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Indictment and Information

Indictment and Information descibed by a Nevada Defense Attorney

Indictment and InformationWhen a crime is allegedly committed, the State of Nevada brings charges against the person believed to have perpetrated the offense.  The Clark County District Attorney brings these charges in Las Vegas.  The charges are brought to the court in the form of either an indictment or information.  The indictment or information are the first pleadings the state provides to the court.

Defendants need to be aware of what an indictment is and what an information means, and must understand the details contained within these pleadings. Understanding these pleadings is essential because the pleadings set forth details about why prosecutors believe there is probable cause to move forward with prosecution.

Nick Wooldridge understands the criminal justice system and the trial process and can provide invaluable assistance to defendants from the time their case is brought to court until it is resolved through a plea agreement or through a jury verdict. At every phase of your interactions with the criminal justice system, we will work hard to help ensure your chances of conviction are minimized and the possibility of serious penalties is reduced.

What is an Indictment and Information

An indictment is returned by a grand jury.  The grand jury process generally involves a prosecutor presenting evidence in the form of witnesses and documents to the members of the grand jury. While prosecutors have to provide all known information to grand jurors, including exculpatory evidence, the information a grand jury hears is one-sided. Defendants typically do not testify on their behalf and they do not present evidence during grand jury proceedings.  It is commonly said that prosecutors could convince a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, which refers to the fact grand juries almost always hand down indictments, but the law actually requires grand juries to find probable cause that a defendant has committed a crime before handing down a true bill and voting to indict.

An information is different from a grand jury. An information is filed against a person after a preliminary examination before a justice of the peace, an officer, or a magistrate. If the justice of the peace determines there is probable cause to move forward after a preliminary hearing (or if a preliminary hearing is waived) then the information is filed with the court that has jurisdiction over the criminal case.

While an indictment and an information are different, and the process for obtaining an indictment or information is not the same, the goal in both cases is to determine if there is sufficient probable cause of a criminal case to move forward against a defendant. As explained in Nevada Revised Statute Section 173.015, an indictment or an information are the first pleadings by the state of Nevada in a criminal trial.

Nevada Rules of Criminal Procedure for an Indictment or an Information 

Defendants facing criminal charges are entitled to due process of the law, including in the indictment and information phase. Chapter 173 of the Nevada Revised Statutes sets forth all of the rules associated with this initial phase of a criminal trial including:

  • General procedural rules, such as when an information may be filed, how an information may be filed, the duties of the district attorney or Attorney General, and information on when a judge can require an attorney general to prosecute a case.

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  • Rules for the form an indictment or information must take, the details which must be provided in an indictment or information, and the requirements for amending an indictment or information.
  • Rules for when and if offenses can be joined and/or when and if defendants can be joined in one indictment or information.
  • Requirements for when warrants and summons may be issued against defendants and details on the form of a warrant or the form that a summons must take.

Understanding all of the rules associated with the indictment process, with summons and warrants, and with the joinder of offenses and defendants is very complicated.  Defendants need to have a legal professional who knows the rules to advise them on the initial phase of their criminal case so they can ensure their rights are fully protected.

If there are problems with the indictment or information, an attorney can try to get a case against you dismissed. An attorney can also deal with issues raised by joinder of offenses or defendants, and can help you to understand the types of charges you will need to defend against based on the information contained within the initial indictment or information. LV Criminal Defense understands the Nevada rules of criminal procedure and can provide assistance during this initial phase of your trial and beyond.

How a Las Vegas Criminal Lawyer Can Help 

Whether a case against you begins with an indictment or an information, the fact is that you are facing serious legal problems. You can expect to be prosecuted for a criminal offense that could potentially result in serious penalties including incarceration and large fines.  You will be burdened with a criminal record that can affect your future employment opportunities, and you could have your life derailed by the efforts of the state of Nevada to convince a jury to find you guilty.

You deserve to have the most vigorous defense possible so you can fight the charges that you face. Contact LV Criminal Defense right away to learn how our legal team can provide guidance and insight on rules of criminal procedure and on the development of a trial strategy.

We work hard to help you explore procedural techniques that could help you to reduce charges or avoid conviction, and we also assist in the development of substantive defenses, investigations to find reasonable doubt, and other steps necessary to respond to charges.

To learn more about the legal services that we offer and the manner in which we can help clients to fight criminal charges with the goal of getting the most favorable possible outcomes, contact us today to speak with a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney. 

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