A Nevada Defense Attorney Unveils Proceedings Before a Magistrate in Nevada

In Nevada,  Chapter 171 of the state code addresses Proceedings to Commitment. This Chapter sets forth the rules of criminal procedure to ensure that defendants get due process of the law before they face penalties for alleged crimes or wrongdoing.  The criminal procedure code addresses issues like when and where defendants can be detained, the process for arrest and detainment, and what happens after a person has been taken into custody.

In general, after you have been taken into custody by a peace officer, the next phase in the criminal justice process involves proceedings before a magistrate. The process of appearing in court before a magistrate, hearing the charges against you, and arguing for bail can be a high-stress situation. You need to make sure you have someone who understands criminal procedure standing by your side, advising you and assisting you in making smart choices that reduce the chance of a criminal conviction.

LV Criminal Defense is here to help. Give us a call today to speak with a Nevada defense lawyer who can ensure you appear before a magistrate in a timely manner and who can help to make sure you are prepared for your appearance. We will appear with you and speak on you behalf as you come before the magistrate and fight for your future.

Proceedings Before a Magistrate

Defendants in the state of Nevada who are subject to arrest or who are detained by peace officers must be taken before a magistrate as soon as possible. After demanding an immediate appearance before a magistrate, being arrested by an officer carrying out a warrant, or being detained when an officer claims you committed a misdemeanor crime, you generally must be brought before a magistrate within no more than 72 hours.  If more than this amount of time has passed and a prosecutor is not able to explain the reason for the delay, the magistrate may order that you be released.

A variety of Nevada statutes on criminal procedure protect your right to appear before a magistrate in a timely manner, and establish the rules for what happens when you come before the magistrate. For example:

  • Nevada Revised Statute Section 171.178 requires that a peace officer take you before the magistrate who issued an arrest warrant, after taking you into custody to carry out the warrant. If you were arrested without a warrant, you must be taken to the nearest magistrate who has the lawful power to commit defendants who have been charged with offenses against the state. This same code section sets the rule that appearances before the magistrate must happen within 72 hours (excluding non-judicial days).
  • N.R.S. 171.178 also requires a complaint to be filed forthwith if you are arrested with no warrant and brought before a magistrate; and it mandates that an officer immediately release you from custody if you were arrested without a warrant and the officer believes there are insufficient grounds for issuing a criminal complaint.
  • N.R.S. 171.178 also provides that you must be released on bail with the least possible delay, if you can be admitted to bail without personally appearing before a magistrate. If you are released without first going before a magistrate, you will be required to appear at the earliest convenient time after release.
  • R.S. 182 stipulates that if you are brought before a magistrate other than the one who issued a warrant for your arrest, you have the right to insist that the affidavits and depositions that provided grounds for the warrant be sent to the magistrate you are appearing before. If the documents can’t be provided to the magistrate, you have the right to summon the prosecutor and witnesses to give testimony.
  • R.S. 171.1845 addresses what happens if you are brought before a magistrate in one county and it turns out there is a warrant for your arrest in a different county. If this occurs and the warrant was for an arrest on a misdemeanor crime, you can be released as long as you provide an address so you can be notified of when to appear in the appropriate county court to deal with your warrant. Your information, as well as bond you paid, will be sent to the magistrate who issued the arrest warrant. You must appear to deal with the warrant as ordered, or will be charged with the crime of failure to appear.
  • R.S. 171.186 sets forth your rights before a preliminary examination, including the right to a lawyer. This statute also makes clear you must be provided with reasonable time and opportunity to consult a lawyer, and that you should be informed of your right not to make any statements.
  • R.S. 171.192 provides that when you are admitted to bail, your warrant must be delivered to an officer who is in charge of you. You must be discharged from arrest when admitted to bail, but will be required to appear in court at a designated time to deal with your charges.
  • R.S. 171.196 addresses your right to a preliminary examination. If you do not waive your right to this preliminary examination, the magistrate must hear evidence within 15 days unless this time is extended for good cause. You have the right to consult with a lawyer before a preliminary examination. The specific process of the preliminary examination, as well as your right to discovery in order to obtain evidence, is set forth in N.R.S. 171.1965 – N.R.S. 171.204.
  • R.S. 171.206 establishes the process that follows a preliminary examination. If the examination reveals probable cause to believe you committed an offense, you may be held to answer in the district court. Otherwise, you will be discharged.

There are other rules, provisions, and protections of your rights found within the Nevada code of criminal procedure as well. Because the laws are so complex related to your right to appear before a magistrate after an arrest, it is advisable to seek legal representation as soon as possible when you are detained. 

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Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


A Las Vegas Defense Lawyer Can Help

LV Criminal Defense will assist you in ensuring you come before the magistrate quickly; in arguing for bail so you can be released; and in helping you to prepare for a preliminary examination. Call us as soon as you can after you have been arrested to speak with a Nevada defense lawyer who will help you to develop an effective legal strategy for fighting for your freedom, even before your case officially goes to trial.