A Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Unveils Surplusage in Indictments or Informations in Nevada NRS 173.085

The state of Nevada must submit pleadings to the court in the form of an indictment or information if the state wishes to move forward with a criminal case against a defendant. There are strict rules regarding what pleadings submitted by the court must contain. Defendants should be aware of their rules, aware of their rights, and aware of the option to have surplusage stricken from the indictment or information.

When an indictment or information is presented to the court, defendants need to carefully examine the facts the prosecutor has set forth, the charges the defendant has been accused of, and the other relevant information contained within the pleadings. With a careful review of information being presented to the court, defendants can make informed choices about how to proceed with the accusations against them. Defendants may also move to have surplusage stricken.  A Las Vegas criminal lawyer can explain what this means and why it may become necessary.

LV Criminal Defense understands every phase of the Nevada criminal trial process. Our legal team knows the rules of criminal procedure inside and out and we are serious about helping defendants to fight against conviction at every step.  To learn more about how we can assist you if you are facing charges, give us a call.

Having Surplusage Stricken from an Indictment or Information

Chapter 173 of the Nevada Code details what prosecutors should include in informations or indictments that are submitted to the court.  N.R.S. 173.075 specifies that the contents of an indictment should include a summary of the facts showing a defendant has committed a crime, as well as citations for the rules, regulations and/or statutes the defendant has been accused of violating.  Prosecutors are required to submit the necessary information in simple and plain language.

Sometimes, however, prosecutors include unnecessary details that are not relevant to the accusations being made against the defendant. The information is outside of the essential allegations of fact and outside of the relevant laws.  This information is referred to as surplusage and it can include details which are not pertinent, hearsay, information related to collateral events, or much more.

Extra information submitted in pleadings can sometimes be relatively harmless, like an unnecessary description of events that have no pertinence regarding whether a defendant is guilty of an offense or not. Sometimes, however, surplusages could contain information that is prejudicial to the defendant. Whether the information is harmless or not, it does not belong in an indictment or an information. As a result, N.R.S. Section 173.085 indicates that the court can strike surplusage from the indictment or the information on motion of the defendant.

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The law makes clear that surplusage can be struck from the indictment or information after the defendant moves to have the unnecessary information struck from the pleadings. In other words, the court will not act on its own when a prosecutor submits an indictment or an information that contains unnecessary surplus details, even though indictments are supposed to be clear and simply state the facts and allegations.

Defendants are the only ones who can protect themselves not just from surplusages included in an indictment or information, but also from other violations of their rights or harmful errors on the part of prosecutors.  Defendants should ensure they have a knowledgeable Nevada Vegas criminal defense lawyer who is on their side and fighting for their interests. An attorney understands the law, can put together a strong legal strategy, and can take care of presenting your defense to the court. Call LV Criminal defense as soon as possible when you are facing charges so we can get started working for you.