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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: US Law
Satisfied Customers: 23549
Experience:  Over 20 years of high volume criminal defense work,including all aspects of a case from arraignment to plea or trial.
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My 2 sons (Adam - aged 21) and (Lewis - 24) have

Customer Question

My 2 sons (Adam - aged 21) and (Lewis - 24) have just returned from a 4 day "Lads Holiday" in Las Vegas. Whilst there they were involved in an heated argument with each other in the Mall at The Venetian Hotel. They had had too much to drink and the argument escalated and they were shouting and pushing each other; at no time did any physical violence take place and there was no assault.


 


The Hotel/Mall Security intervened and took them away to their a holding area; the Police were called. They were held here in separate rooms, both handcuffed, until the Police arrived - which was some 4 hours later.


 


Adam was released after approx 2/3 hours. He was not spoken to by the Police and was not asked to provide a statement. At no time was he asked whether he wanted to press charges against his Brother.


 


He was told that Lewis had been taken to the County Jail and that the matter was being treated as a Domestic Battery and was given a number to call if he felt that he was in further danger from his Brother!


 


Lewis was held at the Mall until the Police arrived - approx 4 hours after the incident had occurred. He was told that they were taking him to County Jail; and was transported there in the back of a Police Van.


 


He waited in the Police Station Reception Area for approx 30 mins and then he was "processed". The Police took his personal details and told him that he was being charged with Battery and that he had to pay $3000 bail within 24 hours (this was now Friday early morning about 6/7 am) or that he would have to remain in Jail until Tuesday morning.


 


Lewis was told that he could have one phone call to try to arrange bail, but he WAS NOT offered any Legal representation. He called his friend Robert Finch, who said that he would pay the bail and would come to the Jail within the hour.


 


After making the telephone call, Lewis was taken straight to a Cell where he was detained until approximately 10:30 pm. He was left in a Cell for approximately 16 hours with 10 other people. He was provided with food but no drink although there was a water fountain in the Cell. No-one came to see him during this period to let him know what was happening or if the bail was going to be paid.


 


At approximately 10:30 pm the Police called his name, and he was taken to another holding cell which had about 30 people in it. He was then held here for approximately an hour and then the Officers started calling peoples names out. After approximately 10/15 minutes Lewis's name was called and he was told that he was being released and that bail had been granted. He was told to go that he would now have to collect his Court Summonds paperwork, his belongings and have his finger-prints taken again and then he would be able to leave. He was detained for approximately half and hour and then was told he could leave.


 


He was issued with a Cash Bond Acceptance Notice/Notice to Appear Official Receipt which states that he is to appear on November 5, 2013 at 8 am in JC Dept 10 at Las Vegas Justice Court.


 


He told them that he would be returning to the UK on a VS flight on Monday 9th September and therefore would not be in the United States after this date. They said that he was to call the telephone number on the form and arrange the details with them.


 


We would be grateful for your advice on how we should now proceed. My younger Son Adam has no desire to press charges against his Brother. No-one was assaulted, it was just a family argument that was fuelled by too much drink. We are reluctant for Lewis to return to the US, as we do not wish to incur any additional expense relating to this incident. We do wish for the Bail money to be returned - primarily because we are of the opinion that there is no case to answer.


 


There are personal circumstances why the argument occurred, and whilst this is not an excuse for what has happened the punishment seems extremely severe. Lewis has been told that if he goes to court and is found guilty of the charge that he could be sent to prison for between 60/90 days. He is obviously very worried. We have serious family problems at the moment and unfortunately this was 2 young lads letting off some steam with their friends, that got out of hand.


 


Should you wish to speak to either myself or Lewis please contact us on our home number of XXXX XXXXXX or Lewis's mobile XXXXX XXXXXXX or my mobile XXXXX XXXXXXX.


 


Many thanks in advance for any help that you can provide us with


 


Regards


Lisa Pugh

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: US Law
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 3 years ago.

Hello Lisa,

I'm a US Criminal lawyer with more than 18 years of experience.

You need not be worried about the worst case scenario, Matters like this will rarely result in jail time on a first arrest if there were no serious injuries and a reluctant complainant.

There is a difference between our systems of justice. We have misdemeanors (I believe you get cautioned for low level offenses like this and only have to go to court for felonies), and misdemeanors get filed with the court. So there is in this country, a very real case to answer and if nobody shows up on his court date, not only will you lose the bail money, but a warrant will issue for your son's arrest.

If he ignores the court date, the US is not going to make any attempt to extradite him on a misdemeanor to get him back to stand charges. But unless he is 100% sure that he will never want to enter the US again, he really has to take some action to resolve this. Otherwise, coming back to the US, regardless of the city he flies into, would subject him to an arrest on the warrant and a trip back to Vegas to stand charges. New bail would likely be set, and even though this whole matter would likely end in a dismissal if his brother refuses to come in and cooperate, this can be very messy and expensive if put off. Warrants never expire, so it would never be safe for him to come back again if he completely walks away from this.

What you need to do is to retain a Vegas criminal lawyer to appear on the case and try to get it dismissed, since under the circumstances, Nevada is almost certainly not going to be able to get his brother to testify against him anyhow. If he can't get it dismissed, we have plea barganing in this country, and the lawyer might be might be able to dispose of the case anyway on your son's behalf with a plea to something like disorderly conduct -- a non-domestic misdemeanor -- and a fine. One way or the other it could very likely be resolved quickly and probably without either son having to come back to the US.

I hope this gives you some direction. We cannot refer you to a Vegas lawyer or law firm because it is against our site's terms of service. However I can direct you to the same legal referral services that lawyers themselves use when they need to find a colleague in a strange town. You can call the Nevada Bar Association's Legal Referral Service. They charge around $50 for the referral which includes a half hour free consultation, which could be done long distance. You could also use a commercial referral service, such as Martindale.com, which has been around for a long time and is highly reputable. Many of Martindale's lawyers have been peer and client rated, which some folks find useful.

I hope this gives you some direction and I believe I have answered your question, but if you require any clarification, just use the reply tab below, and I'll be happy to add to my answer.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Fran


 


Thank you for your quick response. We have contacted a lawyer thru Martindale.com as you suggested. We have spoken to him on the phone and I have copied all the relevant information over to him, that I supplied you with earlier. He has said that he will take on the case for $2000 and will ask for no more payment, whether we win or lose the appeal. I have copied below his response:


 


Jim Oronoz [email protected]


 


Thanks for the details. Please call me if you'd like to finalize retaining me.


 


 


Please advise whether you think we should go away with the payment to him via credit card. Should we pay the whole amount up-front or make partial payment now and the remainder when the case is resolved? What is the norm?


 


Thanks


 


Lisa

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Sorry for the delay. I stepped away from the computer.

As a matter of custom, unlike civil lawyers who may sometimes take matters on contingency, criminal lawyers in this country prefer their entire fee up front. Charging this by credit card would give you buyer protection, and his fee sounds reasonable.

I do not know this particular lawyer but his profile is an impressive one. If you felt confident during the phone call that he understood the issues involved in the case and spoke knowledgeably about what he thought he'd be able to do for you, I would say there's no reason at all not to go with him. He's certainly experienced and qualified. If something about the conversation didn't sit right, if you are unsure how you feel about him, if you believe he may lack the persistence to be an effective negotiator on your son's behalf, there's nothing wrong with yielding to those instincts and doing some comparative shopping before retaining him.

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