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Procedure in Justice Courts

Procedure in Justice Courts Explained by Nevada Defense Lawyer

Have you been accused of a crime in the state of Nevada? If so, one of the first steps in your criminal case may involve a hearing before the Justice Courts. There are a total of 40 Justice Courts located among the different counties in Nevada, as the Nevada Supreme Court explains. At these Justice Courts, 65 Justices of the Peace preside over traffic cases and preside over certain non-traffic misdemeanor claims, as well as hearing cases related to temporary protective orders and summary evictions.

Another key responsibility of the Justice Courts in Nevada is to determine, in felony and misdemeanor cases, if there is sufficient evidence for a case to be bound over to criminal court. In other words, the Justice of the Peace can review preliminary information in order to make a determination regarding whether you should have to stand trial in District Court for the crimes that you have been accused of.

A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney at LV Criminal Defense can represent you when you have a case before the Justice Courts. We help defendants at all phases of their criminal proceedings, from the time when an investigation begins through all court action and to the ultimate conclusion of the case – which will hopefully involve acquittal, charges being dropped or a favorable plea deal. To find out more about the ways in which our Nevada criminal law firm can help you, give us a call.

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Procedure in Justice Courts

The decisions made in Justice Court can profoundly impact the rights of defendants, so it is important that the court operate appropriately in accordance with the law so a defendant’s right to due process is protected. Chapter 189 of Nevada’s Revised Statutes details the rules for justice courts. Within Chapter 189, there are two different major sections: Procedure in Justice Courts and Appeals to District Courts. Within the Appeals to District Courts section, there are different subsections for appeals by the defendant versus appeals by the state.

Nevada’s rules for Procedure in Justice Courts are found in N.R.S. 189.005 and N.R.S. 189.007. Nevada Revised Statute section 189.005 indicates that any criminal proceedings which take place in Nevada’s Justice Courts must follow the guidelines and policies set forth in Chapter 189. These rules must be followed for all Justice Court proceedings, outside of situations which Chapter 189 specifically designates as an exception.

N.R.S. 189.007 is a vitally important section of Chapter 189 for any defendant who has been accused of a criminal act. N.R.S. 189.007 explains the grounds for dismissal of a complaint. Dismissal of a complaint means that your case does not move forward to District Court. It can be the best possible outcome because it ends your involvement with the criminal justice system in connection with the accusations that the prosecutor has made against you so you do not need to worry about defending yourself during a full criminal trial.

According to N.R.S. 189.007, there are three primary grounds for dismissal of a complaint.

  • The first of the grounds for dismissal is that the Justice of the Peace does not have jurisdiction over the particular offense which you have been accused of committing. Jurisdiction refers to authority to preside over the case. If the Justice of the Peace did not have the authority to issue a ruling on the case, it is likely another court would have jurisdiction and your case could then be moved before that other court.
  • The second of the grounds for dismissal of a complaint under N.R.S. 189.007 is that more than one offense is charged in any one county of the complaint.
  • Finally, the third of the grounds for dismissal of a complaint under N.R.S. 189.007 is that the facts which have been stated are not considered a public offense. In other words, this would mean that the facts which were presented to the Justice of the Peace in Justice Court as a preliminary step to criminal proceedings in District Court do not actually suggest that a crime was committed. You cannot have criminal charges move forward when the preliminary evidence being presented in support of those charges does not suggest the possibility of a crime being committed.

A Vegas criminal lawyer can provide assistance in understanding these different grounds for dismissal. In a best case scenario, there will simply be insufficient evidence to suggest that you broke any of the laws of the state of Nevada, so your case will not move on to the next phase of a criminal trial.

If a decision is made by the Justice of the Peace that is unfavorable to you, you do not just have to accept this decision as the end of the matter either. Chapter 189 provides a process for appealing decisions that were made by the Justice of the Peace and explains when appeals are possible and how to go about appealing. An experienced attorney can help you to determine if you should appeal a decision made in Justice Court or if an alternative legal strategy would be more appropriate in your situation and more likely to achieve your desired outcome.

Getting Help from a Nevada Criminal Law Firm

A criminal attorney in Nevada should be consulted as soon as you are facing charges, or as soon as your case is to come before the Justice of the Peace if you do not already have a lawyer. The charges that you face could change your life, and getting your charges dismissed very early on while your case is still in Justice Court could spare you a tremendous amount of time, stress and risk.

LV Criminal Defense has helped many defendants to successfully avoid a criminal trial in district court. We have also provided assistance during criminal proceedings with the goal of making compelling arguments to the court and achieving favorable outcomes. To find out more about how Vegas defense lawyers can assist with your case in Justice Court, District Court, or any court within Nevada’s criminal justice system, give us a call today.

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