Understanding the Impact of Prior Convictions on Your Sentence in Nevada
A Simple Guide to the Legal Consequences of Prior Convictions
In law and justice, your past actions can affect your future.
One of those ways is how prior convictions can change your sentence if you’re found guilty of a crime in Nevada.
This guide will help you understand this vital topic.
What are Prior Convictions?
‘Prior convictions’ are crimes a person has been found guilty of. If a person has been convicted of a crime in the past and then is found guilty of a new crime, the past crime is called a ‘prior conviction.’
How Prior Convictions Affect Your Sentence in Nevada
In Nevada, like in many other states, if you’re found guilty of a crime and have prior convictions, those past crimes can make your sentence or punishment heavier.
This is because the law believes that people who continue to break the law need more vital consequences to stop them from doing it again.
The Role of the Court in Determining Sentences
When a Nevada court decides what sentence to give someone, they look at many things. They look at the type of crime, how serious it was, and if the person has any prior convictions.
If the person does have prior convictions, the court will usually give a heavier punishment. This could mean more time in jail or more considerable fines to pay.
The Different Types of Prior Convictions and How They Impact Sentencing
Exploring the Various Classes of Prior Convictions
Not all crimes are considered equal in Nevada, and not all prior convictions will have the same impact on your sentencing.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into this topic.
Misdemeanors and Their Effect on Sentencing
Misdemeanors are less serious crimes like petty theft or trespassing.
If you have a prior misdemeanor conviction, it may not significantly increase your sentence for a new misdemeanor.
However, having multiple previous misdemeanors can lead to harsher sentences.
Felonies and Their Effect on Sentencing
Felonies are more serious crimes like assault or burglary.
If you have a prior felony conviction and are convicted of a new felony, your sentence could be much more severe.
Nevada law has strict rules for repeat felony offenders, which can result in longer jail or prison sentences.
Prior Convictions from Other States
Nevada courts also consider prior convictions from other states. So, if you’ve been convicted of a crime in California or Arizona, for example, and then committed a crime in Nevada, the court can use your out-of-state conviction to increase your sentence.
The Role of Plea Bargaining in Sentencing
Plea bargaining is when your defense attorney negotiates with the prosecutor to reduce your charges or sentence.
This can be very helpful if you have prior convictions.
An experienced defense attorney, like those at The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm, can often negotiate a plea bargain that results in a lesser sentence, even with prior convictions.
The Value of Rehabilitation and Good Behavior
Courts also consider evidence of rehabilitation and good behavior. It may positively influence your sentence if you can show that you’ve made positive changes in your life since your prior convictions—like getting a steady job, attending counseling, or doing community service.
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Breaking It All Down for You
Understanding the impact of prior convictions on sentencing in Nevada isn’t simple.
It involves complex laws and factors that can change from case to case.
However, one thing is clear: having a knowledgeable defense attorney by your side is crucial.
The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm team understands these laws and is ready to help you navigate your legal journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
A misdemeanor is a less serious crime, such as petty theft or trespassing. A felony, on the other hand, is a more serious crime like assault or burglary. The primary difference between the two lies in the severity of the crime and the potential punishment, with felonies carrying more severe penalties.
How does the number of prior convictions affect sentencing?
The more prior convictions a person has, the more likely it is that those convictions will significantly impact sentencing. It shows a pattern of criminal behavior, which courts often view as an indication that harsher penalties may be necessary to prevent future offenses.
Can a minor’s prior convictions affect their sentence as an adult?
Yes, in some cases, a juvenile record can affect sentencing as an adult. This largely depends on the nature of the juvenile offenses and the severity of the crime committed as an adult.
What role does the nature of the prior conviction play in sentencing?
The nature of the prior conviction can play a significant role in sentencing. For instance, a previous conviction for a violent crime may be treated more seriously than a conviction for a non-violent offense. Similarly, a prior conviction for a similar crime can lead to a more severe sentence.
How does a defense attorney help in the case of prior convictions?
A defense attorney plays a crucial role in representing and advocating for the defendant. They can argue against the relevance of prior convictions, negotiate plea bargains, and present evidence of rehabilitation or mitigating circumstances to the court. Their job is to ensure that the defendant’s rights are protected and to seek the most favorable outcome possible.
Can prior convictions be expunged, and how does that affect sentencing?
In some circumstances, prior convictions can be expunged or removed from your criminal record. If a conviction is deleted, it typically can’t be used to enhance your sentence for a new crime. However, the process and eligibility requirements for expungement vary by state and the nature of the crime.
What is a ‘three strikes’ law, and does Nevada have one?
A ‘three strikes’ law is a statute that enhances the prison sentences of individuals convicted of a felony previously convicted of two or more violent crimes or serious felonies. As far as I know, the cutoff in September 2021 does not have a ‘three strikes’ law, but repeat felony offenders may still face harsher penalties.
Can I appeal the court’s consideration of my prior convictions in sentencing?
You can appeal the court’s consideration of your prior convictions in your sentencing if you can show that they were unfairly considered or used to violate specific laws or your rights. This can be a complex process, so it’s essential to have a skilled defense attorney guide you.
Prior Convictions: These are crimes a person has been found guilty of. Courts can use prior convictions to increase the severity of a sentence for a new crime.
Sentence: This is the court’s punishment for someone found guilty of a crime. A sentence can include jail time, fines, community service, probation, and more.
Defense Attorney: A lawyer who represents a person charged with a crime. A defense attorney’s job is to protect the accused’s rights and seek the most favorable outcome for them.
Misdemeanor: A less severe crime typically carrying a lighter sentence than a felony. Examples include petty theft or trespassing.
Felony: A serious crime that typically carries a heavier sentence than a misdemeanor. Examples include assault, burglary, or murder.
Plea Bargaining: A process where the defense attorney and prosecutor negotiate to resolve the case without going to trial. This can result in reduced charges or a lesser sentence.
Rehabilitation: The process of making positive changes to avoid committing future crimes. This can include activities like getting a job, going to counseling, or doing community service.
Expungement: Removing a conviction from a person’s criminal record. If a conviction is expunged, it typically can’t be used to enhance the sentence for a new crime.
‘Three Strikes’ Law: A law that enhances the prison sentences of individuals convicted of a felony previously convicted of two or more violent crimes or serious felonies.
Appeal: A request to a higher court to review a lower court’s decision. An appeal can change the outcome of a case or sentence.
Additional Resources for You
Our lead attorney, Molly Rosenblum Allen, Esq., is not only an experienced legal expert but also a resourceful guide for those navigating complex legal waters. In addition to her dedicated legal services, she has created a suite of informative resources to assist you in understanding various legal concepts and situations. Here’s a glimpse into these valuable resources:
Double Jeopardy: Gain insights into the protection against being tried twice for the same offense. Read more.
Hung Jury: Understand what happens when a jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict. Explore further.
Circumstantial Evidence: Learn about the nuances and importance of indirect evidence in legal proceedings. Dive deeper.
Indicted vs Charged: Clarify the differences between being indicted and being charged, and what each entails. Find out more.
Difference Between Jail and Prison: Understand the distinct differences between these two types of incarceration facilities. Learn the difference.
What are Miranda Rights: Discover the critical rights that are essential during an arrest and custodial interrogation. Read about your rights.
How to Check if You Have an Outstanding Warrant: Get the guidance you need to find out if there’s an outstanding warrant in your name. Check here.
What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer: Learn the key qualities and qualifications you should seek in a defense attorney. Get informed.
Possible Ways to Reduce a Felony Charge: Explore the strategies that may be available to reduce the severity of a felony charge. Learn about the possibilities.
Should You Accept a Plea Bargain: Understand the pros and cons of accepting a plea bargain in your case. Make an informed decision.
Molly Rosenblum Allen, Esq.’s commitment to providing accessible legal knowledge reflects her dedication to empowering individuals with the information they need during challenging times. Whether you’re dealing with a legal issue or simply seeking to expand your legal understanding, these resources are an excellent starting point.
Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful
Here are several offsite resources that may be useful to you:
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL): NACDL promotes the proper administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession.
- The Sentencing Project: The Sentencing Project works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration.
- The Innocence Project: The Innocence Project’s mission is to free the staggering number of innocent people who remain incarcerated, and to bring reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.
- Justia: Justia provides free case law, codes, regulations and legal information for lawyers, business, students and consumers worldwide.
- The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA): NLADA champions effective legal assistance for people who cannot afford legal help, working with a broad network of advocates to design innovations that improve access to justice.
Remember to always seek professional legal advice when dealing with specific issues or questions.
A Special Message From Our Lead Attorney
Molly Rosenblum, Esq
I hope you found our resources on ‘How Prior Convictions Can Affect Your Sentence’ insightful and helpful. Understanding the complexities of the legal system, especially how prior convictions can impact your future, is essential.
In navigating this often challenging journey, remember that you don’t have to do it alone. My team and I are here to help, providing guidance and representation when you need it most.
If you have any questions or concerns or are ready to discuss your situation with a legal professional, I invite you to contact us for a free consultation. Please call us at (702) 433-2889, and let’s discuss how we can best assist you.
Thank you for taking the time to read our resources. I look forward to the possibility of working with you.
Molly Rosenblum, Esq.