Friday, February 28, 2014

How to Dress and Act in the Courtroom

The way a person dresses and behaves in the courtroom can have a significant impact upon their case. Although countless factors are involved in every courtroom proceeding, there are certain steps you can take to help make sure your case receives the best opportunity to achieve the result you want.

If you have a hearing scheduled or your criminal trial is set to begin soon, it’s important to understand the proper ways to appear and act in court.

How to Dress for Court

  • Shower before going to court and make sure hair is nicely styled
  • Dress conservatively and in nice clothing, if possible
  • Men should wear a suit and tie, if they own them
  • Women should wear a pants suit or nice blouse and conservative skirt
  • Avoid wearing all black or bright colors
  • Footwear should also be professional; no sandals or tall heels
  • Try to conceal any visible tattoos and remove facial piercings
  • Women should avoid heavy makeup; a conservative and natural look is more appropriate
  • Men should shave or neatly groom facial hair
  • Avoid excess jewelry; wear only functional jewelry like a wedding ring or wrist watch
  • Make sure overall appearance shows respect to the judge and others in the courtroom

How to Behave in Court

  • Be on time or arrive early, if possible
  • Turn off your cell phone
  • Do not chew gum in the courtroom
  • Remove anything from your pockets that could make noise
  • Do not fiddle with your hands or anything in your pockets
  • Pay attention to whoever is speaking
  • Listen carefully, make sure you understand what is being said, and be prepared to respond, if necessary
  • Speak only when you are instructed or given permission to do so; never interrupt
  • Try to speak in a clear voice that is loud enough for the judge and others in the room to hear
  • Address others with respectful and appropriate titles, such as “Your Honor”, “sir”, or “ma’am”
  • Be polite and respectful to everyone who speaks to you, including the prosecutor and state witnesses
  • Use formal language; don’t speak in slang or profanity
  • Stay calm and be attentive at all times; remember that someone will always be watching you
While the tips listed above can help you prepare for your courtroom appearance, it is important to discuss what you should do with your attorney.

If you are charged with a crime or need legal representation in the Las Vegas area, our experienced lawyers at De Castroverde Law Group can provide caring and knowledgeable advocacy for your case. Visit our website to learn more about our outstanding legal services.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Personal Injury Law – Do You Have a Case?

Personal injury law provides accident victims with a way to seek compensation for their injuries and hold the liable parties responsible for their actions. There are three primary grounds upon which a victim can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

  • Negligence: Negligence is the most common ground for personal injury cases, and it occurs when a person or party fails to act with the level of reasonable care that another person would use in the same situation. (Read our blog on Negligence)
  • Strict Liability: Strict liability means that a party can be held accountable for a victim’s injury regardless of their specific intent or action. For instance, a consumer can sue a manufacturer if they were injured because of some defect in the manufacturer’s product.
  • Intentional Wrongdoing: Intentional wrongdoing occurs when a person acts in a way that is intended to cause a victim to suffer harm, such as someone attacking a victim.

If your case can be filed upon one of these grounds, you may be able to seek compensation.

Requirements for Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Before you move forward with your injury case, however, you must determine if it can meet the following requirements.
  • Can you identify a third party as the cause of your injuries? In order to file a claim or lawsuit, you must be able to identify the person who caused your injuries and then locate that person.
  • Is it possible to prove that the third party is liable? Your lawyer will need to determine if personal injury legislation and case law will allow you to seek compensation in your specific case.
  • Are you within Nevada’s statute of limitations? Each state imposes different time limits on when victims can take legal action. In Nevada, victims typically have two years after the accident in which to file a personal injury claim.
  • Are the injuries and losses you sustained quantifiable? Your lawyer must be able to prove that you suffered compensable injuries and losses because of the third party’s actions. Quantifiable losses can include medical expenses, missed wages, property damage, and even emotional trauma.
Do you have more questions about the legal options available in your specific case? If so, we encourage you to visit our Personal Injury FAQ page to read answers to common questions. You can also contact De Castroverde Law Group at any time to discuss your case with one of our experienced and caring Las Vegas injury attorneys.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Slip & Fall Accidents – What Are Your Legal Options?

We've all been there – going about our day when we suddenly slip or trip and fall on the ground. For many people these incidents are nothing more than embarrassing missteps, but for others a bad fall can lead to injuries that have widespread effects on their lives.

Commonly referred to as “slip & fall” or “trip & fall” accidents, these incidents can happen at retail stores, shops, casinos, hotels, restaurants, apartment complexes, schools, and any other type of property. Slip & fall accidents occur when a visitor or patron is harmed because of a hazardous condition that exists at the premises. Hazards and dangerous conditions include:
  • A mopped floor with no warning sign
  • A spill that wasn't cleaned up
  • A broken step
  • A crack in the sidewalk
  • An object in the walkway
  • A bunched rug on the floor

Slip & falls are the most frequently filed type of premises liability claims. If your fall was caused by another person’s negligence, you might be able to take legal action and seek compensation for your injuries.

Pursuing Compensation for Your Injuries

If you were injured in a slip & fall accident in the Las Vegas area, we encourage you to discuss your case with our team at De Castroverde Law Group. Our attorneys can evaluate your case and determine if it involves the elements needed to take legal action against the property owner.
  1. You must be able to prove at least one of the following factors in order to hold the property owner liable for your injuries:
  2. The property owner or an employee caused the hazardous condition that led to your fall.
  3. The property owner or an employee was aware of the hazardous condition that led to your fall but did nothing to fix it.
  4. The property owner or an employee should have been aware of the hazardous condition. This is determined by assessing whether a reasonable person in the same situation would have discovered and fixed the hazard.
Want to learn more about filing an injury claim in Las Vegas, NV? Visit the Slip, Trip & Fall page on our website and contact our dedicated lawyers today!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Assault and Battery – What’s the Difference?

Crime dramas often throw around the phrase “assault and battery”, which leads many people to believe that it is either singular offense or that the crimes are essentially interchangeable. Although they are sometimes charged together, assault and battery are actually two separate offenses in the state of Nevada.
  • Assault is charged when someone attempts to use physical force against another person or intentionally causes the person to be fearful of immediate bodily injury. (NRS 200.471)
  • Battery is charged when someone willfully and unlawfully uses physical force or violence against another person. (NRS 200.481)
In short, the main difference between these offenses is that assault is charged when a defendant attempts to cause harm to another person; battery is charged when a defendant actually uses force against another person.
Assault and battery are distinct crimes, and thus the penalties for conviction vary greatly in some cases. Sentencing for a Las Vegas assault or battery charge will depend heavily upon the specific factors involved in the alleged offense.

Assault Penalties

The types of charges filed for assault and the subsequent sentencing is impacted by the presence or use of a deadly weapon during the crime.

Assault Without a Deadly Weapon – Misdemeanor
  • Maximum of 6 months in county jail
  • Fines up to $1,000

Assault With a Deadly Weapon – Category B Felony
  • Maximum of 1 to 6 years in state prison
  • Fines up to $5,000

Battery Penalties

The types of charges filed for battery and the sentencing for conviction will depend upon whether the offense involved the use of a deadly weapon and whether the victim sustained bodily injury.

Battery Without a Deadly Weapon and No Substantial Bodily Harm – Misdemeanor
  • Maximum of 6 months in county jail
  • Fines up to $1,000

Battery Without a Deadly Weapon but With Substantial Bodily Harm – Category C Felony
  • Maximum of 1 to 5 years in state prison
  • Fines up to $10,000

Battery With a Deadly Weapon but No Substantial Bodily Harm – Category B Felony
  • Maximum of 2 to 10 years in state prison
  • Fines up to $10,000

Battery With a Deadly Weapon and With Substantial Bodily Harm – Category B Felony
  • Maximum of 2 to 15 years in state prison
  • Fines up to $10,000

To learn more about how these crimes are prosecuted under Nevada law, visit the Assault and Battery pages on our website. You can also read about some common defenses to these charges by checking out this past blog post: Challenging Assault and Battery Charges

If you have been accused of assault or battery in the Las Vegas area, don’t hesitate to contact the aggressive defense lawyers at De Castroverde Law Group. Our firm has defended clients against all types of misdemeanor and felony charges, and we can fight for you, too!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Car Accidents – Understanding the Causes

Millions of people are harmed in car accidents across the United States each year, and sadly, the majority of these tragic crashes could have been prevented if the drivers had acted differently. Although every incident is different, there are a number of different factors that are commonly involved in auto accidents.

We encourage you to read about some of the most common causes of collisions so that you can learn what steps to take to protect yourself and your loved ones on the road.
  • Distracted Driving – By some estimates, distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in the U.S. Texting, talking on the phone, taking your hands off of the wheel, taking your eyes off of the road, and other such actions can drastically increase your risk of being involved in an accident. (Read more about Distracted Driving)
  • Speeding– The faster you drive, the more difficult it becomes to control your vehicle and avoid a collision in the event that the driver in front of you slams their brakes, another car veers into your lane, a child or animal runs into the road, or an object appears in your path.
  • Reckless Driving – Reckless driving can include changing lanes abruptly, cutting off other vehicles, tailgating, and any other behavior that puts motorists and pedestrians in danger. Similar to speeding, driving recklessly can make it hard to respond safely if circumstances on the road suddenly change.
  • Teenaged Drivers – Although not true in every case, statistics show that teenaged drivers are at far greater risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents than adults. Most experts attribute this increased risk to the young drivers’ lack of experience. Teach your teens to be diligent and careful drivers, and you may want to consider banning cell phone and radio use in the car until they have more experience on the road.
  • Driving Under the Influence – Drivers who choose to operate their vehicles while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs put themselves, other motorists, and pedestrians at risk of serious injury and fatality. Do your part to prevent these needless accidents by always taking a taxi or riding with a designated driver if you are intoxicated.
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Signs and Signals – While highways are often the locations of major pile-ups or dangerous rollovers, thousands of serious collisions occur in surface street intersections each year. These accidents can typically be prevented by stopping at red lights and stop signs and by taking a few moments to look both ways for pedestrians or other vehicles before entering into an intersection.
If you have been involved in a car accident in the Las Vegas area, we encourage you to call our firm to learn about your legal options. You can also visit our website for more information about car accidents.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sex Offender Registration – The Basics

If you are convicted of committing a sexual offense in the state of Nevada, your sentencing may include mandatory registration as a sex offender. Being registered as a sex offender could drastically change your life, so if you are facing charges for a sex crime in Clark County, it’s important to understand the basics of the Nevada Sex Registry.

Who has to register as a sex offender?

Individuals convicted of sex crimes are categorized based upon the offenses they committed. The categories range from Tier 0 (no risk of reoffending) to Tier 3 (high risk of reoffending).
  • Tier 0: Tier 0 offenders are those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor sex crime, and their information is not publicly searchable on the online registry.
  • Tier 1: Tier 1 offenders are determined to have a low risk of reoffending and to pose little threat to public safety. Their registration information is not available to the public.
  • Tier 2: Tier 2 offenders are determined to have a probable risk of reoffending, and their information is publicly searchable on the online sex offender registry.
  • Tier 3: Tier 3 offenders are determined to present a significant threat to public safety and have a high risk of reoffending, so their information is available on the Nevada sex offender registry.

What information is available on the sex offender registry?

The registry includes various information about high-risk offenders, including:
  • Name and aliases
  • Home address
  • Photograph
  • Physical description
  • Employment address or school address
  • Tier Level information (only Tier 2 and Tier 3 offenders are publicly searchable)
  • Information about conviction, including description of crime, date of conviction, location of conviction, and statute violated

When and where do offenders register?

A convicted sex offender is required to register with their local law enforcement agency within 48 hours of being released from custody. If a registered offender moves, they are legally required to inform authorities of their change of address. Offenders are also required to complete and submit a verification form each year, regardless of whether or not their addresses have changed.

The length of time that an individual has to register as a sex offender will depend up their particular crimes and sentences. The judge can order an offender to register for however long they see fit, whether it be for 12 months, a few years, or their entire life.

What happens if an offender fails to register?

The failure to obey a court order to register as a sex offender is a Category D felony in the state of Nevada, punishable by:
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Incarceration in state prison for 1 to 4 years

If an offender fails to register twice within a 7 year period, they will be charged with a Category C felony, punishable by:
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Incarceration in state prison for 1 to 5 years
Mandatory sex offender registration is a serious penalty that can drastically impact a person’s life. If you are charged with a sex crime in the Las Vegas area, don’t hesitate to retain the strong defense of De Castroverde Law Group. Visit our website for more information.