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Preliminary examination: Waiver; time for conducting; postponement; introduction of evidence and cross-examination of witnesses by defendant

Las Vegas Criminal Lawyer Unveils Preliminary Exam Procedure in Nevada NRS 171.188

Preliminary examinationA defendant arrested in Nevada has the right to a preliminary exam, or preliminary hearing, within 15 days of a first court appearance. There are a number of specific guidelines in Nevada’s rules of criminal procedure that relate to when the preliminary exam must take place and how the preliminary exam must be handled.  The exam could provide the opportunity for a defendant to get his case thrown out, so it is imperative a defendant have appropriate legal representation and make informed choices about the preliminary exam.

Nick Wooldridge (LV Criminal Defense) knows the Nevada rules related to preliminary exams and can provide you with guidance on when to waive the exam and how to prepare if the exam goes forward. Our goal is to try to put an end to the prosecution against you by making it impossible for a prosecutor to show probable cause of a crime in the preliminary exam. We also help you to develop an effective trial strategy for situations where your case moves forward beyond the preliminary phase. To learn more and to get a Las Vegas criminal attorney on your side now so you can prepare for your preliminary exam, give us a call.

When Must a Preliminary Exam Take Place?

After your arrest, you must be taken before a magistrate in a timely manner without unreasonable delay. You must be informed of the charges against you, and of your right to a preliminary exam. Nevada Revised Statute Section 171.196 establishes the rules for when this exam must take place if you do not waive it, as well as the rules for when you may get a delay and when and how you can question witnesses.

Defendants who are brought before the magistrate after an arrest are entitled to a preliminary exam within 15 days of the first court appearance, unless the magistrate extends the time for good cause. A defendant must be given reasonable time to allow for an attorney to appear and represent him during the preliminary hearing.

A defendant may request more time before a preliminary exam; however a defendant who requests a longer period than 15 days before a preliminary hearing may be ordered to pay all or part of the costs associated with having witnesses attend the preliminary exam.  No defendant should be required to pay fees for witnesses if it wasn’t reasonably necessary for the witness to attend the exam, or if the exam was delayed because the defendant requested a lawyer be appointed for him due to his indigence.

Understanding the Preliminary Exam

A preliminary exam gives you the opportunity to try to end the case against you before prosecution moves forward. At the preliminary exam, the state prosecutor must show at least some evidence which creates probable cause to suspect you committed a criminal act.

Defendants have the right to call witnesses to testify for them, and also have the right to confront and cross examine witnesses called by the state.  Defendants also have the right to testify in their own defense in a preliminary exam, but they are not required to do so.

You have the opportunity, as a defendant, to waive the preliminary exam. If you waive the preliminary exam and if the offense you are charged with is not triable in justice court, the magistrate should immediately hold you to answer charges in the district court.

Getting Legal Help with a Preliminary Exam

Defendants facing charges should not waive their right to a preliminary exam without first talking to a lawyer, because by waiving this right you give up the chance to try to get charges dropped before a formal criminal trial begins.  While it can make sense under limited circumstances to waive this right, you should do so only as part of a strategic defense plan.

A Las Vegas defense lawyer can help you to determine what your best course of action. Usually, this means trying to undermine the prosecutor’s ability to prove sufficient justification to move forward with the case against you. If you can get charges dismissed because of insufficient evidence to go forward, you avoid the time, expense, and stress of a criminal case.

LV Criminal Defense has helped many clients to successfully develop effective pre-trial strategies, with the goal of resolving their criminal case as quickly as possible with limited or no long-term consequences.

If you need help determining if you should have a preliminary exam or want assistance preparing your case, give us a call as soon as possible.

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