Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New 2017 Laws!

• Nevada voters passed the Question 2 ballot initiative in the November election, allowing an individual to possess up to one ounce of recreational marijuana. But there are no dispensaries licensed to sell the recreational drug.

Deonne Contine, director of the state Department of Taxation, says she hopes that temporary regulations will soon allow sales to occur.
State Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said he intends to sponsor a bill in the 2017 Legislature to permit those businesses licensed to sell medical marijuana to sell the recreational drug. He wants to get the process moving quickly and estimates it will bring in $50 million a year in tax revenue.
• The 2015 Legislature approved a law to require moped owners to register their vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles and pay a one-time fee. The law, meant to combat theft, set a Jan. 1 deadline to register the vehicles.

Alex Smith, a DMV spokesperson, said 300 mopeds were registered from Nov. 1 to Dec. 4. She said mopeds that are not on the road won’t have to register until they are put in use. Metro Police said they won’t issue citations until February.
Estimated cost of registration is $60 but the fee depends on the value of the moped.
• Nevada Highway Patrol troopers will be required to wear recording devices when they come in contact with the public. NHP chief Dennis Osborn said that won't happen until February when the video and recording equipment becomes available. He said the $1.2 million contract to buy the devices has to be approved by the Board of Examiners Jan. 10.

Osborn said all the patrol cars, however, have dashboard cameras.
Parents who receive state child support payments will deal with a new bank. Bank of America will be processing the debit card accounts, replacing Chase bank, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Thanks to the Las Vegas Sun for the information contained herein. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Nevada’s new gun background check law fails before it begins.

A new law passed at the last election would've required anyone and everyone buying a gun to undergo a background check. 

This would've included purchasing a gun at a gun show as well as private party sales. For example, let's say that your buddy has a gun collection.

Guns. Lots of guns. 
Let's say that your buddy wanted to sell a gun or two to you because he needed some free space and some money to go buy more guns. You agree on a price, you hand him some money, he hands you the gun. 

Under this new law, you've both just committed a felony crime.

However, the new law is not able to be enforced. You see, the State Law mandated that the FBI conduct these private party background checks. The State of Nevada was trying to tell the FBI what to do. 

The new law was set to go into effect this Sunday, January 1st, but on December 14th, the FBI was like:

Uh. NO. 
So, in effect, this law died before it lived. So sad. /s

If you've been charged with a gun crime, give my office a call.  

Friday, September 9, 2016

DUI Consequences - Criminal and Administrative

We spend a fair amount of time talking about DUI here...

... but we are in Las Vegas, after all. One thing that a lot of people seem to misunderstand about getting in trouble for DUI is that you actually get punished twice. 

So this is where "over a barrel" comes from... ouch!

Many people don't realize this, or forget, but having a driver's license is not a right to which you are guaranteed. Having a driver's license is a privilege which is extended to you once you attain a certain age and pass a certain number of tests. In Nevada, possessing a driver's license is also a contract between you and the state. When you sign for your license, you are actually promising that you will never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs and you are also giving consent to be tested if you are detained by law enforcement under suspicion of driving under the influence. 

What this means in simple terms is that if you have been arrested for the crime of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, there are now TWO entities you are in trouble with!

It's the modern-day equivalent of
"Wait until your father gets home!"
See, an arrest for DUI obviously gets you into trouble with the law. This takes the form of going to jail and then having to stand before a judge where you may receive a sentence in the form of jail time, hefty monetary fines, community service and/or classes and presentations about how driving drunk affects the lives of others. These types of punishments can take away your freedom for a period of time and typically will cost you many, many thousands of dollars. 

Drivin' drunk? That's a paddlin'.

What people sometimes don't realize is that when you get arrested for DUI, you are also in hot water with the Department of Motor Vehicles. And what really surprises people is that even if your criminal case gets dismissed or reduced to something less, like reckless driving, DMV STILL PUNISHES YOU FOR GETTING CAUGHT DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE! 

See, when you get arrested for DUI and then hire a lawyer, the lawyer's job is to pick through your arrest with a fine-tooth comb and see if the officer(s) who arrested you made any mistakes. If there are any cracks in the case filed against you, your lawyer may have some leverage in court to get your criminal case reduced so you may possibly be convicted of something other than DUI. However, DMV, much like honey badger, don't care. 

At that point, DMV may as well change their name to IDGAF because no matter happens in court they will suspend your driver's license for at least 90 days! 

And here's the thing, you may think: "who cares? I'll just drive without my license!" 

Well, you may not want to risk that, because many times, when the court agrees to reduce your criminal charges to something more pleasant than a DUI, they do it with a few conditions. In 99% of these cases, one of the conditions is a 'Stay Out Of Trouble' order. Normally the court will order you to STAY OUT OF TROUBLE for one year, under the penalty of a suspended sentence. 

It's like the court is saying:
Okay, we'll cut you some slack this time and let you off easy, but we want to make sure you have really learned your lesson, so we'll be watching you. If you mess up, we're really going to screw you hard. 
If you violate your Stay Out Of Trouble order, you risk ruining the whole deal the court gave you. In fact, if you violate the SOOT order, you may even be arrested and forced to serve out your suspended jail sentence! 

Of course the easiest way to avoid all of this is to not drive after you've had ANY alcohol or drugs (even prescriptions). Remember, Uber and Lyft are your friends! 

However, if you have found yourself on the wrong side of the criminal justice system, give me a call!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Nevada backs down on "Kidnapping" statute - and why this is a good thing.


Say the word these days and many people will immediately think of something like this:

This is the 2000's equivalent of "My name is Indigo Montoya. You keeled my father. Prepare to die."
"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you, but if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you."
Or, even more horribly, something like this:

It's like Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein's nightmares combined, went to hell, and then woke up Walt Disney...
This part made Chitty Chitty Bang Bang WAY creepier than it had any right to be.
But, as is the case with most Nevada law, the prosecution tends to play fast & loose with its application. Most notably, it has been applied as a way to throw extra (and unnecessary) charges at teachers who were having consensual relationships with 16-18 year old students - relationships, I might add, that would've been completely legal had the teacher/student relationship not been at issue as the age of consent in Nevada is 16. 

Our... extremely motivated... district attorneys will sometimes throw a lot of charges at someone just to see what sticks, regardless if they are appropriate to the given situation. Recently, a teacher was sentenced to 6-15 years largely because he was convicted of several kidnapping charges that were tacked on to his 'sexual misconduct' case. 

Unfortunately, in that case, the charges stuck. However, as of April 21, 2016, a new Nevada Supreme Court opinion has come down and found that:

  • The language contained in NRS 200.310(1) about the kidnappers "intent to keep" is ambiguous because the statutory language lends itself to two or more reasonable interpretations. 
  • Pursuant to Haney v. State: "If the statute is ambiguous, then this court will look beyond the statutory language itself to determine the legislative intent of the Statute" and 
  • The rule of lenity "demands that ambiguities in criminal statutes be liberally interpreted in the accused's favor."
There's a lot more case law and legal-ese I could put in here, but I'd rather make you laugh than put you to sleep, so let's just say that this is actually a good thing. Our prosecutors in this state have been making up their own rules for far too long. 

If you want to read more about this decision, you can look it up: Just Google 132 Nev., Advance Opinion 26 or Michael J. Schofield v. State of Nevada. 

Have a happy 4th of July, everyone. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A last minute effort to halt the draconian Adam Walsh Act from being enforced next month.

In 2007, Nevada legislature passed (or voted to adopt) the Federal Adam Walsh Act - a Federal Law designed to "protect" the public from "dangerous" sex offenders. 

Since 2007 the actual implementation of the law has been stalled due to various appeals. 

Recently, the Nevada Supreme Court had had enough and voted to implement the Adam Walsh act without further delay. 

Why is this a problem? 

Shouldn't the public be protected from dangerous sex offenders? 

Well. Yes, of course. 

Aside from the fact that several studies over the past few decades clearly show that sex offender registries in and of themselves do almost nothing to "protect" anyone from being the victim of a crime and simply waste taxpayer money and law enforcement resources, the Adam Walsh Act is ridiculously broad, extreme and oppressive. 

For example, under Nevada’s previous law, people convicted of sex crimes (which, in some cases could be something as mild as being arrested for urinating in public) were assessed on their risk of re-offending. Thousands of offenders who were deemed low risk, or a Tier 1, were not subject to community notification. Under the new law, which applies to offenses dating to 1956, tier levels are based on the offense committed, regardless of circumstances. Many offenders already deemed by a judge to be no threat to the community will now have their names, photos and addresses available for public scrutiny.

Many previously classified as a Tier 1 (low risk or NO risk) are now reassessed as a Tier 3 (very high risk, sometimes called "sexually violent predator") and will be subject to lifetime reporting requirements. The plaintiffs fear they will lose their jobs or businesses, be forced from their homes or have the safety of their families jeopardized when their employers and neighbors discover their status.
There's another problem in what you just read. I put it in bold for you. This law goes back to anyone convicted of a crime SINCE 1956. Folks... in 1956 IT WAS ILLEGAL TO BE GAY. So let's say that there's someone out there, in Nevada, alive today who was arrested for having homosexual sex in 1962. Thanks to this new law, that person is now instantly considered a sex offender! 

What the hell is wrong with our legal system?

Here's an excerpt from the very well-written article in today Review Journal:
Vicki Henry, with the group Women Against Registry, also raised concerns about the law, saying it will “destroy the families of those who have lived a law-abiding life for the last 20, 30, 40 or 50 years.”
“We will have registrants losing their jobs, homes foreclosed on, and children beaten up, homes burned, property damaged and wives losing their jobs when someone learns they are married to a registrant,” she said in a statement.
She said the law will essentially “place a target on the backs of all living at any address listed on a public registry.”
Among other things, the lawsuit claims the state has tried to enforce the law against people convicted of offenses that are no longer crimes and against people who have obtained court order relieving them of their obligation to register as a sex offender.
One plaintiff, identified as Doe 3, pleaded guilty in 1961 when he was 19 years old in California to a misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and annoying a minor. He was not required to register as an offender. Now 74 and the father of four adult children, he will be required to register as a Tier 1 offender and be subject to community notification.
Another, Doe 5, pleaded no contest in 1997 in Florida to one count of solicitation of a child via computer. At the time of sentencing, he received a withheld adjudication, meaning he has no criminal conviction, the lawsuit said. Earlier this month, the businessman was informed by Nevada that he would be classified as a Tier 3 and subject to lifetime registration and community notification. He also must report in person to law enforcement every three months.
Doe 7 was released for lifetime supervision by the state Parole Board in 2011 and in April a court terminated his requirement to register as a sex offender. But the Department of Public Safety told him this month that he would be designated as Tier 3. (The highest risk category available!)
The lawsuit also claims the law is unclear about how long different tiers must register for and when the clock starts, and fails to address how the state will identify people who were previously not required to register.
It further argues the law breaches deals some offenders reached years ago with prosecutors when they entered guilty pleas.
The law, the filing said, “is unjust, oppressive, vague, unenforceable, arbitrary and vindictive, and is equivalent to imposing new probation, parole, lifetime supervision or other criminal sanctions on plaintiffs.”
It also argued it will not promote public safety and will disrupt the criminal justice system by deterring defendants from entering into plea agreements.
If you share my frustration with this new law, please take a moment to write to your legislators and representatives. You may think, "well, I'm not a sex offender, so this doesn't affect me." But think of it this way: Maybe one day the government will slap a label on YOU and then it won't be so funny.

Here's the link to the RJ:  http://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/sex-crimes/amended-lawsuit-challenges-nevada-law-governing-registration-sex-offenders

Monday, June 20, 2016

What does Nevada consider to be a "Dangerous Weapon"?

It's surprising how many people don't know what they can be arrested for and end up with probation or prison time just for carrying. 

Dangerous Weapons. 

You want a little thunder? A little lightning?

Male machismo aside, you can get into some serious trouble for carrying around certain things here in Nevada. 

If you get caught by law enforcement in possession of any of the following, you're looking at being arrested for a Gross Misdemeanor or a Felony, depending upon the circumstances:

  • Any Belt-Buckle knife
  • Any switchblade where the blade is longer than 2 inches
  • Any blackjack
I just KNEW these were illegal!
No, not that kind of blackjack.... this kind:

Yes... yes... we all know what it looks like... 
  • Slingshot
  • Billy Club
  • Sand Club
  • Nunchaku - or as everyone calls them "nun-chucks" 
Bruce Lee not included.
  • Trefoil - the fancy term for a throwing star.
  • and everyone's favorite: BRASS KNUCKLES. No, the cops don't care that you claim they're a paperweight, no, they don't care that you have buckled your belt with them.... if you get caught carrying brass knuckles, you will go to jail!


If you possess a RIFLE with a barrel less than 16 inches or an overall length of less than 26 inches, or a SHOTGUN with a barrel less than 18 inches or an overall length of less than 26 inches, you're committing a felony. 

If you have been charged with any of these crimes, call my office for experienced and aggressive representation. 702-435-2121