If you missed a court date, forgot to pay a fine, or otherwise violated a court order, there may be a capias, also known as a bench warrant, for your arrest. In some cases, people violate court orders, know about their capias, and just hope they do not get caught. But many people have no idea that they have an outstanding bench warrant and only find out when they are arrested.
The laws surrounding a capias order can be confusing to people who have little experience with the legal system. Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorney with De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers can help you understand a capias in Nevada and may be able to help if there is a capias for your arrest.
What Is a Capias in Nevada?
A Nevada capias is a bench warrant for a person’s arrest. It is known as a bench warrant because a judge issues it from the bench. A judge issues a capias when a person fails to appear in court as ordered or violated other court orders.
For example, someone may not have paid a fine or completed community service hours. Bench warrants never expire, so people can be arrested on a capias years later.
Reasons the Nevada Courts Issue a Capias
Most of the time, the police in Nevada do not actively search for people with outstanding bench warrants. However, they will arrest someone with a capias if they stop them or pick them up for another reason. For example, when police stop drivers for traffic violations, they automatically run their names for a capias. If they find one, they will arrest the driver at that time.
A capias can be issued for various reasons, including the following:
Failure to Appear in Court
People released with or without bail but failed to appear in court at the ordered time and place can face charges under NRS § 199.335. If a person fails to surrender not later than 30 days after the required court appearance, the individual will face penalties. The penalties for failing to appear in court depend on the charges the person faces.
- Misdemeanor charges: Failing to appear in court for one or more misdemeanor charges is a misdemeanor punishable by a county jail sentence of not more than six months and/or a fine of not more than $1,000, or community service, s NRS § 193.150.
- Gross misdemeanor: Failing to appear for one or more gross misdemeanorsis a gross misdemeanor punishable by a county jail sentence of not more than 364 days and/or a fine of not more than $2,000, according to NRS §193.140.
- Felony charges:Failing to appear for one or more felony charges is a Category D felony punishable by a state prison sentence of not less than one year but not more than four years and a fine of not more than $5,000, according to NRS § 193.130.
If a person with misdemeanor or felony charges leaves Nevada to avoid prosecution, they will be charged with a Category D felony and face penalties.
Contempt of Court
A judge can find people in contempt of court and issue a bench warrant for:
- Failing to pay a court-ordered fine
- Failing to complete court-ordered community service
- Failing to show up for jury duty
- Failing to testify in front of a grand jury after being subpoenaed
- Failing to comply with other court orders
Under current Nevada law, many minor traffic violations, such as speeding, seat belt violations, and cell phone use, are misdemeanor criminal offenses. A traffic citation may come with a fine and potential jail time. According to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, the court will issue a capias or bench warrant for people who fail to pay their fines or serve their jail sentences.
As of January 1, 2023, Nevada will decriminalize most misdemeanor traffic offenses. At that time, any outstanding bench warrants for misdemeanor traffic offenses will be canceled.
What to Do if You Find Out You Have a Capias in Nevada
If you think you might have a capias, you should find out as soon as possible so that you can take care of it. If you think a bench warrant was issued in the greater Las Vegas area, you can check with the following jurisdictions by calling any of these numbers:
- Las Vegas Municipal Court (702) 229-6201
- North Las Vegas Municipal Court (702) 633-1130
- North Las Vegas Justice Court (702) 455-7801
- Henderson Justice Court (702) 455-7951
- Clark County Justice Court (702) 671-3201
The Las Vegas Municipal Court also maintains an online database of outstanding warrants that you can search. Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer with De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers can also check for any bench warrants for you.
How to Handle a Capias in Nevada
Once you realize you have a capias, you should act to resolve it as quickly as possible. If you missed a court date, go to the court or contact it immediately. You can also contact a criminal defense lawyer for legal guidance. Our lawyer can review your case and help you figure out the best legal strategy to resolve the situation.
Depending on your circumstances, we may recommend that you fulfill the order that you violated, such as paying your fines or completing your community service. We also may recommend that you try to get the capias removed.
How a Nevada Lawyer Can Help if You Have a Capias
Our Nevada criminal defense lawyer may be able to help if you have a capias. We can:
- Search for any outstanding bench warrants
- Appear in court on your behalf
- File a motion to quash or recall the capias
We will advocate for your best interests and work to resolve your case as quickly as possible with minimal impact on your life.
Contact De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers for Legal Help
A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney with De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers may be able to help if you have a capias or bench warrant in Nevada, so call our office today.
We can explain why there is a bench warrant for your arrest, advise you on how to resolve the situation, and represent you in court. Call today for prompt legal assistance during a free consultation.