Timeline Of A Criminal Law Case

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The Timeline of a Criminal Law Case

When you are arrested in Reno, Nevada, the court follows its customary criminal case procedure to deal with the arrest. Learn the timeline of a criminal law case. This process can quickly become lengthy and strenuous without the help of a qualified Reno criminal defense attorney. At Carlson & Work, our defense lawyers can guide you on criminal law case proceedings.

The Start of a Criminal Law Case

A criminal law case begins when the police arrest the defendant and present evidence of the crime to the District Attorney. After reviewing the evidence, if the District Attorney believes that there is sufficient evidence for the crime, they will either make a criminal complaint for minor cases or present the evidence to a grand jury in more serious cases. If the grand jury believes there is enough evidence to pursue a criminal charge, then the District Attorney will file an indictment against the accused. Following the indictment, a criminal information document that charges the arrested with the crimes will be filed through the court.

Arraignment Hearing

An arraignment hearing gives the defendant the choice to plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty to the charges against them. A Reno criminal defense attorney can advise a defendant with a criminal complaint on how they should plead. If the defendant pleads not guilty, their case will be set for trial.

Pretrial Conferences

In a pretrial conference, the defense lawyer will broker a plea deal with the prosecutor. If the defense lawyer and prosecutor can agree on a plea deal, a judge will be informed of the deal. If the judge agrees with the plea deal, the case will not have a preliminary hearing or trial and will go straight to the sentencing stage of a criminal law case.

Preliminary Hearings

When a plea deal is not granted by the judge, a preliminary hearing will occur. During a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor will use any evidence they have to prove that the defendant committed the crimes that they have been charged with. A defense lawyer will use the preliminary hearing to discover the evidence that the prosecutor has on the accused.


During a trial, a judge will determine a sentence for the defendant. Some of the punishments that a criminal defendant may face include:

  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Counseling
  • Jail time
  • Restitution

A defendant can challenge their sentence after a trial by asking the court for a new trial or appealing to a higher court. A Reno criminal defense attorney can help advise the defendant on how to pursue a new trial.

The Reno criminal law case procedure can be elaborate and stressful. An experienced defense lawyer can streamline and ease the process. Contact the Reno criminal defense attorneys of Carlson & Work at 775-386-2226 for assistance on your criminal law case.


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