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Nevada Criminal Process

Las Vegas Criminal Attorney Unveils Nevada Criminal Justice Process in Nevada

Nevada court systemIf you have been arrested for a criminal charge of any kind in Nevada, the court process that follows can be long and complicated depending on the crime. On the other hand, the process can be shortened if you and your attorney decide that a plea deal or guilty or no contest plea is a better option

However the case proceeds, having a skilled and experienced Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer can significantly lower your stress and fears about the process.

How does a Nevada criminal case start?

If a crime is reported to the police in Las Vegas, Metro will investigate the crimes and collect evidence for the District Attorney. If the D.A. believes there is enough evidence to pursue charges and get a conviction for the crimes, he or she will make a criminal complaint or for more serious crimes, will present the evidence to a grand jury.

A grand jury reviews the evidence in secret. If the grand jury believes there is enough evidence to proceed in a criminal case against the defendant, the District Attorney will be instructed to file an indictment. After the indictment is filed, the judge may agree to sign a warrant for the person’s arrest.

In other cases, the police may witness a crime happening or have probable cause to believe it did. They will arrest the suspect at that time.

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

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Posting Bail in a Nevada Criminal Case

For most offenses, you may be able to post bail if the courts are open on the day you are arrested. If a judge determines that you are not eligible for bail, you will wait in jail until the arraignment hearing.

Pretrial Process in Las Vegas Criminal Cases

Arraignment Hearing

At the arraignment hearing, you have the opportunity to plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty to the charges against you in the criminal complaint.

A qualified Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can provide information about your rights and the likelihood of a plea deal. If you plead not guilty, your case will be set for trial. The arraignment is an important first step in your case and you should have counsel present for your defense.

Nevada Pretrial Conferences

At the pretrial conference, Nick Wooldridge – your criminal defense lawyer – will negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. If an agreement is reached, the prosecutor will notify the judge of the proposed sentence. The judge must agree with the plea deal, and if he or she does, the case fast forards to the sentencing phase and bypasses the preliminary hearing and trial.

Preliminary Hearings in Nevada courts

Unless a plea deal is approved by the judge or you plead guilty or no contest, the preliminary hearing happens next. At the preliminary hearing, the prosecutor will present evidence to prove that you committed the Nevada crimes you were charged with. At this stage, the prosecutor does not have to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The preliminary hearing gives your defense lawyer a preview of the evidence that the state intends to present against you at trial, which may make him or her decide that a plea deal is a better option than going to trial.

Trial and Sentencing in Nevada criminal cases

A defendant in a Nevada criminal trial does not have to take the stand to testify. Often, a defense lawyer will advise against testifying to avoid questioning by the prosecution.

The prosecution has the burden of proving the case, and the defendant only has to cast reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s evidence to be acquitted of the crimes.

If you plead guilty to a crime in Nevada, or are convicted of a crime using the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in a Nevada criminal trial, you will enter the sentencing phase of the criminal process.

Crimes committed in Nevada can result in a variety of punishments, including:

  • Jail time
  • Community service
  • Fines
  • Classes or counseling and
  • Restitution.

The amount of jail time and fines is determined by Nevada laws and other factors like the severity of the crime, the criminal record of the person convicted, and the type of victim (like a senior, a handicapped person, or a child). For certain white collar crimes, another punishment may be that you lose your professional license. A doctor who commits health care fraud is one example of this.

What happens after a guilty verdict in a Nevada criminal trial?

After a trial in which the jury finds him or her guilty, a defendant in a Nevada criminal case can ask the court for a new trial or can appeal the verdict to a higher court. The procedural rules are very complicated and depend on errors that may have occurred during trial. A qualified criminal defense lawyer should be hired to handle post-conviction requests for relief.

Sealing a criminal record in Nevada

Depending on the particular crime, after a certain period of time has passed since a case has closed, the defendant can ask for his or her record to be sealed. This allows him or her to move on in life without worrying about a future employer or landlord seeing criminal charges or convictions on his or her record.

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More Information

The criminal process in Nevada involves many “characters” and personalities, as well as written rules and unwritten procedures. A conviction can result in a loss of freedom due to jail time and loss of rights to custody of children, immigration status, to carry a weapon, to vote, or the right to work in certain industries. For sex crimes, you may be required to register as a sex offender which can be devastating to your future.

Due to the complexity of the system and the potential loss of significant rights, your best bet is to retain LV Criminal Defense – a group of  highly qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyers who can defend you if you have been arrested.

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