Criminal Case Process
If you wish to remain apprised of the status of a case, it is your responsibility to periodically call the Nye County District Attorney's Office for an update, at (775) 751-7080, Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., closed 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. for lunch.
The Charging Process
Once the prosecutor receives the investigation reports and any supplemental materials from law enforcement, he/she will review the case. The prosecutor has sole discretion to decide whether to file a criminal charge and can file a charge at any time within the statute of limitation of the crimes alleged.
If the case in which you are involved is shown as "pending", it means that the case is still under investigation and criminal charges have not been filed.
If the prosecutor decides to not file charges you will receive notification by mail, upon written request. To make this request, please utilize the Victim/Witness Request Form.
If the prosecutor does not file a charge, it does not mean that a crime did not occur. However, the prosecutor must prove the case "beyond a reasonable doubt", and has an ethical obligation to proceed only on those charges that are supported by sufficient evidence.
It is important that we have your most current contact information. If your contact information has recently changed, please contact the front desk immediately. Failure to report a change in address may result in the dismissal of charges.
The Court Process
Once the defendant has been charged with a crime and either arrested or summoned to appear before the court, he/she is given an initial appearance or arraignment.
At the time of the arraignment, the defendant is read the charges and asked to enter a plea of guilty, or not guilty. If a defendant pleads guilty, the judge will usually sentence the defendant at that time. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the judge will set a trial date and, in most cases, a pretrial conference to discuss negotiations.
A bench trial is a trial by judge rather than trial by jury. The judge makes procedural decisions, hears the evidence, and decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. If you are a victim or witness, you will be expected to appear at the time and place set for trial as set forth in your subpoena unless our office notifies you otherwise.
Felonies and Gross Misdemeanors
At the defendant's initial appearance in Pahrump Justice Court on a felony or gross misdemeanor case, the defendant will be informed of the charge(s) and bail will be considered before the court sets a preliminary hearing and, in most cases, a pretrial conference to discuss negotiations.
A preliminary hearing is a hearing where in the judge decides whether there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the charged crimes. If there is enough evidence, the judge will hold the defendant to answer for the crime(s) in district court. If the judge does not find sufficient evidence to bind the case over for trial, it will be discharged. If you are a victim or witness, you will be expected to appear at the time and place set for preliminary hearing as set forth in your subpoena unless our office notifies you otherwise.
A Jury Trial is a legal proceeding in which the case is presented to a 12-person jury to resolve factual questions and issue a verdict regarding the defendant's guilty. If you are a victim or witness, you will be expected to appear at the time and place set for trial as set forth in your subpoena unless our office notifies you otherwise.
For more details pertaining to types of hearings and what to expect in court we recommend you review the booklet Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Crime Victim and Witness produced by the Nevada Advisory Council for Prosecuting Attorneys.
Felonies, Gross Misdemeanors, and Misdemeanors
Whether the defendant has plead guilty, or was found guilty by a judge (misdemeanor) or jury (felony and gross misdemeanor), the presiding judge is responsible for pronouncing sentence. If you are a victim, you have the right to be heard at the sentencing hearing. For misdemeanors, it is not uncommon for defendants to be sentenced immediately after the defendant pleads guilty. This might not give the victim the opportunity to be heard for sentencing unless the victim previously submitted a Victim Impact Statement. If you are a victim in a case, that results in a felony conviction, you will be contacted and notified of the sentencing date if you have so requested on our Victim/Witness Request Form.
The court can order restitution to be paid by a defendant who pleads or is found guilty. In order for the court to order the defendant to make restitution, the victim must provide our office with the appropriate paperwork and documentation. If the crime is a gross misdemeanor or felony, the victim should provide those documents to the Division of Parole and Probation, which will be conducting the pre-sentence investigation. If the crime is a misdemeanor, the victim should provide these documents, with the Victim Restitution Request and Victim Impact Statement to our office or as otherwise directed.
The judge has sole discretion whether, and in what amount, to order restitution. Unfortunately, many defendants do not have the financial means to make restitution and will not comply with the court's order to pay restitution. If a defendant with the ability to pay fails to make restitution that was a condition of his/her probation or sentencing, that failure can be considered by the court as grounds for revocation of the probation or the defendant can be held for contempt.
All court hearings can be confirmed by either the Pahrump Justice Court or the Fifth Judicial District. If you are looking for a court date on a particular case please call one of the following:
Beatty Justice Court
Pahrump Justice Court
Tonopah Justice Court
Pahrump Clerk's Office
Tonopah Clerk's Office
If you have been subpoenaed to appear in court and need to confirm if your appearance is required for the date indicated on your subpoena please contact the Nye County District Attorney's Office, (775) 751-7080. Failure to call the day before may result in non-payment of your witness fee.