Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Boating Under the Influence: Get the Facts

With the arrival of summer and the temperatures rising in Nevada, thousands of locals and tourists will be heading to Lake Mead, Lake Tahoe, and many other great boating spots throughout the state. 

While enjoying your time on the water, be sure to remember that operating a boat while under the influence is a crime, just like drunk driving. According to NRS 488.410, it is a criminal offense in the state of Nevada to operate or be in physical control of a boat with a BAC of .08% or higher. Boating under the influence (BUI) is similar in many ways to driving under the influence, and even carries similar penalties.

First BUI
A first offense of boating under the influence is charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by:
  • Incarceration in county jail for a maximum of 6 months, and/or
  • Fines up to $1,000

BUI Causing Injury or Death
If your BUI incident caused another person to suffer serious bodily harm or be killed, you will be charged with a category B felony, punishable by:
  • Incarceration in state prison for 2 to 20 years
  • Fines between $2,000 and $5,000

Fighting BUI Charges

If you are charged with BUI, it’s important to know that you do have defense options. Your options will depend upon your specific circumstances, but examples of possible defenses include:

You weren’t driving the boat.
If the officer saw your boat from far across the water, it’s very possible that they were unable to see exactly who was behind the wheel. The officer could have mistaken you for the driver, when it was actually another passenger. The long distance, glare on the water, and fact that the boat was moving could all make it difficult to accurately identify the driver.

The officer misinterpreted the field sobriety test results.
Field sobriety tests can be difficult to perform on solid ground, and passing these tests on an unsteady boat is nearly impossible. Spending hours on the water in the heat can also impact your balance and coordination, especially if you are dehydrated. The officer could have incorrectly interpreted the effects of a long day on the water – such as blood shot eyes, shaking arms and legs, and slight disorientation – as signs of intoxication.

The Breathalyzer did not get an accurate reading.
In order to achieve an accurate BAC reading, breath machines must be routinely maintained and properly calibrated. If the Breathalyzer used on you was defective or incorrectly calibrated, your test results could be inaccurate. Likewise, if the officer incorrectly administered the breath test, the machine may not have gotten a true measurement of your BAC.

Because BUI carries serious penalties in Nevada, it’s important to make sure you have a top defense attorney on your side. Contact our experienced team at De Castroverde Law Group to learn how we can assist you with protecting your rights and fighting the charges.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Stay Safe in the Water this Summer

When the temperatures soar, thousands of people head to pools, beaches, lakes, and rivers to cool off. While swimming is a fun activity and a great way to relax, it’s important to keep yourself and your loved ones stay safe in the water.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children and also affects adults, so make sure you know how to protect yourself and your family. Read our list of helpful tips to learn what you can do to stay safe while having fun in the water!

Learn to swim.

Be sure to enroll your children in swim lessons as soon as they are old enough. If you never learned to swim, it’s not too late – many pools offer classes for adults.

Learn CPR.

Knowing CPR could help save someone you love. Local recreation departments, fire stations, and hospitals often offer CPR training, so consider enrolling in a class this summer.

Never swim alone.

You could hit your head, get a serious cramp, or become ill at any time while in the water, so it’s important to make sure someone is with you.

Always supervise children in the water.

Regardless of where your children are swimming, you should constantly supervise them in the water. Don’t wear headphones so that you can hear your kids in the water, and don’t text, read, or talk with a friend for long periods of time. Check on your children constantly and don’t leave the area where they are swimming.

Teach kids to never swim without an adult.

Even if your child has completed swim lessons, it is important that they only swim with adult supervision to keep them safe in the event of an accident or emergency.

Don’t rely completely on the lifeguard.

While lifeguards are highly trained and good at their jobs, it can be difficult to keep an eye on every person in a crowded pool or beach. Make sure you check on your children frequently while they are in the water.

Listen to the lifeguard.

If the lifeguards tell you or your children to do something in the pool or at the beach, make sure you follow their instructions. Lifeguards are trained to keep people safe, so listen to them right away.

 Stay away from pool drains and filters.

Clothing and long hair can easily get tangled in drains and filters in pools and spas, so warn your children not to play near them.

Always wear life jackets.

When boating and using jet skis or sea-doos, it is imperative that children wear a properly-fitting life jacket at all times. Be a good example and protect yourself by wearing your own life jacket whenever you are on the water.

Don’t swim or boat while intoxicated.

If you have been drinking, it’s safest to stay away from the water. Intoxication may prevent you from reacting how you need to if there is an accident or emergency.

Know your limits.

If you or your child is not a strong swimmer, avoid the deep end of the pool and stay in shallower areas of the water. Be cautious in lakes, rivers, and the ocean, as currents make these waters more difficult to swim in. If you are tired or have been in the heat for a long time, get out of the water and rest and rehydrate for a little while.

De Castroverde Law Group is a family-run law firm in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit for more information about our legal services.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Road Trip Safety Tips

If you are planning to hit the road with your family or friends this summer, we have the information you need to stay safe and make your time behind the wheel as smooth as possible. Read our useful tips to help keep you and your loved safe on your summer road trip!

Before You Leave

  • Make sure your vehicle is prepared – take your car to the shop to get your oil changed and have a professional check your tires and pressure, brakes, battery, fluid levels, and air conditioning system.
  • Consider replacing your wiper blades, as these can be damaged by extreme summer heat.
  • Put a roadside emergency kit in your vehicle that includes jumper cables, flashlight and batteries, bottled waters, energy bars, blankets, and a first aid kit.
  • Keep the tools needed to change a flat tire in your vehicle.
  • Map out your route ahead of time and check for road closures, construction, and detours.
  • Make sure you share the route you plan to take and your expected departure and arrival times with someone before you leave.  
  • Be sure to pack a cell phone charger that can be used in the car so that you always have enough battery.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks for you and your passengers; in the summer heat, it’s especially important to stay hydrated.
  • If driving with children, pack books, toys, DVDs, video games, and music to keep them occupied so that you can concentrate on the road.

On The Road

  • Always make sure that you and all passengers are wearing seat belts and that children are properly restrained at all times.
  • Pay attention to traffic signs and speed limits, as these can change drastically from county to county and state to state.
  • Avoid all types of distracted driving – don’t text, talk on the phone, or adjust the radio or GPS while driving. 
  • Don’t drive aggressively – sitting in traffic or being behind the wheel for extended periods of time can get under anyone’s skin. If you find yourself getting frustrated and angry, pull off the road for a few minutes so that you can calm down and refocus.
  • Stop regularly so that you and your passengers can stretch out and move around.
  • If you are getting tired, trade driving responsibilities with a passenger, get a hotel room for the night, or pull off the road and park in a safe location to sleep for a few hours. Driving while fatigued severely impairs your ability to safely operate your vehicle.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in the car – even if you are just running into the gas station for a minute. The high summer temperatures can cause a vehicle to heat up to dangerous temperatures within a matter of minutes, even if you leave the window cracked.
De Castroverde Law Group is an experienced personal injury firm in Las Vegas, NV. If you are involved in an accident, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced attorneys.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ride Smart, Stay Safe – Tips for Cyclists

Bike-car accidents are all too common on the streets of Las Vegas and throughout the United States. Although cyclists cannot always predict what motorists may do behind the wheel, there are steps they can take to protect themselves while riding their bikes. Read on to find out how you can stay safe.

Top Causes of Bike-Car Crashes

If you want to keep yourself safe while riding your bike, it’s important to understand the situations in which bike-car accidents most commonly occur.

Left Turns
Nearly half of all bike-car collisions occur when drivers fail to see cyclists traveling straight and make left-hand turns into their paths.

Passing Cyclists
Because cyclists do not travel as fast as passenger vehicles, impatient drivers often speed up to pass the cyclists and then abruptly cut them off, causing a collision.

Right Turns
Similar to left-turn collisions, drivers commonly fail to see cyclists traveling next them, so when they make right turns they collide with the cyclists.

Overtaking Cyclists
When a driver cannot see or fails to notice a cyclist in the lane in front of them, they often hit the back of the bicycle, which can cause the cyclist to be thrown from their bike and severely injured.

Parking Lots and Driveways
When drivers enter and exit parking lots and driveways, they are usually focused on one thing: finding a spot to park. As such, many drivers don’t look carefully and quickly pull straight into the paths of passing cyclists.

Open Doors on Parked Cars
After parking their vehicles along the street, many motorists quickly glance in the side mirror to make sure a car isn’t passing and then throw open their doors and exit their vehicles. In most cases, a quick glance in the mirror isn’t enough to notice a cyclist coming up the street, and opening the door straight into their path could lead to serious injuries.

Safety Tips for Cyclists

  • Always wear a helmet
  • Wear bright and reflective clothing whenever you bike
  • When biking at night, use lights and reflectors on the front and back of your bike
  • Bells or other audible signals can make drivers aware of your presence
  • Follow traffic laws to reduce the risk of a collision
  • Bike defensively – always be aware of what’s happening around you
  • Don’t use headphones or earbuds; make sure you can hear horns and cars coming near you
  • If a driver makes a left turn into your path, turn with them to avoid a collision
  • If possible, avoid biking on streets that have numerous parking lot and driveway exits
  • When biking past parked cars, ride at least 3 feet away and be prepared for opening doors
  • Always choose the safe route over the quick route
If you have been injured in a bicycle collision in the Las Vegas area, our dedicated accident attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group can help you seek justice and fair compensation from the driver. We encourage you to get in touch with our personal injury team to learn how we can help.