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Pro Tip: Don't Drink Before Court If You Want to Win

By William Vogeler, Esq. on December 20, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

One of the time-tested ways to beat a traffic ticket is to show up in court and hope the police officer doesn't.

There are other legal strategies, but the first rule of winning anything is to show up. Attorney Michelle Rivera didn't learn that lesson.

The Clark County prosecutor didn't make it to court because she was being arrested for public intoxication. Second rule of winning: don't show up to court drunk.

Case Dismissed

When you have a public job -- like being an attorney in court -- you face public consequences. That's another lesson Rivera learned too late that day.

A sheriff's deputy noticed she was swaying and smelled of alcohol, according to a complaint. Because she didn't make it to a scheduled plea hearing, the judge decided to dismiss her case.

It was a serious one. The defendant was going to plead guilty to charges that he sexually abused a minor. The victim was a 13-year-old boy.

Prosecutors could try to file different charges against the defendant. But double jeopardy could be a problem in state court.

Pleads Guilty

Rivera, in the meantime, pleaded guilty to public intoxication. She was fined $65.

She also lost re-election to her job, and was arrested again on charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and child endangerment. Court records indicated she was dropping her child off at daycare at the time.

Although Rivera did show up that day, she definitely did it the wrong way.

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