In this section, our attorneys explain Nevada’s criminal laws and legal concepts, A to Z
A Nevada subpoena is a court order for you to appear as a witness in a court matter. Nevada law has strict protocols for delivering a subpoena. If these rules are not followed, you do not have to comply with the subpoena.
If you are named in the subpoena, NRS 174.345 states that the subpoena must be served directly to you by either:
According to NRS 174.315, prosecutors and defense attorneys may issue subpoenas ordering that you appear as a witness during a trial or preliminary hearing. In rare cases where prosecutors summon a grand jury, prosecutors can also issue subpoenas ordering you to appear as a witness.
You can accept subpoenas either through:
For your oral promise to be valid, the person accepting the oral promise must:
Note that if the subpoena is for you to appear at a preliminary hearing, the subpoena must be properly calendared with the court first.
Note that physical delivery of a subpoena is not required to subpoena you to attend a misdemeanor trial. Instead, it can be mailed to your last known address at least 10 days before the trial.
If you are a Nevada resident subpoenaed to appear at a deposition, NRS 174.375 requires you to attend only if the deposition is in the county where you:
Meanwhile, if you are a non-Nevada resident subpoenaed to appear at a deposition in Nevada, you are required to attend only if the deposition is either:
In order to subpoena a person in a Nevada prison or jail in accordance with NRS 174.325, the party requesting the subpoena has to file a motion in court. This motion must include an affidavit that explains why the inmate’s testimony is necessary.
The judge may then sign off on the order, and the local sheriff would serve the subpoena and bring the inmate to court on the required day(s). Depending on the case, the state or the defendant will pay for the expense of bringing in a subpoenaed prisoner.
Yes. According to NRS 174.335, subpoenas can also order you to produce documents or bring various other objects to court, such as:
These subpoenas should designate which objects to bring as well as the date, time, and location of the court appearance to bring them to.
If you are subpoenaed, you are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney before you testify. You do not want to risk saying anything that may incriminate you or put you on the hook for damages you are not liable for.
If you are facing criminal charges, your defense attorney can request subpoenas be served on witnesses who would be favorable for your defense. Just be sure to communicate to your attorney as early as possible all the people who can vouch for you: It may take a while to track them down in time for them to be served properly.
If you have further questions or need help with a criminal charge, we invite you to contact our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers for a consultation. We serve clients from Reno to Las Vegas, NV.
Nevada Revised Statute 174.305 Subpoena for attendance of witnesses; form; issuance. Except as provided in NRS 172.195 and 174.315:
1. A subpoena must be issued by the clerk under the seal of the court. It must state the name of the court and the title, if any, of the proceeding, and must command each person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony at the time and place specified therein. The clerk shall issue a subpoena, signed and sealed but otherwise in blank, to a party requesting it, who shall fill in the blanks before it is served.
2. A subpoena must be issued by a justice of the peace in a proceeding before the justice of the peace under the seal of the court.
NRS 174.315 Issuance of subpoena by prosecuting attorney or attorney for defendant; promise to appear; informing witness of general nature of grand jury’s inquiry; calendaring of certain subpoenas.
1. A prosecuting attorney may issue subpoenas subscribed by the prosecuting attorney for witnesses within the State, in support of the prosecution or whom a grand jury may direct to appear before it, upon any investigation pending before the grand jury.
2. A prosecuting attorney or an attorney for a defendant may issue subpoenas subscribed by the issuer for:
(a) Witnesses within the State to appear before the court at which a preliminary hearing is to be held or an indictment, information or criminal complaint is to be tried.
(b) Witnesses already subpoenaed who are required to reappear in any Justice Court at any time the court is to reconvene in the same case within 60 days, and the time may be extended beyond 60 days upon good cause being shown for its extension.
3. Witnesses, whether within or outside of the State, may accept delivery of a subpoena in lieu of service, by a written or oral promise to appear given by the witness. Any person who accepts an oral promise to appear shall:
(a) Identify himself or herself to the witness by name and occupation;
(b) Make a written notation of the date when the oral promise to appear was given and the information given by the person making the oral promise to appear identifying the person as the witness subpoenaed; and
(c) Execute a certificate of service containing the information set forth in paragraphs (a) and (b). [proof of service]
4. A peace officer may accept delivery of a subpoena in lieu of service, via electronic means, by providing a written promise to appear that is transmitted electronically by any appropriate means, including, without limitation, by electronic mail transmitted through the official electronic mail system of the law enforcement agency which employs the peace officer.
5. A prosecuting attorney shall orally inform any witness subpoenaed as provided in subsection 1 of the general nature of the grand jury’s inquiry before the witness testifies. Such a statement must be included in the transcript of the proceedings.
6. Any subpoena issued by an attorney for a defendant for a witness to appear before the court at which a preliminary hearing is to be held must be calendared by filing a motion that includes a notice of hearing setting the matter for hearing not less than 2 full judicial days after the date on which the motion is filed. A prosecuting attorney may oppose the motion orally in open court. A subpoena that is properly calendared pursuant to this subsection may be served on the witness unless the court quashes the subpoena.
NRS 174.325 Production of prisoner as witness.
1. When it is necessary to have a person imprisoned in the state prison brought before any district court, or a person imprisoned in the county jail brought before a district court sitting in another county, an order for that purpose may be made by the district court or district judge, at chambers, and executed by the sheriff of the county when it is made. The order can only be made upon motion of a party upon affidavit showing the nature of the action or proceeding, the testimony expected from the witness, and its materiality.
2. When a person required as a witness before a district court is imprisoned, the judge thereof may order the sheriff to bring the prisoner before the court at the expense of the State or, in the judge’s discretion, at the expense of the defendant.
1. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 172.139, a subpoena may also command the person to whom it is directed to produce the books, papers, documents or other objects designated therein.
2. The court on motion made promptly may quash or modify the subpoena if compliance would be unreasonable or oppressive.
3. The court may direct that books, papers, documents or objects designated in the subpoena be produced before the court at a time before the trial or before the time when they are to be offered in evidence and may, upon their production, permit the books, papers, documents or objects or portions thereof to be inspected by the parties and their attorneys.
NRS 174.345 Service of subpoena.
1. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 174.315 and subsection 2, a subpoena may be served by a peace officer or by any other person who is not a party and who is not less than 18 years of age. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 289.027, service of a subpoena must be made by delivering a copy thereof to the person named.
2. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 174.315, a subpoena to attend a misdemeanor trial may be served by mailing the subpoena to the person to be served by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested from that person, in a sealed postpaid envelope, addressed to the person’s last known address, not less than 10 days before the trial which the subpoena commands the person to attend.
3. If a subpoena is served by mail, a certificate of the mailing must be filed with the court within 2 days after the subpoena is mailed.
NRS 174.375 Subpoena for taking depositions; place of examination.
1. An order to take a deposition authorizes the issuance by the clerk of the court for the county in which the deposition is to be taken of subpoenas for the persons named or described therein.
2. A resident of this state may be required to attend an examination only in the county wherein the resident resides or is employed or transacts business in person. A nonresident of this state may be required to attend only in the county where the nonresident is served with a subpoena or within 40 miles from the place of service or at such other place as is fixed by the court.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.