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Las Vegas Felony Charges/Offense – Criminal Lawyer Ross Goodman

Felony is the most serious of all crimes. 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, it will be very hard to defend against without a qualified Las Vegas lawyer to help you.

List of Felonies

There are at least 5 different categories of felony ranging from E (least serious) to A (most serious). Regardless of which felony you are charged with, you are entitled to a trial by jury if you so wish.

Category E Felony Laws

These crimes are usually considered as non-violent offenses such as:

Penalties for Category E Felony

Category D Felony Laws

Considered as the second most minor class of felony:

Penalties for Class D Felony

Category C Felony Laws

The following are considered as “middle-ground” crimes:

Penalties for Class C Felony

Category B Felony Laws

Considered as the second most serious offenses, the typical crimes committed are:

Penalties for Class B Felony

Category A Felony Laws

Crimes committed in Category A Felony are the most egregious offenses such as:

Penalties for Class A Felony

The Procedures of Felony Charges

The Initial Appearance

The Preliminary Hearing

One 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.

Proceedings that might happen at a preliminary hearing:

Indictment vs. Information

Indictment – 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.

The Arraignment Hearing

Appearing 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 attorney show up to your arraignment. Ditching the arraignment will cause the judge to issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

Jury Trial

This 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:

Stages of a Jury Trial

  1. Jury selection or Voir Dire
  2. Opening statements
  3. Presentation of evidence (case chief), including examination and cross-examination of witnesses
  4. Closing arguments
  5. Jury deliberation
  6. Verdict

Jury trial is a very complicated process. However, a skilled criminal defense attorney knows how to pick for the right jurors and advance the right arguments in order to maximize the chances of a “not guilty” verdict or to induce prosecution to settle for a favorable plea bargain.

 

Resources:
http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Research/Publications/FactSheets/CrimeCharts/CatA.pdf
http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Research/Publications/FactSheets/CrimeCharts/Catb.pdf
http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Research/Publications/FactSheets/CrimeCharts/CatC.pdf
http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Research/Publications/FactSheets/CrimeCharts/Catd.pdf
http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Research/Publications/FactSheets/CrimeCharts/CatE.pdf

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