Nevada Grand Jury Investigations
While the majority of criminal cases do not require a grand jury because prosecutors themselves make a decision related to whether or not they have probable cause to proceed with charges, things get a little more complicated when a case is extremely serious or high profile. District attorneys may then look to a grand jury to make a determination as to whether there is enough evidence—or probable cause– to proceed with a criminal indictment. If you have been notified that you are under investigation by a Nevada grand jury, the time to seek hard-hitting legal assistance is now.
Understanding the Grand Jury
A grand jury is made up of citizens who have been called to the task, just like a regular jury. But that is where the similarities end:
- Grand juries are tasked with determining whether or not to proceed with criminal charges, while trial juries must establish innocence or guilt;
- Prosecutors call grand juries, which are essentially investigative bodies who may ask the court to subpoena additional witnesses and/or documents, while trial juries generally just weigh the information presented by both prosecutors and defense attorneys on a case;
- Grand juries are reserved for the most serious of felony cases, while trial juries may be used for a variety of cases;
- Grand juries are usually anywhere between 16 and 23 people, while trial juries consist of just 6-12;
- Grand juries are called to serve for months at a time, although they may spend only a few days each month in court, whereas trial juries serve one time throughout the duration of a particular case;
- Grand juries are not required to vote unanimously in their decisions, unlike trial juries (although they do need a supermajority.)
Grand Jury Proceedings
Another significant difference between grand jury proceedings and most trials is the confidential nature of grand jury proceedings. Even the counsel for the defense is not allowed to attend. What goes on in these chambers is kept secret in order to provide a measure of security for witnesses who may be concerned about retaliation. Additionally, in the event the grand jury chooses not to indict, a potential defendant’s reputation is not damaged by the proceedings.
After an Indictment
If the grand jury indicts, it means they have decided that there is probable cause that a defendant did commit a crime. The next step is for the court to set a date for arraignment. Things from there will proceed much like any criminal proceeding, except that there will be no need for a preliminary hearing. The defendant will be provided with a transcript of the grand jury proceedings at this time.
Aggressive Defense Tactics
Convening a grand jury is serious business. At Lobo Law, we have the determination and know-how to provide an aggressive and thorough defense in very serious criminal cases. To discuss the possibilities with a skilled Las Vegas criminal defense attorney, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.