Washoe County District Court is located at 75 Court Street, Reno, NV 89501. The phone number is (775) 328-3110.
Due to the coronavirus disease, most hearings are being conducted over telephone or video, and jury trials are suspended indefinitely. Clerks are available by phone on Monday through Thursday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, and Friday from 8:00 AM – Noon.
In this article our Nevada criminal defense attorneys answer these frequently-asked-questions:
- 1. What is Washoe County District Court?
- 2. Is my case information online?
- 3. What happens if I miss my court appearance?
- 4. Can I get a public defender if I cannot afford my own attorney?
- 5. Where do I park?
- 6. Will I get a translator if I do not speak English?
- 7. Is there a dress code?
- 8. Can I carry my gun in the courthouse?
- 9. How do I seal my criminal records?
1. What is Washoe County District Court?
The Washoe County District Court (WCDC) is Washoe County’s highest court. Officially called the Second Judicial District Court, WCDC has general jurisdiction over all gross misdemeanor and felony criminal cases that do not resolve in the county’s three lower courts:
- Reno Justice
- Sparks Justice
- Incline Village – Crystal Bay Township Justice
Every defendant in a WCDC criminal case is entitled to a jury trial. Though in practice, most cases resolve through negotiation. And WCDC offers the following specialty courts with the aim of rehabilitating rather than punishing certain offenders:
- Adult Drug
- Family Treatment
- Felony DUI
- Medication-assisted Treatment
- Mental Health
- Prison Re-entry
- Youth Offender Diversion
WCDC also has jurisdiction over the following civil matters:
- Family Court (located in a separate facility at 1 South Sierra Street, Reno, NV 89501; 775-328-3110)
- Civil cases involving more than $15,000
- Protection orders for domestic violence and abuse
Finally, WCDC serves as the court of appeals for Washoe County’s three lower courts. WCDC cases, in turn, may be appealed to the Supreme Court of Nevada in Carson City.
2. Is my case information online?
Yes. Search the court’s website here.
3. What happens if I miss my court appearance?
Judges issue bench warrants for defendants in criminal cases who do not show up to their required hearings, whether in-person or telephonically. And if the case is serious, the police may try to track down the defendant at home or work to arrest him/her.
People with bench warrants should consult a criminal defense lawyer immediately. The attorney can file a motion to quash the warrant. And in many cases, the defendant does not have to appear at the warrant hearing as long as the defense attorney is present.
Parties in a civil lawsuit who miss court risk having the judge taking out a default judgment against them. This could lead to their wages being garnished and liens put on their property.
For information on rescheduling a court appearance or how to attend court virtually, contact the court at (775) 328-3110.
4. Can I get a public defender if I cannot afford my own attorney?
Defendants in criminal cases are entitled to a public defender for free if they cannot pay for their own criminal defense attorney. However, defendants are encouraged to try to hire their own lawyer if at all possible. Public defenders often have too little time to fight for the best resolution possible in their cases.
5. Where do I park?
There is public parking right across Court Street.
6. Will I get a translator if I do not speak English?
WCDC will provide an interpreter if defendants call ahead of time at (775) 328-3110. Otherwise, people are free to bring friends to translate for them.
7. Is there a dress code?
Yes. Whether in the courtroom or over video conference, people may not wear tank tops, shorts, or clothes with offensive language or images.
8. Can I carry my gun in the courthouse?
No. WCDC is a gun-free zone. There are metal detectors at the entrance.
9. How do I seal my criminal records?
It is a paperwork-intensive, time-consuming ordeal. People are advised to hire an attorney to manage the record seal process. Note that there is also a waiting period to seal any kind of conviction – and some serious cases are unsealable. Though cases that get dismissed may be sealed immediately.
|Nevada conviction|| |
Waiting period to get a record seal
(after the case ends)
|Misdemeanors (with some exceptions – see below)||1 year|
|Gross misdemeanors, category E felonies, and misdemeanor battery, harassment, stalking, or violation of a protection order||2 years|
|Category D felonies, category C felonies, or category B felonies (with some exceptions – see below)||5 years|
|Misdemeanor DUI and battery domestic violence||7 years|
|Category A felonies, burglary of a residence, and felony crimes of violence||10 years|
|Certain sex crimes, crimes against children, invasion of the home with a deadly weapon, and felony DUI.||Never|