The bail process here in Nevada is fairly simple. If you can’t afford to pay the full amount of the bail, you can hire a bondsman for a set rate of 15% of the bail amount. The bondsman then pays the full amount (“posts bond”) to the court.
The trade-off in using a bondsman is that the person who hires the bondsman never gets that 15% back. When the case ends and the court returns (“exonerates”) the bail, it all goes to the bondsman. 1
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys will answer the following top 7 questions about Nevada bail laws and bail process:
- 1. How can I bail a person out of jail in Nevada?
- 2. How is the amount of bail determined?
- 3. Is it possible to get bail reduced?
- 4. How does a person get an OR release?
- 5. What happens if a person violates bail conditions?
- 6. What happens if a person makes bail but fails to show up for court?
- 7. Bail procedures for jails in Clark County
- Additional reading
1. How can I bail a person out of jail in Nevada?
First, contact the jail for the most up-to-date information on how and where to post bail. Inmates are usually released within a few hours of payment.
If the bail amount is too high, contact a bail bondsman. Las Vegas bail surety bonds are big business. Bail bond agents usually have their offices within walking distance of the court and jail. People who hire bail bondsmen may have additional costs as well, including notary fees and costs of travel.
Everyone who has the means to bail out is advised to do so. Defendants who are out on bail can often
- continue doing their jobs and
- have more frequent contact with their criminal defense attorneys.
They can also seek help, such as rehab or counseling that may look good to the judge in the case.
2. How is the amount of bail determined?
The court holds a bail hearing. This is the court date the prosecution and defense present evidence and arguments for and against imposing bail. The judge considers these factors when determining the amount of money for bail:
- The length of residence in the community;
- The status and history of employment;
- Relationships with the person’s spouse and children, parents or other family members and with close friends;
- Reputation, character and mental condition;
- Prior criminal record, including, without limitation, any record of appearing or failing to appear after release on bail or without bail;
- The identity of responsible members of the community who would vouch for the reliability of the person;
- The nature of the offense with which the person is charged, the apparent probability of conviction and the likely sentence, insofar as these factors relate to the risk of failure to appear at future court dates
- The nature and seriousness of the danger to the alleged victim, any other person or the community that would be posed by the person’s release;
- The likelihood of more criminal activity by the person after release; and
- Any other factors concerning the person’s ties to the community or bearing on the risk that the person may willfully fail to appear.
Note that when judges agree to release a defendant following an arrest, the judge may “may impose such reasonable conditions on the person as it deems necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community[.]” Examples of such conditions include:
- Not traveling to other counties or states;
- staying away from the victim or certain locations;
- submitting to random drug testing; and/or
- wearing electronic monitoring2
According to the Nevada Supreme Court, defendants who cannot afford to bail out are entitled to a hearing, where the prosecution has the burden to show by clear and convincing evidence that bail is required to protect the community and ensure the defendant’s appearance at future court appearances.
If the judge decides that bail is necessary, he/she must take into consideration the defendant’s financial resources (and the above factors) when setting the amount. Furthermore, this reasoning must be stated on the record.3
If the judge agrees to release the defendant with no bail, that is called an OR release. Judges may grant O.R. release for “good cause.” (Learn more about this in section 4.)
Sometimes judges refuse to grant bail at all. This typically occurs in murder cases or when the defendant is a flight risk or safety risk. Then the defendant remains in custody pending the outcome of the case.
3. Is it possible to get bail reduced?
It is possible. The defense attorney can always request another bail hearing.
Bail hearings are like mini-trials where both sides can present evidence and arguments. The defense would argue for reducing or eliminating bail. And the prosecutors would argue to maintain or increase the bail.
Finally, the judge will make a decision. If the judge holds firm, the defendant can always request another hearing down the line.
Note that Las Vegas bail bondsmen are not attorneys. They may not ask for bail hearings and reductions. Only defendants and their lawyers may do this.
4. How does a person get an OR release under Nevada bail laws?
Judges decide whether or not to grant OR release. (Scroll up to section 2 for more information on this decision.) OR is short for own recognizance. It is when the judge releases defendants from jail without them having to put up any bail. They just have to promise to show up to future court appearances.
Defendants will get OR release “if it appears to the court that it can impose conditions on the person that will
- adequately protect the health, safety and welfare of the community and
- ensure that the person will appear at all times and places ordered by the court.”4
Defendants facing minor charges, who are not flight risks, are not dangerous, and with no other criminal history are more likely to get OR release. Obviously, people granted OR release do not need Las Vegas bail bonds.
5. What happens if a person violates bail conditions?
Judges have the discretion to offer defendants a second chance to stay out on bond. Otherwise, the judge may order that the defendant be taken into custody for the duration of the case. The defendant may be found in contempt of court. And the court keeps the bond money forever. This is called bail forfeiture.5
If the defendant was out on a Las Vegas bail bond – and the judge revokes it – the bondsman will not get that money back from the court. This means the bondsman can take any collateral that was put up to secure the Las Vegas bail bond.
6. What happens if a person makes bail but fails to show up for court?
The defense attorney can file a motion to quash the warrant. Then the judge would hold a hearing to decide whether the warrant stands. Judges usually agree to quash (recall) warrants if it was the first time the defendant missed court.
7. Bail procedures for jails in Clark County
Acceptable forms of payment for posting bail depend on the facility and criminal charge.
7.1. Clark County Detention Center (CCDC)
For cases in Las Vegas Justice Court, go to the Pretrial Services window at the CCDC. It is located at 330 S. Casino Center Blvd. It is open 24/7.
For cases in Clark County District Court, go to the Regional Justice Center, 3rd floor. Hours are Mondays through Fridays, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The address is 200 Lewis Ave. After business hours, go to the CCDC.
There is a $10,000 limit on cash bail and Visa and MasterCard. Cash must be in the exact amount. CCDC also accepts money orders and cashier’s checks. There is a $50 filing fee on all Las Vegas bail bonds.
Call Pretrial Services at (702) 455-3462 for more information. Also see our article on posting bond at the CCDC.
7.2. Las Vegas City Jail
Go to the Las Vegas City Jail at 3200 Stewart Ave. It is open 24/7. They accept cash (exact amount), Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. Not American Express.
Call the jail for more information at (702) 229-6460. Also see our article on posting bond at the Las Vegas City Jail.
7.3. Henderson Detention Center
Go to Henderson Court at 243 S. Water Street. Business hours are Mondays through Thursdays, 7:45 AM to 5:00 PM. After business hours, go to the bail gate off S. Texas Ave.
7.4. North Las Vegas Detention Center
If the charge is in Municipal Court, call 702-633-1130. Hours are Mondays through Thursdays, 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Municipal Court is located at 2332 Las Vegas Boulevard, Suite 100.
If the charge is in Justice Court, call 702-455-7802. Hours are Mondays through Fridays, 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Justice Court is located at 2428 Martin Luther King Boulevard.
NLV Jail inmates are currently being housed in Las Vegas City Jail.
7.5. Mesquite Detention Center
Call the Mesquite Jail at (702) 346-6925 for more information. Also see our article on posting bond at the Mesquite Jail.
7.6. Tucker Holding Facility (Laughlin Jail)
After hours, post bail at the CCDC in Las Vegas. It is at 330 South Casino Center Drive.
Call the Laughlin police at (702) 298-2223 for more information. Also see our article on posting bond at the Laughlin Jail.
For more information about bail schedules and bail laws in Nevada, refer to the following:
- Las Vegas Municipal Court Bail Schedule – Bail amounts associated with specific misdemeanors in the incorporated area of Las Vegas.
- Las Vegas Justice Court Bail Schedule – Bail amounts associated with misdemeanors in the unincorporated area of Las Vegas and with felonies throughout Las Vegas.
- Henderson Municipal Court Bail Schedule – Bail amounts associated with specific misdemeanors in the incorporated area of Henderson.
- Bail Schedule – Links to bail schedules in various Nevada counties (not including Clark or White Pine) compiled by the Nevada State Highway Patrol.
- Bail reform in Nevada rightly presumes innocence, not guilt – Article in the Reno Gazette-Journal about how bail relates to the presumption of innocence.
- NRS 697.300; NRS 178.522.
- NRS 178.484.
- NRS 178.484; NRS 178.4851; Valdez-Jimenez v. Eighth Judicial District Court (April 9, 2020) 136 Nev. Adv. Op. 20 (“The right to reasonable bail is guaranteed by the Nevada Constitution for individuals who commit offenses other than capital offenses or first-degree murder.”).
- NRS 178.4851; NRS 178.4853; Same.
- NRS 178.484; State v. Stu’s Bail Bonds, 991 P.2d 469, 115 Nev. 436 (1999); see also AB 38 (2017).
- NRS 178.4851.