What happens after
I have been arrested and “booked?”
Soon after your arrest Court Services will contact you. Court Services employees
work for the Courts. Part of their job is to decide if you can be trusted to
come to court as instructed if they release you without making you pay bail.
If you are released without having to pay bail (called an “own recognizance” release),
you will be given requirements to check in, find or return to work, possibly
attend self-help meetings and provide proof of attendance, and to stay out of
trouble. You may be required to submit to testing for drugs and alcohol to show
that you are not using.
A judge will review the paperwork submitted by the police, explaining why you
were arrested. If the Court agrees that the police had sufficient legal reasons
(probable cause) to arrest you, it will sign the document, which permits the
State to continue its prosecution of you. An “initial appearance” will
be scheduled for you. If you are still in jail, you will appear by video link
to the Court. Normally, at your appearance you will not be asked to enter a plea.
You will be advised of the charges against you, and given another court date.
For a misdemeanor, that will be the trial. For a gross misdemeanor or felony
it will be a preliminary hearing. The Court will also ask whether you have an
attorney. If you do not, and you advise the Court you want one to be appointed,
you will be given paperwork to apply for the Public Defender.
Can someone bail me out?
Maybe. There are some cases for which bail is not set immediately – driving
under the influence and domestic battery arrests keep the
arrested person in custody for at least 12 hours before a
release can be considered. Bail is designed to guarantee
that you will show up for your court dates. Bail can be posted
by using a bondsman, or directly with the Court. If bail
is posted through a bonding company, it is governed by contract
laws. The company and the person posting the bail will sign
a contract which explains what is expected of each of them,
and you. Usually a percentage of the total bail, plus paperwork
fees and security (such as a car title) will be needed. When
the case is over, as long as you have shown up in Court as
ordered, the security will be returned to whoever posted
the bail. If bail can be posted in cash with the clerk of
the Court and you show up, all of it will be returned, less
fines and fees the Court imposes. So, if you can get released
through court services or post cash bail with the Court,
you will have more money returned to you or available to
pay money the Court orders you to pay.
What do I do if I cannot afford an
Court services will meet with you at the jail, usually within
a day or two of your arrest. They will ask you questions
that could release you without bail, and will ask you questions
about whether or not you will request a court-appointed attorney.
If you are legally indigent (cannot afford an attorney, based
upon your income and ownership of property or other valuable
items), Court Services will ask the Court to appoint an attorney
to help you for any crime for which a jail sentence is possible.
You will not be appointed an attorney for a speeding ticket.
What could happen if I lie or file
a false police report?
It is against the law to file a false police report, give
false information to police, or report a false fire alarm.
If your false report accuses someone else of a crime he did
not commit, you could put him through a lot of needless trouble,
for which you could owe money damages. Filing a false police
report is normally a misdemeanor. But, if you go to court
and lie, that is perjury, a serious felony.
What can I do if I think a police
officer is mistreating me?
If you are being arrested, cooperate. Now is not the time
to explain to the officer all the things you think she is
doing wrong. You can, if you choose, protest and seek lawful
remedies against the officer later. You could contact an
attorney, a legal aid association or police review agency.
But, you cannot fix the situation on the street. Fighting
there, even if the police are wrong, could expose you to
additional charges. In a worst case, you could be hurt physically.
If an unusually serious offense occurs you may want to investigate
whether your Federal civil rights have been violated. You
should contact an attorney experienced in handling such complaints.
Police may not handle every situation properly. But, you
should keep in mind that a police officer’s behavior
is often in response to provocation or a citizen complaint.
Even if the citizen was mistaken or lying deliberately, that
does not mean the officer is aware of that. Police have to
respond to reports of serious crimes, and investigate. And
an officer making a decision under pressure or doubt about
what the law is, could make a mistake. Good police-community
relations are a two-way street. Both must contribute to the
Could I be tried as an adult even
before I turn 18?
Yes, depending upon the crime charged and your juvenile history,
you could be. If you are a juvenile and charged with murder,
you can be tried as an adult. If you are 16 or older and
charged with rape with force, or certain weapons crimes,
or crimes at a school or school function that seriously hurt
people, you can be tried as an adult. Children who are 14
or older can be certified as adults, following an application
by the prosecutor and a Court hearing to decide if certification
Does Nevada have a” three strikes” law?
Nevada actually has several habitual criminal statutes. A
declaration at sentencing that a person is a habitual criminal
exposes the person to much greater punishment than the
crime for which she is being sentenced. A person with prior
conviction for serious felonies could face a sentence of
life in prison. But, even some misdemeanors can be counted
for the fraud-type habitual criminal. A person with the
right number of prior convictions for theft, misdemeanor
or felony, could be disqualified from consideration for
probation, and could face imprisonment for a minimum of
five years. If you thought shoplifting was a prank as a
juvenile, get over it. Now, you know it can ruin your life
as an adult.
Can I get my criminal record sealed?
Maybe. A court can order a juvenile or adult record sealed
after a certain number of years have passed, and you have
not gotten into any more trouble. In addition, if you were
an alcoholic or addict and your addiction played a role
in your crime, you may be sentenced to diversion or drug
court. Under those programs, if you successfully complete
counseling and other conditions for 18-36 months, your
record will be sealed. Even if you do not receive diversionary
treatment, a successful probationer automatically regains
certain civil rights when he completes his probation (for
his first offense). Immediately upon completion he regains
the right to vote and to serve as a juror in a civil case.
Four years after successful completion he can hold public
office. Six years after honorable discharge he can be a
juror in a criminal case.
A felony conviction for a crime against a child or a sexual
offense cannot be sealed in Nevada.
Once a record is sealed you may legally tell future employers
or school admissions officers, for example, that you have
not been convicted. Some employers are permitted to inquire
about arrests. If you apply for work in law enforcement or
the military, you may be required to divulge your arrest.
In Nevada you must disclose even sealed records to the Gaming
Control Board. And once a record has been sealed the police,
probation department and Court cannot legally release information
about it. (There are procedures you can use to reach your
sealed records if you need them).
Federal crimes have different rules. Normally, you can only
have your civil rights restored after a Federal conviction
if you obtain a presidential pardon.
What are some consequences of having a felony record?
- You may be denied admission to a college or university.
- You may be prevented from entering the armed forces,
or if accepted, you may be precluded from the best jobs,
or from getting a security clearance.
- You will not be able to vote.
- You will not be able to work in businesses that require
employees to be bonded.
- You may be denied a professional license.
- You will not be permitted to possess firearms.
- You may be denied recreational licenses, such as for
hunting or fishing.
- You may be restricted from access to employment that
could expose you to the temptation to re-offend. For example,
a person who steals and has a gambling problem is likely
to be ordered to remain away from casinos, except in very
- If you are not a citizen, you may be deported from the
United States, and prohibited from reentering.
Are there state and Federal criminal
Yes. Nevada’s criminal laws are published in the Nevada
Revised Statutes. The Reno, Sparks and Washoe County Codes
also contain some criminal laws.
The Federal Courts have their own laws, and Courts. They
also have their own police agencies, prosecutors and prisons.
Many Federal criminal laws apply to acts involving U.S. agencies,
such as the Postal Service, Treasury or Transportation Safety
Administration. Federal laws also apply to crimes that are
committed between states, or in more than one state. Most
Federal crimes are felonies punishable by more than a year
in prison. Some crimes violate State and Federal laws, such
as possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
What are some common Federal crimes?
- Transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines.
- Making a false statement to the U.S. government with
intent to defraud. (If you cannot imagine this situation,
- Mailing matter that is obscene or incites crime.
- Forgery of government checks.
- Possession of stolen mail and items – such as credit
cards – which have been stolen from the mail.
- Robbery or burglary or a bank or savings & loan.
In addition, Federal Courts handle all state law violations
committed on government property, such as a national park
or federal office building, and all crimes committed on Indian