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Criminal Defense Lawyer for Las Vegas Felony ChargesFelony is considered as the most serious crime that someone can commit in Las Vegas. Typically, you can be sentenced with a minimum of 1 year imprisonment. These are much more serious than misdemeanors, so if you are charged with a felony, you will very much require the counsel and representation of an experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Las Vegas Criminal Cases: List of FeloniesUnder Nevada law, there are at least 5 different categories of felony ranging from E (less serious) to A (more serious). Regardless of which felony you are charged with, you are entitled to a trial by jury if you so wish.
Nevada Revised Statute Section 193.130: Category E Felony LawsThese crimes are usually considered as non-violent offenses such as:
- Soliciting a child for prostitution in Nevada.
- Criminal gang recruitment in Nevada.
- A second offense of Peeping in Nevada with a camera or video recorder.
- 1 to 4 years in prison (most of the crimes are probationable)
- A fine up to $5,000
Nevada Revised Statute Section 193.130: Category D Felony LawsConsidered as the second most minor class of felony in Nevada examples:
- Involuntary manslaughter in Nevada
- Unpaid casino markers
- 3rd degree arson
- Pandering in Nevada
- 1 to 4 years in prison
- A fine up to $5,000
Nevada Revised Statute Section 193.130: Category C Felony LawsThe following are considered as “middle-ground” crimes in Nevada:
- A 3rd offense of battery domestic violence in Nevada
- Grand larceny
- Buying or receiving stolen goods
- Stalking in Nevada
- Violating an extended protective order
- 1 to 5 years in prison
- Fine up to $10,000
Nevada Revised Statute Section 193.130: Category B Felony LawsConsidered as the second most serious offenses in Nevada, the typical crimes committed are:
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Invasion of home
- Grand larceny (value of property is $2,500 or more)
- 2nd degree kidnapping
- 1 to 20 years in prison
- Maybe a fine depending on the crime.
Nevada Revised Statute Section 193.130: Category A Felony LawsCrimes committed in Category A Felony in Nevada are the most egregious offenses such as:
- 1st or 2nd degree murder
- 1st degree kidnapping
- Sexual assault
- Using a minor to create child pornography
- Battery (with intent to commit sexual assault and that results in substantial bodily injury or is done by strangulation)
- Death (murder cases)
- Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole
- Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole
The Procedures of Las Vegas Felony Charges
Las Vegas Felony Charges Procedures: The Initial Appearance
- Appearing before the Justice of the Peace or magistrate, the person charged should appear within 72 hours or 3 business days.
- The prosecutor would inform the court whether the charges have been filed during the appearance.
- A criminal complaint will be handed to the defendant and the court would ask if the defendant understand the charges.
- The court would determine if the defendant can retain a legal counsel at this time.
- The preliminary hearing date will be set by the court. If the defendant is in custody, the hearing would be scheduled within 15 days.
Las Vegas Felony Charges Procedures: The Preliminary HearingOne of the serious stages in the criminal system is the preliminary hearing and it would be important that the defendant has an experienced counsel. Preliminary hearing is a formal proceeding where the Justice of the Peace must be convinced by the prosecution that the defendant committed the crime proved by the evidences. The main purpose of preliminary hearing is to determine if there’s enough evidence which is necessary before going to trial. This procedure is also similar to probable cause hearing.
These are the proceedings that might happen at a preliminary hearing:
- Witnesses and evidences presented by the prosecution.
- Cross-examination of the witness by the defense.
- If the prosecution demonstrated a scintilla of evidence before the Justice of the Peace, the case will proceed to the District Court.
Las Vegas Felony Charges Procedures: Indictment vs. InformationIndictment – a charging document approved by the grand jury. A grand jury is a secret proceeding where a jury hears evidence only from the prosecution side and makes a decision on whether there is enough evidence to proceed to a trial. The defense is not allowed to the grand jury proceedings and cannot present evidence at the proceeding. If the grand jury finds enough evidence they will give an Indictment. Information – a sworn statement which accuses the defendant of committing some criminal act. The Information is presented by an authorized public official. Indictment and Information are two methods that can be used to charge the defendant with a crime.
Las Vegas Felony Charges Procedures: The Arraignment HearingAppearing in the court for initial hearing to answer the charges filed to the defendant is called an “arraignment”. It is important that you and/or your lawyer show up to your Las Vegas arraignment. Ditching the arraignment will cause the judge to issue a Las Vegas bench warrant for your arrest.
- The defendant receives a formal notice of the charges.
- The defendant can plead whether he is guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere (no contest).
- If the defendant is in custody, the lawyer may also ask the judge for a bail reduction or your release.
- Pleading “not guilty” will then give the defendant another court date.
- The Court will schedule a trial, pretrial, or status check date depending on the defendant’s case. Nevada courts schedules a trial date 60 days after the arraignment. However, due to legal motions and other reasons, the defendant might not be tried within 60 days.
Nevada Revised Statute 175: Jury TrialThis law states that any defendant who is facing a possible sentence of more than 6 months in jail is entitled to a trial by jury. Anyone charged with a felony in Nevada automatically have the right to a jury trial. Trials that take place in Las Vegas Justice Court, the jury consists of 6 people. For District Court trials, the jury must consist of 12 people. The jury has to unanimously decide whether to find the defendant “guilty” or “not guilty” otherwise, it is a “hung jury” and the judge declares mistrial. In cases of mistrial, the prosecution may either choose to:
- Start all over and prosecute the case again, or
- Offer a plea bargain to a lesser charge, or
- Drop the case completely.
- Jury selection or Voir Dire
- Opening statements
- Presentation of evidence (case chief), including examination and cross-examination of witnesses
- Closing arguments
- Jury deliberation