The Wilbur D. May Museum at Rancho San Rafael has a wide range of historic artifacts
The Wilbur D. May Museum at Rancho San Rafael has a wide range of historic artifacts
County Home => Sparks Justice Court => Criminal Department
Additional Pages

Criminal Department

Phone: 775.353.7600   Fax: 775.352.3004

Assistant Court Administrator

Anita (Pete) Whitehead

awhitehead@washoecounty.us

Payments for a criminal case will be accepted Monday thru Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday 7:45 a.m to noon. Sparks Justice court accepts the following forms of payment:

  • Cash
  • Personal Check
  • Cashier's Check
  • Money Order
  • Western Union
  • Credit Card*

Include the following information on your payment: Name on case and/or case number.

If you must pay a fine after payment business hours, a drop box is available for your convenience located at the northeast corner of the building.

*A minimum $3.50 service fee will be applied to all payments under $100.  A 3.5% service fee will be applied to all payments over $100 for all credit card transactions. 

Hearing Types

Arraignment.  Sometimes called an initial appearance, this is where defendants who are accused of crimes are advised of the charges pending against them.  The defendant is not called on to enter a plea and is only required to acknowledge that he or she understands the charges against them.  In all felonies, gross misdemeanors, and misdemeanors that include a possible jail sentence, this is the point where either the public defender is appointed or the accused is required to obtain counsel. 

Pretrial.  A scheduled meeting between the defendant and his attorney (if he has one) and the Deputy District Attorney to discuss the possible resolution of the case without the need for a trial.  No witnesses are called and either the parties agree on a compromise, which is called a plea bargain, or the matter is set for trial.  Not every case has a pretrial hearing scheduled and there is no right to have one.

Trial.  A judicial examination to determine whether an accused is guilty or not guilty in a criminal matter or whether a defendant is liable for damages or other relief in a civil matter.  In justice court, most trials happen solely before a judge with no jury.  Only certain civil matters are tried before juries at the party's request.  The justice court only has jurisdiction to conduct criminal trials for misdemeanors, which include tickets and citations.

Preliminary Hearings.  A hearing before a judge to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to bind a criminal defendant over for trial in district court.  This applies to all gross misdemeanors and felonies.  A defendant will be bound over for trial if probable cause exists to believe that the defendant committed the crime(s).  This is not a guilt determination, so the State only has to produce a limited amount of evidence and does not need to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt at this hearing.  The right to a preliminary hearing can be waived and the matter sent directly to district court.