In Nevada, there is a specific period of time in which someone can be charged and prosecuted for a criminal offense. This is known as the “statute of limitations.”
These time-based limitations are set forth by the Nevada General Assembly. If law enforcement wants to charge someone for attempted homicide (also known as attempted murder), the prosecution must commence within three years from the date of the alleged attempted homicide. However, the time limit can be extended to five years if a police report was filed in regards to the attempted homicide within the first three years.
The three year statute of limitations is also applicable to these other homicide charges:
- Vehicular homicide;
- Voluntary manslaughter;
- Involuntary manslaughter; and
- Feticide (i.e. intentionally harming a pregnant woman in order to terminate an unborn baby)
Is There a Statute of Limitations When Law Enforcement Want to Charge Someone with Murder?
You may be surprised to discover that there is no statute of limitations for charging someone with murder. Please note the distinction between “attempted” murder and actual murder. That’s the key issue when it comes to the applicability of the statute of limitations. According to NRS 171.080, there is no statute of limitations for Nevada murder charges.
So, for example, if someone was murdered in 1980 and nearly forty years pass on this cold case, Las Vegas prosecutors are still able to charge a suspect if they can obtain a sufficient amount of evidence implicating an individual in the killing of the victim.
Definition of “Murder” Under Nevada Law
According to NRS 200.010, murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought, which can be either express or implied based on the circumstances of the case. Someone can also be charged with murder if another person was killed as a result of a controlled substance which was sold, given, traded or otherwise made available by you.
Murder is classified by degrees. You could be charged with either first-degree or second-degree murder, depending on the facts of your case.
First-degree murder is defined as the premeditated killing or the aiding and abetting of a premeditated killing of another person. First-degree murder also includes felony murder, which is triggered when someone dies during the commission of a serious felony offense (e.g., rape, burglary, arson, kidnapping, robbery, child abuse, etc.).
Second-degree murder is defined as the unintentional killing of another person where the actions of the defendant were deemed reckless and wanton.
Challenging Murder Charges
If you have been charged with attempted murder, or murder, in Las Vegas, you have the ability to retain a top-notch criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. There are multiple ways to effectively defend against attempted murder or murder charges, including:
- The defendant was acting in lawful self-defense or defense of others;
- The search conducted by law enforcement violated the Fourth Amendment;
- The police wrongly identified the defendant;
- The defendant had no intention of causing death (for first-degree murder charges);
- The defendant was insane;
- The defendant’s confession to murder was coerced by police (if the defendant confessed)
Speak to an Experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The skilled and effective legal team with LV Criminal Defense stand ready to help you during the difficult and stressful time following serious criminal charges.
Contact our office as soon as possible so we can discuss the facts of your case and potential defenses. We offer free, confidential case evaluations to all prospective clients.