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Do you have to let the police search your car?

A police officer pulls you over as you drive through Las Vegas. When the officer gets to your window, after talking to you for a minute, they ask to search your car.

In that moment, your heart pounding in your chest, you do not know what you can do. Are you obligated to let the officer search your car? Can you say no? If you do say no, are there potential legal ramifications? Do they need your permission? Should you say yes just to keep from escalating the situation?

What is a grand jury?

In certain situations, those who get arrested first see their case go before a grand jury. This is very different than a trial jury, and it's crucial to understand the differences. It's a common misconception that they're similar, but this could not be further from the truth.

Secret meetings

Key facts about pedestrian accidents from the CDC

Las Vegas offers plenty of chances to walk down the popular streets, see the sights and enjoy the nightlife. A lot of visitors simply stay downtown, perhaps at the hotels connected to their favorite casinos, so that they never have to drive anywhere. It seems like a relaxed, fun way to get around and really enjoy your stay.

It can be, but it also puts you in danger. Pedestrian accidents are a real risk that you need to be aware of. To help, here are some key facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Night is the most dangerous time for pedestrians, in part because of reduced visibility -- a driver may never see a pedestrian at all -- and because of the increased odds of drunk driving.
  • Many fatal accidents happen at locations without intersections. The best thing you can do to stay safe is to always cross at a light-controlled intersection with a crosswalk.
  • Urban areas see far more fatal accidents than rural areas. This means that, while you can get injured anywhere in Nevada, specifically traveling to Vegas increases the odds.
  • The odds of getting hit go up the faster a car is traveling. Speeding drivers do not have as much time to react. Additionally, you could think you have time to cross the road in front of a car, not realizing that the driver is breaking the speed limit and you don't have as much time as you should.
  • The severity of injuries -- and the odds of death -- also go up when cars are going faster. Any impact can be deadly, but it's more likely at 45 miles per hour than at 15 miles per hour.
  • About 20% of pedestrians who die from their injuries are at least 65 years old, showing that elderly individuals face greater risks than young people. If you fall into that age bracket, you need to be wary.
  • Alcohol is a big factor, influencing nearly half of all deadly pedestrian crashes (48%). That statistic does include pedestrian alcohol use, but still shows the risks you face from drunk drivers -- especially in a city like Vegas, which is built around the nightlife.

You can get a DUI in Vegas if you're under 0.08%

You go to Las Vegas with your spouse, and the two of you spend a lot of time walking around on The Strip. You hit up casinos, watch the crowds, eat a delicious dinner and have a few drinks. It's a nice evening out, and then you head back to your rental car to drive out to your AirBnB for the night.

Since the last thing you did was eat dinner, you don't feel drunk. You did not have that many drinks, and you were out all evening. You know that you're not 100% sober, but you also feel like you're definitely under 0.08% for BAC (blood alcohol concentration) and you know that's the legal limit. You hop in the car and start driving out of town.

Environmental factors can lead to a serious fall

You fly to Las Vegas and check into your hotel, which is connected to your favorite casino. It's the perfect set-up, you think to yourself. You never have to leave the building to have all of the fun that you're after.

What you don't know is that you're going to get involved in a serious slip-and-fall accident in the next couple of days. You're going to break your hip and wind up in the hospital. It's going to be expensive and painful, and you're going to feel like the hotel and/or the casino itself is to blame.

Are pedestrian deaths up because they're intoxicated?

The unfortunate reality is that people often have a tendency to blame the victim. When all evidence suggests that they should be looking the other way when casting blame, they try to figure out what the victim did to make something unfortunate happen to themselves.

A great example of this comes from some recent reports on pedestrian fatalities. Rather than asking why pedestrians deaths were on the rise and why people faced such grave dangers around traffic, researchers said that pedestrians were more likely to walk around while they were drunk, thus leading to these accidents.

Why do police engage in illegal searches?

The police come to your hotel room, enter, and search it without your permission. Someone left illegal drugs in the hotel room -- maybe it was you, maybe it was the last guest, maybe it was someone else in your group with whom you traveled to Las Vegas. That doesn't matter, at the moment, because you're the one who gets back to the hotel room first, and they arrest you on drug charges.

Was that search illegal? It probably was if the police did not have probable cause and did not have a search warrant. Generally speaking, they must have a reason to think that a crime is happening or that they'll find evidence, they have to ask for a warrant from the court and then they can enter under the authority of the warrant.

Despite what they think, drivers can avoid distractions

Distracted driving is an epidemic. It threatens cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers. It causes accidents, leads to serious injuries and takes lives.

Despite all of this, many drivers act like they can't avoid distractions, as if it's out of their hands. Even after a crash, they blame an inanimate device, rather than themselves.

Does crime happen less often when cameras are present?

You walk into a hotel in Las Vegas, and you instantly notice that they have security cameras all over the place. Behind the desk. In the lobby. Near the elevators. In the halls. Everywhere you turn, you see cameras watching your every move.

You decide that this must mean the hotel sees a lot of crime and doesn't offer a safe place for you to stay. You switch to another establishment, where you don't see any cameras. You take this as a sign that crime levels remain low and they don't need the cameras, so you feel safer and you book a room.

Doctor: Drug use is not a moral problem

If you get arrested on drug possession charges in Nevada, or if you get caught using illegal drugs, the reaction from friends and family members may be predictable: They're shocked and even angry that you made this decision. They don't know how you could have put your future in jeopardy like this.

What they don't know is that you never made that choice. And, in some ways, you're just as shocked and confused as they are.

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