The only parties to Nevada criminal cases are the state versus the alleged offender. Victims may help police with their investigations, but they technically fall outside the purview of the case. However, Nevada's Victims' Bill of Rights helps to ensure that crime victims remain safe and receive restitution payments in Nevada.
This page provides an overview of crime victim advocates in Nevada including links to helpful resources throughout the state. Victims of violent crimes, property crimes, and identity theft in Las Vegas are encouraged to scroll down to learn more.
Do victims need their own lawyers in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Victims are not required to retain counsel in Nevada, but it is still a good idea. Lawyers may be more familiar with the law and can help victims achieve the following:
- bring personal injury cases against the defendant;
- confer with the prosecutor regarding the defendant's criminal case;
- refuse interviews or deposition request during the defendant's criminal or juvenile justice process (unless they are under court order);
- set reasonable conditions on the conduct of any interviews the victims do;
- bring lawsuits to compel public officers or employees to carry out any duties required by the Victims' Bill of Rights; and/or
- negotiate with prosecutors to maximize restitution payments in criminal cases
Victims who do not hire lawyers can learn about self-help resources below.
What is victim restitution?
If a defendant gets convicted of a crime, the judge may order the defendant to pay money, called "restitution," to any victims of the crime. Restitution typically covers the victims' property damage, medical bills or other losses incurred by the victim due to the defendant's criminal activity. To learn more go to our informational article on Nevada victim restitution laws.
What is the Victims' Bill of Rights in Nevada?
- the right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's privacy and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment and abuse;
- the right to be reasonably protected from the defendant and persons acting on behalf of the defendant;
- the right to have the safety of the victim and the victim's family considered as a factor in fixing the amount of bail and release conditions for the defendant;
- the right to prevent the disclosure of confidential information or records to the defendant which could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim's family;
- the right to refuse an interview or deposition request, unless under court order, and to set reasonable conditions on the conduct of any such interview to which the victim consents;
- the right to reasonably confer with the prosecuting agency, upon request, regarding the case;
- the right to the timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the defendant;
- the right to reasonable notice of all public proceedings, upon request, at which the defendant and the prosecutor are entitled to be present and of all parole or other postconviction release proceedings, and to be present at all such proceedings;
- the right to be reasonably heard, upon request, at any public proceeding in any court involving release or sentencing, and at any parole proceeding;
- the right to provide information to any public officer or employee conducting a presentence investigation concerning the impact of the offense on the victim and the victim's family and any sentencing recommendations before the sentencing of the defendant;
- the right to full and timely restitution and to have all monetary payments, money and property collected from any person who has been ordered to make restitution be first applied to pay the amounts ordered as restitution to the victim;
- the right to the prompt return of legal property when no longer needed as evidence;
- the right to be informed, upon request, of the conviction, sentence, place and time of incarceration, or other disposition of the defendant, the scheduled release date of the defendant and the release of or the escape by the defendant from custody;
- the right to be informed of all postconviction proceedings, to participate and provide information to the parole authority to be considered before the parole of the defendant and to be notified, upon request, of the parole or other release of the defendant;
- the right to have the safety of the victim, the victim's family and the general public considered before any parole or other postjudgment release decision is made; and
- the right to be specifically informed of these constitutional rights and to have information concerning these constitutional rights be made available to the general public.
If a victim is being deprived of these rights, the victim can bring a lawsuit to force public officers to follow the law. (The Nevada Victims' Bill of Rights was passed by voters in the 2018 midterm elections as Question 1. The rights are codified in the Nevada Constitution, Article 1, Section 23.)
What do I do if I am a crime victim and need emotional or financial help?
One resource Nevada victims can call is the Las Vegas Police Victim Services Detail at 702-828-2955. Office hours are Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This service provides crisis intervention and referrals to organizations offering financial or emotional support.
Another resource is the Clark County Victim-Witness Assistant Center (WVAC) at 702-671-2500. It is open on Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They provide witnesses with the following assistance:
- Notification by mail of the status of the alleged offender's case
- Explanation of court rules and procedures
- Assistance in applying for crime compensation
- Processing restitution payments
- Offering vouchers for witness fees
- Transportation to and from the courthouse
- Referrals to social services agencies
- Returning the victim's property, which is being held as evidence, to the victim as soon as possible
WVAC is located on the third floor of the Regional Justice Center, located at 200 Lewis Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101.
Keep reading this page for more specialized self-help resources for crime victims in Nevada.
How do I get immediate financial assistance if I am a victim of a violent crime?
Victims of violent crimes may be eligible for financial assistance through the Nevada Victim of Crimes Program (VOCP). If the victim has died, his/her family may also be eligible. The victim must have sustained physical injuries (or threats of physical injuries) from a violent offense such as:
- The Nevada crimes of assault & battery
- The Nevada crime of sexual assault
- The Nevada crime of domestic violence
- The Nevada crime of child abuse
- The Nevada crime of elder abuse
- The Nevada crime of drunk driving
- The Nevada crime of homicide
The victim (or victim's family) must also meet the following criteria to be eligible for VOCP assistance in Nevada:
- The victim has to be a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident
- The victim cannot have participated in the crime.
- The victim must cooperate with the police during their investigation and with the VOCP.
- The crime must have been reported to authorities (such as the cops or child protective services) within 5 days unless the victim was not mentally capable of doing so
- Adult victims have 1 year from the date of the crime to submit the VOCP application (or within a reasonable time if the victim is incapable of meeting the 1-year deadline). Minor victims of rape, sexual abuse or pornography may file an application when they reach 21 years old.
VOCP can help pay for expenses that are incurred because of a violent crime and that are not covered by other sources. Possible expenses include:
- medial, dental, hospital, home health, and ambulance bills
- mental health counseling
- costs for necessary medical equipment (such as wheelchairs), eyeglass replacements, visual prosthetics
- co-pays for insurance
- prescription medications
- funeral and burial costs
- childcare costs incurred due to the crime
- income loss
- loss of support for dependents of a dead victim
- costs for cleanup of the crime scene
- home security repair
- costs for emergency shelter and relocation
However each beneficiary of VOCP is limited to a $35,000 payout. Note that victims who are denied assistance through VOCP may appeal the decision. Also note that the money is not meant to cover the following expenses:
- property damage
- lost or stolen cash or property
- damages for pain and suffering
- any expenses covered by insurance (or other source) or not directly related to the crime
To apply go to the Nevada VOCP application and instructions.
How do I get immediate financial assistance if I am a victim of a sexual offense?
Rape victims may be eligible for the Nevada Victim of Crimes Program (see the previous question). In addition, Nevada counties must pay for sex offense examinations and some other medical care within 72-hours of the victim arriving for treatment. The county can also cover up to $1,000 for counseling. Contact the Clark County D.A.'s office for more information at 702-671-2500.
How do I stay informed about the whereabouts of the person who victimized me?
First, contact the Clark County Victim-Witness Assistant Center (WVAC) at 702-671-2500. Upon written request, they will notify victims with the defendant's case status including bail amount, if the defendant is released from custody, and whether the defendant is convicted.
Also go to the VINE website (which is short for Victim Information and Notification Everyday). VINE permits victims to obtain up-to-date information about the custody status of offenders and criminal cases twenty-four hours a day. You can also call VINE at 888-268-8463.
In addition, the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) can answer questions regarding a prison inmate's status including release dates, parole board hearings and credit for good behavior. The NDOC's number is 775-887-3285.
Under Nevada's recently passed Victims' Bill of Rights, victims are entitled to the following:
- to be informed, upon request, of the defendant's conviction, sentence, place and time of incarceration, or other disposition, the defendant's scheduled release date and the defendant's release or escape from custody; and
- to be informed of all postconviction proceedings, to participate and provide information to the parole authority to be considered before the defendant's parole and to be notified, upon request, of the defendant's parole or other release.
If a victim is being deprived of these rights, the victim can bring a lawsuit to force public officers to follow the law.
Can victims speak at a defendant's sentencing hearings and parole hearings?
Yes, victims have the right to be heard at a defendant's sentencing hearings and parole hearings:
To learn how to remain informed about a defendant's upcoming sentencing hearing, victims should contact the Clark County Victim-Witness Assistant Center (WVAC) at 702-671-2500.
To be notified of upcoming parole hearings, victims need to make a written request to the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation. For more information call 775-684-2600.
Under Nevada's recently passed Victims' Bill of Rights, victims are entitled to the following:
- reasonable notice of all public proceedings, upon request, at which the defendant and the prosecutor are entitled to be present and of all parole or other postconviction release proceedings, and to be present at all such proceedings;
- to be reasonably heard, upon request, at any public proceeding in any court involving release or sentencing, and at any parole proceeding; and
- to provide information to any public officer or employee conducting a presentence investigation concerning the impact of the offense on the victims and their families and any sentencing recommendations before the defendant's sentencing;
Furthermore, the parole authority is mandated to extend the constitutional right to be heard at the parole hearing to any person harmed by the defendant.
What other resources are available for crime victims in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Nevada has dozens of non-profit organizations aimed to help crime victims with emotional, social and financial issues. Some of them include:
Salvation Army: 702-399-2769
Senior Protective Services: 702-455-8672
Nevada Child Abuse hotline: 702-399-0081
SafeNest Domestic Violence hotline: 702-646-4981
SafeHouse hotline: 702-564-3227
Family Violence Intervention Program: 702-455-3400
Sexual Assault hotline: 702-366-1640
Are you a victim? Call for help . . . .
If you are a victim of a crime in Nevada, call Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). They can talk to you for free about the best way to go about getting you some compensation and safeguarding you and your family.
To learn about victim advocacy in California criminal cases, go to our webpage on Victim advocacy in California.