The court system in Nevada can be very confusing, even to lawyers. Nevada has many different kinds of courts in different locations which all do different things. Sometimes your entire case begins and ends in just one court. At other times, your case is transferred between courts before matters are finally resolved.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers provide an overview of criminal courts in Nevada and how they work: First we explain the distinctions between district court, justice court and municipal court. Then we list all the specific courts in Clark County and Washoe County and provide links to our informational pages about them.
If I get arrested in Nevada, which court will my case be in?
All criminal cases in Nevada are initially heard in either a justice court or a municipal court. Whether your case is in justice court or municipal court depends on two factors:
- Whether the crime was a misdemeanor or a felony, and
- Where the crime allegedly happened.
Misdemeanor cases that occur inside a city's incorporated boundaries are heard in municipal court. But if the misdemeanor occurred outside a city's incorporated boundaries, then the city's justice court hears the case. For example,
John is arrested for solicitation of prostitution in Las Vegas at a bar on Bonanza and Pecos. Since solicitation is just a misdemeanor, and since the corner of Bonanza and Pecos is within Las Vegas's incorporated city limits, John's case will be in Las Vegas Municipal Court. Had he been arrested on Desert Inn and Maryland, on the other hand, which falls outside of Las Vegas's incorporated city limits, the case would be in Las Vegas Township Justice Court.
If you are arrested for a felony, however, you will always be charged in justice court no matter where the felony supposedly occurred in the city. For example,
John is arrested for attempted murder in Henderson on the corner of Water Street and Basic, which is inside Henderson's incorporated city limits. But because attempted murder is a felony in Henderson, the case will be heard in Henderson Township Justice Court.
Each incorporated city has a separate municipal court and justice court, but the two courts are frequently located in the same building. In Clark County, for instance, the municipal and justice courts for the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno, Mesquite and Boulder City are all within one story of each other. Only North Las Vegas has a municipal court and a justice court that are not within walking distance. (Since Laughlin has never been incorporated, it has only a justice court and no municipal court.)
If I am charged with a crime in Nevada, will my case ever change courts?
If you are charged with a misdemeanor in justice court or municipal court, your case stays put. However, if you are charged with a felony, things get a little more complicated: The case may be transferred (or "bound over") to the county's highest court, called a district court, if the prosecution can show there was probable cause to charge you with a felony.
So whereas justice court and municipal court may hold trials for misdemeanor cases, only district court can hold a felony trial.
Each county has only one district court. For example, Washoe County's district court is officially called the Second Judicial District Court of Washoe County. And since Washoe County contains the city of Reno, Washoe County's district court has jurisdiction over Reno Justice Court and Reno Municipal Court.
May I appeal my criminal case to the Nevada Supreme Court?
If a justice court or a municipal court finds you guilty of a misdemeanor, you may appeal it to the district court. If the district court also finds you guilty, though, you may not then go to the Nevada Supreme Court.
If a district court finds you guilty of a felony, however, then you may appeal it to the Nevada Supreme Court.
The Nevada Supreme Court has buildings in Carson City as well as downtown Las Vegas. Go to our Nevada Supreme Court in Las Vegas information page and go to our Nevada Supreme Court in Carson City information page.
What are all the different courts in Clark County and Washoe County?
Below is a list of every criminal court in Clark County, Nevada and Washoe County Nevada. Click on a specific court to learn general information about it, including hours of operation, location, and bail information.
Criminal Courts in Clark County, Nevada
Criminal Courts in Washoe County, Nevada
Criminal Courts in Elko County, NV
Criminal Courts in Nye County, NV
Federal Courts in Nevada
Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas
We are here to help...
If you have been arrested, contact our Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). We will be happy to schedule a free consultation.