Appearing in Court
When you visit us at Tahoe Justice Court on the second floor of the Douglas County Administration building, you’ll notice that it’s a small office with a customer service counter behind a window. Please be patient and wait in line if there is one, or until your name is called if you’ve already checked in.
Here are some basic guidelines you should follow when working with the courts:
- Appropriate court attire is to be worn in the courtrooms. Tank tops, bare midriff shirts, shorts, hats and sunglasses are not appropriate. No clothing that illustrates profanity or inappropriate words or conduct will be allowed in the courtroom.
- Cellular phones and pagers may not be used in the courtroom. Please turn them off before entering the courtroom. If they make noise during court proceedings a sanction and contempt of court charge could be assessed by the judge.
- No gum, food, or drinks allowed in the courtroom.
- No profanity is allowed unless permission has been given by the judge.
- No smoking inside or outside the court building.
- No weapons are allowed in the courtrooms.
- Silence in the courtrooms, except as otherwise directed and/or indicated by proper authority.
Your first court date on a misdemeanor criminal case is typically referred to as an arraignment. Your first court date on a felony or gross misdemeanor charge is referred to as a ‘first appearance’. The purpose of an arraignment is to:
- Advise you of your rights under the Nevada Constitution and the Constitution of the United States
- Inform you of the charge[s] against you
- Provide you with a copy of the complaint
- Answer any questions you might have
- Enter a plea to the charge[s] if it is a misdemeanor case
- Set a date for your next court appearance, if applicable
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. Not all cases and not all defendants qualify for a court-appointed attorney. The Judge will ask you questions about your financial situation to determine eligibility.
Pre-Trial Status Conference: Misdemeanor
If you enter a not guilty plea at your arraignment, your next court appearance is typically one or two weeks later for a Mandatory Status Conference. At the conference you, or you and your attorney will meet with a representative from the District Attorney’s office to discuss resolution of your case; review claims and evidence; and attempt to determine if the charge(s) should be dismissed, reduced or whether you will change your plea to guilty, or whether the parties will request a trial.
Pre-Trial Status Conference: Felony or Gross Misdemeanor
Following your first appearance on a felony or gross misdemeanor charge, your next court appearance is typically one or two weeks later for a Mandatory Status Conference. At the conference you, or you and your attorney will meet with a representative from the District Attorney’s office to discuss resolution of your case; review claims and evidence; and attempt to determine if the charge(s) should be dismissed, reduced or whether you will waive your right to a preliminary hearing, or whether the parties will request a preliminary hearing.