Las Vegas Criminal Attorneys Analyze Citations for Misdemeanors in Nevada Under Chapter 171
In the state of Nevada, a wide variety of criminal acts are classified as misdemeanor offenses. Defendants who are charged with a misdemeanor do not face penalties as serious as those which could apply if charged with a felony. However, a misdemeanor could still result in imprisonment, and the potential for incarceration, fines, and a criminal record.
When you are accused of committing a misdemeanor, you have certain legal rights. You must protect yourself from any violations of the protections the constitution affords to you and you must understand how the Nevada criminal procedure rules dictate how your case will unfold. Knowing the law and taking advantage of all legal tools to respond strategically to charges can be a very complicated process. You shouldn’t try to handle your misdemeanor charges on your own. LV Criminal Defense represents clients who are charged with any type of misdemeanor crime. From shoplifting to impaired driving to drug crimes, our legal defense team has the knowledge and skill to fight for your freedom.
Don’t assume a misdemeanor should not be taken seriously. Contact a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer to learn about your options, to fight charges, and to get help during the process of resolving your misdemeanor arrest.
Your Rights After Receiving a Citation for a Misdemeanor
The Nevada code addresses the rights of defendants who have been accused of committing a misdemeanor offense. Some of the most important protections which apply to those accused of misdemeanor crimes are the protections that ensure you are taken before the magistrate quickly. You do not want to be forced to spend a lengthy period in custody because you are detained for a suspected misdemeanor- you want to go before the magistrate right away and argue for bail so you can be released and go back to your work and family responsibilities.
N.R.S. 171.177 makes clear that if you are detained by a peace officer for an alleged violation of any state law and the violation is punishable as a misdemeanor, you must be taken before the proper magistrate without unnecessary delay. The specific circumstances under which you must be taken before a magistrate include:
- When you demand that you be taken before a magistrate for an immediate appearance.
- If you have been detailed by a peace officer after a warrant had been issued for your arrest
- If you were arrested by a police officer
You also have the right to be taken before a magistrate with no unnecessary delay in any other situation when you are issued a misdemeanor citation by someone with authorization to cite you and you refuse to give a written promise to appear in court.
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A Misdemeanor Citation Does Not Always Mean You Will be Detained
You can be detained by a peace officer or arrested if a warrant is issued for your arrest because of your alleged commission of any misdemeanor offense. You can also be detained if an officer believes that they observed you committed a misdemeanor offense or believes there is credible evidence to form a reasonable belief you committed a misdemeanor. In all of these circumstances, the requirements set forth in N.R.S. 171.177 require you to be taken before a magistrate as soon as possible after you are taken into custody.
There are many circumstances, however, where you will not actually be detained or taken into custody, even if you are suspected of committing a misdemeanor. N.R.S. 171.1773 makes clear that you can be given a misdemeanor citation and ordered to appear before a magistrate, but not actually taken into custody or immediately brought before a magistrate. In other words, the officer just gives you the citation and tells you to come to court, but doesn’t physically force you to go with him or to go immediately before a magistrate.
If the officer wishes to cite you but not take you into custody immediately, the officer must prepare a citation manually or electronically. The citation must specify whether the complaint against you is being made by the State of Nevada or must specify the name of a county, city, or town that is citing you for an alleged violation of the law. The citation must be signed by the officer and delivered to you, and the citation must specify when you are required to appear in court to deal with the misdemeanor charges. The time that is specified for you to appear in court must be at least five days after the alleged violation occurred, unless you demand an earlier hearing.
If you are given a citation but not detained, you will be asked to give a written promise to appear in court on the appointed date. You will also be asked to sign at least one copy of the misdemeanor citation that the peace officer has prepared. If you refuse to sign to promise you will appear in court, this will likely result in the officer taking you into custody- at which point you’ll have the right to go before a magistrate without unnecessary delay as guaranteed in N.R.S. 171.177.
What to Do When Cited for a Misdemeanor Offense
When you have been cited for a misdemeanor, it is important for you to understand your rights. Nevada Revised Statutes Section 171.177 through N.R.S. 171.1779 provide comprehensive details about what peace officers must do to issue a valid citation, as well as about how citations must be filed with the court and how courts must keep records of citations.
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At LV Criminal Defense, our legal team has a comprehensive understanding of all procedural rules connected with the issue of misdemeanor citations. We know how to help you respond to misdemeanor charges and we will work hard to help you try to minimize your time behind bars and to resolve your misdemeanor charges as quickly and effectively as possible.
Getting Help from a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer
Clients charged with misdemeanors may have many options, from pleading not guilty to negotiating a favorable plea agreement with limited penalties to entering into a pre-trial diversion program. A Las Vegas defense attorney can help you to respond proactively and explore all legal strategies to get the best outcome. Call LV Criminal Defense today to learn more.