Frequently Asked Questions
Some defendants chose to represent themselves in court, however, it is always advisable to have an experienced lawyer, even for a first time arrest. Prosecutors may be more apt to negotiate a charge reduction or dismissal when the defendant is represented.
The Nevada legal system is complicated and intimidating, and criminal defense attorneys give defendants the best chance of achieving a favorable resolution.
Nevada courts assign public defenders to defendants who cannot pay for private counsel. However, these defendants should consult with a criminal defense attorney first to inquire about discount rates and payment plans. Defendants often stand a better chance of winning their case if they are represented by private counsel, who have more time and resources than public defenders.
Defendants facing misdemeanor charges in Nevada usually never have to go to court as long as their attorney appears on their behalf. In felony cases, whether the defendant must show up depends on the charges and the individual judge. Should any case reach trial, the defendant would need to appear personally.
Criminal defense attorneys can always obtain police reports for their clients. Otherwise, defendants can request the report directly from the police department. For the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), people can request reports online or in person.
Defendants must formally petition the court for a criminal record seal in Nevada. Most misdemeanor convictions are sealable one year after the case ends. Misdemeanor DUI convictions require a seven-year waiting period. Any charge that gets dismissed may be sealed right away, and certain serious felonies must remain on the record forever.
Depending on the specific charge, defendants may be able to claim such defenses as:
- Lack of criminal intent
- Police misconduct
Typical evidence in criminal cases includes eyewitness accounts, surveillance video, and written communications. If the defense attorney can raise a "reasonable doubt" as to the defendant's guilt, the prosecutor may reduce or drop the charge.
Note that we handle personal injury and accident lawsuits throughout Nevada.
- It is possible to arrange for the issuance of a Summons in lieu of an arrest warrant- allowing for someone to appear voluntarily in court without fear of arrest. Consult with criminal justice attorneys to see how this can be arranged.
- If already in custody, Pre-Trial Services will interview and make a recommendation whether you are eligible for a Personal Recognizance Release (OR). This generally occurs in non-violent offenses with first time offenders and when Pre-Trial can verify employment status and community ties.
- If a Judge grants an OR in court, then typically the criminal defense attorney assigned can arrange for a walk-through where the accused is booked in jail. This process generally takes between four to six hours consisting of taking photographs, taking fingerprints, conducting a DNA swab, and taking of biographical information.
- You can post either cash bail (which is returned to you in full at the conclusion of the case) or surety. The posting of cash bailis deposited at the Court clerk’s office in Las Vegas, NV. Consult with Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney for a more effective way to proceed, depending on your case.
During the 48-hour Hearing, a Justice of the Peace is assigned and the case is reviewed in chambers to determine whether the defendant should be released or if the bail should be adjusted because stacked charges or other reasons. If the presiding Judge has limited information, the defendant’s criminal defense lawyer may contact the assigned Justice of the Peace to provide him information.
During the 72-hour Hearing, the defendant should be arraigned and provided with the charging document (NRS 71.178). Bail or release can be considered at that time. Criminal defense lawyers like Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney would use this period to arrange for lower bail requirements to ease the financial burden the case can have on their client.
- This is the first time where you can seek a bail reduction with the help of your criminal justice attorney. Many times the Judge will require you to file a written motion if the State wants time to object by filing an opposition in Las Vegas.
- In some cases, the Judge may have enough information to order a lower bail amount without the necessity of the criminal defense attorney filing motions and setting a separate hearing.
- The purpose of bail is to make sure that you will appear for court and not represent a safety risk to the community.
- The Court considers the nature and circumstances of the charges as well as the defendant’s financial ability to post bail, character, individual ties to the community and his family members, status of employment, and criminal history.
- The Court may impose additional conditions to include house arrest and/or intensive supervision or IS with Global Positioning System or GPS monitoring. Criminal justice attorneys may attempt to contend this to give an easier time for their client and reduce the restriction on their movement.
- In some cases like DUI, the Judge may have enough information to order a lower bail amount without the necessity of filing motions and setting a separate hearing. You can confirm this with a DUI defense lawyer like Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney for a clearer result.
- As it is the defendant’s right to have a speedy trial, if the State cannot show good cause for a delay, the District Court may dismiss a criminal complaint when the defendant is not brought to trial within 60 days after arraignment(NRS 178.556).
- Any succeeding trials must proceed as soon as possible so long as the Court has recognized that the condition of the calendar, the pendency of other cases, the public expense, the health of the Judge, and even the convenience of the Court are good causes for a continuance.
- The defendant’s criminal justice attorneys can challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to establish probable cause within 21 days from the filing of either the Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury hearing transcripts (Pre-Trial Writ of Habeas Corpus). This is one of the first steps for criminal defense attorneys to get a dismissal for their client’s case. Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney urges future clients to take advantage of this situation as much as possible to avoid a lengthy legal process.
A Preliminary Hearing is a standard pretrial proceeding conducted for most cases in Nevada. It is where the State tries to convince the presiding judge that they have sufficient reason to press charges and/or keep you detained in jail while awaiting trial. Preliminary hearings are generally valuable because they allow the criminal defense attorneys like Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney to search possible inconsistencies in witness accounts, lock in testimony, and evaluate credibility. This may result in more favorable offers to negotiate the case after bringing out weaknesses of the State’s case and/or evidence, allowing criminal justice attorneys to file a motion to dismiss the case or suppress the evidence because of legal and/or statutory violations.
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According to the Fourth Amendment, a probable cause is needed to support a search warrant. If a probable cause does not exist, then evidence obtained through the search conducted is tainted by the illegality and is inadmissible in court. The exception to this exclusionary rule is if the police conducted the raid and acted in good faith. However, this is not applicable if the issuing judge was misled by information in the affidavit and/or the affidavit was so lacking in probable cause that no reasonable law enforcement officer could believe it was valid. Such instances can be used by Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney (or any other competent criminal defense attorneys) to weaken the prosecution’s case, increasing the chances of dismissal.
In cases like DUI, you can actually refuse the attending officer from searching your car without a warrant. However, some police officers use some drivers’ ignorance of this law to unlawfully search vehicles, a mistake that Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney considers fatal for the accused. Consult your DUI defense attorney for more information.
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Marcum Notice provides notice of the time, place, and date to appear or present exculpatory evidence at a grand jury proceeding in Las Vegas.
A Grand Jury Proceeding, in contrast to a preliminary hearing, is done in “secret” and does not allow criminal justice attorneys to perform cross-examinations. The State is obligated to present to the Grand Jury any known evidence that will explain away the charge but is not required to negate all inferences which might explain an accused's conduct. At the end of the presentment of evidence, the Grand Jury almost always returns an Indictment which serves as the formal charging document in District Court.
- The negotiation of a plea bargain, rather than the unfolding of a trial, is almost always the critical point for a defendant. Criminal justice attorneys may suggest this as an alternative action if going ahead with the trial would be more detrimental.
- If a defendant wishes to plead guilty, a plea agreement in the justice court on a gross misdemeanor or felony charge requires an Unconditional Waiver of the Preliminary Hearing or UWPH.
- The parties can negotiate all aspects of the resolution from stipulating to a certain sentence or taking away the State’s right to argue for a prison term.
- Your criminal defense lawyer can also negotiate a reduction or a “step down” after probation is completed which allows you to ultimately end up with a Non-Felony Conviction.
- You can also negotiate a guilty plea agreement without actually pleading guilty pursuant to the Alford Plea decision. However, as part of this plea, you have to acknowledge that the State has evidence that may result in a conviction.
- This is an important consideration if you are anticipating the victim will sue you for monetary damages in a civil lawsuit in Las Vegas. Consult with Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney before taking this step.
The defendant generally does not need to testify during trial and can instead invoke the Fifth Amendment Right because the risks of cross-examination and impeachment usually outweigh the benefit. Additionally, many people hold a pre-conceived belief that you should defend yourself by telling what happened if you have nothing to hide or if falsely accused. Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney cautions against this move.
Talk to your criminal defense lawyer before deciding on providing testimony for your own case.
- Self-Defense exists when there is a reasonably perceived apparent danger or actual danger.
- The jury must find you Not Guilty if the State cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.
- There is No Duty to Retreat if a person reasonably believes that he is about to be killed or seriously injured by his assailant except if you are the original aggressor unless you can prove that you made a good faith attempt to retreat or to decline any further struggle before the mortal blow was given.
Defense of Involuntary Action
This generally happens when someone slips you a “mickey” which causes you to commit a criminal act. This involuntary defense does not apply if you were consuming even a legal mixture (i.e., alcohol and prescription medications) because of the synergistic effect. To further validate this defense, the criminal defense lawyer must present solid evidence that the involuntary intoxication was facilitated in a manner that the accused would not be able to detect at the time.
Defense of Entrapment
This occurs where the State presents the opportunity to commit a crime and the defendant is not predisposed to commit the act. (i.e., a confidential informant initiates contact and you call back to sell drugs). This defense is most effective if the criminal justice attorney assigned to the defense can prove that the situation that led to the arrest was pre-arranged.
Defense of Necessity and Duress
A person may be forced to take an unlawful action that otherwise they would not have taken but for some unforeseen circumstance (i.e., avoiding an accident which cause you to spin out of control into oncoming traffic). In matters of driving cases involving drugs or alcohol, equip yourself with a reliable DUI lawyer like Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney for defense.
A Presentence Investigation Report (PSIR) is required for all gross misdemeanor and felony cases. In some limited circumstances, the Judge will allow for a Gross Misdemeanor Sentencing Worksheet.
- Interviews are conducted by the Division of Parole and Probation or P&P to aid the judge in sentencing. Criminal defense lawyers emphasize on the importance of objecting to any inaccuracies contained in the PSIR since it is used by federal, state, and/or local agencies for the purpose of prison classification, program eligibility, and parole consideration.
- The Judge will order the term of probation not to exceed three or five years.
- You earn the equivalent of 2/3 for every month off the back end for Category C, D, and E felonies. For example, if the term of probation does not exceed three years, then you would serve approximately 16 months on probation.
- You can file a Motion for Early Termination of Probation based on certain factors even if you have a Category B Felony. Consult with criminal defense attorneys to learn more about this motion with regards to a felony charge.
We bring more than 200 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us today to set up a consultation. The consult fee will go toward the fee for representation in most cases.
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If you have been arrested or are being investigated for criminal activity, we are here to help. Contact our criminal law office today online or by telephone at (702) 222-0007 to speak with an experienced Las Vegas, Nevada, criminal defense lawyer. No matter what charge you face, we will work hard for you. We will listen closely and tailor a criminal defense strategy to meet your specific goals.
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