Law enforcement officials are required to state your rights during an arrest. These are commonly referred to as “Miranda rights” and involve the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If you are arrested, anything that you say or do could be held against you as evidence in court. You do not have to answer any questions until you secure legal counsel if you so wish. After an arrest, a person also has the right to an attorney at no cost to them, if they cannot afford one.
In the state of Nevada, every criminally accused individual has the right to legal representation- even those who cannot afford it. The Nevada Public Defenders Office has defense attorneys available to meet the state-required right to representation. For more information, view NRS 180.
If you have been arrested, you may be able to “post bail” in order to be released from holding until your next hearing. If you cannot afford to post bail, then you will have to remain in holding. Some individuals are not even granted bail do to reasonable fear that the defendant poses a threat to the public. Bail is granted and denied on a case-by-case basis.
Before a case goes to trial, there is something called a pretrial motion. This phase of a criminal case can be successful in diverting a case from a criminal trial. In a pretrial motion, a defendant can petition to have certain evidence excluded from a case on the basis of evidence. Many cases are dismissed at the pretrial motion phase. Cases may also be dismissed at the preliminary hearing if the judge does not believe there is enough evidence to proceed.
Also called a plea deal or a plea agreement, a plea bargain is offered to a defendant by the prosecutor. This is a type of deal in which the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for something. That exchange could be reduced sentences or pleading guilty to a lesser charge.
Accepting a plea bargain could be a favorable option, but it is not for everyone. A plea bargain should only be entered into under close attorney advisement and after thorough legal counsel.
While California’s Three Strikes Law is unique to the state, Nevada has a habitual offender statute that in some way resembles California’s. According to the NRS 207.012, habitual offender penalties apply only to those individuals convicted on three or more charges of murder, poisoning, perjuring, soliciting for murder, kidnapping or arson, rape, and other offenses.