If now or in the future you are charged with a crime in the Las Vegas area, arrange at once to speak with an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney. You not only have the right to legal counsel, but you also have the right to a speedy and public trial by jury. If you go to trial for a criminal charge, it means that you haven’t accepted a plea offer and that you are pleading not guilty. A trial will be heard by a jury of your “peers,” meaning a random cross-section of the people living in that jurisdiction who have been selected for jury duty. If you are accused of a drug offense, a theft or a robbery, an assault, battery, arson, or a DUI in Las Vegas, speak at once with an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney.
A jury should reflect the diversity of your community, but that doesn’t mean there will be a precise number of white men or African-American women or Asians on every jury. A jury is chosen from among citizens randomly selected for possible jury duty. Prospective jurors may be interrogated by both attorneys and by the judge before they can sit on a particular jury. They may also be asked to fill out lengthy questionnaires to determine whether or not they are a good fit for the trial. A good defense lawyer will use every legal tool to ensure that the jurors hearing your case are impartial and unprejudiced towards you as a defendant. Your attorney will make sure that your side of the story is clearly told to the jury and fully understood.
It is important to understand that a trial jury and a grand jury are not the same. Grand jury proceedings are secret hearings that can take place at the beginning of a criminal case in Nevada. During a grand jury proceeding, a prosecutor presents evidence of an alleged crime to a pool of 16 to 20 jurors. Unlike trial juries which determine guilt or innocence, grand juries only determine if adequate evidence exists to charge the accused suspect with the crime. If the grand jurors believe the evidence is sufficient, the defendant will be indicted (that is, charged) for the crime. The trial jury will not have the same group of people that were present during the grand jury. Trial juries only have people who have not heard the details of your case yet, so therefore those on a grand jury would be excluded. If you become a defendant in a grand jury proceeding, you’ll be allowed to testify, but you should probably exercise your Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate yourself. A grand jury is a tool for prosecutors; defense counsel isn’t even allowed into the hearing room, so you could end up saying something incriminating that could be used against you later in a criminal trial.
Prosecutors in Nevada sometimes seek a grand jury’s help in controversial and high profile cases that are being closely watched by the public. Most defendants in Nevada don’t have to worry about a grand jury being involved with their case, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared by knowing the difference between a grand jury and trial jury.
Frankly, however, not that many cases are actually tried before trial juries, either. Charges are occasionally dismissed before a trial can begin, or suspects agree to plea bargains or just plead guilty. A good defense attorney will look at the charges, the evidence, and your personal circumstances before advising you about how to proceed. If you’re charged with a crime, you may never see a jury, but a jury trial is a right that you have, along with your right to an attorney. If you are charged with a drug crime, theft, robbery, assault, or DUI in or near Las Vegas, contact an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.
How is someone summoned to sit on a jury? In the United States, every person who is charged with a crime has the right to an attorney and the right to a trial by a jury of peers. If you’re accused of a crime in the Las Vegas area, exercise one of your rights by speaking immediately to an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer. The second of those rights – the right to a trial by a jury of your peers – is widely misunderstood. Here are some common misconceptions about jury duty and the real truth about those misconceptions:
Some people think that if you’re not registered to vote, you can’t be called for jury duty. That hasn’t been true for a long time. Tax returns, driver’s licenses, and all kinds of public records – not just voter registrations – are used now to identify qualified potential jurors.
Some people think a jury summons is like junk mail – you can just toss it out. That’s not true either. You could be fined if you ignore a jury summons. If you receive one, you need to respond to it.
Some people think that you can lie to avoid jury duty. Do not tell the judge that your mother is dying of cancer back in New York or Atlanta unless it’s true. You could be charged with perjury, but what’s more likely is that a judge will find you in contempt, which could mean a fine or even time in jail.
If you’re physically unable to serve on a jury, or if you are undergoing continuing medical treatment that cannot be stopped, you can be excused from jury duty, but you could be called again in the future. Try not to avoid jury duty unless you have a really good reason. Everyone accused of a crime has the right to a trial by jury, and it’s a right that you may need to exercise yourself one day. If you’re charged with any crime in the Las Vegas area, discuss your case at once with an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer.