In The Case Of 'The Hangover' Vs. The State Of Nevada

The Hangoverby Gabriel Lipson

After inflicting a hurricane of damage throughout Las Vegas, "The Hangover"'s inebriated foursome somehow fled the city without any major legal repercussions. Sure they'd owe reparations to Caesar's Palace, but cleverly placed plot devices and bureaucratic loopholes allowed the men to skirt the law.

Imagine now for just a moment that the Nevada legal system worked as it should have. If the law had won, how much would Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) have lost?

Despite the sheer quantity of petty crimes, felonies and personal mistakes committed in "The Hangover," each incident is fairly common to any large, metropolitan city. According to Nevada State Trooper Public Information Officer Chuck Allen, Las Vegas patrolmen would have been especially prepared.

Allen explained that the biggest barrier for the bunch would have been the glut of closed circuit recording equipment peppered throughout the city and built into every squad car. "From the moment the men entered the stolen Ford Crown Victoria, an L-3 Cam System in the dashboard would have captured more than just their identities," Allen explained. "Roadside damage to barriers, street fixtures and any other equipment owned and maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT)." All of it, on record.

"Normally NDOT restitution costs would be added to an insurance claim," Allen said, "but taking a joyride in a cop car is a felony, so they would probably be added to the cost of bail or bond." Not only would each man have to serve a minimum of one year in prison, but even minor frame damage to the vehicle would render the car "totaled."

Squad cars have to be in tip-top shape to survive the daily grind of high-speed pursuits. The State of Nevada would subsequently charge the men "between $15,000 and $17,000 for a brand new vehicle, but also a good five grand for new interior equipment, from L-3 and P-19 cams to radar and a new laptop computer."

Though Trooper Allen obviously couldn't provide an exact dollar amount that would leave the bachelor partying foursome square with the State of Nevada, he did remind me that the sum would reach multiple tens of thousands of dollars for each of the men, legal fees notwithstanding. And let's not forget, at least Phil would have been charged with a DUI as well.

One can only assume that Todd Phillips' proposed sequel will place the four headliners in some entirely new comedic conundrum without mention of the legal proceedings and second mortgages that must have followed their initial escapade. In other words, we'll just have to accept that $80,000 in casino chips covered the costs of hotel refurnishing, cosmetic dentistry, automotive restoration, and restitution to the state. After all, it wouldn't be fair to saddle the leading men with insurmountable debt and incarceration after being tasered by schoolchildren.