After an arrest in Nevada, a preliminary examination must occur within 15 days from your first appearance before a magistrate. The preliminary exam or preliminary hearing could be delayed or waived if you choose, but usually occurs quickly. The purpose of the hearing is to require the prosecutor to provide at least some evidence to show probable cause you violated the law. Depending upon the outcome of the preliminary hearing, the prosecution could move forward with pressing charges against you or the case could be dismissed.
You want to make solid arguments in a preliminary exam and do everything possible to try to undermine evidence presented by prosecutors so you can avoid having to go through a criminal trial. If the prosecutor can’t present probable cause because of your effective legal strategy during the preliminary examination, then you no longer have to worry about the consequences of conviction. Getting access to key evidence is essential to prepare for the preliminary examination, and the discovery process makes that possible.
Discovery is a process during which defendants may obtain access to certain evidence which the prosecutor intends to use against them in court. Nevada Revised Statutes 171.1965 establishes the requirements for discovery that occurs prior to a preliminary examination.
According to the relevant law, a prosecutor must provide certain information to a defendant as soon as possible after the defendant has an initial appearance before the magistrate. At all times, the required information must be provided no less than five days before a preliminary examination. The information the prosecutor must provide to the defendant during this discovery phase includes:
The defendant is not, however, entitled to documents or memos the prosecutor prepares in connection with the case; nor is the defendant entitled to tangible objects, documents, reports, or other items that are protected from disclosure or kept privileged pursuant to the Constitution, federal law, or state law.
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If the prosecutor delays providing any required information to the defense, the defendant may request a delay of the preliminary examination and the delay should be granted if the court finds that the defendant was prejudiced by the prosecutor’s failure.
A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can help to ensure the prosecutor turns over all required documents and information, and can petition the court to compel the production of evidence if the prosecutor does not cooperate. Your attorney can also carefully review all information turned over by the prosecutor to look for ways in which doubt about the prosecutor’s evidence may be introduced. This is helpful not only to prepare for a preliminary examination so you can try to get the case dismissed, but it is also helpful if you do end up needing to defend yourself in ongoing criminal proceedings.
LV Criminal Defense provides invaluable assistance to clients in preparing strong cases both for preliminary examination proceedings and during a criminal trial. Give us a call as soon as possible so we can oversee the discovery phase and help you to develop a comprehensive legal strategy aimed at avoiding a guilty verdict.