A Las Vegas Defense Lawyer Unveils Rules for Crimes on Lake Tahoe and Topaz Lake in Nevada Under Chapter-171

California and Nevada border each other, with both Lake Tahoe and Topaz Lake forming interstate boundaries. In many cases, crimes occur at the border area, including criminal acts on these lakes. When this occurs, questions arise regarding whether the state of Nevada or the state of California has jurisdiction to pursue legal action against those who have allegedly violated the law.

Both Nevada and California have a strong interest in prosecuting alleged offenders, so the states have entered into a compact or agreement that establishes authority when crimes are committed on Lake Tahoe, on Topaz Lake. This compact is called the California-Nevada Compact for Jurisdiction on Interstate Waters. Defendants need to understand what this compact means for them, and to their right to due process of the law.

At LV Criminal Defense, our legal team is familiar with the California-Nevada Compact for Jurisdiction on Interstate Waters. We provide legal representation to defendants who were arrested by authorities from either state who are facing criminal prosecution. We understand how this Compact determines the rights and obligations of investigators, police, prosecutors, and state courts and we work hard to ensure that defendants have their rights protected.

Defendants deserve a lawyer with experience in the specific type of crime they committed, and with knowledge of procedural rules affecting their case. To talk to a Las Vegas defense lawyer who has this knowledge base and who is skilled in defending clients accused of crimes on interstate waters, call LV Criminal Defense today.

What is the California-Nevada Compact for Jurisdiction on Interstate Waters?

The California-Nevada Compact for Jurisdiction on Interstate Waters is an agreement or compact that was created by authorities in the states of Nevada and California. Each state enacted the compact into law, so it applies to authorities in both locations.

In Nevada, the statute in which the compact was adopted is found in Title 14, addressing Procedure in Criminal Cases. It is found within Chapter 171, which establishes rules for Proceedings to Commitment.   The statute is codified as Nevada Revised Statute 171.076.

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Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


N.R.S. 171.076 only addresses the enactment of the compact. The actual compact and the rules it establishes for jurisdiction over crimes on interstate waters is codified in Nevada Law under N.R.S. 171.077.

The state of California also had to ratify the compact and incorporate it into its criminal code. California Penal Code Section 853.3 indicates that the compact was ratified. California Penal Code 853.4 sets forth the text of the compact and the rules agreed upon by California and Nevada for jurisdiction on criminal cases occurring in interstate waters.

The compact provides concurrent jurisdiction for both California and Nevada when illegal acts occur on Lake Tahoe or Topaz Lake on either side of the boundary line between the states. It allows “like” laws to be enforced by law enforcement agents in either state. This means if behavior is illegal or prohibited in both California and in the state of Nevada, defendants who engage in the behavior could be stopped by authorities in either state, and could face criminal prosecution, trial, and penalties by authorities in either state. Talk to qualified criminal defense attorneys in Las Vegas now.

The Compact was enacted because lawmakers found that law enforcement was being impaired in sections of both Topaz Lake and Lake Tahoe as a result of the difficulty in determining the precise location where a crime was committed.

What Does the California-Nevada Compact For Jurisdiction on Interstate Waters Mean for Defendants?

The California-Nevada Compact means a defendant could be stopped by law enforcement in either state and could be arrested in either state… but only if the offense is illegal in both states. For example, since mussels are a prohibited species under NAC 503 section 110 and under California Code Regulations Title 14 Section 671, a Game Warden working for the Nevada Department of Wildlife could stop a watercraft with visible mussels. If the vessel was found contaminated and the Nevada game warden had stopped the vessel, Nevada law would be enforced.

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Address: 400 S, 7th Street #401, Las Vegas, NV 89101 United States, 400 S, 7th Street #401, 89101, US, $$$ | Tel: + 1 (702) 623-6362

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The statute allows crimes illegal in both states to be prosecuted by either state, but it does not otherwise change the law of either state. If Nevada law prohibits a certain behavior but California law allows that same behavior, a California defendant couldn’t be arrested by Nevada law enforcement while doing the permissible behavior in his or her own home state. As soon as the California defendant crossed into Nevada, however, he could be arrested and charged in Nevada.

When a defendant is arrested for wrongful behavior by either California or Nevada law enforcement, he or she will stand trial in the state where the offense took place- and he could be subject to all criminal penalties imposed under state law. This could mean being imprisoned in Nevada, even if you are from California. You cannot, however, be tried for the same crime in both states. Conviction or acquittal in either state means no further prosecution can take place in either state for the same offense.

How Can a Las Vegas Defense Lawyer Help Defendants Accused of Crimes On Interstate Waters?

Jurisdiction is one of the most important rules of criminal procedure. If a court has no jurisdiction to hear your case, the court has no authority to force you to go through a criminal trial and the court has no authority to impose penalties upon you. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will review jurisdictional issues and file a motion for dismissal when a court is acting outside of the scope of its authority. When choice of law issues arise and there are different state laws that could apply to govern your conduct, a Las Vegas defense attorney can also explore ways to develop effective methods of making procedural rules work to your advantage.

You both need and deserve a lawyer who understands the Nevada rules of criminal procedure when you are accused of wrongdoing on interstate waters or in any situation where your alleged criminal conduct could lead to concurrent jurisdiction in multiple states.

LV Criminal Defense knows the rules and has ample experience arguing complex matters related to jurisdiction in interstate crime cases. Our legal team is here and ready to help you explore different techniques for fighting for your freedom. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.