City Attorney - Criminal Division
The Criminal Division is responsible for the day-to-day prosecution of municipal ordinance violations and state law misdemeanor violations, including DUIs, drug offenses, domestic violence and traffic offenses that occur within the city limits
Testifying in court
You only have to testify in court if you receive a subpoena ordering you to appear in court to testify in a trial. Here are the steps explaining the court process:
- Arraignment: When a criminal complaint has been filed against the defendant, he/she is ordered to go to court.
He/she will be informed of the charges against him/her and must enter a plea of either “Guilty,” “No Contest” (“Nolo Contendere”) or “Not Guilty.”
If the defendant cannot afford an attorney, he/she may ask the court to appoint one for him/her at this time. A second court date is then scheduled.
- Pretrial Conference: The defendant will appear with his/her attorney. At the Pretrial, the prosecutor will offer to recommend a particular sentence to the judge, in exchange for a “Guilty” or “No Contest” (“Nolo Contendere”) plea from the defendant. The recommendation will be based on the seriousness of the crime, the defendant’s prior history and input received from the witnesses, including the victim.
The defense attorney will let the defendant know what sentence the prosecutor will recommend if the defendant pleads guilty. Many defendants change their pleas to “Guilty” “No Contest” (“Nolo Contendere”) at the Pretrial because they now realize how much evidence the prosecutor has and that if found guilty at trial the prosecutor would seek a harsher sentence.
If the defendant refuses the prosecution’s offer at the Pretrial, then a date is set for trial.
It is important for you to know that you do not have to attend either the Arraignment or Pretrial, but you are welcome to do so. Also, if the defendant pleads “Guilty” at either the Arraignment or Pretrial, there will not be a trial, you will not receive a subpoena, and you do not have to testify in court, but you do have the right to address the judge prior to the defendant’s being sentenced.
- Trial: Once the Trial date is set, the victim and other witnesses will be subpoenaed to testify in court. Trials for misdemeanors in the Las Vegas Municipal Court will be in front of a judge without a jury.
The prosecutor will present evidence to show that the defendant is guilty of committing the crime with which he/she is charged. This evidence may include the testimony of the victim, testimony of independent witnesses including police officers as well as photographs, medical records and 911 tapes.
The defendant will present testimony and evidence by himself or through an attorney. The judge will hear the evidence and then decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty.
- Sentencing: If the defendant is found guilty of battery domestic violence, the judge will decide the appropriate sentence within the guidelines established by Nevada Revised Statute (NRS). The sentence will include jail time, community service, fines and counseling.
The sentencing guidelines are also broken into levels for first and second domestic violence offenses being misdemeanors, while third or more offenses are felonies.
Regional Justice Center, Second Floor
200 Lewis Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89155 (Map)
P.O. Box 3930
Las Vegas, NV 89127
Phone: (702) 229-6201
Fax: (702) 464-2530
Business Hours: Monday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., CLOSED Friday