Nevada Criminal Lawyer

Call (888) 519-6013 to speak with a criminal defense attorney.

As a citizen of the United States, a person retains many rights even when charged with a crime. Upon arrest, the police officer is required to make the suspect aware of his or her Miranda rights. If you have been arrested, you should take that advice seriously and say nothing until you have spoken with a criminal attorney.

Criminal law, also known as penal law, is the system of classifying the actions considered as crimes, prosecuting the people who commits those acts, and punishing those who are convicted. A "crime" is any act, or omission of an act, in violation of a public law forbidding or commanding it. Though there are some common law crimes, most crimes in the United States are established by local, state, and federal governments. Criminal laws vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Infractions, such as code violations or traffic violations, are not usually treated as or considered to be crimes. Most infractions will carry only a minor fee, and if you do choose to contest them in court, you can represent yourself.

There are two kinds of crimes, felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors, and are generally punishable by one year or more in a federal or state prison. Felonies include such crimes as rape, murder, torture, kidnapping, sexual assault, aggravated assault, arson, embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion, espionage, treason and grand larceny. Misdemeanors, which are crimes that are punishable by less than one year in a county jail, are less serious offenses. Petty theft, simple assault, vandalism, trespassing, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and prostitution are all examples of misdemeanors.

The punishments for felonies and misdemeanors vary according to the severity of the crime, the intent of the criminal, the sentencing judge, and other factors. However, it is unusual for a misdemeanant to spend time in jail unless that person is a repeat offender. Fines are more likely for a first- or even second-time misdemeanant. Felonies carry other possible punishments besides incarceration, as well, including fines, probation, community service, and rehabilitation programs.

Your arresting officer will take note of all the circumstances and evidence collected at the time of the arrest, and decide what your preliminary charges will be. After you are processed, bail—which is nothing more than an insurance policy between you and the court—will be set. If you fail to appear in court, the bail is kept and a warrant is issued for your arrest. It may be possible, depending on your criminal record and the crimes with which you are charged, for you to be released without bail.

The prosecutor's office then has 72 hours to formally charge you with a crime. If the crime is a felony, they must present the evidence to a grand jury for approval. Once your criminal attorney knows the charges against you, he or she can start preparing your defense. It may be possible for you to accept a plea deal, in which you agree to some conditions and thereby have you charges reduced or your sentence lightened. In some instances you may be able to have felony charges reduced to misdemeanor charges.

Otherwise, you will have to go to court. In this case, your criminal lawyer will use his or her experience and education to thoroughly research your case and mount the best defense possible. Witnesses, evidence, statutory precedent and similar cases, will all be used in order to introduce as much doubt as possible to the jury who will hear your case.

The burden of proof lies with the prosecutor, which means that they must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In the United States, every individual is innocent until proven guilty. A criminal lawyer will be on your side in the fight to prove your innocence. They can also fight the charges, or negotiate for a reduced sentence. Although you are legally entitled to defend yourself, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced, savvy Nevada criminal attorney as soon as possible after having been arrested and charged with a crime.

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