Friday, March 18, 2016

We all know DUI is bad, but what if you get more than one?

Sometimes Good People Make Poor Decisions

...and sometimes, people mess up more than once. 

"To err is human", as the old saying goes, but what happens to you if you've "erred" more than once with regard to DUI?

Aside from wondering if inanimate objects around your home are secretly giving you judgmental looks...
OOOoooo! You Nasty Man!!
... you may find yourself in serious trouble with the Courts. Everything in life is (or is supposed to be) a balance. For every "give" there is likely a commensurate "take". What that means here in Las Vegas is that our 'round-the-clock bars, clubs and casinos come at the cost of incredibly harsh punishments for driving under the influence of alcohol (among other things).

So what options are there - aside from a harsh prison sentence - for repeat DUI Offenders in Vegas? 


In Nevada, if you get arrested for DUI 3 times within 7 years, you will be facing Felony charges and you stand a good chance of actually going to prison. However there is one option - Felony DUI Court. 

Felony DUI Court is a lengthy, intensive and (I'm not going to lie to you) very expensive program. It is not fun, however, depending on your preferences, you may want it over communal showers, government issued clothing and a mattress that's as thin as a matzah.

Although the SOP (Serious Offender Program) might be able to keep you out of prison, it is very strict. People who enroll in, or are sentenced to SOP can expect to:

  • Be on house arrest for at least 6 months at the beginning of the program. During this time you will wear a GPS enabled ankle monitor and will only be allowed to leave your home during certain times of the day and only for certain reasons. You may go to work, court, a doctor, or a grocery store, for example, but you should expect to keep a written log detailing, down to the minute, where you've gone. You will likely also be expected to keep receipts of any store you visit as proof that you were actually there. You also must pay to be on house arrest. Fees range from $6-$20 per day for this.

  • Be under Prohibition. As you can probably expect, if you are in serious trouble for alcohol-related crimes, the Court is NOT going to let you drink. At all. Not one drop. To that end, you may be required to wear a SCRAM bracelet. 
    This ain't Louis Vuitton
    This fancy little device attaches to your ankle. (You know, the other ankle, since you'll already have your GPS House Arrest bracelet on one already.) The SCRAM bracelet tests your skin and sweat for any alcohol coming from you and it WILL detect if you have ANYTHING to drink. Included inconveniences: you must sit near a power outlet for three hours each day to recharge the SCRAM bracelet; you must physically report to the SCRAM office three times per week so they can download the stored data, and you must pay a daily fee to wear the SCRAM bracelet. 

  • have a Breath Interlock Device (BID) installed on your vehicle. You must pay for this device's installation and you must pay a monthly fee for the privilege of having it in your car. You must blow into this device each and every time you start your car (say goodbye to mouthwash with alcohol in it). If you think you're going to be sneaky, don't; the BID also has a camera installed, so having someone else blow into the device is not an option. You must also sign a document in which you agree that you WILL NOT DRIVE any other car. If you are caught driving a vehicle not equipped with a BID, you will be found in violation of the program and likely sentenced to prison. 

  • attend weekly private counseling with a court-approved therapist or psychiatrist. This is at your own expense. 

  • be required to attend two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week.

  • be required to make weekly appearances in Court in the form of a "Status Check". This means that, once a week, you will have to stand in front of the Judge while s/he reviews your records provided by the SCRAM and BID and your counselors to make sure you haven't committed any violations. If there is a violation, you should hire legal representation to accompany you to Court to try and explain the violation and avoid prison time. 

  • be required to abide by a curfew. This means that if your GPS ankle monitor shows that you're away from home after your curfew, they will come arrest you.

So, how long does this program last? 

(you may want to sit down.....)


O.     M.     G.

You can expect to pay, overall, in the ballpark of $11,000 - $15,000 over the course of three years to be on this program. 

Is it better than going to prison? Well, that's for you to decide. SOP and its little brother MOP (Moderate Offenders Program) are expensive, embarrassing, inconvenient and extremely stressful. 

Even though I am a criminal defense attorney who makes money defending the accused in court, I would be extremely happy if everyone reading this blog would make a commitment to yourself that you will simply NEVER drive after you've been drinking and that when you plan on partying, you include a Designated Driver in your plans. 

It's simply not worth it. 

If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, feel free to give my office a call at:

Monday, March 14, 2016

It's about time to end "debtor's prison".

I was quite pleased to see this article in the news today. A relevant quote from the article"

The new guidance comes amid concerns that some local courts are effectively punishing poor people for their poverty by imposing crippling fines and fees that, when unpaid, can result in jail time.
It's about time that our court system stops punitively punishing people with excessive fines that they have no hope of paying, and then jailing them (thus preventing them from potentially finding work in order to have some sort of income) when they can't pay the fines.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Conspiracy - A cautionary tale.

Watergate? Princess Diana? 9-11? The Moon Landing?
Nope. Different conspiracy.

We're talking about Conspiracy to Commit a Crime, and how you might find yourself in trouble with "the man" more easily than you might have guessed. 

Here's a story. This is a true story, but the names have been changed/omitted to protect the privacy of the involved parties:

So there's this guy. He's young, 20's, smart, level-headed, has an above-average job as head of security at a clothing store inside one of the casinos, he has (had) plans to become a police officer one day. Great guy. We'll call him Phil.

Phil was hanging out with his buddies one night, doing what guys in their 20's do in Vegas.

Some of this: 

Oontz Oontz Oontz! 

And maybe some of this:

The Power of Booze compels you! The Power of BOOZE compels you!

Well, after the *ahem* above-referenced festivities, they got in the car, Phil being the responsible designated driver for his drunk buddies, and started to leave the casino parking garage. 

On the way out his buddy "Chuck" asks him to stop the car. Assuming that his friend was about to "summon the Earl", create a "technicolor yawn", or simply live up to his name, Phil stopped the car. Instead of "bending and sending", Chuck runs over to a convertible automobile parked with the top down and the back seat loaded with boxes containing as-yet-unknown booty... er... bounty. 

Chuck, being the low-life intoxicated person exercising questionable judgement that he was at the time, starts taking boxes out of the convertible. Phil, thinking his friend had lost his mind puts the car in park, gets out, and proceeds to ask his friend what the Chuck he's doing. 

Instead of answering, Chuck chucks a box at Phil. As a reflex, Phil catches it. Chuck runs to the car with another box and starts prompting Phil to get back in and drive. 

Being caught in a moment of disbelief, anxiety and confusion, Phil throws the box in the car, hops in and drives off. 

What did Phil just do? I'll tell you. In that one split-second of confusion Phil just committed Conspiracy to Commit Auto Burglary.

Phil was later found (seriously, the security cameras in Vegas don't mess around), questioned, arrested and charged with a felony.

It's that easy.

Now, Phil's job is gone, his dreams of ever being in law enforcement are gone and he may or may not do some prison time. He will almost certainly be on probation for a while. 

I don't tell you these things to depress you or scare you. It's just that most people go through their lives unaware of how quickly some very serious things can happen. 

If you have been questioned by the police or charged with a crime, please get legal representation NOW!

Feel free to call our office at 702-435-2121 or visit us at

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Today's topic, Larceny from Person (aka Pickpocket)


Accurate, yet politically incorrect advice from the New Orleans Police

What is pickpocketing, legally? Is it really so bad? 

The answer to this is, yes, it really is that bad. Probably because Nevada draws in so many tourists, our legal system takes a very dim view of said tourists falling victim to thieves, so much so that they've made pickpocketing (legally known as "Larceny from (a) Person) a felony, without regard to the value of the item taken. 

As is the theme of this blog, I'd like to explain to you what that means in the real world. For example, let's say you are sitting at a bar and you pay for your drink with a $10 and you get $1.86 back in change. (Those Vegas prices!) You don't immediately pick up your change because you have important drinking to get to and then you get distracted by your Tinder app. The next time you look up at the bar, your change has pulled a Criss Angel and vanished! (I just googled him... do you realize that he's 48 years old! I thought he was like 37... anyway...)

Now, is this irritating? Yes. Is it illegal? Sure. But someone just stole $1.86 off a bar top, we're not talking about a serious crime here. Misdemeanor theft or petit larceny at best IF you can even find the perpetrator. 


Let's say that you had immediately put your change in your back pocket before your Tinder notification buzzed you into distraction and then this happens!
Seen here: the elusive butt-ninja uses a portion of her cunning.

If someone, anyone, (regardless of butt-ninja status): Steals, takes, or carries away without permission, from the person of another, any property, with the intent to deprive the owner permanently thereof then they've just committed a felony. Even if it was only that one, single, bourbon-dampened, crumpled dollar bill (that's probably been places that would haunt your dreams).

Another example:

A lady walks into a restroom and sets her old $25 purse on the floor of the stall, the purse has a couple inexpensive items of makeup and a $50 camera inside, suddenly a hand reaches under and grabs the purse. This would be misdemeanor Petit Larceny (it's a misdemeanor because the value of the purse combined with the items inside is less than $650)


If someone snatches a the exact same purse from this woman's shoulder - Felony

Basically if someone* steals anything off your body, from your hand, or from your pocket, even if it's a pack of gum, they've committed a Felony. 

*Now obviously this doesn't apply if you're being detained by the police or casino security and they empty your pockets without your permission, let's not be silly! Notice that part of the legal-ese that says that the person taking the property must be taking it with the intent to deprive you of it permanently. If you're intoxicated and unruly and security scoops you up and puts you in "casino jail", they're going to empty your pockets. Please don't try to hire a lawyer and claim that all the casino security guards 'robbed' you because they took stuff out of your pockets**

**sadly we have to add this part because it's really happened.