Tag Archives: Nevada Legislature

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.

 

Nevada Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Authorized Users Still Face Potential Criminal Penalties

Marijuana Plant

On November 7, 2000, 65% of voters in Nevada approved Question 9 on the ballot. Question 9 amended the state’s constitution to recognize the use of marijuana medicinally. The law, NRS 453A, took effect nearly one year later, and removed state penalties for the use of marijuana by adults who have official documentation from a physician stating that marijuana would help alleviate their patient’s medical condition. The law did set limits for how much marijuana could be possessed or cultivated by the patient.

While NRS 453A did allow for thousands of people across Nevada to use marijuana for approved medicinal purposes, it did not set a clear path for patients to actually obtain the marijuana. Growing marijuana is not a skill that many medicinal marijuana users have the time or knowledge to take advantage of. Special medical marijuana dispensaries opened throughout the state to fill this gap.

However, state and federal law enforcement officers have shut down many of these dispensaries on the grounds that the law only permits caregivers to grow for one person. This has resulted in arrests and prosecutions among marijuana growers, including many dispensaries in the Las Vegas area. The police have also been targeting individuals who have exceeded the limit of growing seven plants as specified under the law.

For individuals without official marijuana cards or even those in the dispensary industry, the consequences of a conviction can be very dire. Nevada isn’t any more lenient on those convicted of marijuana charge simply because a majority of voters favored legal medicinal marijuana use.

In Nevada, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin, codeine, methamphetamine (meth), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and other drugs. Possession of marijuana for the purpose of sale is a felony offense. A first time offender may receive between one and four years in prison and / or a fine up to $5,000 as a category D felony.

There is a specific statute in Nevada for the trafficking of marijuana. Trafficking generally applies when an individual knowingly or intentionally sells, manufactures, or delivers marijuana. Trafficking of less than 100 lbs. of marijuana is a category C felony offense under NRS 453.337. This can be punished with up to $25,000 in fines and / or up to five years in prison.

A person who violates the law, even though he or she is a medical marijuana card carrier or is providing marijuana for authorized users can potentially face these serious criminal penalties. While the laws remain the way they are, individuals facing marijuana charges may not be shown leniency for helping marijuana card carriers. Working with a qualified marijuana lawyer in Las Vegas to find other possible defenses is still in their best interests.

It is currently being debated if the current medical marijuana law is what voters intended, since it can be difficult for a marijuana card carrier to obtain marijuana with the tight restrictions on growing. The Nevada Supreme Court is set to hear the issue soon and briefings will reportedly be filed by the end of the month. Additionally, several state lawmakers are still pushing for a bill that would allow licensed dispensaries to legally buy, grow, and sell marijuana to individuals with marijuana cards. The criminal courts will continue to hear related cases unless the matter is decided by the Nevada Supreme Court or state legislature.

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