Thursday, March 27, 2014

Search & Seizure – What are My Rights?

The term “search & seizure” typically refers to incidents in which law enforcement officers enter a person’s home or property to conduct a search for something illegal, and then take something from the property as evidence.

It’s important to understand that the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from being subject to unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. If a person’s Fourth Amendment rights are violated by law enforcement, any evidence obtained against them during the illegal search and seizure could be ruled inadmissible by the court.

Is a search warrant always required?

In most cases, law enforcement must have a warrant before they can search a person’s private property. A search warrant is a court order that a judge signs only if the police can show that there is probable cause that the person being searched has been involved in a crime. The search warrant must detail the specific location to be searched and items to be seized; a search warrant does not give law enforcement free reign to search wherever they want.

Exceptions to the Search Warrant Requirement

There are exceptions to the search warrant requirement in Nevada, including:
  • Consent – If police ask you if they can search your property and you agree, they can search your property without a warrant.
  • Lawful Arrest – If you are legally arrested, the police have the lawful right to search your person and the area within your immediate control for any contraband, weapons, or other relevant evidence.
  • Vehicle Exception – Police can typically search your vehicle without a warrant if they have reasonable cause to believe that it holds evidence of a crime.
  • Plain View – If police have the authority to search a certain location, they can seize any property of yours that is sitting in plain view in that location if they have probable cause to believe that it is evidence of a crime.
  • Trash Search – Police can legally search any trash you leave outside of your residence and seize anything that could be used as evidence.
  • Inspection – Police do not need to have a warrant to search your person or property at a designated inspection, such as a DUI checkpoint, border search, health inspection, or airport security search.
  • Exigent Circumstance – Police do not need to have a search warrant to enter a structure in situations where a person faces imminent danger, a suspect will escape, or evidence faces imminent destruction.
If you feel that the prosecution’s evidence against you was obtained through an illegal search and seizure, contact our criminal defense team at De Castroverde Law Group today. Our skilled attorneys can assess whether your rights were violated and build a comprehensive defense to fight your charges! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Who’s at Fault for My Accident?

One of the key issues in any personal injury case is determining who was at fault for the accident, which involves both negligence and liability. Liability is most often assigned to the person or party whose negligence caused the accident. However, there may be more than one party that is liable for the accident.

Proving Negligence

In personal injury cases, a party is typically liable for an accident if they failed to use reasonable caution and their carelessness caused another person to suffer harm. In order to prove that the other party, also known as the “defendant”, was negligent, your claim or lawsuit must show the following:
  • The defendant owed you a duty of care.
  • The defendant breached the duty of care through their actions or lack of action.
  • You were injured because the defendant breached the duty of care owed to you.
  • You suffered quantifiable losses because of the defendant’s actions.

Determining Liability

Determining who is liable for the accident can sometimes be complicated, but an accident case will usually depend upon the answers for the following questions:
  • Should the victim have known better? If the victim was hurt while at a location they should not have been at, such as a restricted or off-limits area, the negligent party may not be liable.
  • Is the victim partially at fault? If the victim also acted carelessly, they can still hold the other party liable for their injuries, but the compensation they could recover may be reduced.
  • Does the defendant’s employer share responsibility? If the defendant was on the job when the victim was injured, their employer could also be held liable. For example, the employer could be liable if their employee was improperly trained or if they hired a person who was known to be reckless or careless.
  • Was the accident caused by a negligent property owner? If the victim’s injury was caused by a dangerous condition on another person’s property, the property owner could be held liable under premises liability law. The victim could hold the property owner responsible if they can prove that the owner knew of the dangerous condition but did not fix it, or that they should have been aware of the dangerous condition.
Proving fault in an accident can be difficult in some cases, but an experienced lawyer can determine your options and help you seek full compensation for your injuries. If you need help proving fault for a personal injury case in the Las Vegas area, get in touch with the experienced team at De Castroverde Law Group today!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ignition Interlock Devices: An Overview

If you are convicted of drunk driving in the state of Nevada you will face a number of consequences. Sentencing can include fines, community service, incarceration, and, in some cases, the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle.

Installation of an IID is required when a driver is convicted of DUI with a BAC of .18% of greater. If your BAC was .18% or greater, the judge will likely sentence you to install an IID for 1 to 3 years. If your BAC was less than .18%, the court can order you to install an IID for 3 to 6 months, though it is not a mandatory part of sentencing.

What is an IID?

An IID is a device that hooks into a car’s ignition control system and checks for alcohol on the driver’s breath. The IID sends reports back to the service provider of whether or not the driver’s BAC was over the limit. In order to start the vehicle, the driver must breathe into the IID. The IID will prevent the car from starting if it detects a BAC of .02% or greater.

The vehicle will start if the IID does not detect alcohol on the driver’s breath; however, the driver must periodically have their breath retested while driving in order for the vehicle to continue running. This prevents drivers from having another person blow into the IID to start their cars. If the IID detects alcohol on the driver’s breath while the vehicle is in use, the device will shut the engine off.

What is required of the driver?

If the use of an IID is ordered as part of your sentence, you will be required to pay for the installation of the device in any vehicles you operate.  This means that the court could order you to have an IID installed not only in your vehicle, but also a vehicle owned by your partner, your roommate, your parent, or your child.

You will also be responsible for paying for the IID service and maintenance of the device. Your IID must be installed by a certified service provider, and the service provider must also inspect the device regularly to ensure that it is functioning correctly and that the device has not been tampered with in any way.

In addition to the many harsh consequences imposed for DUI, an IID will severely restrict your personal freedoms. With so much on the line, you should make sure that you have a powerful defender in your corner. If you are charged with drunk driving in the Las Vegas area, don’t wait to contact the proven defense attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Defense for Probation Violations

In most criminal cases, the judge sentences the defendant to probation either in lieu of or in addition to incarceration. Probation usually lasts between 3 and 5 years, during which time the defendant must abide by the terms of their probation.

The terms of probation vary depending upon the nature of the defendant’s crime, and can include alcohol education classes, counseling, community service, restitution or fines, random drug or alcohol testing, regular court appearances, regular meetings with a probation officer, and a judicial order to stay out of legal trouble.

Common Violations

While probation enables a defendant to avoid lengthy incarceration, it is important to understand that it can be revoked at any time if the judge determines that the terms were violated. Common probation violations include:
  • Failing to report to the probation officer
  • Failing to appear for a required court date
  • Refusing to submit to or failing a drug or alcohol test
  • Failing to pay restitution or fines ordered by the court
  • Being arrested or cited for a crime
  • Failing to comply with a court order, such as a restraining order

Possible Defenses

If you are facing charges for violating your probation, it’s important to enlist the defense of an experienced criminal attorney who can evaluate the situation and determine your options. In some cases the defendant has valid reasons for violating the terms of probation, such as:
  • Defendant is indigent: If the defendant did not pay court-ordered restitution or fines because they lack the financial resources needed to do so, they judge may dismiss the probation violation.
  • Defendant was hospitalized or incarcerated: If the defendant missed a court appearance or meeting with their probation officer because they were in the hospital or incarcerated, the probation violation charges could be dropped.
  • Defendant was arrested for a new crime but never convicted: If the defendant has been charged with a new crime, their defense lawyer can seek to have the violation of probation charge delayed until the new case is completed. In most cases, the judge will then dismiss the probation charge if the defendant was arrested but never charged with a new crime or if they were acquitted of the new charge.
We encourage you to speak with a criminal attorney about your options if you are accused of violating your probation. If you need legal representation in the Las Vegas area, contact De Castroverde Law Group to speak with one of our experienced defense attorneys today!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Prevent Accidents: Don’t Text and Drive!

In a previous blog we discussed the three main types of driver distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it encompasses all three of these distractions. 

A driver is visually distracted while looking at the phone, cognitively distracted while reading or composing the text, and manually distracted while typing out their message. Texting and the use of hand-held phones while driving became illegal in Nevada in 2012, yet thousands of drivers still use their cell phones each day.

The NHTSA has a great website,, that presents a variety of information about texting and distracted driving. Some of the shocking facts reported by the NHTSA include:
  • Using a cell phone or other hand-held device while driving increases your risk of being in an accident by three times.
  • On average, you look away from the road for 4.6 seconds while sending or reading a text message. If you are going just 55 mph, you will drive the length of an entire football field during that time, and will do so while essentially blind.
  • 25% of teenagers respond to text messages once or more every single time they drive.
  • 20% of teenagers and 10% of parents say that they have extended text conversations while driving.

Tips to Prevent Texting While Driving

Despite the startling statistics, motorists continue to put themselves, their passengers, and all others on the road in danger by texting while driving. Many teens do not understand the serious risks of distracted driving, and for other drivers, texting while driving is a bad habit that they need to break.

Fortunately, there are various steps you can take to prevent texting on the road and to stay focused while driving:
  • Shut off the volume. If you can’t hear your phone’s notifications, you will be less distracted while driving and less likely to text. Set your phone to silent (not vibrate) as soon as you get in the car.
  • Hide your phone. If you are still tempted to text even while your phone is on silent, the best thing to do is put your phone where you can’t get to it. For example, you can put your phone in your trunk or inside of a bag on the back seat of your car.
  • Turn to apps. There are a variety of apps you can download to stop yourself from texting on the roads. Some of the apps available include:
    • – the app reads text messages and emails aloud and automatically responds without you even touching your phone.
    • tXtBlocker – the app allows you to set locations and times of day when your phone won’t accept texts or calls, such as during your commute.
    • Textecution – the app disables the phone’s texting ability if you are traveling faster than 10 mph.
    • The Otter App – the app disables the phone’s ability to text if you are traveling faster than a certain speed, and allows you to send an automated text reply.
  • Get help from a passenger. If you get an important text while driving, ask a passenger to read it aloud and then to send a response for you. Make sure you do the same when you are a passenger.
Do your part to prevent accidents by committing to stop texting and driving. This simple act can help protect yourself, your loved ones, and everyone else on the road.

Based in Las Vegas, De Castroverde Law Group represents victims of all types of negligent accidents. Visit our website to find out more about our experienced legal counsel.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dangerous Drugs & Product Liability

The pharmaceutical industry makes billions of dollars each year, and millions of Americans use prescription drugs and over the counter medications each day. Although these drugs are intended to help people, what can victims do if they actually cause more harm?

If you have been injured by a pharmaceutical drug, you may be able to seek compensation through a product liability claim. There are three main types of defective product claims filed for dangerous drug injuries.

Pharmaceutical drugs with manufacturing defects.
These claims involve injuries caused by pharmaceutical drugs that have been manufactured improperly or tainted in some way. The defect can occur when the drug is manufactured, at the pharmacy where the drug is bottled, when the drug is labeled, or any other situation in which an error is made before the victim received the drug.

Pharmaceutical drugs with dangerous side effects.
These claims involve injuries caused by pharmaceutical drugs that have serious side effects that cause injury, despite being manufactured properly. In some cases, the manufacturer knew of the dangers but concealed them; in others, the drug was on the market for a while before it is discovered that the drug caused or increased the risk of certain injuries, such as heart attacks.

Pharmaceutical drugs that are improperly marketed.
These claims involve injuries caused by drugs that have incorrect or incomplete marketing. The marketing of a drug refers to the instructions, warnings, and recommendations for the product. Victims may be able to take legal action if they were injured because of a failure to provide adequate instructions about the safe use of the drug or the failure to provide accurate and complete warnings about possible dangerous side effects of the drug.

Can I file a product liability claim for my injuries?

Dangerous drug cases often involve a combination of these different types of defective product claims. To take legal action and pursue compensation for your injuries and losses, your attorney must prove the following in your product liability case:
  1. You suffered injury or illness;
  2. The drug you used was defective or marketed improperly, which includes any dangerous side effects that you were not warned about; and
  3. The defect or improper marketing caused your injury or illness.
Don’t hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable products liability lawyer if you were harmed by a pharmaceutical drug. Our experienced team at De Castroverde Law Group can help you understand your legal options and assist you in seeking justice. Visit the Dangerous Drugs page on our website for more information.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Drunk Driving: Possible Defenses

Conviction for DUI will lead to harsh penalties, so it is important that you fight your charges aggressively. Although every situation is different, there are various defenses that can used to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. Your answers to the following questions could have a significant impact upon your DUI defense:

Did the officer have probable cause to pull you over? 
According to state law, an officer must have probable cause to pull you over for suspected drunk driving. Examples of probable cause include weaving between lanes, driving well over or below the speed limit, or driving at night without headlights.

Was the field sobriety test administered correctly? 
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) outlines specific testing procedures for the walk and turn, one leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests. The officer’s failure to follow the procedures could make the results of the test invalid.

Did outside factors affect your field sobriety test results? 
There are numerous reasons a person could have difficulty with a field sobriety test, even if they are completely sober. Some of these factors include being extremely nervous or embarrassed, wearing heels or other unstable footwear, gravel or another slippery substance on the ground, being distracted by the noise and lights of oncoming traffic, or being unable to understand the officer’s instructions because of difficulty understanding English.

Did the officer observe you before administering the breath test? 
Breathalyzers are intended to measure the amount of alcohol on a person’s deep lung tissue. If you burped or vomited shortly before taking the breath test, the results could be erroneous. To prevent invalid results, officers must observe the suspected drunk driver for at least 15 minutes before administering the breath test.

Was the Breathalyzer properly maintained and calibrated? 
If the breath machine used to measure your BAC was not routinely cleaned and maintained, the results could be severely impacted. Likewise, if the officer was not properly trained in the administration of breath tests or if the machine was not calibrated correctly before the test, the results could be ruled invalid.

Were you read your Miranda Rights? 
Upon being arrested for DUI, the officer is legally required to read your Fifth Amendment rights to you. If you were not properly Mirandized by the officer and made aware of all your rights, the court could rule that any incriminating statements made after the arrest are inadmissible as evidence.

Find out about other defenses by checking out the Beat Your DUI page on our website. If you were arrested for drunk driving in the Las Vegas area, contact De Castroverde Law Group today to learn about the defenses available in your case.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Know What to Do After a Car Accident

Hundreds of car accidents occur in Las Vegas every year, and thousands more throughout the country. However, many drivers do not know what they should do after being involved in a collision. To make sure you are prepared, read our list of basic steps to take after a car accident:

Make sure everyone is okay.
Check on yourself for injuries, then check your passengers and the motorists in the other vehicles involved in the collision. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately.

Pull to the shoulder, turn on your hazard lights, and turn off your engine.
Moving your vehicle out of the path of oncoming traffic can help prevent further collisions. Turning on your lights can warn other motorists of your stopped vehicle.

Wait for help in a safe location if you are injured.
If you or a passenger is seriously injured, wait in a safe location for emergency responders to arrive. Do not try to move someone who appears to have a neck or back injury or who is unconscious.

Exchange information with the other driver.
Get the name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, insurance company, policy number, and vehicle identification number of the other motorist, and provide them with the same information. If the driver has a different name than that listed on the insurance, ask what their relationship is to the insurance policy holder and ask for that person’s the name, address, and phone number.

Don’t discuss the accident with the other driver.
Make sure the other motorists are okay and exchange information with them, but don’t discuss the collision further. The other driver’s insurance company could try to use anything you said after the accident against you to avoid paying out your claim.

Document the scene.
Use your camera to take multiple pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved. You may also want to take a video of the scene of the accident. Write down the make, year, color, and license plate number of any vehicle involved in the collision.

Talk to witnesses.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, get their contact information so that they can verify your side of the story if the other driver tries to dispute what happened.

Call your insurance company immediately.
Explain to your agent what happened and ask what you need to do next. Your agent may also instruct you to file an accident report.

Keep track of accident expenses.
Hold on to any receipts or bills from doctor visits, prescriptions, and auto repair shops. Also keep track of the dates of your medical appointments and the doctor’s diagnosis of your injuries.

Consider hiring an attorney.
If your case is complicated or you have not been receiving proper attention and help from your insurance agent, hiring an attorney could be beneficial. Your attorney can protect you from being taken advantage of and help you seek maximum compensation for your injuries and property losses.

Don’t speak with the other driver’s insurance company.
If the other insurance company calls or emails you to discuss the accident, do not respond to them until you have spoken with your insurance agent or attorney. Your agent and attorney can advise you of what to say and who to speak with.

Don’t accept an offer automatically.
Insurance companies will often offer a low settlement early on, hoping that you will accept it without realizing your options.  Your agent and attorney can evaluate your losses to determine an appropriate settlement and then negotiate for the best offer.

Have you been involved in a car accident in Clark County, NV? De Castroverde Law Group’s team of Las Vegas injury attorneys can help you understand your rights and options, and assist you with filing a car accident claim. Contact our team or visit the Car Accident section on our website for more information!