Tag Archives: St. Patrick

When St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness Collide…Law Enforcement is on High Alert for DUI

Driver's License SuspensionMarch Madness, the NCAA college basketball tournament, starts this week. March Madness is the college equivalent to the NFL Super Bowl. Fans from all over the flock to the tournament, which is hosted in Houston, Texas, this year. Those fans, who are unable to attend the tournament in person, attend watch parties and other special events.

In Las Vegas several casinos and party venues, including Treasure Island, The Hard Rock Hotel, and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will be hosting special March Madness events and offering luxury events with premium seating, open bar, and other festivities.

As a lone event, March Madness will bring out a large numbers of patrons looking to have a good time, but March Madness occurs the same week as St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday commemorating Christianity’s arrival in Ireland and widely celebrates Irish culture. Commonly, people celebrate the holiday by wearing green, yellow, and white and partaking in traditional Irish foods and beer.

Party venues throughout Las Vegas and surrounding areas will have drink specials to attract the March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day crowds. In light of the celebratory spirit, Las Vegas law enforcement will be on high alert for drunk and impaired drivers.

According to a press release from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department there will be a “Sobriety Saturation” event on St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday, March 17, 2016 from 7:00pm to 3:00am. During Sobriety Saturation events law enforcement focuses considerable effort on identifying drug and alcohol impaired drivers before they are involved in a collision.

With the increased effort by Las Vegas law enforcement, it is important to be aware of the following:

Las Vegas Law Enforcement can Force a Blood Draw with a Warrant

Assembly Bill 67 went into effect late last year.  Assembly Bill 67 requires law enforcement apply for a warrant or other court order directing for the use of reasonable force to obtain a blood sample.

This means if a driver is stopped under the suspicion of drunk or impaired driving, the driver cannot simply refuse to submit to a blood test. The law enforcement officer now has the power to apply for a warrant or court order authorizing the use of reasonable force to obtain a blood sample.

If the driver refuses the blood draw, requires the officer to obtain a warrant, and is later found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above, the driver will not only be charged with DUI but also have his or her driver’s license revoked for  fifteen months.

Assembly Bill 67 makes it pointless to refuse a blood sample. Once a driver refuses, the officer can request a warrant or court order from a judge. With such high profile events in the Las Vegas area, judges will likely be on call around the clock to sign a warrant.

Drunk or Impaired Driving in Nevada is Dangerous 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 1,0125 people were killed in alcohol related automobile accidents. According to the CDC, the percentage of alcohol related fatalities is slightly lower than the national average, due to law enforcement’s aggressive efforts, including regular sobriety saturation events.

Predicting BAC is Impossible

For legal purposes, intoxication is determined by a driver’s BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration. In Nevada, a driver age 21 or older can be charged with DUI if he or she has a BAC of 0.08 or higher.

A BAC of 0.08 indicates the driver has 0.8 parts alcohol in his or her blood per 1,000 parts of blood. An individual’s BAC is a result of several factors including the individual’s weight, fat content, metabolism, amount of alcohol consumed, frequency of alcohol consumed, food consumed, amount of time since the last alcohol beverage was consumed, and other factors.

It is impossible to precisely predict whether a beverage will make a person’s BAC reach or exceed 0.08.Many drivers will say they feel fine or do not feel intoxicated with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. It is important to air on the side of caution and not drive after consuming alcohol.

Nevada Imposes Severe Penalties for Drunk Driving

Even for a first-offense DUI, the state of Nevada imposes serious criminal penalties. A conviction for a first offense DUI is punishable by jail time between 48 hours to a maximum of 6 months, or, at least 96 hours of community service.

The court may also impose a fine between $340 and $1,175.00, a mandatory alcohol education course, license suspension,  and the installation of a breath interlock device. The breath interlock device tests BAC before the vehicle can start.

Penalties for second and subsequent DUI are more severe and result in longer jail time and steeper fines.

A conviction for DUI can seriously disrupt aspect of a driver’s professional and personal life. It is better to be safe than sorry this holiday. Designate a sober driving, hire a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft, and refrain from driving. The consequences for a DUI conviction are not worth it.

Conclusion

Joel Mann is an experienced DUI defense attorney located in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has nearly a decade of experienced defending individuals faced with all types of DUI charges, including First DUI, Repeat DUI, DUI and Marijuana, Out of State DUI, and Per Se DUI.

If you are arrested and face DUI charges during the March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day festivities, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. Joel Mann offers free consultations and will begin building your defense right away. Contact The Law Office of Joel Mann at (702) 474-6266 to schedule a free consultation.

St. Patrick’s Day DUI in Las Vegas, 2013

Drinking and DrivingThis year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on Sunday, March 17, and major festivities will last through the weekend at many popular Las Vegas destinations, including Mandalay Place, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Treasure Island, the MGM Grand, and other locations across the city.  When the green beer is flowing, alcohol-related incidents always experience an uptick during these celebrations, especially in an entertainment-rich city like Las Vegas where open containers are allowed on the Strip, but not in a vehicle.

There are many reasons to be cautious during this year’s celebration. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that over 700 people were killed nationwide due to accidents involving drunk drivers on St. Patrick’s Day from 2006 to 2010. This figure makes up 2/5 of all deaths from automobile crashes during the same period.  It is important to remember, if you plan on going out drinking or celebrating for St. Patrick’s Day that you take the appropriate precautions to avoid being another statistic.  Get a designated driver.  Take a cab.  Stay at one of the fabulous resorts Las Vegas has to offer.

You can expect to see an increased presence of law enforcement officers during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend throughout Clark County, NV, in an effort to minimize accidents. This includes patrols from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, North Las Vegas Police Department, Henderson Police Department, and the Nevada Highway Patrol. Law enforcement officials will be on the watch for a number of signals that supposedly indicate a driver’s state of sobriety, such as erratic driving and failure to obey traffic signals.  If you drink and drive, the likelihood that you will be arrested is significant.

It’s important to keep in mind that law enforcement officers must have a reason to pull a driver over in the first place, search the vehicle, or make an arrest. This is known as probable cause and is a standard set forth by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A Las Vegas defense attorney can use any lack of probable cause in defending clients who have been charged with DUI.

Once a police officer pulls the suspected drunk driver over, he or she will be on the lookout for more signs of intoxication. This includes the:

  • Presence of open containers in the vehicle
  • Smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath
  • Slurred speech
  • Pupil enlargement or constriction
  • Inability to follow specific directions
  • Direct admission of guilt by the driver

If the law enforcement officer has confirmed suspicions of the driver’s intoxication, they may ask the driver to complete a field sobriety test. The accuracy of these tests is, at best, highly questionable, especially considering the police officer’s final, subjective decision of pass or fail. Should the driver refuse to take the field sobriety test or fail the test altogether, the officer may request additional chemical testing for alcohol content level. This is most commonly done through a breath, blood, or urine test.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it’s important to remember the important rights laid out in the Miranda Warning that officers are required to read to suspects prior being questioned.  Courts have determined that questioning in a routine traffic stop does not necessarily trigger the requirement that Miranda be read.  Whether Miranda is read to you or not you still have the ability to exercise your constitutional rights:  the right to remain silent, the right not to be compelled to be a witness against yourself, and the right to due process.

  • You do have the right to remain silent. In high stress situations, it is entirely possible to inadvertently provide inaccurate or conflicting information in response to an officer’s questions. When anything you say can be used against you later in court, it’s important to remember this at all times.
  • You have the right to consult with an attorney. However, in DUI arrests the Courts have determined that the Officers do not need to allow you to speak with an attorney before arrest or blood alcohol testing.  This is where knowing your right to remain silent is your best option.  Do not give officers any information that will be used against you.  Be cordial and nice, follow their directions, but do not say anything.

The consequences for a DUI conviction in Nevada can be severe. Not only will drunk drivers face severe jail time and / or fines, they also will have to deal with other real world consequences. A criminal record can place a roadblock on many future opportunities in employment as well. This is why it’s critical to enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day festivities safely and always remember your rights.

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