Visiting Las Vegas is a must-do item on many Americans’ bucket lists. The larger-than-life city, known best for its casinos, nightlife, and spectacular stage shows, attracts around 40 million visitors each year. Unfortunately, the hedonistic nature of the Las Vegas strip can also mean that excess alcohol consumption leads to drunken behaviors and altercations that can turn violent.
Such violent altercations can sometimes result in the death of one of the participants. If you’re involved in a fight, and the other party is killed, you’ll be arrested and will likely be charged with voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. The main difference between the two charges is the whether you intended to kill the other party or whether it happened accidently.
If you should find yourself in the most unfortunate position of being arrested for manslaughter during your Las Vegas vacation, then you’ll need help to get yourself out of jail and to navigate the legal process and trial with the best possible outcome. Here are the first two calls you should make if you’ve been arrested for voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.
1. A Bail Bond Service
After you’ve been arrested, charged, and processed by the local police, your focus will no doubt turn to getting out of jail as quickly as possible. This concern will be even more pressing if you have a flight home to catch and a job waiting for you in your home state.
Because manslaughter is classed as a felony, before you can be released you’ll need to have a bail hearing. For an out-of-state visitor facing a manslaughter charge, bail is almost inevitable. During the hearing, the judge will decide whether you’ll be granted bail and how much the bail amount will be. If bail is granted, you’ll be free to go as soon as the amount is posted.
Unfortunately, bail amounts for manslaughter, either voluntary or involuntary, are hefty. For involuntary manslaughter, bail is $50,000, and for voluntary manslaughter, it’s $100,000. This amount will be enhanced by $25,000 if you have one previous felony conviction and $150,000 if you have two or more.
Clearly, these large cash sums are virtually impossible for most people to raise on their own. If you or your family members are in this position, then you’ll need to enlist the services of a bail bond company such as All Star Bail Bonds. They can help you meet your bond requirements, secure your release from jail, allow you to be reunited with family or friends, and return to your home.
2. A Criminal Lawyer
A manslaughter charge is a grave offense. Although penalties following a conviction of this felony are more lenient in the state of Nevada than under federal law, you can still expect up to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and up to ten years for voluntary manslaughter. Both convictions may also incur a hefty monetary fine.
You should hire a criminal-defense lawyer based in Las Vegas as soon as possible. They may be able to help you to reduce your bail amount if they can convince the judge that there is good cause.
A local lawyer is always the best choice even if you have a lawyer in your home state that you’ve relied on in the past. A Las Vegas–based lawyer will have intimate knowledge of Nevada law and the intricacies of the court system. Because your trial may involve multiple court appearances, a local lawyer can represent you at many of the hearings, saving you the time and expense of multiple trips.
Once you’ve engaged the services of a lawyer, you can then decide on the best way to proceed. Generally, your options are to plead guilty and increase the likelihood of a more lenient sentence based on remorse and compliance or to defend yourself against the charges.
The most common defense used for felonies involving altercations that result in death is self-defense. If you can prove that your actions were a defense against a physical attack by the other party and that you acted reasonably and in proportion to the threat, then you might beat your charge. Eye-witness accounts and CCTV footage of the altercation will help your case immensely in a self-defense plea.
A dream trip to Las Vegas ending up with a death, an arrest, a felony charge, and a possible prison sentence isn’t exactly the happy ending you may have been expecting for your vacation. Unfortunately, these things can and do happen, and you’ll need to take action.
If you or a loved one are in this situation or find yourself there at some point in the future, you may feel like you’re stuck in a bad dream that you can’t wake up from. Fortunately, you can be reassured that with the right professional help, your ordeal will be over as quickly as possible.