Understanding Indictment Charges in Nevada: What You Need to Know
When it comes to the criminal justice system, the process can be complex and overwhelming. One crucial step in this process is the indictment.
No doubt you’ve heard about former President Donald Trump being indicted in Georgia. But what exactly is an indictment? How is it different from an arraignment? And what does it mean for you if you find yourself in such a situation?
If you find yourself facing indictment charges in Nevada, it is crucial to understand what it means and the potential consequences it can have on your life.
The Defenders is a criminal defense firm with offices in Las Vegas and Reno that helps Nevada residents understand their legal rights and options when faced with criminal charges. We know that facing an indictment can be intimidating, so we’re here to help you better understand the process. Contact our office today for a free consultation.
What is an Indictment?
An indictment is a formal accusation that you have violated the law and committed a criminal act. It signifies that a grand jury, a group of individuals selected from the community, has reviewed the evidence presented by the prosecutor and determined that there is enough credible evidence to move forward with a criminal trial.
It is important to note that an indictment is not a conviction but rather the beginning of the legal process to determine your guilt or innocence.
The Role of a Grand Jury
In Nevada, the grand jury plays a significant role in the indictment process. Composed of twelve individuals randomly selected from the jury pool, the grand jury listens to the evidence presented by the prosecutor and determines whether there is enough evidence to charge you with a crime. Unlike a regular trial jury, a grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence but focuses solely on whether there is probable cause to proceed with a trial.
The grand jury proceedings are different from a regular trial in several ways. Firstly, the grand jury only hears evidence presented by the prosecutor and the witnesses they choose to call. They do not hear from the defense or the person accused of the crime. Additionally, the grand jury does not require a unanimous decision to issue an indictment. Instead, a simple majority is sufficient to bring charges against you.
Note that juries are randomly picked using DMV information.
Once you are sent a jury summons you must appear or a summons can be issued for non appearance.
Grand Jury Proceedings: A Closer Look
During the grand jury proceedings, the prosecutor presents evidence and witnesses to establish that a crime has been committed and that you are the person responsible. These proceedings are typically held in secret, ensuring the privacy and protection of witnesses and jurors. The judge is not present during the grand jury proceedings after the jurors are chosen, allowing the jurors to ask questions and evaluate the presented evidence independently.
It is essential to note the one-sided nature of grand jury proceedings. As a defendant, you do not have the opportunity to present evidence or cross-examine witnesses during this stage. This dynamic can lead defense lawyers to argue that the prosecution can easily persuade the grand jury to issue an indictment, emphasizing the importance of having a skilled defense attorney to protect your rights and challenge the evidence presented.
What Is It Like To Be Indicted?
Most people will never see the inside of a courtroom or learn about the criminal court system unless they are called for jury duty or even watch a lot of crime television.
But being indicted is no TV drama.
It is extremely serious and can have an adverse effect on the rest of your life.
Being indicted means that you and your case, whatever it is, has been reviewed by a grand jury and they have decided that there is enough evidence to send your case to trial where your guilt or innocence will be determined.
If you are indicted of a crime and your case is sent to trial, then the first thing you need to do is hire an experienced defense team.
It is incredibly important to have a competent lawyer on your side, as the prosecution will do everything in their power to prove you are guilty. Your defense team can help protect and assert your rights throughout the trial process.
What Happens When You’re Indicted?
Once you have been indicted, the next phase of the legal process begins.
The indictment will be unsealed, and the prosecution will share their evidence with your defense attorney. Your defense attorney will thoroughly review the evidence, identify any constitutional violations or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and develop a robust defense strategy.
The case will progress towards trial or potential plea negotiations, depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
Consequences of an Indictment
While an indictment is not a conviction, it can have severe consequences that can impact various aspects of your life.
The public nature of an indictment means that the information becomes part of the public record, potentially affecting your reputation, employment prospects, housing opportunities, and personal relationships.
Indictment vs. Arraignment
There is more than one way to end up at trial for a criminal or civil case.
For criminal cases, apart from a grand jury indictment, a prosecutor may present evidence during an arraignment. An arraignment typically follows an arrest and has a specific timeframe associated with it. For instance, in Nevada, if you are in police custody after being arrested for a serious crime like a felony, the court has 3 days (excluding weekends and holidays) to schedule an arraignment.
However, if you have been released, the arraignment may occur weeks later. During the arraignment, information is presented to the court, and the defendant is required to respond to the charges. The judge will then determine whether the case will proceed to trial and, if you are in jail, whether you will be granted bail. In some cases, a separate hearing will be scheduled specifically to address the matter of bail.
On the other hand, an indictment differs as the defendant is not present to answer the charges during a grand jury proceeding. Instead, the defendant is notified through arrest (for serious crimes) or by being served a summons by a court processor to appear in court.
When your court date approaches, you will be arraigned, but the court will already be moving forward with your case for trial.
For the best outcome, it is always recommended to hire a defense team with extensive experience to handle your case.
Defending Against Indictment Charges
Mounting a strong defense against indictment charges requires the expertise of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Your defense attorney will explore all possible legal defenses, challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution, and advocate for your rights throughout the legal process. They will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, whether it is a dismissal of charges, a reduction in charges, or a favorable plea agreement.
Why Call The Defenders
We have years of experience defending our clients in Nevada and Las Vegas.
We have years of experience in all aspects of the criminal justice system, with everything from DUI to robbery charges, even murder charges.
We have defended every type of criminal case.
In many cases, we can get the charges reduced, reach a plea agreement that satisfies the court, and the victims and is acceptable to the defendant.
We have also won several criminal cases and the defendant has been found not guilty based on the evidence.
We offer a free consultation for a case review.
We have many attorneys on staff with different expertise so we will always have an attorney specializing in your case.
We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We offer multilingual services to our clients.
We have staffers who speak multiple languages to service all clients.
We fight for our clients and offer the best solution to your case.
If you have been indicted for a crime in Nevada and are facing a trial you need to call the best defense team in Nevada The Defenders.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is an indictment in Nevada?
An indictment is a formal accusation that initiates a criminal case, presented by a grand jury and is usually required for serious felonies. It is a critical step in the judicial process, signaling that there is enough evidence to warrant a trial.
How does the indictment process work in Nevada?
The indictment process begins when the prosecutor presents evidence to a grand jury. If the grand jury believes there’s substantial evidence, they will issue an indictment. This formal signal allows the legal process to move forward towards a trial.
Who can be indicted in Nevada?
Anyone suspected of committing a serious crime can be indicted. This applies to residents and non-residents alike. No one is above the law, and everyone is subject to the same legal procedures.
What are the implications of an indictment?
An indictment is not to be taken lightly. It indicates that there is substantial evidence against the accused. The consequences are severe – if convicted, the person indicted could face harsh penalties, including imprisonment.
What happens after an indictment is issued?
Once an indictment is issued, the accused will be arraigned where they can plead guilty or not guilty. If a plea of not guilty is entered, the case will proceed to trial. This is a critical stage where the presence of a competent legal representative is essential.
Can an indictment be challenged in Nevada?
Indeed, an indictment can be challenged. Legal strategies may involve disputing the validity of the evidence, challenging the grand jury proceedings, or arguing that the indictment fails to state a crime. It’s vital to have an experienced attorney at this stage.
What’s the role of an attorney in an indictment case?
An attorney can provide crucial guidance and representation during an indictment case. They can challenge the indictment, negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf, and represent you during the trial. Their role is pivotal in protecting your rights and ensuring a fair trial.