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Probation and Suspension of Sentence

A Vegas Attorney Explains Probation & Suspended Sentences

Probation & Suspended SentencesWhen you have been convicted of committing a criminal offense, there are a wide array of possible penalties that could occur as a result of your conviction. In some cases, for example, you could be incarcerated and forced to spend time away from work and family. Avoiding incarceration is often the main reason why people work so hard to fight a conviction, and a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer is always focused on helping to keep clients out of jail whenever possible.

There are also some less serious penalties that you could be faced with as well. For example, two of the best possible outcomes which could result during the sentencing phase of a criminal trial are probation or a suspended sentence. Both mean that you should not have to go to jail as long as you do not experience any further problems with the law. LV Criminal Defense will work hard to help you avoid conviction whenever possible if you’ve been accused of a crime, but when this is not an option, we help you to try to get probation or a suspended sentence either through the negotiation of a favorable plea agreement or by making a compelling argument to the judge during the sentencing phase of your criminal case.

When you want to fight charges and avoid serious penalties, you need to get legal help right away so you can make strategic choices at every phase of your involvement with the Nevada criminal justice system. Give us a call today so we can begin working with you to understand your options and to develop an effective strategy for responding to charges.

Probation and Suspension of Sentences

Probation and a suspended sentence are two very common outcomes in Nevada criminal cases, especially for first time offenders and/or for people who have committed minor offenses. There is an entire Chapter of the Nevada code of criminal procedure which specifically sets forth the rules for probation and suspension of a sentence, and defendants need to know what laws are found within this chapter and what Nevada rules mean for their particular situation.

The Chapter of Nevada law which addresses probation and suspension of a sentence is Chapter 176A- Probation and Suspension of Sentence. It includes laws found in code sections N.R.S. 176A.010 through N.R.S. 176A.870. These laws explain the role of the State Board of Parole Commissioners, the authority of the court, limitations on the court’s authority, the procedure for determining if probation or a suspended sentence is appropriate, and some of the programs which people can be assigned to in lieu of being sentenced to incarceration.

If you are hoping for probation or a suspended sentence, you should carefully review each of the laws within this Chapter of the Nevada code in order to determine when and why someone may be given a suspended sentence or sentenced to probation instead of to incarceration.

The Authority of the Court in Ordering Probation or a Suspended Sentence

Probation occurs when a court orders you to be subject to a period of supervision. There may be conditions placed on your period of probation, such as refraining from drug and alcohol use and taking routine drug tests or completing drug counseling. A suspended sentence occurs when you are sentenced to prison time, but the sentence is suspended. You do not actually have to serve the prison time in jail, as long as you do not get into further legal trouble.

N.R.S. 176A.100 defines situations in which a court is, and is not, allowed to suspend a sentence or grant probation. For example, a court can suspend a sentence for a defendant who has been accused of certain category E felonies, of certain other felonies, of misdemeanors, or of gross misdemeanors. However, the court is not allowed to suspend the sentence of someone who has been convicted of murder in the first or second degree; first-degree kidnapping; sexual assault or attempted sexual assault of a child less than 16; lewdness with a child; or any other offense for which a suspended sentence is expressly prohibited. The court also cannot suspend a sentence of someone who is found to be a habitual criminal, a habitual felon, or a habitually fraudulent felon.

If the court is allowed to suspend someone’s sentence based on the nature of the crime allegedly committed, this does not necessarily mean that the court has to give someone a suspended sentence of probation. The court can consider a number of factors in deciding if probation or a suspended sentence is appropriate. For example, the court should consider whether the defendant was already serving a term of probation at the time of the offense; whether the defendant had previously had his parole or probation revoked; whether the defendant had previously been assigned to a treatment or rehab program; or whether the defendant has committed and been convicted of any past offenses. The court should also consider recommendations made by the Chief Parole and Probation Officer.

Procedure for Determining if Probation or a Suspended Sentence is Appropriate

There are several sections of Chapter 176A which address the procedure to be used when determining if probation or a suspended sentence is appropriate for a defendant. For example, N.R.S. 176A.200 indicates that the Division of Parole and Probation of the Department of Public Safety should conduct an investigation and make a recommendation. The defendant will also need to be willing to promise to comply with probation and conditions and will need to sign a waiver giving up all rights related to extradition proceedings. This ensures if a defendant violations his probation out of state, he can be brought back to Nevada to face charges for a probation violation.

Getting Legal Help

LV Criminal Defense will argue for probation if you’ve been accused of a crime and do not wish to plead not guilty or if you have already been found guilty of a criminal offense. Give us a call today to speak with a Las Vegas defense attorney who can help try to keep you out of jail.

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