The following information includes frequently asked criminal defense questions. The answers stated are general in nature and are not intended to apply to every criminal defense situation. Each case is different and carries its own set of circumstances which must be taken into consideration by competent legal counsel. By contacting Las Vegas, Nevada criminal defense lawyer Martin Hart, you can receive a personal consultation regarding your specific criminal defense case.
A suspect has the right to be arraigned without unnecessary delay, usually within two court days, after being arrested. He or she appears before a judge who informs the suspect the official charges, constitutional rights, and applicable penalties. At the arraignment, an attorney is appointed in the event of financial hardship, and bail can be raised or lowered. A suspect may also ask to be released on personal recognizance at this time, even if bail was previously set.
If charged with a misdemeanor, a suspect pleads guilty or not guilty at the arraignment. Or, if the court approves, a suspect can plead nolo contendere, meaning the charges will not be contested. Legally, this is the same as a guilty plea, but it cannot be used against the suspect in a non-criminal case.
If misdemeanor charges are not dropped, a trial is held later in court of law. If charged with a felony, however, and the charges are not dismissed, the next step is a preliminary hearing.
If you or someone you know in Las Vegas, Nevada, or within the surrounding cities and counties of Nevada, needs the legal counsel or assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, please contact Attorney Martin Hart, today at 702-380-4278, or complete the contact form provided on this site to begin your consultation with a skillful Las Vegas criminal defense trial
Upon arrest, the accused appears before a magistrate or judge for a violation of a criminal law. The magistrate or judge will conduct a pre-trial bail hearing resulting in four possible results:
The bail decision may be appealed to a judge who will re-examine the evidence. A violation of any agreement of release pending court appearance can result in the issuance of an "Order to Show Cause" why the release should not be revoked.
Bail is money or other property that is deposited with the court in order to ensure that the person accused returns to court when he or she is required to do so. However, if the defendant does not come to court when required, or violates his or her bail conditions, the bail will be forfeited to the court and will not be returned.
The jury in a criminal trial considers all aspects of the case for as long as necessary in order to come to a unanimous decision. Once a verdict is reached, it is presented to the defendant in court. A jury may find a person guilty of all, some, or none of the crimes charged in a criminal trial. In some cases, depending on the evidence presented and the nature of the instructions given by the Court to the jury, a jury can convict a defendant of a lesser crime than initially charged. If the jury presents a not guilty verdict, the proceedings are over and the jury verdict may not be overturned. If the verdict is guilty, however, the defense may proceed with an appeal.
The judge in a criminal trial controls all legal proceedings in the courtroom. The judge determines whether certain evidence is admissible or not, and rules on preliminary matters and discovery issues that the defense and prosecution may have. And before the jury decides a case, the judge instructs the jury as to how they must be lawfully guided through the decision process.
If you are arrested, the police have the right to take your fingerprints and photographs. You may also be required to participate in a line-up, to provide a sample of your handwriting, to speak phrases associated with the offense, and/or to have samples of your hair taken. However, you may insist that an attorney be present during this time.
A police officer may use as much force as necessary for a criminal arrest, as long as it is reasonable and lawful. After an arrest is made, a police officer may apply handcuffs to a defendant if the officer thinks that it is necessary to prevent injury or escape. If the defendant claims an unlawful application of force was used by the arresting officer, a judge will hear the defendant’s argument and decide whether or not the force used was reasonable for the circumstances.
Whether the domestic violence is a crime depends upon the particular circumstances, as well as the laws of Nevada. Often domestic violence is both a crime subject to criminal punishment and a civil wrong subject to restraint upon personal conduct and award of monetary damages.
It is a frequent pattern in domestic violence cases for the victim to be abused, call the police, press charges, then reconcile with the abuser and drop charges, only to have the entire process repeated. Because of this, in some local communities and states, domestic violence is now prosecuted as a crime by city and district attorneys, even without charges being filed by the victim.
If you are arrested for breaking a criminal law, the case is taken before a magistrate who issues a warrant if necessary and sets a bond for appearance in court. If the defendant cannot post bond, he or she may be incarcerated pending appearance in court. If bond is posted, he or she will remain free pending appearance at an arraignment. An arraignment usually occurs within 24 hours of the arrest, or the first date available if on a weekend or holiday. The arraignment is held before a judge who formally tells the defendant the offense in which he or she is being charged and informs the defendant of their constitutional rights and of the possible penalties involved. The defendant enters a plea of guilty or not guilty at this time, the bond or bail may be reviewed, and a date for the next hearing is scheduled.