Joinder of Offenses and Defendants Explained By a Las Vegas, NV Attorney 

If a prosecutor wishes to bring a criminal case, the prosecutor is going to need to provide probable cause of wrongdoing in a preliminary hearing and will then need to file an information with a criminal court with jurisdiction over the case. A prosecutor could also convene a grand jury to get an indictment against a defendant.

In some cases, a prosecutor can get one indictment or file one information that allows for multiple charges to be brought against a defendant, or that allows for multiple defendants to be charged with crimes. The ability to use just one information or indictment against multiple defendants or to charge a single defendant with multiple crimes can make it much easier and more expedient for prosecutors to press charges against individuals suspected of wrongdoing. Defendants, unfortunately, need to deal with the fact they may face a big surprise when indicted on multiple criminal courts or need to deal with the fact that they and their alleged co-conspirators have all been targeted by the same indictment or information.

The best way for defendants to deal with their legal problems is for defendants to get legal help. LV Criminal Defense is a full-service criminal defense law firm that represents clients in all types of proceedings within the criminal justice system. Whether you are accused of many criminal acts under one indictment or are facing more limited criminal charges, our legal defense team has the knowledge, skills, and reputation to provide you with an effective defense.

What are the Rules for Joinder of Offenses and Defendants?

The rules for joinder of offenses and for joinder of defendants are set forth within Title 14, Chapter 173 of the Nevada Code. Title 14 is entirely devoted to setting forth all of the rules for procedure in criminal cases, while Chapter 173 of this title is specifically focused on indictments or informations.  The provisions set forth within Title 14 Chapter 173 deal with everything from when an information is to be filed to the form of indictments and informations to situations where it is permissible to join offenses or join defendants when seeking indictments and informations.

N.R.S. 173.115 specifically addresses circumstances where a defendant could be charged with multiple offenses based on a single indictment or information.  A defendant could be charged with multiple crimes under a single indictment whenever the separate offenses the defendant is accused of are based on the same act or transaction, or are part of the same larger plan or scheme to break the law. Using a single indictment under these circumstances is permissible regardless of whether the offenses a defendant is being charged with are felonies, misdemeanors, or a combination thereof.

N.R.S. 173.135 addresses situations where two or more different defendants could face charges based on the same indictment or based on the same information.  According to this relevant portion of Nevada law, multiple defendants can be charged under the same indictment or information as long as the defendants took part in the same transaction, act, or series of transactions and acts. 

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When joinder of defendants is permitted, the involved defendants could be charged on multiple accounts either together or separately depending upon the circumstances. It is not necessary for all of the defendants to be charged with each of the counts.

The ability of prosecutors to get one indictment for multiple offenses or multiple defendants makes it much easier for district attorneys or attorneys general to try to go after people for criminal acts.

Prosecutors sometimes will try to bring many charges against a defendant based on separate steps in a conspiracy or based on the defendant allegedly committing the same crime repeatedly.  Part of the goal of a prosecutor bringing multiple different charges against the same defendant could be to cause concern about the potentially lengthy prison sentence and harsh penalties that could result if the defendant were to be convicted on all charges.  The prosecutor could try to convince you to accept a plea agreement by bringing all of these charges. While it can sometimes make sense to negotiate a plea in an effort to reduce the possibility severity of penalties, you should not agree to any deal being offered until you have spoken with a knowledgeable Las Vegas defense lawyer.

You should also not make any determination on whether you are better off with a joint trial with co-defendants or are better off with separate severed trials until you have spoken with a trusted legal advisor. Joint trials can save the prosecutor time and can save money within the court system, but you want to do what is best for your defense and not what is easiest for the prosecutor who is trying to imprison you.

How Can a Las Vegas Criminal Lawyer Help?

If you are facing multiple criminal charges because a prosecutor has joined all of the alleged offenses you committed into one indictment, you need to be ready to deal with all of those charges in a way that makes sense for an overall defense strategy.  Determining how to craft arguments that will reduce the chances of a conviction for any alleged crime is key to maximizing the chances of getting through the criminal justice process unscathed.

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Likewise, if you are one of a group of two or more defendants charged under the same indictment or information, you need to be ready to decide if you should have a joint trial with alleged co-conspirators or if you should try to fight the accusations you face in a separate severed trial.

LV Criminal Defense offers invaluable advice to clients with all of the questions and concerns they have as they face legal charges. Our Las Vegas legal defense team represents clients facing felonies or misdemeanors and represents clients who are standing trial alone or whose case is being heard as part of a joint trial.

We are uniquely qualified to help you to fight charges because of our long history of successfully defending clients against serious accusations. Give us a call to learn more.