Frequently Asked Questions

Presented by a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney

Why do I need to hire an attorney if I'm accused of a crime?

It is always advantageous to have an experienced professional handling a legal matter, most especially if you have never been involved in the criminal justice system before and know nothing about it. Even if you have, you will want to minimize the adverse consequences that you may be facing. You will also want to understand your legal rights and ensure that they are protected. At each new stage of the criminal legal process, new rights may come into play which your attorney will be aware of and can safeguard.

The Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer at the Brown Law Offices can look at your case in detail and advise you on your rights and your legal options. He can negotiate with prosecutors to have charges reduced or dismissed. He can monitor the entire legal process to ensure that you are treated fairly throughout.

I haven't been arrested yet. What are my rights?

You have the right to remain silent, which means that you will not incriminate yourself. You also have the right to an attorney. If you are subject to a criminal investigation, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can provide guidance and support in any law enforcement questioning.

What is a Grand Jury and what does it do?

The Grand Jury hears evidence and testimony to decide whether there is enough incriminating evidence to continue the criminal legal process against you. If there is, an indictment will follow which is the formal process of charging you with a criminal offense. The Grand Jury does not decide your guilt or innocence.

What does the prosecutor do?

A prosecutor is someone who represents the local, state or federal government in bringing those accused of crimes to justice. A prosecutor may be called a district attorney, county attorney, state attorney, or United States attorney. He or she is charged with the duty of punishing those who violate state or federal laws.

What does "certification" mean in a juvenile crime?

In some cases, usually very serious and violent ones, a juvenile may be certified as an adult and tried as an adult in an adult criminal court as opposed to a juvenile court. Juvenile courts focus primarily on rehabilitating and guiding minors towards a better life as opposed to punishing them as adult courts do. The law and procedure regarding certification to adult status is very complex and is constantly changing. If your child is subject to certification, you need an experienced attorney who is familiar with this constantly evolving and complex area of the law. As a former prosecutor, Phil Brown has handled hundreds of certifications on behalf of the State of Nevada.

How do police get a search warrant against me?

If the police suspect that a crime has been committed and they want to search your property for evidence, they cannot do so without first obtaining a search warrant. A judge will grant the police a search warrant if the police have "probable cause" to believe that a crime has been committed, but a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to prove that there wasn't probable cause. When this happens, the judge may "suppress" the evidence so that it cannot be used against you.

What is the difference between jail and prison?

Contrary to popular belief, jail and prison are not the same thing in Nevada. The jails in Nevada are administered by the local or county government entities, but Nevada prisons are overseen by state government. The Nevada Department of Corrections manages all of the prisons throughout the state because there are no federal prisons in Nevada. Another key difference between jail and prison is the length of time that inmates are held. Jails are typically used to hold people who have been arrested, who are waiting for trial, or who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes with smaller sentences. On the other hand, prison is used to house people who are accused of the most serious crimes and felonies that result in sentences of a year or more.

How does posting bail work in Nevada?

After you are arrested for a crime in Las Vegas, the police will take you to the station for booking and an initial court appearance. From there, you will typically be released if you can give the court an amount of money that is established for "posting bail". In essence, you are giving the court money and promising that you will show up to all of your future court hearings. As a result, you will be free to leave the jail. The more serious the crime, the higher the bail. If the crime is very serious, the judge may not grant bail at all because the suspect is considered a "flight risk". In this case, the suspect may be kept in custody throughout the duration of the trial.

If you have further questions about criminal defense or about your case in particular, contact the skilled Las Vegas criminal defense attorney at our offices now.