Friday, January 29, 2016

Emergency Assistance Agencies in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada

The following is what I hope will be a helpful list of some Emergency Assistance agencies in and around the greater Las Vegas, NV area. 

*The following information is provided solely as a convenience and I am not responsible if the listed information has changed or is out-of-date.

American Red Cross Southern Nevada Chapter -- 702-791-3311
1771 E. Flamingo Rd. #206B. Las Vegas, NV 89119

  • Provides limited emergency assistance only for disaster victims, including single family house fires. 
Catholic Charities Administrative Office -- 702-385-2662
1501 N. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89101
  • Provides a variety of emergency assistance, including a hot meal, showers, a bed, job counseling, assists with utility shut-offs and other problems.
Catholic Charities of S. Nevada WIC Program -- 702-366-2069
1511 N. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89101
  • Supplemental food for women, infants and children
Retired Senior Volunteer Program -- 702-382-0721
531 N. 30th St., Las Vegas, NV., 89101
  • Nutrition programs, compantion programs, carrier alert, crime prevention and victim assistance for senior citizens.
Christ Episcopal Church -- 702-735-7655
2100 S. Maryland Parkway., Las Vegas, NV 89104
  • Provides emergency food boxes.
Giving Life Ministries -- 702-565-4984
416 Perlite Way, Henderson, NV 89015
  • Provides food twice per week - Tuesday and Friday 9 a.m - 12 noon. Other services provided as funds are available.
Las Vegas Rescue Mission -- 702-382-1766
480 W. Bonanza. Las Vegas, NV 89101
  • Overnight shelter, recovery, thrift store, and dinner at 5 p.m., seven days per week.
Shade Tree Women's and Children's Shelter (24 hours) -- 702-385-4596
1 W. Owens Ave., North Las Vegas, NV 89030
  • Provides emergency shelter, food, clothing & spiritual counseling. 
TIP: Trauma Intervention Program -- 702-229-0426
  • 24 hour on-call grief counselors to assist people during times of crisis, such as an unexpected death or suicide of a family member. 
Westcare Community Triage Center (Detox) -- 702-383-4044
930 N. 4th St. Las Vegas, NV 89101
  • Provides a place to detox from drugs or alcohol, usually on a walk-in basis (if space available - best to call ahead.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Burglary - Nevada's 'catch-all' for "...let's just go ahead and make you a Felon..."

Burglar. It's a strange sounding word, and not something most of us would ever think we could ever possibly be labeled. 

But In Nevada, being arrested for Burglary is a lot easier than you think.

This could be you. Only not as hilarious.
In yesterday's blog we talked about how Petit Larceny can quickly, and unexpectedly, escalate to felony status, but Nevada's definition of burglary is far broader than that. Since I didn't want to leave you hanging with partial information, I'll cover the remainder of the items here in today's blog. 

ICYMI, the definition of burglary here in Silver State is that: any person who, either by day or night, enters any structure with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny, assault or battery, any felony, or to obtain money or property under false pretenses is guilty of burglary. 

I covered the petit larceny part in detail already so let's move on to the others. How about assault or battery? Many people don't actually know the difference between the two but it's fairly easy. 

  • Assault: willfully and unlawfully attempting to use physical force against a person.
  • Battery: willfully and unlawfully USING force against a person.
Many times a person will complain to a police officer "That man assaulted me!" when actually they mean battered. Most people don't say "battered" because it sounds like something you do to a filet of fish rather than a person, but nobody ever said the law had to make a lot of sense. 

If someone actually strikes you, you have (in a less delicious way than the aforementioned fish) been battered. If someone grabs you by your shirt and cocks their fist, making you think you're about to get punched, you have been assaulted. (The reciprocal of this is an entirely different type of crime that we'll cover later.)

If someone threatens you with a knife (or screwdriver, or brick, or tomahawk, or angry chicken), that's assault, more accurately assault with deadly weapon (except for the chicken). 

If, God forbid, someone actually stabs you or shoots you or hits you with a brick, that's battery with deadly weapon.

Hopefully you're seeing the difference. 

How does this play out in to someone's normal life? Oh that's easy. Think of the following scenario:
Frank finds out that his wife, Margaret has been cheating on him with Benjamin, a tall, dark haired doctor who works at a nearby hospital. In a fit of pique, Frank vows to teach Ben a thing or two about healthy boundaries and storms into the hospital with the intent of beating up Ben. Upon seeing Ben flirting with Nurse Gage at the billing counter, Frank practically runs up to Ben, loudly insinuates that Ben's mother is a female canine and quickly suggests that Ben do something to himself that is physically improbable before swiftly striking Ben in the face with his closed fist.* 
*Congratulations if you picked up on the M*A*S*H reference. 

If you've ever been cheated on by a spouse or significant other, this scenario doesn't sound too far-fetched, does it? If you know the pain of finding out that the person you trusted with your most intimate of intimates in this world has repaid your love and trust with secrecy and illusion, then surely you've fantasized about killing inflicting some pain and injury on the person who replaced you. 

And therein lies the problem...

If you actually act that scenario out and wallop someone, sure you might get off with a simple misdemeanor battery citation, but, as per the letter of the law, if the District Attorney wants to make an example out of you, or is just having a bad day, they'll definitely testify that you "ENTERED A STRUCTURE WITH THE INTENT TO COMMIT A BATTERY" and that's all it takes to make you a felon. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Going to prison for Felony Burglary because you shoplifted? It can happen in Nevada!

So let's talk a little about "intent" and what it means in a legal sense.

Do you know anyone who's ever been busted for shoplifting? You know how it goes, someone sees something they really want and they try to slip it into their pocket or their pants or into a bag and exit the store without paying for it. No, it's not the right thing to do, but in the grand scheme of crime, it's fairly harmless. In this example we're talking about a straightforward misdemeanor crime. Our hypothetical thief isn't packing any weapons and isn't using any force to retain the stolen merchandise, and whatever he stole was less than $650 in value. So let's dive into this topic in a little bit more detail. 

Bob Wino - paid too much attention to Swiper in those old Dora the Explorer cartoons 

The actual legal term for the crime of shoplifting is Petit Larceny although most people think it's "Petty" Larceny. 

"You don't have to live like a refugee..."

Nevada law defines Petit Larceny as someone who: "Did steal, take, or carry away, without permission from (name of business or person), (the items taken) with intent to deprive the owner permanently thereof."

This is fairly easy to prove in our hypothetical situation. Bob Wino doesn't have any money, but really wants his mid-morning buzz so he goes into the store, selects a bottle of hooch and conceals it in his coat. After checking to make sure he hasn't been seen, he heads toward the door and exits the store without making any attempt to pay for the concealed merchandise. This is all the intent a responding police officer needs to issue a citation or make the arrest for the misdemeanor crime of Petit Larceny. 

However, it can get a little tricky. At first glance, it seems like, if caught, Bob Wino stands to get off pretty easy, right? Probably just a citation for a misdemeanor, a court date, a suspended sentence, some community service, $10 in restitution to the business, stay out of trouble for 6 months and he's good, right? Not so fast.

Let's look at Nevada's legal definition of Burglary. 
Burglary: Any person who, either by day or night, enters any structure with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny, assault, battery, any felony, or obtaining money or property under false pretenses is guilty of burglary.

Wait..... What??!!

What this means to you is that if the police can prove that you entered a building with the intent to commit a crime 
-- even a minor one -- 
you can be arrested for FELONY Burglary!

Lets look at our hypothetical miscreant Bob Wino again. It's the same scenario as before. Bob goes in, takes the wine, tucks it in a pocket, walks out of the store without paying. Except this time Bob gets caught by the cops. They stop Bob, detain him, the store clerk comes out and positively identifies Bob as the suspect, and Bob still has the wine in his coat pocket. Bob is screwed. But Bob's only committed a small crime, right? Just a misdemeanor, right? Well......  As the police question Bob they realize that he's been arrested for this type of thing before, and as the police relieve Bob of his pilfered wine and search him for weapons they realize that Bob doesn't seem to have any money on him. He also has no credit or debit cards and no checks. Bob has no way to legitimately purchase anything! 

To a police officer, this means that Bob had no legitimate reason to be going into a retail store in the first place. What valid reason could Bob possibly have had? The cop is now wondering if Bob walked into that store with the intent to steal the wine. It's an easy felony arrest which will look great on the cop's monthly stat sheet! 

The bullet points the cop will use in his declaration of arrest to imprison poor Bob for 1-6 years will be something like:
  • Bob has priors for similar crimes.
  • Bob has no form of payment to legitimately purchase anything.
  • Bob entered a retail store and selected merchandise he couldn't possibly have paid for.
  • Bob secreted the merchandise on his person
  • Bob exited the business without attempting to pay for the merchandise. 
  • Because of these facts, I believe Bob entered the business with the intent to commit Petit Larceny, ergo Bob committed Burglary. 
And that is how the simple crime of shoplifting can put you in Nevada State Prison for a few years. 

The moral of the story is: If you've been accused of a crime, even something relatively minor, you always need to have legal representation. Things can spin out of control very quickly. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hit and Run in Las Vegas, Nevada. New Info!

What does Senate Bill 245 really mean for you as a driver in Nevada?

What is Senate Bill 245? 
  • In simple terms, it's an update to the Hit & Run laws and the DUI laws in Nevada that created significant penalties to people who drink and drive and/or leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident
When did it take effect? 

  • October 1, 2015
This law has been in effect for a while now, but it's one of those things that most people don't think about too often, so I'd like to take a moment and explain it. 

Under the old Nevada laws, there was a small loophole. Let's say that Mr. Smith goes out and has a few drinks and then decides to drive home. While on the way home he gets into a car accident and is terrified of getting arrested for a DUI. In a panic, Mr. Smith looks around and sees a bar just across the street. He runs across the street, runs into the bar and orders a double shot of bourbon and slams it down. A few moments later, the police arrive inside the bar looking for Mr. Smith. Once they begin to question him, Mr. Smith states that he was involved in the accident and was so stressed out by it that he ran over here and had to have a drink. This is where he jumped through the old loophole - the police now can't prove if Mr. Smith was or was not drunk at the time of the accident. There's no legal way to tell the difference between the alcohol that was in his system while he was driving and the alcohol he just drank right now. The most they can do is cite him appropriately if the accident was his fault and potentially give him a misdemeanor citation for "leaving the scene of an accident", but, under these circumstances, he could never be successfully prosecuted for a DUI. 

"Why didn't I ever think of that?"

Senate Bill 245 has closed that loophole. 

Under the same set of circumstances, Mr. Smith is now looking at a non-probationable, mandatory sentence of between 2 to 20 years in a Nevada State Prison. What does non-probationable mean? It means that the prison sentence imposed may not be suspended nor may probation be granted to the person! 

So now you're thinking "I don't ever drink and drive, this doesn't matter to me!". 

Oh, but it does. The second portion of the bill says:
"The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident on a highway or on premises to which the public has access resulting in bodily injury to or the death of a person shall immediately stop his vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible, and shall forthwith return to and in every even shall remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of NRS 484E.030."
You'll notice some interesting language contained in that paragraph. Look closely and you'll notice that there is nothing in there about driving under the influence. Also worth noting is this part: "...resulting in bodily injury..." notice that it doesn't say serious bodily injury. It just says bodily injury. So let's look at the following hypothetical scenario:

Mr. Smith is driving home from work, as sober as any teetotaler ever was, and is involved in a moderate vehicle accident. It doesn't matter if he was the one who caused the accident or not. Now, let's say that Mr. Smith decides, for one reason or another, that he needs to leave the scene. If anyone else who was involved in that accident is injured in any way Mr. Smith now faces 2-20 years of mandatory prison time!


  1. Don't drink and drive.
  2. Never, EVER leave the scene of a vehicle accident that you're involved in! 
Attorney Schneider in the news.

Here's a story about a high profile case I've been working on.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My Tru TV appearance several years ago!

A few  years ago I was involved in the O.J. Simpson case regarding an incident that was alleged to have happened in a Las Vegas hotel & casino. I did not, however, represent O.J. himself.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Domestic Violence Overview

Domestic violence in Las Vegas

Domestic Violence in the State of Nevada is taken very seriously by the courts. 

Domestic Violence is defined as any force or violence inflicted upon a person to whom you:
  1. are dating, or;
  2. are related to by blood, or;
  3. are living with in the same residence (yes, this includes a roommate relationship!!), or;
  4. have children with, or;
  5. are married to.
If two people who meet ANY ONE of those conditions get into a physical altercation, odds are someone is going to be charged with Domestic Violence. If you are charged with Domestic Violence, you will be arrested and you will be taken to jail. State Law mandates that you spend at least 12 hours in jail. This is meant to be a "cooling off" period. Domestic Violence prosecution takes place EVEN IF THE VICTIM REFUSES TO PRESS CHARGES, RECANTS TESTIMONY OR BEGS FOR THE PERPETRATOR TO NOT BE ARRESTED! The State of Nevada will press charges on behalf of an uncooperative victim and the perpetrator will still be prosecuted. 
The first offense is considered a misdemeanor. A third offense within 7 years of the 1st offense is a Felony. However, even a misdemeanor conviction for Domestic Violence can have long-lasting consequences. Anyone who has been convicted of Domestic Violence, for example, is legally prohibited from owning or possessing any firearm at any time. This is also retroactive. If you have a large and expensive firearm collection, one DV Conviction will mean that you have to dispose of all of your guns! If you're ever caught with a firearm after a DV Conviction, you will be arrested as a "Prohibited Person in Possession of Firearm". This is a FELONY CHARGE (NRS 202.360-1)

A new law went into effect a little while ago creating a new crime called "Battery - Domestic Violence - Strangulation". This is a very serious crime. If the "strangulation" enhancement comes into play, the crime immediately becomes a Felony and the punishment is very severe - per State Law, this is a non-probationable offense! Simply put: If you are convicted of Battery - DV - Strangulation, you WILL be sentenced to prison without the possibility of probation in lieu of serving time.  

If you have been accused of Domestic Violence, in any form, you need to immediately seek legal representation!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Child Custody Modification in Las Vegas

Recent changes brought about in State Assembly Bill 263 (AB263) could mean big changes in the way child custody is handled in Nevada.

When you and your co-parent can no longer see eye-to-eye or even be amicable regarding child custody, you need a lawyer who's up to date on the newest state laws. 

I've helped many clients get the child custody results they wanted since the introduction and implementation of AB263, a new Nevada state law governing specific aspects of child custody and visitation.

Perhaps you have a child custody court order in place that no longer works for your situation. The good news is you may be able to modify the child custody court order, however you will have to either get the consent of the other parent, or have a substantial change in circumstances such that a change of custody is in the child's best interests.

The following are examples of changes in custody:

     --  joint physical custody to primary physical custody
     --  primary physical custody to joint physical custody
     --  sole legal custody to joint legal custody
     --  joint legal custody to sole legal custody

When seeking modification of custody, it is important to consult with or retain a family law attorney.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Meet the Judge at the Center of Sheldon Adelson’s Strange Deal to Buy a Newspaper

I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by Time Magazine about my professional relationship with Judge Gonzalez, a Judge I hold in high regard. Read the whole article by clicking on the link.