Getting arrested for DUI does not mean you will be convicted. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Visit our page on Nevada DUI Laws to learn more.
Defendants in a criminal case will be randomly assigned to a district judge. Though if they already have a pending case, then their case will be assigned to that same judge.2
Rule 3 – Appearance and Withdrawal of Attorney
Once a defendant is represented by an attorney (whether private counsel or a deputy public defender), the defendant cannotappear in court on their own behalf without the court’s consent.
If a defendant changes attorneys mid-case, then the former attorney must transfer the case file and discovery (evidence) to the new attorney within five days of the substitution.3
Rule 4 – Initial Appearance and Arraignment
When a defendant is charged by an information (which occurs in the vast majority of cases), the arraignment should be held as early as possible (and no more than 11 days) after the bindover from justice court to district court.
When a defendant is charged by a grand jury indictment, the arraignment should be held within three days of the arrest. (If the defendant was served with a summons instead, then the arraignment must be within 15 days.)4
Rule 5 – Release and Detention Pending Judicial Proceedings
When a defendant or prosecutor wishes to change the defendant’s pretrial detention status, they must make a motion in writing supported by an affidavit. Though if the parties agree, they can dispense with the requirement that this motion be in writing.5
Rule 7 – Discovery/Discovery Motions
Prosecutors and the defense attorneys must provide each other discovery in a timely manner.
Any discovery disputes should be brought to the court’s attention quickly. Then the court may impose sanctions for failure to comply with discovery obligations.6
Rule 8 – Pretrial Motions
Prosecutors and defense attorneys must make any pretrial motions no less than 15 days before the trial.
The opposing side has 10 days to file an opposition to the motion. Then the moving party has three days to reply to the opposition.
Each motion should contain “points and authorities” in support of its arguments. Then the court can decide on whether to grant a motion without holding a hearing (unless one is required by law).7
Rule 9 – Pretrial Writs of Habeas Corpus
When a defendant files a pretrial writ of habeas corpus based on a lack of probable cause or lack of court jurisdiction, a hearing must be held within 14 days of the filing.8
Rule 10 – Stay Orders
If there is a related case in justice court, the defense or the prosecution can ask the district court to “stay” the justice court proceeding if:
moving forward with the justice court case first would be impracticable, or
the justice court already rejected a request to stay the case.
The moving party would have to show the district court that not granting the stay would cause a miscarriage of justice. The district court has discretion over whether to grant or deny the motion to stay.9
Nevada District Court cases can be appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Rule 11 – Extending or Shortening Time
The court has the discretion to extend or shorten time limits for good cause shown.10
Rule 14 – Sentencing
If a defendant is convicted, the judge must sentence them “without unreasonable delay.”11
Rule 15 – Continuances
The court can continue (postpone) the trial for good cause shown. Both parties can stipulate to a continuance, but the court must sign off on it.12
Rule 17 – Voir Dire
During jury selection (“voir dire”), the judge will conduct the initial examination. Then the defense and prosecutors may conduct a supplemental examination.
Parties can dismiss potential jurors
“for cause” or
without giving a reason (called a “peremptory challenge”).
Each party is entitled to four peremptory challenges (except for in death penalty or life imprisonment cases, where the limit is eight each).
If one side believes the other party is using a peremptory challenge due to the prospective juror’s race or other classification, that side can raise a “Batson challenge” with the court. The court will then decide whether to let the peremptory challenge go through.13
Rule 18 – Court Interpreters
The court must provide interpreters in cases where a defendant, witness, or juror has limited English proficiency.14
Rule 19 – Appeals
Defendants in justice court or municipal court who wish to appeal have 10 days from the final entry of judgment to file a notice of appeal with the district court. Then the defendant must file an opening brief within 45 days of the notice of appeal.
The state has 30 days to respond. Then the defendant has 5 days to reply.15
Rule 20(a) – Miscellaneous Provisions
Any status conference must be held one week prior to the trial date (or upon further order of the court).16
Rule 20(b) – Miscellaneous Provisions
Attorneys cannot try to influence a law clerk about a case before the judge or judicial officer whom that law clerk serves.17
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.