Getting Arrested in Las Vegas
by Nick Wooldridge
(LV Criminal Defense, 520 S 4th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101, 702-623-6362)
**The following article was contributed by a local attorney. The owner of this website has no knowledge or opinion regarding this article.
"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," may be a good CVB slogan. However, make the wrong thing happen in Vegas, you'll be staying in Vegas as well.
Sure, everyone knows that visitors to Vegas spend their free time helping old ladies cross the street, but if someone is grabbed by law enforcement, then what?
The first thing most people believe will happen is they will get their Miranda rights read to them. It sounds good but isn't necessarily true. If the cops want to use the things you say against you later, they’ll be sure Mirandize you. If you're caught up in a DUI where they have a blood sample, they don't need to do it.
At this point just shut up. Really, just shut up. Anything you say can only hurt you. Cops aren't judges, and you can't convince them to let you go. Social engineering will only make them mad and get you in deeper trouble.
The only thing you should say from this point on is: "I want a lawyer." Be direct and let the cops know you want a lawyer. Don't be vague or indecisive.
Two exceptions to the rules are minors and foreign nationals. If you're under 18, ask explicitly for your parents. Foreign nationals should ask to be put in touch with the local consulate and then ask for an attorney as well. Both minors and foreign national should still shut up.
Then, it's a free trip to the Clark County Detention Center. You won't get to go to the luxurious city jail, and the worst Vegas hotel is better than the typical Clark County cell.
Once you're in jail, remember that, if you have friends outside, they can put money into your account to buy things with. Toothpaste is a good choice, especially if you are hung over. Since baloney sandwiches make up the only meal at Clark County, buy something better if you have money in your account. While O.J. Simpson was in Clark County, he was popular because he had enough money to buy most inmates Snicker Bars.
24-hours after being locked up, there will be a probable cause hearing where the cops tell a judge the reason you have been arrested. Within 72-hours, you'll be arraigned or released.
If you're released on bail, there are two forms: you can pay it or use a bondsman. A bondsman can help in a pinch, but it is best to avoid them if you can. If you make bail, or your friends put up the money, you do get it all back at the end of the trial. A bondsman will charge you 10%-15% of the total, and you don't get that back.
So, what can get you in trouble on your trip to Vegas?
Three Categories of Crimes
There are 3 classifications of crimes: misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony.
Misdemeanors are the mildest and can bring up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. A person charged with a misdemeanor can expect to pay another $1000 in legal fees.
Getting a misdemeanor just doesn't cut it.
The initial type of crimes that visitors to Las Vegas may want to be careful of drugs crimes. Drug crimes go from possession of different levels of substances to possession with the aim to sell. According to law enforcement, the principal difference is the number of baggies in your possession. Having one baggie, you'll be hit with simple possession. More than two baggies will land you in the category of "intent to sell."
The answer? Don't carry a lot of baggies.
The Las Vegas cops often bring a shaky accusation, like a couple of joints meaning possession with intent, and then use that to bargain with. They strain the boundaries of what you can be arrested for. In the end, you wind up negotiating down and declaring guilt to what you did originally. Failure to have counsel to manage the haggling could mean you're in deep trouble.
The most severe drug offense is trying to traffic a controlled substance. This is a felony and may land you in prison for life. If think a "bag of baggies," think bigger — something like a semi-truck of baggies.
Prostitution is the next common crime visitors are tagged with. Although most believe that buying sex is legal, it is illegal in Nevada in counties having a population over 300,000. Las Vegas has a shrinking census, but it hasn't dropped below 300K yet. The closest counties are far out, but if you go to the concierge, a limo may be sent for you.
There are two crimes involved with prostitution: soliciting or pandering.
Soliciting is proposing someone have sex with you for money. The Las Vegas cops often lead prostitution stings and no, they don't have to tell you they are cops if you ask. Doing that will only make you look dumb when you show up on the video.
Pandering is the specific term for pimping. Approach somebody on the road and ask them to come work for you in the sex industry, you're in trouble. Soliciting will usually get a ticket. Pandering will possibly get you a room in jail.
After drugs and prostitution, is computer crimes. Computer crimes that Las Vegas visitors can fall into are the illegal use of a system, unlawful use of encryption and illegal access to a computer.
Most visitors to Las Vegas will steer clear of these accusations because they are aimed at either the corporate embezzler or child pornographer. The corporate types are the ones who violate their internal authority or log back in after they're discharged. The encryption side is used to get persons who won't give police the decryption keys.
Along these lines is a group of offenses that may use a computer, but normally don't: cheating at gambling. Las Vegas was forged on gambling, and the city takes it solemnly. The casinos are exceptional at detecting cheaters and have monitoring systems that make banks look like a daycare.
Another crime that Vegas takes seriously is Driving Under the Influence. The blood alcohol limit is 0.08, but most people pulled over land in the 0.20 range. The state is an "implied consent" jurisdiction; if you operate a vehicle, you grant them permission to test you.
Brought to you by
Nick Wooldridge, Esq, LV Criminal Defense, 520 S 4th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101, 702-623-6362