How Prosecutorial Discretion Affects Criminal Cases

The United States Supreme Court has indicated that the entire purpose and intent of a prosecutor should be to ensure that justice is done in each case. The truth is that prosecutorial discretion affects criminal cases and is exceptionally critical to every criminal case. Most defendants charged with a crime are aware of how much leeway a prosecutor has in your criminal case. Consider speaking with an experienced Spartacus Law Firm attorney at (702) 660-1234 to discover answers to your questions, as well as learn all of your legal options and rights. We may be able to represent you and meet with the prosecutor on your behalf in order to attempt to obtain justice under the law.

How Prosecuting Attorneys Proceed

Prosecutors in the state of Nevada are required under the law to uphold high standards and ensure justice in every case. This standard applies to every type of prosecutor in Nevada including: 

Prosecutors are responsible for investigating crimes and determining if charges should be pressed against an individual or individuals. Prosecutors also decide what offenses to file, how much of a sentence to seek, the kind of plea deal to offer, and which cases should be dropped. They determine whether they should defend convictions in appeals court when accused criminals attempt to have their sentences reduced. Their decisions can affect the outcome of legal matters greatly, especially since prosecutors may not always act ethically or honestly when it comes to exercising their discretion. 

How Prosecutorial Discretion Affects Criminal Cases 

A prosecutor has an ethical responsibility to "seek justice," not merely convictions. However, in some cases, prosecutors may abuse their power and discretion in order to obtain a conviction, which can greatly affect the outcome of a case. 

Resources of the State of Nevada

Prosecutors have the responsibility of deciding how wise it is to spend resources on each individual case. If they believe that there is not enough evidence available for them to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, then it may be best for them to drop the charges, which could lead to free suspects accused of crimes who would otherwise be convicted if necessary resources had been used on their cases. 

Choosing Criminal Charges

Since prosecutors are given discretion by law, they can choose which charges to file against an individual and what type of sentence to request upon conviction. How heavy or light the punishment will require some balance between protecting society and promoting the rehabilitation of offenders. As experts on the criminal justice system, prosecutors use their discretion based on what they know about crimes that have already occurred as well as those that may happen if certain policies are put into place.

Beyond Legal: Ethical Considerations

In the state of Nevada, when there is valid evidence along with probable cause, prosecutorial responsibilities call for prosecutors to bring charges against offenders. When prosecutors recognize they simply do not have enough substantial evidence or proof to likely win in court, it is typically in the state's best interests not to file charges rather than incur the associated expenses of pursuing a legal case in which they will likely not be successful. Making the discretionary decision regarding the weight and significance of evidence or proof in a case is frequently a subjective call for the prosecution. As a result, it is important to consider visiting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Spartacus Law Firm who can speak with the prosecutor on your behalf.

Understanding Plea Deals

According to the United States Department of Justice, plea deals (also known as plea bargains) are one way that prosecutorial discretion affects criminal cases. A defendant may negotiate a plea bargain in which they admit to their charges and, as part of the agreement, accept a punitive punishment such as jail time or fines.  Many cases result in plea bargaining instead of jury trials, especially when the evidence against a defendant is overwhelming.

Many defendants are likely to accept plea agreements for several reasons. For example, some cases result in plea bargaining because of an overload of criminal activity within the court system or because prosecutors want to save time and money.  Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help ensure that you understand all of your legal options and help you make a decision regarding whether or not it is in your best interest to take a plea deal in your specific case. 

Types of Plea Bargains

One type of plea bargain, and one of the best negotiated resolutions to a criminal case in the State of Nevada is known as a “submittal.”  A submittal is considered a deferred adjudication, but the significance lies in the fact that the defendant never enters into a plea to the charge.  The criminal case is submitted back to the court, usually for the defendant to complete a set of requirements, such as the payment of a fine or restitution, classes related to the underlying charge, such as a theft or impulse control class, and a stay out of trouble provision, which typically is six months.  Upon completion of these requirements the case is dismissed, and eligible to be sealed immediately.  The significance of the submittal resolution lies in the fact that the defendant does not enter into a plea such as guilty or no contest, which is the case in a stay of adjudication.

A stay of adjudication involves the defendant entering into a verbal plea of no contest or a guilty plea, however, the court does not enter a judgment of conviction.  The adjudication of guilt is stayed until a defendant completes a series of requirements.  For example, in a domestic violence stay of adjudication plea, it is typical to have to undergo a twenty-six or fifty-two week set of domestic violence classes, pay a fine, perform community service and upon the successful completion of these requirements the case is dismissed, or the charge is amended from a more serious charge to a charge such as simple battery or disturbing the peace.  If the requirements are not met the Court can adjudicate the defendant guilty and the conviction will be entered against the defendant.  Upon the successful completion of a withhold of adjudication plea a defendant can have their filed sealed pursuant to statute.  

Both stays of adjudication and submittals are viable resolutions to serious criminal charges.  If you have been arrested you need an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney that understands the plea bargain procedure and can help you obtain the best possible resolution to a criminal charge.

Discretion to Charge a Lesser Crime

Prosecutors may also make the determination to charge a person of a but distinct offense based on the evidence. The same scenario and evidence might be interpreted as assault or malicious wounding, for example. As a result of how prosecutorial discretion affects criminal cases, it is ultimately a person deciding whether or not to pursue more serious charges, and spent the state's time and financial resources, or simply pursue a lesser charge.  

Prosecutorial Discretion in the State of Nevada 

In the state of Nevada, prosecuting attorneys have the authority to pursue criminal prosecution against those who are charged with crimes in such a manner pursuant to the best good and interest of the state. The prosecution has a tremendous amount of leeway in determining which crimes to charge a suspect with and the severity of those charges. It costs a substantial amount of money and resources to prosecute someone, and it costs even more if a defendant spends a substantial time in jail. 

Simply putting every accused criminal in jail is unwise for the government. Prosecutors may examine the facts of a specific case and ultimately make the determination that some form of rehabilitation or community service would be a more appropriate response. This is particularly significant in cases with no prior criminal record and no violent crime was intended.

Consider Visiting with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney 

While you have a legal right to represent yourself in any matter, having an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney by your side can help you understand all of your legal options and help you make the difficult decisions in your case. In many cases, criminal defense attorneys will visit with the prosecutor to attempt to reduce the charge or even dismiss a criminal case completely. Consider visiting with the experienced and compassionate criminal defense attorneys at Spartacus Law Firm at (702) 660-1234 today to learn more.

Ask a Las Vegas Lawyer: What Happens When You Get a Domestic Violence Charge?

couple arguing

Domestic battery or domestic violence is a serious violent crime that is characterized as being committed in the context of an intimate relationship. An assault does not need to be committed by a family member to be considered domestic abuse. So long as the crime was committed by someone with whom the victim shares a known relationship, the incident may be investigated as a domestic dispute. 

Domestic violence involves the use of power, coercion, and violence to control another. The close relationship between the victim and offender often bonds the two together, making it difficult to leave such situations. This crime is recognized by Nevada state law and is prosecutable by law enforcement. If you or someone you know is facing serious legal charges of domestic violence, you need a rigorous Las Vegas domestic violence lawyer on your side to help you reach the most favorable outcome. 

What happens when you get a domestic violence charge?

If convicted of domestic violence charges, you could face serious penalties such as high fines, jail time, and counseling related to the charges. If the accused is found guilty, a mandatory minimum sentence must be served. Depending on whether it was the first, second, or third offense, violators will face more severe charges as their offenses rise, resulting in greater penalties. 

First Offense Battery Domestic Violence Conviction Within 7 Years - Misdemeanor

Second Offense Battery Domestic Violence Conviction Within 7 Years - Misdemeanor

Third (or Subsequent) Offense Battery Domestic Violence Conviction Within 7 Years- Felony

According to Nevada state law under Code section 33.018, domestic violence occurs when a person commits one of the following crimes against an intimate partner:

Is assault the same as domestic violence?

General assault differs from domestic violence in one key way, and that’s the relationship between the victim and perpetrator. Domestic violence cases are classified as such when the accused has an intimate relationship with the defendant, such as being a spouse, relative, or parent. Assault, on the other hand, is the intent or attempt to cause physical harm to someone that is a stranger. In both types of offenses, the intent to harm is considerably taken into account when determining guilt.  

Is a domestic violence charge a felony?

Domestic violence charges can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. This decision is usually made dependent on whether the offense is made in the first, second, third, or subsequent degree, but if the results of the offense are severe enough, a first-degree charge may still be classified as a felony. First and second-time offenders of domestic violence can be charged with a misdemeanor, which is a lesser charge than a felony. Third and subsequent offenders will be charged with a Class C felony battery and will be expected to reap the consequences of such actions.  

How Does a Las Vegas Court Case Proceed?

There are multiple steps in the court case proceedings, all of which your Las Vegas attorney will be by your side to represent you. Here are those steps:

Arraignment: 1st Step

The arraignment is the first step in the process. At this hearing, the accused will be formally read their charges. During this time, the person accused of domestic violence will plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Pleading “no contest” means that the accused accepts their conviction but refuses to admit guilt. Your Las Vegas lawyer can help you make the most appropriate decision in regards to plea bargaining using the information presented in your case. 

Pretrial Conference: 2nd Step

The pretrial conference varies by case, but the ultimate goal is to settle the case without going to trial. If you plan on pleading guilty or no contest, then your sentence will be recommended by the judge based on the following factors:

Keep in mind that the State of Nevada does not allow reduced sentences for pleading guilty or no contest. The judge will not consider this in the sentencing recommendation and if the defendant refuses the offer made by the prosecution, their case will inherently go to trial. Pleading guilty will also ensure your case is set for trial. 

Pretrial: 3rd Step

The pretrial phase occurs directly before the trial. It gives the prosecutor and the defense time to gather all necessary information that may be useful in pleading their case. Defense lawyers and prosecutors may trade documents, hire experts for testimony, and prepare their defenses.

Trial: 4th Step

During the trial, the prosecutor’s goal is to present as much evidence as possible to the court in an effort to prove the defendant’s guilt of the crime. Some of the evidence that may be presented includes the testimony of the victim, undoctored photos of the domestic violence, medical records of the victim, and 911 recordings. The defendant’s lawyer will then get the chance to show the flaws within the state’s case to prove that their client is innocent using evidence, witness testimony, and more. 

Can you expunge a domestic violence charge?

Domestic violence charges may be expunged in some states such as California. However, states like Nevada, have made it impossible to expunge domestic violence records. With that said, you can have your record sealed which will essentially hide your record from others like potential employers and more. 

To successfully seal your record, speak with your Las Vegas domestic violence lawyer. They will help guide you through the process of sealing your record so you can get back to normal life. 

I am being falsely accused of domestic violence, what do I do?

Domestic violence charges are no small matter and being accused of such a crime in no way determines your guilt. Falsely made allegations of domestic violence can be brought on for a variety of reasons, from an angry spouse trying to lash out, to your partner wanting to gain an advantage in court. Many times, the accusation is very different from what actually happened. As a result, you may have been improperly charged. However, the domestic battery laws in Nevada strongly favor the alleged victim and arrests are often made with little to no evidence. 

In such an instance, you’ll require an aggressive domestic violence legal team to defend your case. A domestic violence lawyer has the knowledge and expertise to undertake false battery charges to keep you from facing unwarranted penalties. They will be able to find all the missing links necessary to prove your innocence and see that justice is served.  

Types of Domestic Violence

There are multiple types of domestic violence that are recognized by the State of Nevada. Some of them include spousal abuse, sexual assault, and child abuse. Learn more about the recognized types of domestic violence below.

Retain The Best Las Vegas Domestic Violence Attorney 

The State of Nevada takes domestic violence very seriously. Cases are prosecuted vigorously, and often leading to steep fines and prison time. To prevent such serious penalties from affecting you, connect with the best Las Vegas domestic violence attorney to represent you. Your domestic violence lawyer will learn all the details of your case so that they can properly approach your situation and reach an appropriate outcome in court. 

At the Spartacus Law Firm, we achieve the maximum results possible for our clients, while striving to meet their personal needs throughout this time of turmoil. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, please contact our office for a free consultation.

For a FREE initial consultation, call (702) 660-1234.

What Happens When You Get Arrested? 5 Things To Do If You’re Arrested in Las Vegas

man arrested in las vegas

It’s possible that things may go awry on your Las Vegas vacation. Many people who find themselves facing charges in Las Vegas were simply visiting to have a good time and ended up in a situation where things got out of control. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to understand what happens when you get arrested in Las Vegas. 

Some of the most common types of arrests that occur in Las Vegas include Driving Under the Influence (DUI), domestic violence, public intoxication, drug possession, and sex crimes such as solicitation and sexual assault. Much of the time, these charges will be considered a misdemeanor, but more serious charges such as a felony may be faced depending on the circumstances of the case. 

Let’s take a look at what happens when you get arrested in Las Vegas and how a Las Vegas lawyer can help.

Getting Arrested in Las Vegas  

If you’ve never been arrested before, then you’ll probably be scared and unprepared for what’s to come. The Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 171.104 defines arrest as “the taking of a person into custody” as authorized by law. In Nevada, the police may arrest someone when there is probable cause to believe the suspect committed a crime. 

In some cases, a person may be detained first to determine whether or not they should be taken into police custody. If a person is being detained, they must give their name to identify themselves but are not required to answer any other questions. The detainee may be searched on the scene and any possible threats such as a weapon may be seized at this time to ensure the safety of the public. 

Detentions must be swift and must occur in the location where the police encountered the suspect. If the detainee has been cleared and is not being arrested, they are free to go, but if the detainee is determined to be arrested, they will be handcuffed and taken into police custody as soon as possible.  

The Arrest Process

During the arrest process, the arresting officer will verbally inform the suspect(s) that they are under arrest. The officer will place handcuffs on the suspect(s) which are used to transfer them to the police station where they will be kept in custody. During this time, the arresting officer will also read the suspect(s) their Miranda rights which state that the arrestee has the right to remain silent and has the right to an attorney. Upon arrival at the police station, the arrestee will be booked and processed which includes the taking of their mugshot and fingerprints. Suspects will then remain in police custody until their case has been heard by a judge. 

Most arrestees will be eligible to be released on bail or own recognizance in Nevada. This allows an arrested person to await their hearing outside of police custody under some restrictions. Regardless if bail is granted or not, a court date will be scheduled and the suspect must be present for their arraignment which is a formal reading of their charges. Failure to show up to this court date may result in increased charges, fines, and consequences. 

5 Things To Do If You’re Arrested in Las Vegas

#1 Take Advantage of Your Miranda Rights

Miranda rights, also called Miranda warnings, are a notification that is given by an arresting officer to an arrestee. These warnings are to inform suspects of their Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights which state that you have the right to remain silent, meaning you are not required to answer any interrogating questions, and you have the right to an attorney. Miranda warnings are as follows: 

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?”

#2 Ask To Speak With a Las Vegas Lawyer

Before speaking with the police, it’s in your best interest to consult with a Las Vegas lawyer to see how you should proceed following your arrest. Your attorney will help you better understand your charges and will be able to assist you throughout your questioning. You have the right to have your lawyer present during the custodial interrogation which can help you avoid making incriminating statements and prevents further legal trouble. 

#3 Seek Bail

The first thing on anyone’s mind who gets arrested is “how am I going to get out of here?”.  Being in police custody is never fun and the goal is to get you out as soon as possible. To do this, you need to be able to post bail. Typically, an arrestee will be eligible for bail and if you are able to meet the requirements of your bail, your Las Vegas lawyer can help you get out of police custody. In order to post bail, one must do one of the following:

#4 Show Up For Court 

After you’ve been arrested, whether you were released on bail or remain in police custody, you are required to show up to the court for your arraignment. This date will be given to you after your arrest and failure to present yourself to this appointment may result in the court issuing an arrest warrant to bring you back into police custody. If this occurs, you will likely face more serious charges and consequences, so it is in your best interest to appear in court on the day they tell you to. 

#5 Seal Your Record 

While Nevada doesn’t expunge criminal records, you can have your records sealed. This will make your record invisible to potential employers, which can greatly improve your employment opportunities. To seal your record, be sure to reach out to your Las Vegas lawyer. They’ll guide you through the steps to seal your record and ensure it gets done properly. 

Contact Las Vegas Lawyers at Spartacus Law Firm 

If you’re a medical professional facing domestic violence, DUI, or other legal charges, connect with the experts at Spartacus Law Firm. Spartacus Law Firm will fight to make sure that your rights are protected and will work aggressively to represent you to avoid penalties, fines, and damage to your career. Contact us today for a free in-person or virtual consultation. We are available 24/7 to assist.

For a FREE initial consultation, call (702) 660-1234.