When you are facing criminal charges, it may become necessary to present testimony from witnesses who are out-of-state. There are specific rules for when and how an individual in another jurisdiction can be summoned to Nevada to serve as witness and provide information in your trial. It is imperative to understand these rules of criminal procedure so you can ensure you are able to put together the strongest case possible.
A Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer understands the process involved with summoning witnesses from states outside of Nevada. Your attorney will provide assistance not only with this issue but also with all other legal matters related to subpoenaing witnesses and obtaining testimony that will be helpful to your case. Call LV Criminal Defense today to get help from a legal team with extensive knowledge of Nevada’s rules of criminal procedure related to witness testimony.
The Nevada laws which apply to summoning witnesses from out of state are referred to as the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from Without a State in Criminal Proceedings. The laws which make up this uniform act are found in Nevada Revised Statutes section 174.395 to 174.445.
For purposes of determining whether this Act applies, state is defined to include any U.S. territory as well as the District of Columbia. N.R.S. 174.405 also defines witnesses for purposes of this Act. Witnesses include any person whose testimony is desired in a grand jury investigation or any grand jury proceeding; as well as a person whose testimony is desired in a criminal action or during a prosecution or proceeding.
The Uniform Act provides information on both when a witness who is in Nevada must go to another state to testify, as well as when a witness from another state can be compelled to come to Nevada. The Uniform Act also provides protection from arrest and service of process in a state where a witness goes only because he is compelled to go there to provide testimony. N.R.S. 174.435 explains the rules for exemption from arrest and exemption from service of process.
N.R.S. 174.415 details the process which must occur when witnesses who reside within Nevada or who are located within Nevada are summoned to provide testimony in any other state within the United States.
To compel someone in Nevada to give testimony in another state, a certificate must be presented to a court in the county where the desired witness is located. The certificate must indicate that a court of record in the location where the proceeding is taking place is commanding the presence of the Nevada witness. The state where the testimony is to be given must also have laws in place allowing for an out-of-state defendant to be compelled to give testimony.
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When the certificate is presented to the court in Nevada, it must provide details about the legal proceedings which have commenced or which are about to commence, and must indicate the Nevadan witness is a material witness and that his or her presence will be required for a specific number of days. Upon the receipt of this certificate, the Nevada court may set a time and place for a hearing and may direct the witness to come to the hearing.
When the Nevadan appears at the hearing, the judge will determine if he or she really is a material witness and must determine whether it would cause undue hardship for the witness to be compelled to attend the legal proceedings and provide testimony in the other state.
The judge will also determine whether the state where the testimony is to be compelled will provide sufficient protections for the Nevadan witness from arrest or from service of process while visiting to offer testimony. If it is determined that the witness will be protected, is a material witness, and will not face undue hardship, the Nevada court judge may issue a subpoena or a summons commanding the witness to travel to the other state or may order the witness be delivered to an officer of the requesting state.
If a witness is summoned to go to another state to testify and is provided with the required reimbursement for travel and expenses, the witness must abide by the summons. If he or she refuses without a valid justification, there may be legal consequences.
There are also rules under Nevada law for summoning a witness from another state to testify in Nevada proceedings. These rules are set forth in N.R.S. 174.425. The process is very similar to the process used in Nevada.
It is first necessary to get a judge in Nevada to issue a certification that the witness is needed to provide testimony in a grand jury proceeding or in a criminal case. The certification must be taken to a judge in the county where the witness resides and a hearing will be held to determine if the witness can be compelled to come to Nevada to provide testimony. If the court in the county where the witness resides issues a summons or orders the witness taken into custody, the witness will face consequences for an unjustified failure to come to Nevada to testify.
Witnesses can make or break a criminal case, and it is imperative that defendants facing charges understand all Nevada rules for witnesses. At LV Criminal Defense, our legal team understands Nevada laws on summoning witnesses from out of state to provide testimony.
We can help defendants facing charges to make the strongest possible arguments regarding the appropriateness of compelling a non-local witness to be compelled to come to Nevada. Whether you are hoping to keep a prosecutor’s witness from giving testimony or you want to ensure a witness with potentially exculpatory evidence is made to come and provide information, our legal defense team will help you to prepare effective legal arguments on your position. To learn more about the assistance we offer and the ways in which we can help you with witnesses in your criminal case, give our Las Vegas defense firm a call today.