After a significant drop in tourism due to COVID-19, Las Vegas has seen a surge again, with people flocking here in recent months looking forward to well-deserved vacations. Such was the case for Robert Ferraro, a Connecticut police officer who was here vacationing in September with several of his fellow officers.
Unfortunately, instead of great vacation memories, he came away with a felony DUI charge after an accident that killed his colleague and boyhood friend, Joshua Castellano.
Ferraro remains free on bail and has returned home. He is due to return for a preliminary hearing on January 27th on charges of reckless driving and DUI resulting in death. These charges carry a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
As a prominent tourist destination, Las Vegas and the state of Nevada have found it necessary to crack down on drunk driving. But when does “cracking down” become overzealous? Although felony DUI charges in Ferraro’s case may have been warranted, many times here in Las Vegas, innocent drivers are often accused of drunk driving when law enforcement shows up and smells alcohol, especially in cases where an accident has taken place.
Obviously, drinking and driving is a dangerous combination. In Nevada, under NRS 484C, it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher.
For those under the age of 21, we have strict zero tolerance laws. But having a couple of drinks at a bar or restaurant may be well under our legal limits for a DUI arrest. When do you know how much is too much?
When it comes to intoxication, multiple factors can affect an individual’s BAC. It will be different depending on the person’s gender, their height and weight, or the duration during which someone consumed the alcohol.
Although drinking and driving is never a good idea, it still happens frequently. But if an accident ensues and someone is injured or killed, the driver who has consumed any alcohol is typically blamed and could potentially face felony charges like Officer Ferraro.
Under Nevada law, a DUI causing bodily injury or fatality is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. Considering that most people charged with a DUI in Nevada are typically law-abiding citizens and not criminals, these consequences can be pretty grim for someone who has been charged, especially if they weren’t the ones who caused the accident.
Unfortunately, a DUI in Nevada is not a simple traffic infraction. It is a crime with serious consequences. If someone is arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, it is incumbent on them to get the best possible Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer possible. A skilled defense lawyer understands the defense options available to them under the circumstances and will be able to defend the accused individual against improper testing or at least pursue opportunites to reduce sentencing.
As for Officer Ferraro, despite witness accounts and surveillance video showing him speeding through an intersection, swerving, and crashing into a Ford Mustang, utility poles, and a fire hydrant, he plans on pleading not guilty, according to his attorney.
If you have been charged with a DUI while visiting Las Vegas, the Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at LV Criminal Defense will pursue the best defense possible to ensure your legal rights. Contact us at our website or call us at (702) 623-6362 to set up a free consultation.