What Does a Grand Jury Do? A Nevada Defense Lawyer Unveils in Nevada N.R.S. 172.175
Grand juries are often impaneled by prosecutors for the purpose of determining if a defendant should be indicted for a specific crime. However, grand juries may also have broad investigatory powers as well as simply hearing evidence that a prosecutor presents. When a grand jury conducts an investigation, a defendant could end up facing criminal prosecution if there is credible evidence of wrong doing discovered.
Nicholas Wooldridge – an experienced Vegas criminal lawyer at LV Criminal Defense – can provide comprehensive, strategic legal advice to clients who are under investigation or who have been indicted and are facing a criminal prosecution. Our legal defense team has an in-depth knowledge of the laws of criminal procedure in Nevada and can offer you the guidance you need to fight charges that could affect your future. Contact us as soon as possible if a grand jury is looking into your actions or if you fear that you could face charges.
What Matters Can a Grand Jury Investigate?
Nevada Revised Statute 172.175 sets forth some of the different issues that a grand jury has been given legal authority to inquire into. Unless a grand jury has been impaneled for a specific purpose, the grand jury has the authority to inquire into a variety of matters including:
- Cases for all defendants who are imprisoned and facing criminal charges in the county where the grand jury is impaneled, unless an indictment has already been handed down or unless an information or complaint has already been filed by a prosecutor (indictments and informations or complaints are the two different procedural tracks for prosecutors pressing charges against defendants).
- The conditions of public prisons within the county where the grand jury is impaneled, and the management of the prisons.
- Misconduct of any and all public officers in the county where the grand jury is empaneled, as long as the misconduct is a potential violation of Nevada Revised Statute Chapter 197. Chapter 197 addresses crimes by the executive branch and crimes against the executive branch. Offenses include bribery of public officials, offering rewards for public appointments, and false reports by police officers, among other crimes.
- Any and all matters that affect the health, the morals, or the general welfare of inhabitants of the county where the grand jury is impaneled, or that affect administrative divisions of the county.
The broad authority of grand juries means they can serve as a check on public corruption and wrongdoing. Grand juries have a variety of powers allowing them to conduct investigations, including the power to employ professionals like registered public accountants and attorneys after getting the consent of the county commissions. Subpoenaing witnesses is also within the power of grand juries.
When Defendants Face a Grand Jury Investigation
If you are being investigated by a grand jury or if a prosecutor impanels a grand jury with the goal of indicting you, there is little that you can do in response to the investigation. Defendants generally do not present their own evidence to a grand jury, and defendants cannot have a lawyer represent them during testimony if they opt to speak to a grand jury.
If a grand jury votes to indict and you believe there was insufficient evidence for the indictment, it is possible to apply for a writ of habeas corpus. However, this is not usually successful. A grand jury can indict if there is probable cause to believe both a crime was committed and that the defendant likely committed it. Since grand juries don’t ultimately decide guilt and a case doesn’t need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt for a grand jury to indict, judges will usually let a case go forward to a criminal trial where a jury can make the decision on whether evidence is strong enough to convict.
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Getting Help from a Las Vegas Defense Lawyer
While you may not always defend yourself before a grand jury, this does not mean you don’t need to respond if you are investigated. You need legal advice on how to deal with the possibility of impending charges, and you should have a Las Vegas defense lawyer helping you to begin to prepare a defense in case you are indicted.
LV Criminal Defense Team provides aggressive and skillful legal representation when clients face an indictment or investigation by a grand jury. Give us a call as soon as possible to learn more about how our legal team can work to fight for your reputation and freedom if you are suspected of committing any crime.