State of Nevada Clark County/Las Vegas Metropolitan PoliceTraffic/misdemeanor/citation/complaintDate of offense: June 13, 2012, 1:15amLocation: our residence My wife and I were out of town a few weeks ago when my son Carter (19 at the time, now 20) invited friends from college to our house to hang out. These are bright, responsible (for the most part) young adults; all are in college or high school, not troublesome kids. Some of the older kids brought alcohol, and there was moderate drinking among friends including my son. At 12:30am (approx.), metro police arrived and knocked on the door; Carter answered and was told by the officer that they were investigating a noise complaint. No one was outdoors, on the sidewalk, or in the street. Carter admitted to drinking 3 beers and the police officer proceeded to write him two citations: a) for being under 21 and consuming alcohol (Article 10.62.010 Las Vegas municipal code), and b) for “causing or tending to cause a minor to be delinquent and to miss curfew (article 10.54.020)”. On the citation, under defendant type, the officer checked “pedestrian”. In fact, no one was outside or on the street and this was not a public gathering. The minor was the sister of Carter’s friend who is 17 and accompanied by her brother is 20. They are long-time friends and have slept over at our house many times. The police did not talk to any other guests, did not issue a noise citation, and then left the house. We have a municipal court date in early August and I wish to represent my son and bring witnesses. I think the second offense should be dismissed; this was not a public gathering. I am also inclined to argue the validity of the alcohol citation.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Nevada
I am afraid that legally you cannot "represent" your son, since you are not an attorney and that would be considered the unauthorized practice of law. Your son could represent himself if he chooses. Underage consumption can be given even if a minor is inside their own house. The designation as pedestrian does not mean he was walking on the street, it means he was not in a vehicle which carries an enhanced drivers license suspension penalty. If your son admitted to consuming alcohol, I am afraid he admitted to violating the law as he cannot consume alcohol even in his own home. There is a good chance that the curfew violation will be dismissed based on the fact the 17 year old was present with her brother who was of age and can be considered her guardian and as such this violation is not likely to be upheld.In most of these first offense minor in possession cases, especially those in a private home, the prosecutor will give a deferred sentence where some community service is performed and if there are no further violations in 12 months the charge will be dismissed.
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Thanks for your reply. It is very helpful.
I have the following questions:
Can I stand with/next to him before the judge and may I speak?
Can he bring along witnesses (the older brother)
Regarding citation #2, shall i make his defense based just on the fact she was with her older brother?
Is a minor allowed to be at a friend’s home? It seems that the municipal code refers only to public venues.
You may not speak, since you were not present at the time of the incident. Whether or not you can stand up before the court is solely at the discretion of the judge, but typically they will not allow that. You may accompany your son to have a conference with the prosecutor before the hearing before the court to try to negotiate a resolution of the matter. The minor is allowed to be at a private home, the problem came in with the underage alcohol consumption at the premises, but typically if she was with her older adult brother, the prosecutor is going to dismiss the charge against your son, since she was with her adult guardian.
thank you for that information. One last question, is there a way to find the penalties for these citations?
These are Misdemeanor offenses, they are not like traffic citations. The underage consumption carries a penalty of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of not less than $200 or more than $500. The curfew is also punishable by up to 6 months and up to a $500 fine, however, I do not see that one being pursued and it is likely going to get dismissed based on the fact she was in the house with her adult brother.
we have a report date and time. How do we find the prosecutor beforehand?
When you get to the court room, before court starts, you would ask the clerk in the front of the court by the judge's bench to point the prosecutor out to you. Some prosecutors will meet you prior to court, others will tell you to have your son stand up and plead not guilty and ask for a conference with the prosecutor, that is the preference of each prosecutor individually and they will tell you.
thanks for answering all these questions. We really appreciate it. When speaking to the prosecutor, will he ask questions or should my son simply tell him what happened?
The prosecutors really do not like talking to defendants because anything your son says to him he can use against your son in trial. Thus, your son should not discuss any of the merits of the case and you should merely be seeking to make some type of deal, such as a first offender deferred sentence where he does his community service or pays his fine and has no new offenses in 12 months and they agree to dismiss the charge.
JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
,Hi Paul, Now that I have had time to process all this, it occurs to me that having an Attorney of Record would be my best bet. How much do you think this would cost, assuming that no unforeseen circumstances arise. Carter plans to bring a witness,the brother of the minor in question.
For this type of case, usually $500-$1000 would be the legal fees for an attorney and it depends on how many trips to court that would be required.
Can you recommend someone or could we hire you? thanks,John
I apologize, but our service rules strictly forbid us from making personal referrals or taking customers from this site, so the only thing we can suggest is using the same site used by other attorneys, http://www.martindale.com
ok got it thanks, I thought that may be the case. My perspective tells me somthing like this would be in order: 1.we could have an initial mtg in the attorney's office, i'll bring the defendant and witness.2. After they tell their story, will the attorney then offer his services and an estimate of cost? Or am I supposed to ask him? 3. we agree to have him/her represent my son, and hopefully we can resolve at the August 8 court date. thanks for your help, john
Once the attorney meets with your son and you, they will tell you how much it will cost you and if they do not, ask them. Once you come to an agreement on the price, you can negotiate it a little bit with them, then they will hopefully be able to resolve it on the initial court date.
thanks, you have been a great help.
You are welcome. Best of luck with this matter.
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