There is a guarantee of due process within the criminal justice system in the United States. Due process rights and other constitutional protections are designed to ensure you are treated fairly at all phases of criminal proceedings. From the time you are first suspected of a crime until your case has been fully resolved, there are safeguards in place ranging from a right to a defense lawyer to a right against self-incrimination to a right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures.
Although there are many protections in place for criminal defendants, actually knowing what safeguards you are entitled to and how the criminal process works is very complicated. You need to have a lawyer representing you as soon as you can when being investigated for suspected criminal acts. It is especially important that you are represented by a knowledgeable legal advocate during the arraignment process and when preparing for trial so you will be ready to raise a vigorous defense.
LV Criminal Defense is a Las Vegas firm with a legal team dedicated to helping clients accused of all types of crimes in the Nevada area. We know how prosecutors work to try to prove guilt, and we have a detailed understanding of the protections built into the criminal justice system for defendants. From the first day when you are under investigation, we can help you to take smart steps and make informed choices with the goal of avoiding a guilty verdict. Let us be by your side during arraignment and let us handle the trial preparation and criminal trial phase so you can maximize your chances that you will avoid or limit the penalties associated with the criminal acts you are accused of.
The Nevada rules for arraignment are set forth in Nevada Code Title 14 Chapter 174. Arraignments have to be conducted in open court, according to N.R.S. 174.015. The process must involve reading the indictment or the information to the defendant or stating the substance of the criminal charges that the defendant faces. In other words, you must be informed at the arraignment of all of the criminal charges being brought against you. When you are informed of the substance of the charges, you are given the opportunity to enter a plea.
You have the right to a copy of the indictment or information before you must actually plead either guilty or not guilty. Your attorney can review the substance of the charges carefully and offer you advice on whether a guilty or not guilty plea is likely to result in the most favorable outcome. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the more prepared you can be when it comes time to enter a plea at arraignment.
N.R.S. 174.035 explains the types of pleas that you can enter as well as the procedure for actually entering your plea. Other provisions in the section on arraignment set forth general requirements for plea bargaining in N.R.S. 174.061, as well as setting forth in N.R.S. 174.065 when a plea deal can specify the degree of the crime or the degree of punishment a defendant is to face.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
After your arraignment, there is a pre-trial phase in which motions are submitted to the court and in which you obtain documents and conduct investigations to try to develop your trial strategy. If you have pled not guilty and your case goes to trial, you’ll need to know what arguments and information you want to present to the jury. You don’t ever have to present evidence proving your innocence since the burden of proof in a criminal case belongs to the prosecutor and not the defense. A prosecutor’s burden is to prove each element of a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt. A defendant, therefore, just has to find some way to introduce doubt. Alternatively, you can present affirmative defenses, but then you will need to prove that the defense applies in your case.
There are many different things that will need to be done during the trial prep phase to try to find a way to actually introduce that seed of doubt into the minds of the jury. For example, depositions should be conducted with witnesses the prosecutor is going to be presenting, as well as with witnesses who you would like to call to testify on your behalf. There are many rules for depositions within Chapter 174 of Title 14, including rules regarding how depositions are taken in N.R.S. 174.205 or how depositions are used in N.R.S. 174.215.
Some of the people who you want to testify on your behalf may not come to court willingly, and this will need to be addressed during the trial preparation phase as well. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to “have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses” in your favor. Essentially, this means that you have the right to request subpoenas compelling witnesses to come to court and answer questions. Rules for subpoenaing witnesses can be found within Chapter 174 of Title 14 as well, including rules in N.R.S. 174.345 for how a subpoena must be served.
Other sections within Chapter 174 deal with out-of-state witnesses, circumstances under which pending cases can be removed from the court where they are pending, and the right to a speedy trial.
When you are arraigned and enter a plea, you want that plea to be the right one. As you prepare a case during the pre-trial phase, you want the decisions you make to be informed choices that maximize the chances of a positive outcome for you.
To protect your rights, to get advice on your plea, and to get invaluable guidance in preparing a case, call LV Criminal Defense today. Our Las Vegas defense lawyers are committed to client satisfaction and we are dedicated to helping ensure the strongest legal arguments are made to try to keep you out of jail. If you are facing arraignment or are preparing a case to defend your future, give us a call right away so we can get started.