Will I Need to Return to Vegas for Court Dates?

Written by: The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata

What Can Happen if You Face Criminal or Misdemeanor Charges

Millions of people visit Las Vegas annually to gamble, see shows, and, more recently, attend sporting events. The nature of the city sometimes prompts visitors to make choices that often end up in citations from law enforcement or arrests. What happens if a tourist is assigned a court date or must go through a legal proceeding?

At The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata, we represent individuals who have received traffic citations or have been arrested for various offenses while visiting Las Vegas. Our lawyers can help fight the charges against you and will work to protect your rights and your freedom. If you are an out-of-state resident arrested while visiting Las Vegas, contact our office at (702) 707-7085 to schedule a free consultation.

Nevada's Lengthy Trial Process

When cases go to court in Nevada, the process often becomes drawn out, even if the offense is minor. Although many court cases begin with an arrest, those for minor offenses do not. Law enforcement may issue a citation with a request to appear in court coming later.

For those who are arrested and make bail, the process is different. Some defendants are released on their own recognizance or must meet bail. Those who cannot are entitled to a 48-hour hearing after two days in jail and a 72-hour hearing one day later. At the first hearing, a judge determines whether probable cause is present and whether bail is appropriate. At the second, formal charges may be brought, and the defendant can argue for less bail.

An arraignment occurs, detailing the charges, with a guilty or not guilty motion entered. Pre-trial conferences occur next, followed by a preliminary hearing where a judge dismisses the charges or allows the case to be "bound over" to the appropriate court. Preliminary hearings can occur as soon as two weeks after the arraignment, but most are scheduled at least two to three months later to give the defense time to prepare. Cases not dismissed or resolved by a plea bargain go to trial.

Common Offenses Committed by Vegas Tourists

Tourists frequently misunderstand some local laws, leading them into illegal situations. For example, prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas because of Henderson County's size (700,000+ people). Similarly, under the state's Open or Gross Lewdness Act, you could end up in jail for inappropriately touching a stranger in a club.

Other common arrests include:

  • DUI
  • Marijuana and drug possession
  • Assault
  • Unpaid casino markers

Most Legal Proceedings Can Occur Remotely

If you secure a release from jail through a bond or your recognizance, or if you receive a notice in the mail to appear in court after you return home, an experienced lawyer like Garrett T. Ogata can handle your legal defense without you needing to make a trip to Las Vegas. In most cases that we take for out-of-state clients, we can waive your appearance and stand in for you on your behalf, so you don't have to be physically present in the courtroom. This saves you a lot of time and money when traveling back and forth, along with stress from wondering how you'll take time off work for the trip.

You must be aware that two instances require you to appear in court: the preliminary hearing and the trial itself. A preliminary trial hearing, also called a probable cause hearing, is a standard pretrial proceeding in most felony and gross misdemeanor cases where the state tries to persuade the judge that it has sufficient reason to press criminal charges. For both the pretrial hearing and the trials, we can work on your behalf to set a date that will suit your schedule.

Arrested for an Offense in Las Vegas? Contact Us Today

You don't have to feel trapped by an unexpected arrest in Las Vegas. Contact our office at (702) 707-7085 to schedule a no-obligation consultation and get the representation you need now.

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