So You Went To Vegas, Got Drunk, And Got Arrested. Now What?
There’s no arguing that Las Vegas is a fun place to party. The town goes out of its way to promote a fun, wild, and “do as you please” atmosphere for the hordes of visitors that descend upon it every year without fail. But what happens if you party just a little too hard and end up in the back of a police car?
Las Vegas And Public Intoxication
Unlike here in California, it is not a crime to be drunk in public anywhere in the state of Nevada, including Las Vegas. While this may sound like a huge bonus for the legions of late-night revelers cruising up and down the strip, it’s actually a bit of a double-edged sword.
You see, while public intoxication itself is not a crime in Vegas, we all know that people are much more prone to ‘legally questionable’ behavior when they’re drunk. This means that if you’re drunk and walking (or driving) around town you’re much more likely to do something that you
- Disturbing the peace
- Drunk driving
- Urinating in public
Any one of those offenses can land you a night in jail, especially if your behavior is particularly egregious and/or obscene.
Penalties For Getting Arrested
The offenses mentioned above are usually charged as misdemeanors, especially if it’s a first offense, no one was hurt, and/or no serious damage was caused. The most common penalties are fines and/or up to six months in jail.
If someone is seriously hurt or killed as a result of your drunken behavior, you’ll almost certainly be charged with a felony. If that happens, you’re in a lot of trouble and will need to speak with an attorney immediately.
What To Do After Being Arrested
As with any arrest, whether in Las Vegas or anywhere else, the smartest thing you can do if you find yourself in jail is to call a lawyer as quickly as possible.
Depending on the severity of the charges, you may not be able to post bail right away. If not, that means you’ll likely be in jail for a day or two before you can go in front of a judge. An attorney will be able to help you navigate the legal process and take care of your personal matters while you’re waiting for your court appearance.
Facing Charges Out Of State
It is crucial to understand that if you’re arrested in Las Vegas, but live in another state, you can’t just go home and forget about the whole thing once you’re out of jail.
Getting arrested in Vegas means that the state of Nevada has jurisdiction and will prosecute the offense. If you live in California, for example, the charges don’t get magically transferred to where you live. You are responsible for showing up in court, in Las Vegas, for each and every appearance the court requires.
However, Nevada does allow an attorney to appear on behalf of their client in court for misdemeanor charges. This means you’ll have to hire a local attorney, but you’ll be allowed to go home and (most likely) won’t have to return to Vegas for your court appearances.
How To Avoid Going To Jail In Vegas
The best way to avoid ending up in jail in Vegas (or married, for that matter) is not to be drunk in public to begin with. Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Never count on the police to be “understanding” of the situation just because you’re there on vacation, for business, or whatever else the reason is. The police are just as likely to make an example out of you as they are to let you off with a warning.
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