Nevada Criminal Defense Lawyers

Criminal Procedures

The date of your arrest may be one of the worst days in your recent past. From the handcuffs to the reading of your rights—being arrested is scary and extremely stressful. When you are facing criminal charges in Nevada and don’t know where to turn, call us.

Charged with a crime in Nevada? Please call (888) 632-5650.

Whether you were arrested for DUI on the side of the road late one night or taken in on a warrant for theft or drug charges, we can help. Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys handled a wide variety of criminal cases in the state of Nevada and would love the opportunity to assist you with yours.

While every case is different, there are always some common factors. This is because there are numerous laws governing how the criminal justice process works. Let’s take a look at some of the more general steps in the process.


Your arrest is when you are taken into custody. This can happen as the result of a warrant or without a warrant if the police have sufficient reason to remove you from the situation. You can even bypass the arrest if there is a warrant out and you turn yourself in to the police.

An arrest is how most people enter the Nevada criminal courts system.

Soon after your arrest (typically within 72 hours) you will be taken before a magistrate. The magistrate will inform you again of some of your rights and possibly address the issue of bail.


Bail is a commonly misunderstood aspect of the criminal process. Essentially, bail is a promise to return. How much you have to post for bail is dependent on how likely the judge or magistrate thinks you are to return.

In other words, if they believe you will return for your court dates and pose little risk to the community, your bail may be set quite low. However, if the court wants extra leverage in ensuring you return, your bail will be higher.

When you return for all of your court dates as directed, your bail will be returned to you. This makes it incentive to come back to court.

In some cases, the judge or magistrate will release you on an OR bond, or on your own recognizance. This simply means no money is exchanged and your word that you will return is good enough.


Your arraignment is your first major appearance in front of the judge. Here you will be formally charged with a crime and allowed to enter a plea. Bail may be revisited at this point if you are still in custody.

When you enter a plea you can choose from guilty, not guilty, and nolo contendre, or no contest. Deciding how to plea to your charges is something that should be discussed extensively with your attorney beforehand.

Plea Agreement

A plea agreement or plea bargain can happen at nearly any stage of the criminal justice process. Because the vast majority of cases end in a plea and never make it to trial, understanding exactly what a plea agreement entails is important.

A plea agreement is intended to be a mutually beneficial agreement between you (the defendant) and the state (the prosecution). The prosecution benefits because they avoid a long trial and you benefit because the charges against you may be reduced or the sentence could be more lenient.

The prosecution may offer to reduce your charges or recommend a lenient sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, or admission to some of the aspects of the charges against you.

The decision to take a plea bargain is very important and not one that should be made without the expert counsel of a defense lawyer.

Pre Trial Hearings

If your case doesn’t end in a plea agreement, there are many potential hearings and events that can happen before your trial date. Most of these have to do with evidence—the sharing of it with the prosecution and the admissibility of it.

Criminal Trial

While all trials are different, they do follow a similar blueprint. Within each stage of the trial, the defense and the prosecution take turns.

  1. Opening Statements
  2. Presentation of Evidence
  3. Closing Arguments
  4. Judge’s Instructions to the Jury (at a jury trial)
  5. Deliberations
  6. Verdict

At the reading of the verdict, if you are found guilty, the judge will likely set a future date for sentencing. If, however, you are acquitted or found not guilty, you will be free to leave, assuming you don’t have any other pending charges.