Under Nevada Law, Title 14 of the state code sets forth the rules for criminal procedure. Chapter 172 of Title 14 describes the proceedings that occur before a defendant is indicted. The rules for grand jury proceedings are set forth within this chapter, including details on how and when grand juries are impaneled and what must happen in order for a grand jury to hand down an indictment against a defendant.
Most of the criminal procedure rules within Chapter 172 are divided into sections, including a section detailing the rules for formation of a grand jury; and a section detailing the powers and duties of grand juries. There are also some miscellaneous provisions of Chapter 172 that defendants should be familiar with.
At LV Criminal Defense, our legal team has a comprehensive and detailed knowledge of all Nevada rules of criminal procedure. When you trust us to handle your case, not only can we help prepare strong defenses on the merits, but we can also help you to understand the procedural rules applicable to your case and to explore ways to use those rules to your advantage. To learn more, give us a call to speak with a Las Vegas defense attorney who will be your dedicated advocate at every phase of criminal proceedings against you.
Within Chapter 172, miscellaneous rules applicable to grand jury proceedings include:
The rules for grand jury proceedings are very complicated and very technical, including these miscellaneous rules. Defendants who are facing indictment are not the only ones who should contact a lawyer to help them with their legal issues. If you are called to testify before a grand jury as a witness, it is also a good idea for you to have your own legal representation. Witnesses are sometimes called by prosecutors who are trying to get evidence to build a case against the witness. Even if this is not the case, a witness who breaks rules related to secrecy or who otherwise makes mistakes during grand jury proceedings could find himself facing criminal charges. Having a lawyer advising you can help to prevent this undesirable outcome from occurring.
While all of the rules related to grand jury proceedings are important, defendants must be especially aware of the miscellaneous rule related to warrants on presentment.
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A presentment is different than in indictment. An indictment is handed down if a grand jury has been convened by a prosecutor and the prosecutor has presented evidence in order to make sure there is reasonable cause for a case to go forward with a criminal trial. A presentment, on the other hand, originates out of a grand jury investigation that does not involve a prosecutor.
Most grand juries do convene for a specific purpose in order to hear evidence presented by prosecutors. However, N.R.S. 172.175 contains a list of matters that grand juries can inquire into if the grand jury isn’t impaneled for a specific limited purpose. Grand juries not impaneled for a specific purpose actually have very broad authority to investigate misconduct of public officials; cases of certain people who are imprisoned; and “all matters affecting the morals, health and general welfare of the inhabitants of the county.”
If a grand jury returns a presentment, a court must deem that the facts stated in the presentment constitute a public offense before further action is taken. When a district court in the county determines the facts in the presentment constitute a public offense, the clerk of the county court will be directed to issue a warrant for the defendant to be arrested. If the presentment is reviewed in a court in a county other than where the offense took place, the court should forward the presentment to the local county court.
A magistrate whom the defendant is brought before should examine the charge contained in the presentment and should either hold the defendant to answer the charges or should discharge the defendant, just as the magistrate would after a defendant is arrested for any warrant or complaint.
Many people are not familiar with grand jury proceedings and do not know what to expect if they are facing indictment or even if they are called as a witness. It is important you know what your rights and obligations are and that you explore all of your options for developing a legal strategy to protect your freedom.
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.
LV Criminal Defense has extensive knowledge of all laws of criminal procedure in Nevada, including laws related to the grand jury process. We provide invaluable assistance to our clients with the goal of resolving cases quickly and with the minimum of penalties and consequences. Call us when you have become involved in the criminal justice system to learn how an experienced and knowledgeable Las Vegas defense attorney can help you.