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Travelling the the USA after being arrested?

Travel Forums North America Travelling the the USA after being arrested?

1. Posted by Jazzyjo (First Time Poster 1 posts) 6y

Hi

I'm really new to this, so apologies if this has been posted already.

I'll explain what happened and try not to leave anything out so you have the full picture.

Around 2 weeks ago my Husband and I went to Las Vegas for a week. We had a great time until the last day, Sunday, we we're flying home on the Monday night. Basically, we went to a bar and got very drunk on the Sunday afternoon. We had tickets for a show on the Sunday night in the Venitian hotel and when we got there, we got into an argument.

We were quite loud and I lost my temper with him and pushed him a few times to get him out of my way. Well a guest complained to the hotel security (understandable I suppose, we were pretty loud), and they came and asked us to escort them to the back room to calm down. We we're both calm by this time anyway, but went with them anyway.

They took us into seperate rooms and asked us what had happened. My Husband had a small scram on his neck which I'm assumimg was from me when I pushed him (I have very long nails), and the security guards were trying to get him to allow him to take pictures of this. He refused and said that it was just an argument, and I'd only pushed him because he'd said something to provoke a reaction from me. He said he wouldn't press charges, and they told him that he didn't have to press charges, as the state of Nevada would do this.

Well anyway, they called the local police who came and again asked what happened, and so we both went through through it all again with them. By this time the small scram on my Husbands neck was gone, so obviously wasn't that bad in the first place. They kept us in the back room of the Venitian for 4 hours, and then the police officer came in to me and said that they had no choice but to arrest me!

Please bare in mind I have NEVER been in any sort of trouble in my life! Never even had detention in school, so to me this was absolutely terrifying!

The police officer said this was nothing to worry about and it wasn't like a normal jail, just like a hospital waiting room where I'd spend 12 hours watching TV, there'd only be women there, and then they'd let me out and all would be forgotten, because I don't have a previous record. Well that was stretching the truth more than just a little!

The place was full of drug dealers, prostitutes, drink drivers, people covered in blood from where they'd been fighting, and god only knows what else! There were mainly men there who were sat probably 2 foot in front of me just staring at me and asking if I'd like to do all mannor of unpleasant things with them! I was also handcuffed and chained around my waist so I was unable to even lift my hand to scratch my head! I sat like this for approximately 7 hours.

When they finally called my name to 'book me in' I was then strip searched and moved to another waiting area where there were phones to use to call people. I couldn't use the phones as they didn't allow international calls, and I didn't have the number for the hotel we were staying at. Well eventually, the only decent person in the whole god awful place called my name, and tried to reassure me and phoned my husband for me. However, he then told me that they weren't going to let me out after the 12 hours because I wasn't a US citizen! He told me I had to pay $3000 bail to be released or I'd have to stay there for 3 days to go to court!

To say I was having a panic attack at this point would be an understatement! Well anyway, my husband came down to the jail immediately and paid the bail. He asked where he needed to go to wait for me, and was told that it would probably be another 12 hous or more before they could process this as it was Labour Day weekend and they were busy. He told her that we had a flight to catch that night, to which she replied 'you're never gonna catch that fight, you'd better arrange a new flight' and when he said he'd just paid her $3000 and couldn't afford to pay for another 2 flights, she just helpfully replied 'well that aint my problem, it's yours'!!!

He left the jail and spoke to a security guard outside a nearby hotel who told him that this was normal, and he see's this every day!! Apparently, it's a really good way for the state of Nevada to make money out of people visiting, because of the bail and fines. The security guard hepled as much as he could, and my Husband went back to the jail and spoke to an elderly lady there behind the desk. He said that she was very nice, and when he explaind everything to her, she said not to worry, and she would make sure everything was pushed through quickly so we could get out flight home.

We'll she kept to her word, and they released me about 14 hours after they'd arrested me! We had to pay for another night in the hotel so that I could go back and shower and change before leaving for the airport to catch the flight. But then another $100 was nothing comaperd to what I'd just paid to get out of jail!

So anyway, home now and they gave me a piece of paper when I left the jail telling me I have to turn up to court in November to attend hearing. I said I can't go back as I live in the UK, so they said I should call a number to speak to the court. I haven't called yet, as to be honest, I'm just to scared of what they're going to tell me!

My husband and our 2 children and I, holiday in the USA every year, and have done for the last 8 years! I'd be mortified if this prevented us from going again. We had a holiday planned for California next summer, and I'm so scared that they're not going to let me in to the country again because of this.

If they just give me a warning and a fine, then I'll grit my teeth and take it, but I'm not prepared to accept a criminal record for this! I understand that the laws in the state of Nevada, however ridiculous they maybe, are they're laws and I respect that. But this is so totally over the top, it's laughable! I mean, I only pushed him! I really do feel like I've been let down and treated like a wanted criminal, for having an argument with my husband! They charged my with battery!! For pushing my Husband!!

So now I'm sat here writing this, hoping that someone will be able to help or give me some advice, because no one over there wanted to.

Do you think that I'll be able to travel to the US without a Visa again?

Do you think I'd be able to get a Visa if I need one?

Do you think they will try and give me a criminal record in November, or just a fine?

If it's just a fine and a warning, I shouldn't need a Visa to travel should I? Or would I anyway because I was arrested in the USA?

I'm really sorry for the length of this post, but I wanted you to know what I went through, over something so pathetically trivial! It was the worst experience of my life and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I've never been so scared ever, and all police officers in the jail there loved it! Serious God complex! I still can't sleep and when I do, I wake up having nightmares!

Any advice or help anyone can give me would be really appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

Jo x x

2. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 6y

Jo,
I am going to contact you via PM. Mike

Post 3 was removed by a moderator
4. Posted by sojournren (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5y

It would be okay to travel again in the US together with your visa.

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 5y

Okay, yours was a long post--so mine is going to be little long to cover everything you posted here.

Understand that only lawyers are allowed to give legal advice in the US--so I'm just going to discuss the basics--not legal (criminal) procedure--or any special motions you should make, etc.

(1)The first thing you need to understand is that if you were arrested and asked to post bail, this means you were charged with a crime. Failure to show up for your trial will undoubtedly result in you being convicted--and this will then result in you never being allowed to enter the US again--since you fled rather than faced your prosecution.

(2) What are your options?--(a) You could return to face trial in November. Should you?--Well, that depends upon what you were charged with--and I notice you never actually mentioned what that was. Were you charged with resisting arrest? with criminal assault? with public intoxication? with assault and battery?

If you were charged with assault and battery, I'm not sure I would return and take the chance of actually being found guilty and having to serve a 30 to 90 day period in jail. If you were just charged with resisting arrest or public intoxication---and your husband is going to speak on your behalf, you can probably beat the charge, or get it reduced to something minor, where even if you are convicted, you would be given probation and allowed to go on your way. The fact that you returned to face the charge will very much work in your favor, by the way.

On the other hand, not returning to face the charges mean you forfeit your $3,000 bail automatically--in addition to having a "bench warrant" issued for your arrest. This means that coming back to the US will not only result in you being eventually deported--but may result in you first having to face trial, then in possibly going to jail, and then being deported.

(3) What about the costs?--Okay, you get your $3,000 back when you com back to face trial--however, getting a lawyer is not cheap. It will probably cost you about $3,000 to $4,500 (and possibly more) to hire a halfway decent lawyer that will argue your case--plus you will probably have to have first a hearing--and only then have a trial.

(4) What would I do?
First of all, I would contact and hire a US lawyer from the UK--and I would see if he/she could attend the hearing on your behalf without you having to appear--and/or contact the local district attorney to either have the case dropped or have the charges reduced. This is fairly common in the US--especially if you agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge. I would see if the lawyer could get the charge reduced to something really minor--like public intoxication--and have the DA and judge agree that you will be give a short probation period that could then be waived (meaning you wouldn't have to meet with any US probation officers). Then, I would come back to the US for the "trial"--which would then likely last less than 1 hour. Yes, this would cost you some additionally money for the lawyer--but you would have only a minor charge on your record--and you could come back to the US whenever you wish.

Last thing--I would avoid making a scene at a major casino like the Venetian--in fact, I would avoid ever going back to the Venetian--but instead spend my time at other LV casinos/hotels. These casinos think that anyone that is making a scene might be doing so in order to allow others to steal money from the customers--and distract them from other illegal things going on. Also, keep in mind that these are super-large corporations running these places--and these hotels cost billions to build--and have 20,000 other customers to please on a daily basis--so any kind of disturbance is a big deal to them;--something you've obviously learned the hard way.

Good luck with your situation.

[ Edit: . ]

6. Posted by Fiona0001 (Budding Member 3 posts) 4y

Jo, I have just come accross your post. This very same situation happened to myself and my husband although we walked into a row outside the flamingo hotel. Is there anyway I can private message you and I can share with you how we have got on up to now with this.

7. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 4y

Quoting Fiona0001

Jo, I have just come accross your post. This very same situation happened to myself and my husband although we walked into a row outside the flamingo hotel. Is there anyway I can private message you and I can share with you how we have got on up to now with this.

Click on jazzyjo's username (top of her post) and that will take you to her profile. There will be a big green box that says 'send message'. Click that to send a private mail. :)

8. Posted by DocNY (Respected Member 403 posts) 4y

Before you go to any great lengths and stress anymore I'd make that phone call they suggested to speak to an officer of the court.

Odds are they'll offer you a quick and easy way out of this (i.e. plead guilty to public intoxication) which would mean you'd never have to go to trial, or even come back to face the charge (odds are they'll either dismiss the charge, or offer you time served, or let you off with a warning) because they'd have to PROVE an assault charge, with no victim willing to testify and probably no witnesses.

They might have casino camera footage, but remember unless the hotel is willing to cooperate fully (and they don't want to alienate potential guests, and remember they deal with drunks all the time) they probably won't spend the money, nor will the Nevada prosecutor's office (it's all about removing serious problem people and about balancing money with justice) for a minor infraction like this.

If you are really worried you could volunteer to do AA or the like back home, which would show you are taking this seriously (but I'd volunteer this only if they are giving you a hard time about it).

Clearly they didn't think it was a big deal or they would have denied you bail as a flight risk since you were a foreign national. So you really have nothing to lose by contacting them. In fact, showing that responsibility could only count in your favor.

It will only cost you a phone call to find out. Then at least you'll know what you are dealing with.

Hope it all works out.

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Feb-2012, at 17:36 by DocNY ]

Post 9 was removed by a moderator