Whether you are a local resident or visiting from out of town, being arrested can be a scary and confusing event. This page describes why you can be arrested, what to do if you are arrested, and what your rights are upon arrest in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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A police officer can arrest a person who commits a misdemeanor in the police officer’s presence. This can include Nevada crimes such as:
A police officer must have probable cause to arrest a person for a felony offense that the officer did not witness personally, or with an arrest warrant. Nevada felonies which can result in arrest with probable cause or a warrant include:
As you may know, a police officer must read you certain rights at the time you are arrested. These rights include:
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If you choose not to remain silent, your statements can be used against you later.
You will be taken to the county jail for booking and processing, which includes fingerprinting and photographing. Your personal belongings will be taken from you and inventoried.
Depending on the offense and whether the courts are open on the day you are arrested (they are closed on the weekend), you may be able to post bail to get out of jail. Otherwise, you will wait in jail until the arraignment hearing.
The arraignment is the time you plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty.
Las Vegas defense lawyer Nick Wooldridge can advise you of your rights and the possibility of a plea deal. This information will help you decide what to plead at the arraignment and will also determine whether your case goes to trial at a later date. The arraignment is an important first step in your case and your best bet is to have defense counsel of your choosing present.
When I initially met with Mr. Wooldridge, he took the opportunity to sit and go over my problem with me. He described details in my case which he found disturbing and explained why he I should have him on my side.
The pretrial conference is when your lawyer will discuss a plea deal with the prosecutor. If a deal is reached, the prosecutor will recommend the sentence to the judge. If the judge agrees with it, the case goes to the sentencing phase, and skips the preliminary hearing and trial.
If a plea deal is not reached, or the judge disagrees with the recommended sentence, the preliminary hearing is next. A Las Vegas preliminary hearing is like a dress rehearsal of the real trial. The state presents the evidence it has to prove that you committed the Nevada crimes you were arrested for.
Defendants usually lose at a preliminary hearing because the state has to show very little evidence in support of its case. Still, it is a good idea to have a Las Vegas criminal attorney representing you at the preliminary hearing because it is a preview of the trial to come. The preliminary hearing helps your lawyer understand the evidence against you, prepare for trial, and also work on another plea deal.
If you plead guilty to a crime in Nevada, or are convicted in a Nevada case, you will enter the sentencing phase of your case.
There are many possible punishments that a judge can give you depending on the crime you were arrested for in Las Vegas. These include:
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).
Misdemeanor sentences are limited to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines, along with any combination of the other items listed above.
Felony sentences have a minimum of 1 year in a Nevada prison and $5,000 in fines, but can range up to the death penalty for the most serious offenses.
All arrests should be taken very seriously because they can lead to convictions. Convictions spoil your record and impact your future.
Secure the best representation you can as soon as possible by calling an experienced Las Vegas criminal lawyer if you are arrested.