Co-defendants, also known as joinders, are two or more people who have been charged with the same crime. Depending on the details of the case, they can have a separate or joint trial. The co-defendants could also have the same attorney represent them. However, if they have conflicting interests, it may hurt them and give the lawyer a more difficult time providing them with fair and equal representation.
To prevent an unfair outcome, then the court may choose to sever the case into two, which could give each defendant more room to fight the charges. If you are a co-defendant in a criminal case, a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can help. A lawyer can help determine the most suitable path for you and work hard toward achieving a favorable outcome.
An Overview of Co-Defendant Criminal Cases
Co-defendants are parties who are charged with the same crimes. Individuals and businesses can be co-defendants. In the event there are multiple charges, one defendant may have different charges than the other.
Common Co-Defendant Criminal Cases
It’s common for there to be more than one defendant in the following cases:
- Drug Conspiracy:This is when two or more people plan and agree to commit a crime together involving drugs (e.g., drug trafficking, possession, or manufacturing).
- Home Invasion Robberies:Both a violent crime and property crime, this is when someone forcibly breaks into another person’s residence.
- Aggravated Assault: The perpetrators don’t necessarily have to inflict physical harm on another person to commit this crime. The prosecution would have to prove that you threatened violence with a weapon.
- Homicide:This crime is when you kill someone-whether accidental or premeditated.
- Murder: Those who commit murder intentionally and kill someone with malice.
Co-defendants don’t always commit violent offenses, though. The prosecution could press charges for white-collar crimes, such as:
- Embezzlement: Fraudulently taking someone else’s property and appropriating it as your own.
- Tax Evasion:Illegally paying or underpaying your taxes (e.g., overstating your deductions or stating you made less than you did).
- Money Laundering: Hiding your identity or the source where you unlawfully obtain money.
- Securities Fraud: Inducing investors to invest in a stock based on false information.
A co-defendant case defense attorney in Las Vegas can build a case to help you fight these charges.
No Contact with Your Co-Defendants
In many cases, the court orders the co-defendants not to talk to each other. Moreover, they may be put in separate jail areas (or even in different jails) to ensure they do not communicate. This is usually for the defendant’s own good. For example, if you speak to your co-defendant about the case, they could use whatever you say against you when it comes time for both of you to testify in court.
However, there are special circumstances in which co-defendants must communicate. If a husband and wife are co-defendants and have children, they may have to talk to each other to figure out living arrangements.
However, you don’t want to jeopardize your case, as the charges may come up in conversation and you could get into a dispute. Instead, a Nevada criminal defense lawyer could speak to them or their attorney on your behalf.
How Having a Joined Case May Hurt You
Co-defendants can have a conflict of interest in a criminal case. For example:
- The prosecution may offer the other defendant a plea bargain to “flip” the case against you.
- Despite the conflict of interest, a jury may find you guilty by association if they are convinced that the other defendant is guilty of the crime.
- If each of you retains separate legal representation, their lawyers may apply different defense strategies than yours and make you look bad. As a result, you may be up against the prosecution and the defense.
If you find the charges are prejudicial to you and compromise your right to a fair trial, you may have grounds to file a motion to sever, according to NRS 174.165. This is when the court cuts the case in half and charges each party separately. You must file this motion 10 days before the trial begins.
How a Las Vegas Co-Defendant Defense Lawyer Can Help
A Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate your co-defendant case. Some of the things they can do for you include:
- Cross-examining witnesses
- Bringing in their own witnesses
- Working toward reducing or dropping your charges
- Representing you throughout legal proceedings
- Determining which laws apply to your case
- Negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecution
- Investigating what happened and gathering evidence
- Creating a defense strategy against your charges
Defense Strategies in a Co-Defendant Case
In terms of your defense, there are different strategies your attorney can use to help keep you from going to prison, paying high fines, and dealing with other penalties. Depending on the facts of your case, your lawyer may use one or more of the following defense strategies:
- The police didn’t read your Miranda Rights when they arrested you, so any evidence collected at the scene was obtained illegally.
- If the police confused you with the person who committed the crime and arrested you instead, you can claim mistaken identity.
- If the police set you up, coerced you, or threatened you so that you would commit the crime, this would be considered illegal entrapment.
- If the police didn’t have a warrant or probable cause to search your home, then you could say they conducted an unlawful search and seizure.
A Las Vegas attorney who handles co-defendant cases can start protecting your rights today.
A Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney on Our Team Is Ready to Serve You
Getting charged with a crime is stressful enough, but adding another person or entity into the mix adds another layer of confusion. A Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer from De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers can guide you through the process while protecting your rights. Call our firm today to get started on your case.