driving defense. Contact Joel Mann’s office at (702) 474-6266 to schedule a free consultation to discuss the case either over the phone or in the office.

 

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.

Don’t End Your Summer with DUI Arrest: Las Vegas Police to Use Checkpoints, Saturation Patrols This Weekend

SobrietyCheck

Whereas Memorial Day is the first major holiday weekend of the year in the United States that is frequently considered the start of summer, Labor Day is generally viewed as the last holiday weekend of the season when the days are their longest. As a result, many people throughout the greater Las Vegas area will be looking forward to one last outdoor barbecue or one more late night out that probably involves more than one alcoholic beverage.

The inclination to relax and have additional drinks increases the likelihood of motorists driving under the influence (DUI). As a result, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) has already stated that it is planning sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout the Valley for two days of the holiday weekend.

While the number of total DUI arrests by the LVMPD has seen a steady decline since 2012, do not think that this means police officers are not still actively looking for drunk drivers. This past February, Lt. Todd Raybuck of the LVMPD told KNPR-FM that a large majority of DUI arrests are southern Nevada citizens, with officers frequently catching people driving drunk between the Vegas Strip and valley neighborhoods.

It is in your best interest to plan ahead before any activities that will involve alcohol consumption this weekend. Try to arrange a ride or cab if you will be drinking, but it can be even better if you are able to completely stay off the road. Even if you are not planning on drinking, you will still share the road with others who probably have.

The combined efforts of checkpoints and saturations patrols will increase police presence to help stop more alleged drunk drivers. DUI checkpoints are referred to in the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) as “administrative roadblocks.” Under NRS 484B.570, such roadblocks must satisfy the following requirements:

  • The roadblock must be established at a point on the highway clearly visible to approaching traffic at a distance of not less than 100 yards in either direction;
  • A sign must be placed near the centerline of the highway at the entrance to the roadblock displaying the word “Stop” in letters of sufficient size and luminosity to be readable at a distance of not less than 50 yards in the direction affected by the administrative roadblock, either in daytime or darkness;
  • At least one red flashing or intermittent light, on and burning, must be placed at the side of the highway at the entrance to the roadblock, clearly visible to the oncoming traffic at a distance of not less than 100 yards; and
  • Warning signs must be placed at the side of the highway, containing any wording of sufficient size and luminosity to warn the oncoming traffic that a “police stop” lies ahead, and a burning beam light, flare or lantern must be placed near the signs to attract the attention of the traffic to the signs (the signs must be placed at a distance of not less than one-quarter of a mile from the entrance to the roadblock if it is in a rural area or 700 feet from the entrance to the roadblock if it is in an urban area).

Saturation patrols, on the other hand, involve large numbers of officers being deployed to specific roadways. Between the obvious checkpoints and the visible increased police presence of saturation patrols, the hope is that many people are discouraged from even getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

If you are planning on drinking this Labor Day weekend, the one surefire way that you can absolutely guarantee you will not be arrested for DUI is to simply not drive drunk. Should you have anything to drink, either stay where you are or arrange to have somebody pick you up.

In the event you have been arrested because you misjudged the amount of alcohol you consumed or you believe the breath test used by police officers produced a false positive, you should immediately contact an experienced Las Vegas DUI attorney. An arrest for drunk driving is not the same as a conviction, and a lawyer can fully investigate your case to determine whether a checkpoint was illegally set up or some other law enforcement error could result in your charges being dismissed.

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.

Five Tips for Dealing with Las Vegas Police During Traffic Stops

The arrest of Sandra Bland on July 10 and her subsequent death three days later in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, prompted immediate calls for an investigation into her alleged suicide. However, the case garnered even more nationwide attention when the Texas Department of Public Safety released this video of Bland’s traffic stop last Tuesday.

The video shows Bland being pulled over for a failure to signal, but it also shows Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia quickly escalating the situation because the 28-year-old woman understood her rights under the law. Bland has been somewhat unfairly criticized for her alleged attitude in dealing with Encinia during the stop, but nothing she said justified the state trooper’s inexplicable conduct.

Bland only told the trooper she was understandably irritated after Encinia asked for confirmation of this observation, and she was well within her rights to ask why she should have to honor a request to extinguish the cigarette she was smoking in her own car. It was at this point that the traffic stop spun wildly out of control and the trooper probably exceeded his legal authority.

This past April, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Rodriguez v. United States that “a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures.” In Bland’s case, the matter for which the stop was made was essentially at its conclusion as Encinia had written the citation and was preparing to bring it to Bland.

The only grounds for which Encinia might have been able to extend the duration of this stop would have been if he had a reasonable suspicion that Bland had committed some other crime. Of course, smoking in one’s automobile violates no law in Texas, and it is hard to imagine that the cigarette was viewed as a possible weapon since that confrontation was not even mentioned in Encinia’s incident report.

Unfortunately, what this incident really embodies is the way that certain police officers frequently abuse their authority and disregard an average person’s rights with total impunity. However, you should not assume that this type of encounter only happens in Texas. If you are pulled over for any kind of alleged traffic violation in the Las Vegas area, here are five things you should always remember:

  • Keep Your Calm — Any traffic stop can be a stressful experience, but keep in mind that police officers have dangerous jobs. If you are vulgar or loud or confrontational, these types of actions can give any officer reason to feel threatened or challenged. No matter how upset you are about being pulled over, it is critical to keep your emotions in check and avoid lashing out against police.
  • Admit Nothing — Exercise your Fifth Amendment privilege without making a point of saying that you know your rights. You do not have to admit to any wrongdoing. For example, it is in your best interest, when asked if you knew how fast you were going, to tell the officer that you are not going to answer that question.
  • Sign the Ticket — There is a common misperception that refusing to sign a warning or traffic ticket is a refusal of guilt that could later lead to it being thrown out in court. This is incorrect. Signing a citation is an admission of nothing other than you promise to appear in court. Under Nevada Revised Statute § 171.177, an alleged offender must be taken without unnecessary delay before a magistrate if he or she is refuses to give a written promise to appear in court after being issued a misdemeanor citation.
  • Refuse to Consent to Any Search — Exercise your Fourth Amendment rights when police officers ask to look in your automobile. Again, Rodriguez v. United States involved a police stop that exceeded the proper duration when an officer held the alleged offender for several minutes so a second officer with a drug-sniffing dog could conduct a search without reasonable suspicion. Police officers will frequently try to trick people by asking them whether they have something to hide, but the best response in these situations is to always ask, “Are you detaining me or am I free to go?” Try to avoid having any type of overwhelming odors within your car—primarily marijuana, but also air fresheners that are frequently used as covers for marijuana—as these types of scents are often cited by police as probable cause to search vehicles without consent (even when there was no evidence of such smells) and are more difficult to disprove in court.
  • Ask for an Attorney — Exercise your Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel for your defense. You are under no obligation to say anything without a lawyer, and you should be sure to have legal representation any time you are being questioned by police.

If you follow these rules you can keep yourself safe, you can let the officer feel safe doing his/her job and you can protect your rights.  However, should you be arrested, contact an experience criminal defense attorney in order to keep your rights protected.

Increase in Fatalities Likely Means Increase in Las Vegas DUI Enforcement, Arrests

Sobriety Checkpoint

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) set up a driving under the influence (DUI) checkpoint at Las Vegas Boulevard and Windmill Lane on July 14, the same night that a Nevada Traffic Safety Committee meeting addressed an increase in traffic-related fatalities in the Las Vegas Valley. According to KVVU-TV, there have already been 100 such fatalities in 2015 after there were 77 in 2014, and the Valley has seen seven bicyclist fatalities after none were killed at the same point last year.

Two nights before the checkpoint and safety meeting, two people were killed in a five-car accident on North Lamb Boulevard near Interstate 15 in Las Vegas when a pickup truck traveling at speeds that witnesses told the Nevada Highway Patrol may have been going 100 mph ran a red light and slammed into the other vehicles. The Associated Press reported that the truck’s driver, 26-year-old Arian Galindo, was arrested and faces felony DUI charges after a 52-year-old man and a 34-year-old man were killed in the accident.

A little more than two weeks before that crash, 40-year-old Abraham Lebron Jr. was arrested on suspicion of DUI involving death and hit-and-run after striking and killing a bicyclist in Las Vegas on June 26. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Lebron Jr. fled but turned himself in after striking a bicyclist who was crossing Sahara Avenue at Mohawk Street.

A first-time DUI arrest in Nevada is typically classified as a misdemeanor, and a conviction could possibly result in a maximum sentence of six months in jail. However, this becomes a category B felony under Nevada Revised Statute § 484C.430 if the DUI results in death or substantial bodily harm to another party. A conviction for this offense is punishable by a minimum of at least two years up to 20 years in prison as well as a possible fine of at least $2,000 up to $5,000.

Additionally, an alleged offender could fact category A felony vehicular homicide charges if he or she has three previous DUI convictions and causes the death of another person while driving drunk. In these cases, alleged offenders could be sentenced to 25 years up to life in prison with no possibility of paroles until at least 10 years of the prison term have been served.

The recent high-profile fatal crashes in the Las Vegas area means that officers throughout Clark County will be more aggressively seeking to keep drunk drivers off the road in hoped of reducing DUIs causing death or serious bodily injury. Motorists in and around the valley should fully expect more checkpoints as part of a concentrated effort to apprehend alleged DUI offenders.

It is important for any person who is charged with vehicular homicide to understand that if alcohol consumption is proven by a preponderance of the evidence, then he or she may be able to use the affirmative defense that he or she consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle, and before his or her blood or breath was tested, that caused his or her breath to have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. An alleged offender must file and serve on the prosecuting attorney a written notice of intent to use this defense at least 14 days before the trial, hearing, or other time as the court may direct.

All drivers in Clark County should always avoid drinking and driving, but they should also be prepared for local police to be a little more eager to place alleged offenders under arrest for any signs of possible impairment. Do not assume that a drunk driving arrest is an automatic conviction. An experienced Las Vegas DUI attorney can investigate all of the circumstances involved and fight to possibly have criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Celebrate America By Knowing Your Constitutional Rights This July 4th

America the greatThe Fourth of July means there will be fireworks in the sky, barbeques in backyards and cops patrolling the streets of Las Vegas, looking for people they suspect of drunk driving. There will also be heavy police presence at the many pool parties hosted around the city, looking for people breaking the law. On this holiday, we celebrate our country. There’s no better way to celebrate it than by being familiar with the document on which it is founded: The Constitution, particularly the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments found in the Bill of Rights.

The Fourth Amendment is very important in DUI stops. The Fourth Amendments guarantees the freedom against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Supreme Court has found that this means that, in order to stop a person on the belief they are driving drunk, officers must have reasonable suspicion.

Reasonable suspicion means that there must be specific facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a crime was being committed. A person who is driving too fast, driving too slow or weaving through lanes may present reasonable suspicion of drunk driving. If prosecutors fail to show police had reasonable suspicion, however, the stop may be deemed illegal.

The Fourth Amendment is also critical for the issue of DUI tests. For most searches involving places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, a search warrant is necessary. There is no place where a person has a more reasonable expectation of privacy than their own body. To obtain blood, urine or breath, the officer must obtain either the person’s permission or a search warrant.

If you are offered the opportunity to take a DUI test, the best option is to refuse. You will be denying critical evidence against yourself.

Independence Day is a big opportunity to for hotels and casinos to promote pool parties. At the pool parties, arrests are common for drugs, open or gross lewdness, indecent exposure or other offenses. When police grab a person on suspicion of a crime at a pool party, far too often that person will forget their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

If police approach you and question you, you should assume they are seeking evidence to arrest you. Do not believe that if you are honest and confess a “minor” offense to an officer that he or she will not arrest you.

Instead, exercise your Sixth Amendment right to an attorney. Your criminal defense attorney will advise and represent you, and will protect your rights.

As you celebrate America this holiday, know the rights guaranteed to you in our founding document.

%d bloggers like this: