Appearing in Court
Here are some basic guidelines you should follow when working with the courts:
- Appropriate court attire is to be worn in the courtrooms. Tank tops, bare midriff shirts, shorts, hats and sunglasses are not appropriate. No clothing that illustrates profanity or inappropriate words or conduct will be allowed in the courtroom.
- Cellular phones and pagers may not be used in the courtroom. Please turn them off before entering the courtroom. If they make noise during court proceedings a sanction and contempt of court charge could be assessed by the judge.
- No gum, food, or drinks allowed in the courtroom.
- No profanity is allowed.
- No smoking inside or outside the court building.
- No weapons are allowed in the courthouse.
- Silence in the courtrooms, except as otherwise directed and/or indicated by proper authority.
Your first court date on a misdemeanor criminal case is typically referred to as an arraignment. Your first court date on a felony or gross misdemeanor charge is referred to as a “first appearance” The purpose of an arraignment or first appearance is to:
- Advise you of your rights under the Nevada Constitution and the Constitution of the United States
- Inform you of the charge(s) against you
- Provide you with a copy of the complaint
- Enter a plea to the charge(s) if it is a misdemeanor case
- Set a date for your next court appearance, if applicable
In some cases you may be eligible for a court-appointed attorney at a reduced cost or at no cost, if you cannot afford one. Not all cases and not all defendants qualify for a court-appointed attorney. The Judge will ask you questions about your financial situation to determine eligibility. You are required to file an affidavit under oath if you are requesting a court-appointed attorney.
Pre-Trial Status Conference: Misdemeanor
If you enter a not guilty plea at your arraignment, your next court appearance is typically two to four weeks later for a pretrial conference. At a Pretrial conference, you must check in with the court clerk and the District Attorney’s Office. You, or you and your attorney will meet with a representative from the District Attorney’s office to discuss resolution of your case; review claims and evidence; attempt to determine if the charge(s) should be dismissed, reduced or whether you will change your plea to guilty; or, whether the parties will request a trial. After your meeting, you will appear in court.
Status Conference: Felony or Gross Misdemeanor
Following your first appearance on a felony or gross misdemeanor charge, your next court appearance is typically one or two weeks later for a pre-preliminary Hearing. At your status conference, you must check in with the court clerk and your court appointed counsel. At the hearing you and your attorney will meet with a representative from the District Attorney’s office to discuss resolution of your case; review claims and evidence; attempt to determine if the charge(s) should be dismissed or reduced; determine whether you will waive your right to a preliminary hearing; or whether the parties will request a preliminary hearing. After your meeting, you will appear in court with your counsel.