Vegas Defense Attorney Explains Appeals by the State

Falsifying EvidenceIn Nevada, when defendants are accused of certain public offenses, their case is handled in justice court and a justice of the peace makes a decision. If a case is handled in justice court and the decision is unfavorable to the defendant, the defendant is allowed to appeal to the district court. Chapter 189 of Nevada’s criminal procedure code sets forth the rules for procedure in justice court, as well as establishing the requirements and process of appeals.

Las Vegas defense lawyers can provide help to defendants in understanding how justice court cases work and in building an effective strategy to try to avoid being found guilty of committing a public offense. If your case outcome is unsuccessful, we can also provide representation during the appeals process so you do not miss any important deadlines or court hearings and so you are prepared to make the types of arguments that could result in the complaint against you being dismissed. LV Criminal Defense has extensive experience with handling cases in justice court and with helping defendants to appeal to the district court.

While defendants have broad latitude to appeal unfavorable decisions – although not every appeal to the district court succeeds – the state has more limited rights of appeal. Once a defendant has been found not to have committed a criminal offense, for example, double jeopardy rules typically prevent the state from appealing to try to get the decision in favor of the defendant overturned. However, the state can appeal certain decisions made by the justice court. In particular, the state can appeal a decision that was made to suppress evidence.

Appealing a Decision to Suppress Evidence

Prosecutors have the burden of proving the defendant committed an offense, and they want to present as much evidence as possible to meet that burden. Defendants, on the other hand, have an interest in trying to block evidence that could point to their guilt. If evidence was collected in violation of the Fourth Amendment protections against privacy, or if there are other problems with the evidence a prosecutor is trying to present, a defendant could ask the court to suppress the evidence. If the defendant’s motion to suppress is granted, the state will not be allowed to present the suppressed evidence for consideration when a defendant’s guilt or innocence is being determined.

According to the terms set forth in N.R.S. 189.120, the state is allowed to appeal a decision that grants a defendant’s motion to suppress evidence. N.R.S. 189.1209 mandates that the state must appeal within two days of the court granting the defendant’s motion to suppress if the motion was granted during a trial or a preliminary hearing. If the motion to suppress was granted before a preliminary hearing or before the start of a trial, then the prosecutor has a period of five days to appeal the court order that granted the defendant’s motion to exclude evidence.

If the prosecutor files an appeal in a timely manner after a preliminary hearing or court case is already underway, then further court proceedings in the case will be halted until the final determination of the appeal. If the prosecutor files an appeal in a timely manner before trial or preliminary examination, the time limit within which a defendant must be brought to trial will be extended in order to allow time for a decision to be made on the prosecutor’s appeal.

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Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


Getting Help from Las Vegas Criminal Lawyers

Las Vegas criminal lawyers at LV Criminal Defense will provide representation to defendants during a case against them in justice court and will work to help those who have been accused of a public offense to get the evidence against them suppressed. We can also provide help during the appeals process or if a prosecutor appeals an order granting the suppression of evidence. Give us a call today to find out more.