When a crime is committed, a defendant can be arrested, charged, and ultimately convicted. There are both state laws prohibiting behaviors and defining criminal acts, and federal laws establishing that certain conduct is criminal. Every state has its own criminal code, and has the authority to enforce laws within its borders. When a defendant breaks the law, a decision must be made on what laws apply and what court to try him in for his alleged crimes.
Nevada Revised Code Title 14, Chapter 171 addresses procedural issues in criminal cases relating to jurisdiction. The provisions within this Chapter of the state code are important for defendants to understand, because there may be situations where it is possible you could be tried within different courts. Our Las Vegas defense attorneys understand jurisdictional issues and will help you try to develop effective legal strategies whether you are tried in state or federal court. To learn more about how our legal team can help, contact us now.
Chapter 171 is found within Title 14 of the Nevada Code, which is the title that addresses all procedural matters in criminal cases. NRS 171.010 makes clear that the state courts of Nevada have jurisdiction over any offense committed within the state, regardless of whether the defendant lived within the state or was visiting and lives elsewhere.
The only exception to the rule giving Nevada courts authority to hear criminal cases is situations where the federal government has exclusive authority. For example, a criminal violation of federal tax laws would generally be prosecutable only in a federal court, where as drug crimes could be prosecuted in both Nevada courts and federal courts since both the state and federal government have controlled substances laws on the books.
Other provisions in Chapter 171 deal with criminal acts that start in Nevada but culminate in other states, criminal acts that begin elsewhere but also involve breaking laws in Nevada, offenses committed on or near state boundaries, and offenses committed on vessels in waterways.
Unless a court has jurisdiction to hear a case, a defendant cannot be tried within that court or subject to penalties imposed by the court. These rules, therefore, are very important because a defendant facing charges who is brought before a court without proper authority can have his case dismissed.
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A defendant generally cannot choose which court he is tried in when multiple courts have jurisdiction over a potential criminal case. For example, a defendant who has been accused of violating drug laws that exist on both the federal level and the state level could be prosecuted in federal or in state court.
However, there are limitations preventing a defendant who has already been tried for an offense from facing trial again in another jurisdiction. N.R.S. 171.070, for example, makes clear that if a defendant is tried and either convicted or acquitted in another state or territory with concurrent jurisdiction, Nevada cannot also prosecute or indite him for the same offense.
When you are represented by Nicholas Wooldridge’s LV Criminal Defense, you get the benefit of an attorney with experience practicing law on both the state and the federal level. When you are arrested and charged with a state or a federal offense, you will have a knowledgeable legal advocate who is ready to fight for your rights. Our Las Vegas defense lawyers understand jurisdictional issues, all other issues related to criminal procedure, and all laws affecting a defendant’s rights within the criminal justice system. Give us a call today to speak with a member of our legal team who can provide you with the representation, guidance and advice you both need and deserve as you face charges.
With a strong defense team, you may be able to avoid the worst punishments under Nevada’s drug laws. In some cases, a qualified Las Vegas drug defense lawyer may even be able to get the charges dismissed.
If you have been arrested in Las Vegas for a crime involving controlled substances, contact as soon as possible to begin defending you against the charges.
When I initially met with Mr. Wooldridge, he took the opportunity to sit and go over my problem with me. He described details in my case which he found disturbing and explained why he I should have him on my side.