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How Does the Nevada District Court Work?

Article 6 Section 5 of the Nevada Constitution created the Nevada District Courts within the state’s judiciary. Also known as the trial courts, the District Courts are divided into 11 judicial districts and located across Nevada’s 17 counties. The jurisdiction of the District Courts encompasses the following legal matters:

  • Civil cases where the amount in controversy is more than $15,0q00
  • Felony and gross-misdemeanor criminal cases
  • Family cases
  • Juvenile justice matters
  • Appeals from the Justice and Municipal Courts

Nevada District Courts also have original jurisdiction over legal matters that surpass the jurisdiction of the Justice and Municipal Courts, and authority to issue writs of mandamus, injunction, prohibition, quo-warranto, and certiorari. Cases heard by the courts are disposed by bench or jury trials, and also by mediation and arbitration. Funding for the courts is sourced from the state and counties. The processes and practices of the court are regulated by the state’s constitution, statutes, and court rules (Rules of the District Courts of the State of Nevada).. Though this procedural manual serves to align the procedures of the 11 judicial districts, each district still has distinct local rules of practices and policies, as seen in the Court Rules of Nevada page.

In the District Courts, a civil case commences when an individual (plaintiff) files a complaint against another party (individual or business), seeking monetary/compensatory, equitable, or declaratory relief. After a claim is filed, the court issues a summons to be served along with the complaint to the defendant. The defendant must then file an answer to the court within a specified number of days (usually 21 days). Where the defendant fails to answer a summons, the court may enter a default judgment. Civil proceedings afterward take place as directed by the Rules of Civil Procedure For the Nevada District Courts.

A criminal case begins with an arraignment where a defendant appears before a District Court judge and pleads guilty to a charge. The court formally informs the defendant of certain rights under the law, the alleged crime(s), and the resulting penalties. The judge takes the defendant’s plea at this hearing. Also, here, the judge sets the bail or conditions of release and determine if an attorney may be appointed for the defendant. Parties who plead guilty may have their cases transferred to specialty courts, if applicable, or the court may order a presentence report and set a sentencing date. For defendants who plead not guilty, the judge sets a date for trial, including dates for pretrial motions, status conferences, or evidentiary hearings.

Appeals from the District Courts are made to the Nevada Supreme Court. Nevada District Courts have 82 District Court judges serving Nevada’s 17 counties. The 8th judicial district serving Clark County is the largest in the state and, as of June 30, 2019, had 52 judges. The second largest being the 2nd judicial district, with a total of 15 judges.

Judicial qualifications for the District Court judges, as outlined in NRS 3.060, include:

  • Be a qualified elector
  • A resident of Nevada for at least two years
  • An attorney licensed to practice law in Nevada
  • An attorney who has practiced law for ten years, with at least two years in Nevada
  • A resident in the district of election
  • Any individual who fits the criteria above and has not been removed or retired from a judicial position

Judges in the District Courts are selected by popular vote at non-partisan elections and appointed for a term of 6 years, except the chief judges who serve 2-year terms. A judge’s 6-year term begins the following Monday in January after an election. Chief judges are appointed from among elected judges by peer votes. Although the term of a District Court chief judge is two years, chief judges can be retained for an additional 2-year term. However, under NRS 3.025, chief judges are appointed only in districts where the population exceeds 100,000 residents. The responsibilities of a chief judge include but not limited to

  • The supervision of court operations,
  • Attending meetings of family division judges,
  • Directing the hours of the court,
  • Appointing presiding judges over civil, criminal, and family divisions of the court,
  • Assigning judges to cases, and
  • Hearing all criminal extradition petitions.

When a mid-term vacancy occurs in any District Courts, the position is filled by a judge nominated by the Governor (NRS 3.080).. Nominated judges are required to run in subsequent elections to retain office. Judges whose terms have expired and want to serve additional terms must also run for re-election. The State of Nevada pays the salaries of the District Court judges while support staff and court facilities are paid for by the counties.

Civil, criminal, and family cases heard by the District Court judges involve proceedings that affect the length of time a case may take in the courts. Although some of these processes have specific time limits, like the length of time a trial may take in court and the deadline to answer a summons, Nevada statutes do not indicate a particular time frame between a case’s filing and adjudication.

Nevadans may obtain the District Courts’ dockets by visiting the website of the specific District Court or judicial district where the case was filed or heard. On the court’s websites, a Case Inquiry System or Online Calendar is provided to the public, and interested persons can generally obtain docket information with a party’s name or the case/docket number.

The contact information for the 11 District Courts in Nevada is as follows:


Carson City District Court

885 East Musser Street

3rd Floor

Carson City, NV 89701


Phone: (775) 887–2082

Fax: (775) 887–2177

Storey County District Court

26 South B Street

Drawer D

Virginia City, NV 89440


Phone: (775) 847–0969

Fax: (775) 847–092


Washoe County District Court - Family Division

1 South Sierra Street

Reno, NV 89501

Phone: (775) 328–3110

Washoe County District Court - General Jurisdiction

75 Court Street

Reno, NV 89501

Phone: (775) 328–3110


Lyon County District Court

911 Harvey Way

Yerington, NV 89447

Phone: (775) 463–6571

Fax: (775) 463–6575


Elko County District Court

571 Idaho Street

Elko, NV 89801


Phone: (775) 753–4601

Fax: (775) 753–4611


Esmeralda County District Court

1520 East Basin Avenue

Suite #105

Pahrump, NV 89060


Phone: (775) 485–6309

Fax: (775) 485–6376

Nye County District County - Department 1

1520 East Basin Avenue

Suite #105

Pahrump, NV 89060

Phone: (775) 751–4210

Fax: (775) 751–4218

Nye County District County - Department 2

1520 East Basin Avenue

Suite #105

Pahrump, NV 89060

Phone: (775) 751–4213

Fax: (775) 751–4218


Humboldt County District Court

50 West 5th Street

Room #207

Winnemucca, NV 89445


Phone: (775) 623–6371


Eureka County District Court

PO Box 694

Eureka, NV 89316

Phone: (775) 237–5263

Fax: (775) 237–5614

Lincoln County District Court

181 North Main Street

Suite 208

Pioche, NV 89043

Phone: (775) 962–8000

Fax: (775) 962–5180

White Pine County District Court

801 Clark Street

Suite 4

Ely, NV 89301

Phone: (775) 293–6509

Fax: (775) 293–2544


Clark County District Court - Civil/Criminal Division

200 Lewis Avenue

Las Vegas, NV 89155

Phone: (702) 671–0530

Clark County District Court - Family Division

601 North Pecos Road

Las Vegas, NV 89101

Phone: (702) 455–2590


Douglas County District Court

1038 Buckeye Road

PO Box 218

Minden, NV 89423

Phone: (775) 782–9820

Fax: (775) 782–9954


Churchill County District Court

73 North Maine Street

Suite B

Fallon, NV 89406


Phone: (775) 423–6088

Fax: (775) 423–8578


Lander County District Court

50 State Route 305

Battle Mountain, NV 89820

Phone: (775) 635–1332

Fax: (775) 635–0394

Mineral County District Court

105 South A Street

PO Box 1450

Hawthorne, NV 89415


Phone: (775) 945–0738

Fax: (775) 945–0706

Pershing County District Court

PO Box H

400 Main Street

Lovelock, NV 89419

Phone: (775) 273–2410

Fax: (775) 273–4921

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