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Anyone who has been arrested in Las Vegas can report that this is an unnerving experience, but there is good news indicating that the use of body cameras may become more prevalent not just in other cities, but for the Las Vegas police as well.

You may have noticed that an officer who stopped you recently was wearing a body camera. In various situations, knowing that there’s a camera recording what is happening, the person accused of a crime may feel more confident that the entire scenario was captured on film in case you want to reference it later.

More cities around the country are considering the use of these and similar tools in order to reflect back on evidence when officers are accused of crossing the line or even engaging in police brutality. In light of all these allegations, body-worn camera are more common overall.

A study conducted by CNA Corporation in conjunction with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the University of Las Vegas, found that officers using body worn cameras would lead to a 37% reduction in the number of use of force incidents and a 30% drop in the number of officers affected with at least one complaint against them. For those officers that were not equipped with a camera and included in the control group, use of force increased by 4%.

The Las Vegas survey also identified that body-worn cameras could simplify the complaint resolution process and therefore, drive down the costs at the Las Vegas Police Department.

This positive pilot indicated that the decision for the LVMPD to purchase body-worn cameras, because they had had numerous use of force incidents reports ending in the death of the subject and officer involved shootings, could have benefits for people who are accused of a crime and asked to stop by the police. If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, understanding your rights is important. Contact a criminal defense lawyer to learn more.

The beautiful weather and great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors make Las Vegas a popular place to ride your motorcycle. Unfortunately, however, this also means that there’s a higher chance of being hurt in a serious motorcycle accident. If you or someone you know has already been struck while riding your motorcycle because the driver of another vehicle wasn’t paying attention or was engaged in reckless behavior, you may have grounds to pursue a personal injury claim.

Motorcycle Accident Injury

When a motorist is responsible for your injuries, it's natural to wonder who will pay for your medical bills. You have so much to think about that choosing an attorney is very important, but it might even be a concerning situation if you don't know what to do next. Thankfully, a personal injury lawyer who represents motorcycle accident victims can help you with your questions.

Negligent car drivers are a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. It is usually the motorcyclist who suffers severe injuries like lacerations, TBI, whiplash, broken bones and burns and a motorcyclist faces an 80% chance of being seriously injured in an accident whereas drivers face only a 20% chance. Hiring the right Las Vegas motorcycle accident attorney is vital to the pursuit of a full claim. A personal injury attorney can review, gather and organize medical records, accident reports and testimony from eyewitnesses. When recreating the cause of the accident and illustrating this for insurance purposes and in court, it is necessary to show how such a devastating accident has affected your lifestyle and your health.

Motorcycle Accidents and Severe Injury Recovery Planning

Motorcycle accidents that lead to severe injuries often lead to recovery planning and long-term care. A personal injury attorney will be involved as soon as possible to investigate the many ways that this accident has shaped your life and to prepare a full and fair demand for the compensation you need to put the pieces of your life back together. With so many questions you are likely to have in the wake of a motorcycle accident, you should schedule a consultation immediately with an injury attorney- choosing to call today could help start the wheels of justice.

Whether you are a resident, or someone in the midst of a fun weekend gone wrong, being arrested in Vegas is an unnerving experience. Trying to handle it on your own because you are embarrassed or confused is a huge mistake, whereas, consulting directly with an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can help you avoid consequences and get you out of jail sooner rather than later. Making a minor mistake could end up costing you later on in your defense, so it's better to remain calm even in the midst of a nerve-wracking situation. When the police suspect that you've broken the law, you still retain rights that cannot be violated by the police. If your rights are violated, your lawyer may use this in your defense.

Thousands of people are unfortunately arrested every single year in Las Vegas, including tourists and residents. Felonies with strict penalties should always encourage you to contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney but even a minor misdemeanor is a situation that warrants insight from an attorney. The right lawyer can help you avoid the maximum punishments. Being arrested can be a frightening experience and there are a number of different types of penalties that may apply based on the offense you are charged with. Misdemeanor penalties, as an example, can lead to up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1000. Gross misdemeanors, however, are elevated situations that can include a jail sentence of up to a year in jail or a fine as high as $2000.

The more strict the penalty, the more important it is that you have an attorney who has protected others. Solicitation, DUI, and casino markers and fraud are all a common example of crimes charged in Las Vegas. But regardless of the charges you are currently facing, it is in your best interest to have an attorney who will work as hard as possible on your behalf. Knowing that someone is stepping in immediately to protect your interests and help you to avoid further consequences is crucial. The right lawyer is a major asset to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                           

As a resident of Las Vegas or as somebody visiting as a tourist, you need to know about some of the things you should do to avoid getting arrested in a Vegas casino. Sometimes people assume that because the motto of the area is “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” that they can engage in whatever types of behavior or activities that they want. This is a misconception that could lead you to face being arrested.

There are several different things to keep in mind, whether you’re making a trip out there or showing some friends visiting you a good time. This includes:

  •       Don’t get overwhelmingly drunk. Becoming intoxicated may not be illegal in Vegas but disturbing others is.
  •       Stay away from illegal drugs. You should never try to sell, use, buy, or possess illegal drugs because this is a class E felony in the state of Nevada.
  •       Don’t try to cheat. Counting cards is illegal even if you’re only using your intelligence and your winnings can be confiscated.
  •       Video recorders and cameras may be forbidden in casinos because they may be used to help people cheat. Make sure that you comply with any casino rules.
  •       Messenger apps may not be used in any of the casinos. There are rules in place that prevent cheating and reduce the risk of fraudulent activity.

Avoid underage drinking or gambling. It is against the law to gamble or drink if you are under the legal age to do so and casino workers have been trained how to spot fake IDs and may request that you leave immediately if you are found out. It is also illegal for any adult to allow a minor to stand by and watch on the casino floor. Minors are not allowed to collect any money or to win casino games.

  •       Ensure that you always have your photo ID. In order to verify your own identity, make sure that you carry your ID card with you at all times. Failing to produce a valid driver’s license, passport or ID card could lead to you being removed from the facility. You need to ensure that you have this with you especially in the event that you do get arrested because this could help to verify your identity and decrease the chances of a situation escalating too quickly.

Talking with a criminal defense attorney is strongly recommended if you find yourself in this situation of trying to figure out the next steps you need to take to protect yourself. A criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas will be familiar with many of the tactics engaged in by the prosecution or the casinos when it comes to arresting someone.

 

Injured In A Car Accident In Las Vegas? Here’s What You Need To Know!

A car accident, or what is most commonly referred to by Law Vegas Law Enforcement as a “Car Collision” can be a harrowing experience. Not only is it possible to suffer life-changing injuries, in the midst of such an incident, but it’s also important to follow a few basic, self-imposed rules in order to make sure that you document everything for future reference. Here are some of the most important steps you should take:

  • Pictures or videos: It’s important to record any and all damages to your vehicle and person at the time of the accident. You’ll want to make sure that you take pictures and or video footage of the accident. Luckily, the latter is easy to accomplish with today’s cell phone technology and we can rest-assured that most of us will always have our cell phone devices at the ready.
  • Insurance: Always keep a copy of your Registration and Insurance Card in your glove compartment and a backup copy in your wallet. You will need to provide these items to the responding officers when they arrive to document and report your accident.
  • Less is more: You do not yet know who is at fault in the eyes of the law so, it is best to answer basic questions about the accident, while also complying as best as possible with any instructions provided to you by the responding officers.
  • Other drivers information: It is best to exchange information with the other driver at the onset because you will need to provide that information to your insurance company.
  • Report the accident: You will need to report the accident to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles under NRS 484.229, you are obligated to complete an SR-1 Report immediately if a report has not been taken by a responding police officer. The SR-1 Form is available at www.dmvnv.com.
  • Get a copy of the police report: If an officer responding to your car accident takes a report, a copy of the accident report will be available within 7-10 days. Be sure to obtain a copy of this report for your records. Once you have the copy, make an additional copy for your insurance company.

Most importantly, try to remain calm after a car accident so that you can document as much as possible and assist the police with any items that they may need from you. Last but not least, get medical assistance right away. You will need to document your injuries and see to your health. It can be a trying time, and your health and well being is of utmost importance.

If you are in need of legal advice, feel free to contact the Gowdey Law Office for assistance.

Are You Facing Impaired Driving Charges?

In Nevada “Driving Under The Influence” implies driving an automobile whilst under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to the extent that makes the individual unable to operate an automobile safely. It is not required for one to be inebriated to be arrested by the police for or even convicted of DUI in Nevada. Nevada DUI convictions are obtainable wherein an individual drives an automobile while under the effect of alcohol, Or even operates a car with a blood alcohol level ( BAL ) or breath alcohol content ( BAC ) of .08 or greater.

Nevada DUI cases may be carried against an individual who may seem reasonable, but who may be above the statutory limit of .08% BAC. This is called Nevada’s “Per Se” law, which means that it is unlawful to be above a .08 regardless of what the person’s incapacitation degree is.

DUI arrests in Nevada also produce the relatively new implied consent code. Every Nevada driver has implied consent to an assessment of their blood or breath for alcohol content by simply possessing a Nevada driver’s license or even by driving a car on Nevada’s roadways. There is absolutely no more right in Nevada to decline to provide a breath or blood test in the event of an arrest for DUI. The latter indicates the law enforcement is able to use force to draw blood, when necessary, to acquire attestation to utilize against an individual in a Nevada drunk driving case .

Republicans in Congress seem to think that making it impossible to hold police accountable for misconduct is the remedy for all of the police misconduct videos we have seen over the past few years. I strongly disagree. What police need is better recruiting, training and leadership. Not a free pass to commit misconduct with impunity. Let us hope that this bill never sees the light of day. If you have been arrested, call my office for a free consultation.

Michael I. Gowdey, Esq.Congress, police brutality

A New GOP Bill Would Make It Virtually Impossible to Sue the Police
By Radley Balko, The Washington Post
25 May 17

Keeping with the Trump administration's law-and-order rhetoric, Republicans in the House and Senate recently introduced a bill they're calling the Back the Blue Act of 2017. The Senate bill was introduced by John Cornyn (R-Tex.), and is co-sponsored by 15 senators, all Republicans. The identical House bill was introduced by Ted Poe (R-Tex.), and includes five co-sponsors, also all Republicans. The bill would create new federal crimes, impose federal police over the will of local officials and voters and shield police officers from virtually any civil liability, even in cases of egregious misconduct.

Let's look first at the new federal crimes. The bill would create new federal crimes for killing, attempting to kill or conspiring to kill a state or local law enforcement officer who works for a police agency that receives federal funding. Because nearly all police agencies receive some sort of federal funding, including most local sheriff's departments and town police, the bill basically makes it a federal crime to kill, attempt to kill or conspire to kill any police officer (as well as any judge or first responder). The bill would also allow for the federal death penalty in such cases, and it would impose limits on the ability of defendants to file habeas petitions in federal court after they've exhausted their appeals.

The legislation would make also it a federal crime to assault any law enforcement officer (again, using the hook of federal funding). An assault resulting in bodily harm would bring a federal mandatory minimum of between two and 10 years in prison, depending on the severity of any injuries to the officer, plus an additional 20-year mandatory minimum if a dangerous weapon was used "during and in relation to the assault." An assault not resulting in bodily harm would carry a sentence of up to a year in prison.

While Republicans are fond of touting principles like federalism and local control over criminal-justice policy when it comes to, say, federal oversight of abusive police, this bill would let a Trump-appointed district attorney overrule local officials if he or she didn't like the way they were handling a case involving an assault or killing of a cop. For example, a number of jurisdictions across the country have recently elected district attorneys who promise a more reform-oriented approach to law enforcement. In a few places, such as Philadelphia, Chicago and Houston, the new DAs were elected specifically after campaigning on policing issues, or in response to a past incumbent's inattention to police abuse. If this bill passes, a U.S. attorney more sympathetic to law enforcement could thwart those efforts by, for example, charging a high-profile victim of police abuse with the new federal crime of assaulting a police officer. It wouldn't be difficult. We've seen plenty of video now where a clear victim of police brutality was initially arrested and charged with battering one of the officers who beat him.

A federal prosecutor might also pursue federal charges against someone like Henry Magee, the Texas man who was cleared by a grand jury after killing a police officer during a marijuana raid on his home. Magee said he didn't know the raiding officers were cops, and fired his gun in self-defense. Or against Ray Rosas, who was acquitted by a jury after shooting at three police officers who raided his home in search of drugs.

In fact, the bill explicitly authorizes federal prosecutions in cases in which "the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence" or "a prosecution by the United States is in the public interest and necessary to secure substantial justice." Which is to say that the bill leaves such decisions wholly up to the discretion of federal prosecutors, regardless of the will of the officials or public at the state and local level. In Philadelphia, longtime civil rights attorney Larry Krasner just overwhelmingly won the Democratic primary for DA, and is heavily favored to win the general election. He has vowed to stop seeking the death penalty in the city. If he's elected, a federal prosecutor could in theory re-try any case involving the killing of a police officer to essentially override Krasner and win a death sentence. Regardless of how one feels about the death penalty, doing so would be contrary to the will of the voters and local officials, and an abdication of those principles of federalism and local control that Republicans claim to hold dear.

The bill also uses the word kill, not murder, or a phrase like "feloniously kill" or "intentionally kill." That's likely the result of sloppy drafting, but at least in theory, it could allow federal prosecutors to bring charges when someone unintentionally causes the death of a police officer, such as in a car accident, or due to some other act of negligence.

But perhaps the most disturbing part of the bill is the new restrictions it puts on suing police officers for constitutional violations. As we've discussed here several times before, it's already extremely difficult to even get in front of a jury with a claim against law enforcement, much less win an award. Police officers are protected by qualified immunity, which requires you to show that not only were your rights violated but also a reasonable police officer should have known that the actions in question were a violation of the Constitution. Under this bill, even if you can show all of that, if the police can show that the violation and resulting injuries were "incurred in the course of, or as a result of, or . . . related to, conduct by the injured party that, more likely than not, constituted a felony or a crime of violence . . . (including any deprivation in the course of arrest or apprehension for, or the investigation, prosecution, or adjudication of, such an offense)," then the officers are liable only for out-of-pocket expenses. What's more, the bill would bar plaintiffs from recovering attorneys fees in such cases.

This means that if the police raid your home with a search warrant for pot and shoot you dead, even if your family can show that the shooting was unlawful, the police would be liable only for something like funeral expenses if they could show that "more likely than not," you had sold some pot, or at some point possessed a large enough quantity of the drug to merit a felony charge. In some jurisdictions, merely resisting arrest is a felony. In theory, this could mean that under a scenario in which the police falsely arrest you, you resist, and they then severely beat you, if they could show that the beating was the result of your resisting, not the false arrest, you could be barred from suing for anything other than the cost of treating your injuries. If the resisting charge could be filed as an assault, that's already a felony in most jurisdictions, and even where it isn't, under this bill it would become a federal felony.

If this bill passes, it would become nearly impossible to sue the police in all but the most egregious instances of abuse, and even then, only in cases where the victim is basically beyond reproach. These sorts of lawsuit are incredibly expensive. The relatively rare large award is the incentive for civil rights attorneys to take on these cases in the first place and can often be what funds their ability to take on cases less likely to pay out large damages. Removing the ability to collect compensatory or punitive damages, or even recover attorneys fees, basically means it would become even more difficult for victims of police abuse to find representation. If there's even the slightest chance that the police could convince a jury that the plaintiff engaged in conduct that was even "related" to a felony or violent crime, there's no incentive for them to take the case.

I spoke with a couple of attorneys who take such cases to get their take on the bill. "The whole purpose of section 1988 [the federal law that reimburses attorneys who successfully bring civil rights cases] was to encourage lawyers to take the small cases — the illegal pat-down, the false arrest — the ones that don't promise a big payout," says Joel Berger, a civil rights attorney in New York who has handled police abuse cases for more than 40 years. "You need people to take those cases to keep the government accountable."

Robert Phillips, one of just a handful of attorneys who take police abuse cases in South Carolina, agrees. "This bill would effectively end all police liability," Phillips says. "It would end my practice. It would end the practices of the other attorneys who work in this area. It would severely restrict access to the courts. It would basically make it impossible for victims of police abuse to sue anytime, anywhere."

Another possible consequence of the bill is that true victims of police abuse could be more likely to face unmerited criminal charges. Police and prosecutors are already accused of bringing unwarranted charges in abuse cases, then leveraging those charges — agreeing to drop them in exchange for a promise from the victim not to sue. Because the police would need to show only some connection to felony or violent acts by a preponderance of the evidence, merely filing a felony charge would likely dissuade most attorneys from taking a victim's case. "There's a term in policing called box-carring," Phillips says. "It means you pile all the charges you can on somebody so you can force them to take a plea. That's what you're going to see here. Imagine you're a protester who gets beaten up the cops. The local police will hit you with all the usual charges of resisting police, rioting and assault. But now you could also be looking at a separate federal trial for assault. That's thousands of dollars more in legal fees — and a virtual guarantee against you ever filling a lawsuit."

"It's an outrageous proposal, says Berger. "You're going to insulate police officers from any civil liability. You're turning killing of police officers into a federal crime, regardless of the circumstances. You're deterring lawyers from taking these cases. It's just bad news."

The provision limiting damages could be particularly potent in cases where the victim doesn't survive. "They only need to show that you ‘more likely than not' committed a felony," Phillips says. "If four police officers say you reached for a cop's gun, that's a felony. It's rare that you're going to win that argument, anyway. But now imagine you can't even make it, because they shot you dead. Your family will get nothing. Maybe you get them to pay for a funeral. Nothing more."

Even the general principle behind the bill is misguided. There just isn't much evidence to support the notion that cops are getting sued left and right over petty infractions. Again, it's already extremely difficult to sue a police officer.

"We have seen a significant increase in these lawsuits in New York," says Berger. "But that isn't because these people are greedy or money-hungry. It's because they're unsatisfied with internal discipline and with the civilian review board. They're not asking for huge sums, they're just asking for accountability."

It's true that some large cities have paid out hefty totals to settle police abuse cases in recent years. But those figures tend to be driven by a few huge awards or settlements in cases that generated a lot of media attention. Outside large urban centers, it's harder to get that sort of attention, particularly if there's no viral video. Qualified immunity prevents most such cases from ever getting before a jury. Get over that hurdle, and you're faced with another challenge — juries tend to be reluctant to rule against police officers. Even in those rare instances that cops are found liable and a jury awards significant damages, the officers themselves are almost always indemnified by the city or state that employs them. There are vanishingly few cases in which a police officer was forced to personally pay a dime as the result of a judgment or settlement in a civil rights cases. The thinking behind these liability laws is that if a city is forced to pay out enough to victims, elected officials will eventually face political pressure to hold police leadership accountable — to change use-of-force policies, improve training or recruit better officers. Or perhaps the pressure could come from municipal insurers. It isn't the strongest incentive, but it's just about the only one left. And this bill would go a long way toward removing it.

"With the new legislation, we usually pay more attention to the bills that take smaller bites out of something like access to the courts," Phillips says. "Those are the ones more likely to pass. The crazier bills usually don't have a chance. Any other time, I'd dismiss a bill this egregious as just too nutty to ever get a vote. But we're in the Trump era. So there's a lot more reason to worry.

With this decision, Arizona courts are light years ahead of Nevada when it comes to laws regarding Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana. Nevada courts hold that a person may be convicted of DUI based solely upon the amount of marijuana metabolite present in his or her system at the time of administration of a chemical test. The presence of marijuana metabolite in one's blood is not indicative of actual impairment. With recreational marijuana legal in Nevada as of January 1, 2017, this is an issue that the Nevada State Legislature will need to address quickly.

If you have been charged with DUI, please call our office at (702) 471-0321, for a free consultation today. Don't let the system beat you. We fight for you.

Law Offices of Michael I. Gowdey, Ltd.

Landmark State Court Ruling Says THC in Blood is NOT Sufficient Grounds for DUIMarijuana DUI lawyer in Las Vegas
By
Justin Gardner


January 1, 2017

Phoenix, AZ – A Court of Appeals in Phoenix delivered a ruling on Thursday that could set a precedent as legal systems grapple with the question of driving under the influence of cannabis.

"Medical marijuana users cannot be convicted of driving while under the influence of the drug absent proof that they were actually impaired, the state Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

In a major setback for prosecutors, the judges pointed out that Arizona, unlike some other states, has no law that spells out that at a certain level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the blood a person is presumed to be impaired…

What that means is every case where prosecutors charge a medical marijuana user with breaking the law requires expert testimony to show that particular individual was impaired at that particular level of THC."

This is a huge win for citizens and for rationality itself, as it negates the government's assumption that an arbitrary number means a driver is impaired, which provided grounds for criminal conviction.

Nadir Ishak was pulled over in 2013 after his vehicle drifted out of its lane. Instead of invoking his 5thAmendment right to remain silent, Ishak admitted to smoking cannabis that morning when the cop probed him for some sign of "criminal" behavior. The cop said Ishak had bloodshot eyes and "body tremors and eye tremors" during a field sobriety test.

Ishak was charged with ‘driving while impaired to the slightest degree' and ‘driving with marijuana in his body.' Jurors convicted him of the second charge, but even though Ishak had a state-issued medical card, the city judge refused to allow him to tell this to jurors.

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Presenting the medical cannabis card would have shown the jury that "Ishak was legally entitled under the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act to use the drug and have it in his system." Judge Diane Johnsen at the Court of Appeals recognized that Ishak was denied a fair trial, and further pointed out the city judge was wrong to rule that "it was up to Ishak to prove he was not impaired."

The city prosecutor had actually stated it's irrelevant whether a defendant is actually impaired or not, and suggested the 2010 law means medical cannabis cardholders have to prove through expert testimony that THC in their blood does not cause impairment in "people generally" or "in any person."

It appears city judges and prosecutors had set up a nice little trap for medical cannabis patients – but the higher court just demolished it.

"Nothing in the statute … requires a cardholder to present expert testimony (or precludes a cardholder from offering non-expert testimony) on the question of whether the cardholder was impaired due to THC," wrote Judge Johnsen. "Further supporting this conclusion is the reality that, at present, there is no presumptive impairment limit established by (Arizona) law."