A Vegas Defense Lawyer describes Rules of Secrecy for Grand Jury Proceedings in Nevada N.R.S. 172.245

Grand jury proceedings are one of the paths that prosecutors use to bring criminal charges against defendants within the state of Nevada. Prosecutors present evidence and witnesses testify before a grand jury, and the grand jury decides whether there is probable cause to hand down an indictment against a defendant.

It is imperative that witnesses be able to speak freely to a grand jury, and that evidence presented to a grand jury does not fall into the wrong hands. As a result, there are strict rules for the secrecy of grand jury proceedings. Even witnesses and others invited to attend proceedings must follow these rules and can face criminal penalties for failure to comply. 

The secrecy requirement is just one of the potential obligations that witnesses testifying before a grand jury has. If you are called to testify, or if you are concerned that you may be indicted by a grand jury, you need a legal representative looking out for you. Contact LV Criminal Defense today to speak with a member of our legal team who can guide you through your involvement with the grand jury process and who can help you to do everything possible to avoid criminal consequences due to that involvement.

Rules for Secrecy of Grand Jury Proceedings

Nevada Revised Statute Section 172.245 sets forth the rules associated with the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.  According to these rules:

  • Evidence presented to a grand jury, information a grand jury obtains, the results of a grand jury investigation, and all other statements made in the presence of a grand jury can be given a district attorney to be used by the DA to perform his or her duties. However, the vote of a juror or grand jury deliberations is not given to district attorneys.
  • Knowledge concerning grand jury proceedings can be disclosed in connection with judicial proceedings or when directed by a court.
  • Knowledge of grand jury proceedings can also be disclosed to the defendant, upon a showing that the defendant may have grounds for dismissal based on matters that occur before the grand jury.
  • Witnesses who testify before a grand jury are allowed to disclose their own knowledge of the proceedings to their own attorneys.
  • In all other circumstances, attorney generals; grand jurors; district attorneys, staff members in the DA’s office, peace officers, interpreters, court clerks and stenographers; witnesses; and others who attend grand jury proceedings are not allowed to disclose evidence presented, information presented to or obtained by the grand jury, or the results of grand jury investigations.

Only those listed in the statute- including district attorneys and staff, those invited or allowed to attend proceedings, police officers, witnesses, attorney generals, peace officers, grand jurors, and court officials are subject to the secrecy rules. Everyone who appears before the grand jury must be informed both of the provisions of this section of Nevada law as well as of the penalties imposed for violating the law.

Penalties for Violating Secrecy Rules

Violating the rules for the secrecy of grand jury proceedings is a gross misdemeanor. If you disclose information improperly, you can also be held in contempt of court. The district attorney or attorney general is directed to investigate and prosecute violations of N.R.S. 172.245.

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Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


How Las Vegas Criminal Lawyers Can Help

If you are appearing before the grand jury, faced with a grand jury proceeding to indict you, or accused of violating secrecy rules, you need a lawyer to advise you of your options and to help you to determine how to protect your rights. Call LV Criminal Defense today to speak with a Las Vegas defense lawyer who will work hard to help you do everything you can to avoid criminal consequences.