What To Expect
understand that you may have many questions about what to expect when you appear
in court. The following information is provided for your convenience.
information is important to you. It will answer many of your questions, so
please read it carefully. If you do not understand or still have
questions, you may ask the judge.
The purpose of an arraignment is to advise you of your rights under the Nevada
Constitution and the Constitution of the United States, to inform you of the
charge[s] against you, to provide you with a copy of the complaint, to answer
any questions you might have, to have you enter a plea to the charge[s], to set
a date for your pretrial conference, trial or preliminary hearing, or depending
on your plea, to sentence you. In some cases you may be eligible for a
court-appointed attorney at a reduced cost or at no cost, if you cannot afford
one. The Judge will ask you questions about your financial situation to
you are called to stand before the judge you will be required to enter a plea.
The ways you may plea to a misdemeanor offense are:
plea of guilty means that you are admitting that you did what the state accuses
you of doing. It will result in a conviction for the charge[s].
plea of no contest, or nolo contendere, means that you are not admitting guilt
and not denying it. You are saying that you do not intend to contest the
charge[s]. In this case, the judge will find you guilty of the charge[s].
It will result in a conviction for the charge[s] and the provisions under
"Guilty" above apply. There are some advantages to the No
Contest Plea, especially if you were involved in a traffic accident.
plea of not guilty means that you are denying the charge[s] and are demanding
that the State prove the allegations at
trial "beyond a reasonable doubt".
OFFENSES, SUCH AS DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS, CARRY
ENHANCEMENT PENALTIES FOR SUBSEQUENT CONVICTIONS. CONVICTIONS MAY ALSO RESULT IN
A VIOLATION OF PROBATION OR PAROLE, IF APPLICABLE, AND/OR THE RECHARGING OF A
COMPLAINT THAT HAS BEEN DEFERRED. YOU SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL BEFORE
ENTERING A GUILTY OR NO CONTEST PLEA TO A SERIOUS MISDEMEANOR.
Give Up Your Constitutional Rights By Pleading Guilty or No Contest. You
give up your right to a trial, your right to the assistance of an attorney at
all stages of the proceedings, including appeal. You give up your right to
confront the witnesses and to cross-examine them, your right to present
evidence on your own behalf, the right to have subpoenas issued to compel
witnesses of your choosing to appear and testify, and your right to remain
silent. Your plea must be free and voluntary and not the result of any force,
threats, or promises (except a plea agreement, if any).
You Are Not A Citizen: Pleading guilty or no contest may affect your
immigration status. Admitting guilt may result in deportation, even if the
charge is later dismissed. The admission of guilt could result in your
deportation or removal, could prevent you from being able to get legal status,
or from becoming a
If you plead guilty or no contest or are found guilty after a trial,
the judge will sentence you. The sentence will usually be pronounced right
after you enter your plea or at the conclusion of the trial resulting in your
being found guilty.
You Plead Not Guilty: You should plead not guilty if you wish to
contest the charges and have a trial. If you are not sure what to do, or if you
are confused, or if you want to think about it further, you may enter a not
guilty plea or ask the Judge for a continuance of the arraignment. You can
later decide to change your plea to guilty or no contest if you wish. If
you plead not guilty you will have a pretrial conference to try to settle your
THERE IS NO PENALTY FOR PLEADING NOT GUILTY. YOUR SENTENCE WILL NOT BE MORE SEVERE OR LESS SEVERE BASED MERELY ON HOW YOU PLEAD.
Hearing or any other hearing scheduled: A pre-trial appearance is a
chance for you to meet with the Deputy District Attorney handling your case. He or
she will have reviewed the file and your record prior to the hearing, and determine if negotiating your case is a good alternative.
You MUST attend any future
court dates set in your case. You will receive a yellow return to court
slip. It will have the date, time, location, and the type of hearing
scheduled. Failure to appear for a hearing may result in a warrant being
issued for your arrest, without further notice.