Facing Misdemeanor Charges in Las Vegas, Nevada
Misdemeanor charges are, by far, the most common kind of charges in Las Vegas. Most crimes, from minor traffic tickets to battery domestic violence can be charged as misdemeanors.
If you are currently charged with a misdemeanor in Las Vegas, or you had a misdemeanor charge in a past and want to seal your criminal record, call us at 702-432-1000 to discuss your case. The initial consultation is always free.
Misdemeanor Definition & Penalties
Under Nevada law, a misdemeanor is a criminal charge. Generally, a misdemeanor is any crime that has a punishment of 6 months or less in jail and can carry fees and fines that total thousands of dollars.
A gross misdemeanor is any crime that has a punishment less than a year but more than 6 months in jail.
Simple misdemeanor example could be:
- Petty Theft
- Traffic Ticket
- Driving under the influence - DUI / DWI
- Battery and battery domestic violence
- Vandalism and home invasion
- Resisting Arrest
- Operating without a business license
Can I Represent Myself?
Many people ask us, "Since misdemeanor is a minor offense, can I represent myself in Las Vegas court?"
The answer is yes and no. A person always has the option of representing themselves. And it is always a good decision to consult with an attorney first. For more serious offenses, a public defender will be assigned, when a person cannot afford an attorney.
Having a Public Defender
In Las Vegas, the government does not always have to give you a public defender for a misdemeanor crime. In fact, in many courts the judge may charge you for using the public defender's office. But be careful. If you strike a deal on your own and you fail to honor its terms, in Las Vegas you can still go to jail.
Can I Get a Citation for a Misdemeanor?
Yes, in Las Vegas, in many misdemeanor cases, a person is only cited for an offense and not arrested. The severity of the offense often determines whether the officer will arrest a person or only cite them.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony
A misdemeanor is different from a felony.
A conviction for a felony charge can result in a year or more in prison. However, a misdemeanor cannot have a penalty for over half a year in jail.
It is important to note, that when multiple misdemeanors are present, a judge can sentence a defendant to consecutive jail terms that total more than a year.
Misdemeanor Charges and Immigration Laws
Some misdemeanors can have very severe immigration consequences. For instance, a guilty plea for battery domestic violence is immediate grounds for deportation.
Do I Need a Bail?
Whether to post bail is always a personal decision based on each individual case. Some things to consider are whether a person has a job that they may lose by staying in jail, or important bills that must be paid. Generally, a person’s case is much better to defend, when they are not in custody.
Misdemeanors and a Background Check
Even minor misdemeanor charges will show on a background check and can stop a qualified candidate from getting a good job, renting an apartment or getting a mortgage.
Record Sealing for Misdemeanor Charges
In Nevada, the proper way to handle your misdemeanor charge is to seal your criminal record. Record sealing prevents a private employer from being able to see a criminal charge. Moreover, under Nevada law, a person with a sealed record can legally say that the charge that was sealed never happened.
Misdemeanors don't just disappear from your record. You have to petition the court. If a former defendant does not petition the court to seal their record, a misdemeanor charge will remain on their record forever. Please note: If you were arrested in Nevada, a record sealing process must be originated in Nevada.
A record sealing for misdemeanors involves a fairly technical packet of documents that can be denied, if it is not done correctly. For more information call us at 702-432-1000.
Misdemeanor and Record Sealing: How Long Should I Wait?
In Nevada, most misdemeanors can be sealed two (2) years from the time that the case closes out. Misdemeanor DUI and battery domestic violence charges can be sealed seven (7) years after the case closes. Check our record sealing page for most recent requirements.
We Can Help
The office of Heshmati & Associates handles misdemeanors almost daily. It is important to remember, because you are charged with a misdemeanor, it doesn't mean you will be convicted. At the same time, some misdemeanors can have surprisingly harsh consequences and you need to find a good misdemeanor attorney to represent you in court.
We invite you to call us at 702-432-1000 and speak with our misdemeanor attorney.
The initial consultation is always free and confidential.
We represent clients charged with misdemeanors in Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin, North Las Vegas and throughout the surrounding areas of Nevada.
We provide record sealing services.
Payment plans are available.
Walk-ins are always welcome.
Last updated on January 5, 2018.
NACDL & Misdemeanors. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is dedicated to reforming our criminal justice and prison system. NACDL is a leading voice for Misdemeanor reform to reduce overcrowding in the court and jail systems.