Traffic Citation Trials

Before a defendant can be found guilty of a traffic offense, the prosecutor must prove him/her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Although defendants appearing in court to contest a traffic citation can be represented by a lawyer, they often represent themselves.

Trial Procedure in Traffic Cases

Because the prosecutor has the burden of proof in a traffic case, he/she get to call witnesses and put on evidence first.

Prosecution Case

The prosecutor will call his/her witnesses, and ask questions on direct examination. Following direct examination, the defendant may ask questions on cross examination. The prosecutor may follow any cross examination by asking questions on redirect examination. After any redirect examination, the defendant may ask questions on recross examination.

Defense Case

After the prosecutor “rests” (finishes) his/her case, the defendant may present evidence and call his/her witnesses, and ask questions on direct examination. Following direct examination, the prosecutor may ask questions on cross examination. The defendant may follow any cross examination by asking questions on redirect examination. After any redirect examination, the prosecutor may ask questions on recross examination.

The defendant should keep in mind that not calling any witnesses or presenting any evidence in a defense case cannot and will not be used against him/her in any way because the prosecutor has the burden of proof.

The defendant should also keep in mind that s/he may call himself as a witness in his/her case, although every defendant has the right to remain silent. Silence cannot and will not be used against any defendant in a traffic case. If a defendant decides to testify in his/her own defense, the prosecutor will get to cross examine and recross examine the defendant as appropriate.

Prosecution Rebuttal

Following any defense case, the prosecutor may call witnesses and present evidence in rebuttal. A rebuttal case is limited to presenting testimony and evidence which may arguably rebut testimony/evidence presented in the defense case.

In rebuttal, the prosecutor may call witnesses, and ask them questions on direct examination. After direct examination, the defendant may ask questions on cross examination. The prosecutor may follow any cross examination by asking questions on redirect examination. After any redirect examination, the defendant may ask questions on recross examination.

Defense Surrebutal

Should the prosecutor put on a rebuttal, the defendant may call witnesses and present evidence in surrebuttal. A surrebuttal case is limited to presenting testimony and evidence which may arguably rebut testimony/evidence presented in the prosecution rebuttal case.

In surrebuttal, the defendant calls witnesses and asks them questions on direct examination. Following direct examination, the prosecutor may ask questions on cross examination. The defendant may follow any cross examination by asking questions on redirect examination. After any redirect examination, the prosecutor may ask questions on recross examination.

Argument

After all of the evidence and testimony allowed at trial is in the record, the parties may argue the case. The prosecutor opens the argument because he/she has the burden of proof. After the prosecutor’s argument, the defendant may make a closing argument. After any defense argument, the prosecutor may make an argument strictly limited to “rebutting” the points made in the defense argument.

Argument is not the time to provide new testimony or evidence for the Court. It is instead the time for the prosecutor to argue why, based on the testimony and evidence in the record, the defendant should be found guilty of the offense(s) charged. It is also the time for the defendant to argue why, based on the testimony and evidence in the record, the defendant should be found not guilty of the offense(s) charged.

Court Decision – Not Guilty or Guilty

After the parties make their respective arguments, the Court will apply the appropriate law to the facts it finds, and decide whether the defendant is not guilty or guilty of the offense(s) charged.

 

Carlin Justice Court & Municipal Court

  • 775-754-6321
  • 775-754-6893

Elko Justice Court & Municipal Court

  • (775) 738-8403
  • (775) 738-8416

Wells Justice Court & Municipal Court

  • (775) 752-3726
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Eastline Justice Court & West Wendover Municipal Court

  • (775) 664-2305
  • (775) 664-2979

District Court Dept. I

  • (775) 753-4601
  • (775) 753-4611

District Court Dept. II

  • (775) 753-4602
  • (775) 753-4611

Family Court

  • (775) 738-1551
  • (775) 738-5060

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