In this section, our attorneys explain Nevada’s criminal laws and legal concepts, A to Z
Even if you agree to waive the 60-day rule, you can still bring a speedy trial motion later on if the court continues to unreasonably delay your trial. In Nevada, a trial delay typically becomes preemptively prejudicial (hurtful to your defense) around one year after your arraignment.2
If the court grants your speedy trial motion, the criminal charges against you will be dropped.
You have a right to a speedy trial under the United States Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, although it does not define how long “speedy” is.3 Meanwhile, Nevada’s state constitution does not mention speedy trial rights at all.4
However, the Nevada Revised Statutes say that courts may dismiss your criminal case if no trial occurs within 60 days of your arraignment (and you did not agree to postpone the trial). However, the court is not required to dismiss your case simply because 60 days have passed.5
Example: Patty pleads not guilty to burglary and demands a speedy trial. However, the soonest the court can possibly squeeze in a trial is 61 days after her arraignment.
If Patty files a speedy trial motion on day 60, the court probably would not grant it since it scheduled the trial as soon as it could, and the added day did not likely prejudice her case.
Interestingly, Nevada law gives prosecutors the right to a speedy trial as well. Prosecutors can demand that you stand trial within 60 days of your arraignment unless:
Nevada judges weigh four factors when deciding whether your right to a speedy trial has been violated:
Therefore, these decisions are very case-specific and turn on your unique situation.
If and when you should take your Nevada criminal case to trial depends entirely on the specific facts of your case. It is a decision you and your criminal defense attorney should come to together after considering all the possibilities.
The advantages of having a speedy trial are that witnesses’ memories are still fresh and you will not have to languish in “pretrial uncertainty” longer than necessary.
Though in practice, criminal defense attorneys prefer to delay trials as long as possible. During this time, it may be possible to “wear down” the prosecutors and come to a favorable plea deal.
When a Nevada trial gets postponed, the court may require that the party who asked for the continuance to depose the other side’s witnesses (if they have not already been deposed). This way if something happens to the witnesses before trial, their testimony will be available to use at trial.
In addition, the court can require witnesses to post money to the court as a promise that they will appear on the new trial date. Though if a witness cannot “procure sureties”, the court can discharge them on their own recognizance as long as they give a deposition.8
It is not unusual for some criminal court trials to take place years after the initial arraignment. As long as both you and the prosecution agree to the delay, the judge will usually rubber-stamp any requests to postpone the trial.
However if a Nevada case involves a victim or witness younger than 16 years old, the court may choose to deny a continuance if it could adversely affect their emotional health and well-being.9
Yes. Nevada juvenile courts must resolve delinquency cases within 60 days after the filing of the petition unless delaying would serve the interest of justice.
In any event, juvenile final dispositions must occur within one year from the filing of the petition.10
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.