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By: Law Offices of Mace J. Yampolsky

The Impact of Pre-Trial Negotiations on Criminal Defense Cases

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What Is the “Pretrial Process” in Las Vegas Criminal Cases?

First, you must understand that despite what you see on T.V. or in the movies, up to 90% of criminal cases will never see the inside of a courtroom or go to trial. During your pretrial process (or pretrial negotiations), most defendants become aware of the uncertainty of the outcome of a trial and commonly will accept a plea bargain instead.

Once you are charged, the decision to proceed to trial in Nevada is commonly left to the prosecutor and the Defendant. If they can agree on a resolution then they can craft a please agreement that references the parties position on the plea and sentencing. Sometimes the prosecution will reserve the right to argue and other times, they will make no recommendation .

During a grand jury hearing held privately, “hearsay evidence” may be admissible, and the prosecution can present its case, but you, as the defendant, can appear to defend yourself with a lawyer but the lawyer can not cross-examine. If you want to waive your Fifth Amendment right you could testify but that usually is not the case If the jurors making up the grand jury agree that probable cause exists, they then may approve your indictment. Usually, in most cases, the state prosecutor will assess their case and decide whether to indict and go to trial. There is an old saying that a good prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich.

However, the prosecutor works for the government and is vested in protecting the money and time spent to take you to trial. Therefore, in pre-trial negotiations, they will likely offer you and your lawyer a plea bargain. These structured and negotiated “agreements” will avoid an uncertain and costly trial, but you may have to plead guilty initially.

However, your experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive criminal defense lawyer in Las Vegas knows that the prosecutor must give something in return. Your lawyer will invariably negotiate the best plea deal possible for you, their client.

Your lawyer could get the prosecution to:

  • Mitigate and lower all charges against you to lesser offenses.
  • Recommend a much less severe sentence than you would likely receive if convicted at trial.
  • Or much more to benefit you and the penalties you may face.

Of course, the outcome of any plea bargain is based primarily on the evidence that the prosecution has to back their case and the expert, diligent, and aggressive negotiating skills of your criminal defense law team.

So, much can be accomplished in the pretrial process (or pre-trial negotiations). Still, a favorable outcome is highly dependent on the expertise and aggressive action of a criminal defense lawyer, so choose them carefully.

What Is a “Plea Bargain” and How Does It Affect My Case?

If your lawyer and the prosecutor negotiate a plea bargain, you may still have to plead guilty to some of your charges. However, in exchange, you will receive concessions from the prosecutor, such as a lesser sentence, a lesser fine, or a lesser charge.

If done correctly and to your advantage, the plea bargain system mutually benefits you ends your case quicker, and will satisfy the Nevada courts. However, this is all predicated on the plea bargain and your thorough criminal defense lawyer’s advice that it’s best for you to move forward.

The most important thing to you and your lawyer is that if you are offered a plea bargain in pre-trial negotiations, it must be highly beneficial to you as the defendant. So, the litmus test is that you and the prosecutor agree; you both benefit from this plea. For example, the prosecutor wants a guilty plea and rapid resolution to your case. At the same time, you are encouraged to plead guilty to receive a reduced or commuted penalty that benefits you and your family.

You must note that this pre-trial negotiation is sometimes tricky and takes time to resolve. However, your Las Vegas Criminal defense lawyer’s expert, successful, and proven negotiation skills will prove invaluable in its development.

Other Vital Facts About Pre-Trial Negotiation in Nevada.

As stated before, “plea bargaining” during pretrial negotiation is used frequently for quick and decisive resolution of your criminal case. However, due to the harsh nature of Nevada’s criminal penalties, handling this negotiation alone is never a good idea, and you should never just “enter a plea.”

Protect your rights and your freedom and consult with trusted legal counsel for defense in criminal matters to represent you, as they will always look after your best interests.

The Nevada Revised Statute Section 174.061 (as covered in Chapter 174 -Arraignment and Preparation for Trial) is the final word on the legalities of plea bargaining in the state.

Essentially there are five types of criminal pleas recognized in Nevada, they are:

  • Guilty.
  • Guilty – but mentally ill.
  • Not guilty.
  • Nolo Contendere (with the consent of the court).
  • Not Guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI)

So, although you commonly must make one of these pleas, your criminal defense law team will ensure that the concessions by the prosecution are significant and beneficial enough to you and your future. This process may take days or sometimes months, but your lawyer will take the time needed to ensure that the result is, by far, the best situation for you.

How Can My Lawyer Help Me in Pre-Trial Negotiation?

Some critics of plea-bargaining feel prosecutors have an unfair advantage over defendants because they’ve been given too much power. Over the years, state prosecutors have been allowed many tools to pressure defendants to take the first deal offered.

This fact makes it vital to consult a knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense lawyer before considering a plea agreement. Only a professional criminal defense lawyer will wholly understand the facts and legalities surrounding your case and will always use the criminal justice system to work in your interest.

If you enter into any agreement or negotiations before waiting for your Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer to investigate the facts and evidence of the case thoroughly, it will always, and without exception, work against you.

This process is enormously intimidating to you and your family, and you commonly only want to go home. You usually won’t challenge evidence, file motions, or even know how to help yourself; while your experienced criminal defense law team knows precisely what to do.

I’m Entering Into Pre-Trial Negotiations; How Should I Proceed?

First, never underestimate the many challenges intertwined in pre-trail negotiations or the plea-bargaining system. An experienced Las Vegas criminal defense law team will tirelessly work to make a positive difference in the outcome of your case and the life of their clients. It’s their full-time job to protect your constitutional rights and your freedom.

The winning criminal defense lawyers at Law Offices of Mace J. Yampolsky have the experience and knowledge of Nevada law that you desperately need at this crucial time. They will aggressively and tirelessly fight for a positive outcome for your case and future. Call them today at (702) 385-9777, and obtain the professional, aggressive legal representation you must have.