How do Nevada Criminal Trials Work?
Presentation of Evidence
After opening statements, the prosecution begins by presenting its evidence. This can include calling witnesses to the stand for questioning, presenting physical evidence, and playing audio or video recordings.
Witness Examination: The prosecution starts with a direct examination of its witnesses. Afterward, the defense has the opportunity for cross-examination. The prosecution may then do a re-direct examination to clarify any points raised during cross-examination.
Introduction of Exhibits: Physical evidence like documents, weapons, or clothing, may be introduced. Each piece of evidence must be authenticated and shown to be relevant to the case. The defense has the right to challenge the admission of any evidence.
Once the prosecution has presented all of its evidence, it rests its case. Now, the defense has the opportunity to present its own evidence. This might include:
Testimony from witnesses that can refute the prosecution's evidence or provide an alibi for the defendant.
Expert witnesses that can challenge the scientific validity of evidence presented by the prosecution.
The defendant also has the right to testify on their own behalf, but they don't have to. Choosing whether or not to have a defendant testify is a strategic decision.
After both sides have presented their evidence, they give their closing arguments. This is the opportunity for each side to summarize the evidence and make their case to the jury about why they should decide in their favor.
The prosecution goes first, followed by the defense. Because the prosecution has the burden of proof, they also have the opportunity for a rebuttal after the defense's closing argument.
Before the jury begins deliberations, the judge gives them specific legal instructions about the charges, the law, and how they should evaluate the evidence. These instructions guide the jury's deliberations.
Jury Deliberation and Verdict
The jury then retires to the jury room to discuss and evaluate the evidence and decide on a verdict. They must determine if the prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
If the jury can't reach a unanimous decision, it results in a hung jury, and the case may be retried.
Once a decision is reached, the jury returns to the courtroom and announces its verdict.
Depending on the outcome, either side may file post-trial motions. For instance, the defense could file a motion for a new trial or a motion asking the judge to overturn the jury's verdict.
If the defendant is found guilty, the case will proceed to sentencing. During this phase, both sides can present evidence and arguments regarding the appropriate punishment.
The judge will consider many factors, including the severity of the crime, the defendant's criminal history, and any mitigating circumstances, before determining the sentence.
Navigating the trial process can be intimidating, but with a skilled attorney from Liberators Criminal Defense by your side, you can face the courtroom confidently, knowing every strategy has been meticulously planned for your defense.