Washoe County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Washoe County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Washoe County.
Where can I get help for my Washoe County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Washoe County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Washoe County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Washoe County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Washoe County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Washoe County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
Mandatory Appearances in Washoe County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Washoe County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Sentencing in Washoe County
In Washoe County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Washoe County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Washoe County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Washoe County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Washoe County. The Washoe County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
The Right to Trial by Jury
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.
In a jury trial in Washoe County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Washoe County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Washoe County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Washoe County will take place at the Washoe County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Washoe County Criminal Court Locations.
Washoe County Criminal Court Locations
Washoe County District Court – Family Division
Address: 1 South Sierra Street, Reno, NV 89501
Washoe County District Court – General Jurisdiction
Address: 75 Court Street, Reno, NV 89501
Incline Village – Crystal Bay Justice Court
Address: 865 Tahoe Boulevard, Suite 301, Incline Village, NV 89451
Phone: 775-832-4100 Fax: 775-832-4162
Reno Township Justice Court
Address: 1 South Sierra Street, PO Box 11130, Reno, NV 89520
Phone: 775-325-6500 Fax: 775-325-6510
Sparks Township Justice Court
Address: 1675 East Prater Way, Suite 107, Sparks, NV 89434
Phone: 775-353-7600 (Criminal) Fax: 775-352-3004
Wadsworth Township Justice Court
Address: 390 West Main Street, PO Box 68, Wadsworth, NV 89442
Phone: 775-575-4585 Fax: 775-575-0253
Reno Municipal Court
Address: 1 South Sierra Street, PO Box 1900, Reno, NV 89505
Phone: 775-334-2290 Fax: 775-334-3824
Sparks Municipal Court
Address: 1450 C Street, Sparks, NV 89431
Phone: 775-353-2286 Fax: 775-353-2400