What Happens Immediately After the Criminal Complaint Has Been Lodged Against You in Las Vegas?

Vegas Defense Lawyer Explains Crime of Disturbing a MeetingWhen a crime is reported, the police conduct an investigation. They submit the findings of their investigation to a district attorney, who can decide whether to press charges. If the DA decides to move forward with a case, a criminal complaint must be filed. A preliminary hearing is usually held next to determine if there is probable cause of a crime. If there is enough evidence to suggest it is possible the defendant violated the law, the case will proceed to District Court for arraignment.

There are strict rules governing the process of filing a criminal complaint, conducting an investigation, and executing a warrant for arrest. These rules are intended to ensure that defendants get due process of the law. Many defendants, however, do not understand the criminal process and are not certain what their rights are or what the duties of the prosecutor are. Those who have been charged with a crime, or who are concerned they may be charged, need to make smart choices. Defendants need to hire a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer who understands the Nevada Rules of criminal procedure, including the rules applicable to warrants or summons upon a complaint.

At LV Criminal Defense, our Las Vegas criminal attorneys know every detail of Nevada’s criminal procedure code, and we use our legal knowledge and experience to look for procedural or technical issues that could be used to help our clients. If police and prosecutors fail to follow the rules, sometimes cases can be dismissed or a prosecutor’s case against a defendant can be undermined. Attacking a case on procedural grounds can be an effective way to resolve legal problems without a criminal conviction or criminal penalties. We also help defendants to explore other options for responding to charges as well. To learn more and to get help from a lawyer who takes a comprehensive approach to fighting charges, give us a call.

What are the Nevada Rules for a Warrant or Summons Upon Complaint?

In the state of Nevada, the rules for criminal complaints, arrest warrants, arrests, and summons are set forth in Nevada Revised Statutes 171.102 through 171.22. These rules address:

  • The definition of a criminal complaint. According to R.S. 171.102, a complaint is a written statement setting forth essential facts of crime a defendant has been charged with.
  • Requirements for a valid criminal complaint, which include taking an oath before a notary public or magistrate or making a declaration subject to the penalty for perjury.
  • Electronic filing of court complaints, which is permitted as long as the complaint contains an image of the signature of the prosecuting attorney.
  • The issuance of an arrest warrant or a summons commanding a defendant to go to court. The warrant or summons may be issued after a complaint is made, as long as the complaint sets forth probable cause to move forward with commencing a case against the defendant.
  • The required contents of an arrest warrant, including a magistrate’s signature, the defendant’s name, the date and location where the warrant was issued, and a description of the offense the defendant has been charged with.
  • The required contents of a summons, which requires a defendant to appear before a magistrate at a specified time or place.
  • Rules for who can execute an arrest warrant. In general an arrest must be made by a peace officer while a summons may be served by anyone authorized to serve a summons in a civil action.
  • Situations in which a magistrate can deputize someone to act as a constable, which include situations where there is no constable available and the nature of the business requires immediate action.
  • The location where a warrant or summons can be executed or served, which is generally any location within the jurisdiction of Nevada.
  • The manner in which an arrest warrant can be executed or a summons can be served.

Peace officers must follow the rules for arresting defendants, and prosecutors must follow the requirements for making complaints. A failure to follow these criminal procedure rules can result in claims of due process violations. An experienced Las Vegas defense attorney can provide more information on what happens when specific processes are not followed correctly by law enforcement or by prosecutors working within the criminal justice system.

What are Your Rights in Nevada When You are Arrested?

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


The rules for warrants or for the service of summons are designed to protect the rights of people who are being arrested or who are required to appear in court to address accusations made against them.

In addition to the protections provided by Nevada’s rules, such as requirements stipulating you must be made aware of what you have been arrested for, there are also other guidelines established by the U.S. Constitution. For example, you have the right to remain silent, the right to a lawyer, the right not to incriminate yourself, and the right to make a phone call when arrested. You also have the right to be arraigned quickly, notified of all charges, and to have a speedy trial.

Because there are many different protections in the justice system for defendants, many people who are arrested have a very real chance of escaping the system without penalties or with minimal consequences. However, you need to know how to navigate the criminal justice system and make the legal rules work for you. This means you need an experienced legal advocate on your side.

How can a Las Vegas Defense Lawyer Help With Your Case?

Being arrested can be a terribly frightening experience. Nevada laws aim to ensure you are provided with all necessary information about what the charges against you are and about what you must do to try to defend yourself and fight conviction.

At LV criminal defense we bring extensive legal knowledge of Nevada’s criminal procedure rules to the table. We will make sure your rights are respected during a criminal investigation, after an arrest, and during a trial or plea negotiations. Our goal is always to resolve your case in a timely manner with the best possible outcome based on the specifications of your situation.

What Our Client are saying

When I initially met with Mr. Wooldridge, he took the opportunity to sit and go over my problem with me. He described details in my case which he found disturbing and explained why he I should have him on my side.

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Call us today to learn more about how we can help you if you have received a summons or if you have been placed under arrest.