Frequently Asked Questions
FEDERAL AND STATE LEGAL SYSTEMS
What is the difference between the U.S. Attorney's Office and the state prosecutor's office?
The U.S. Attorney's Office represents the United States in federal cases, meaning they arise from federal law created by Congress. These cases are heard in federal courthouses throughout the country. State and local prosecutors (whether the district attorney, county/city prosecutor, or the state attorney general’s office), by contrast, represent the state for cases arising under state law, created by each state legislature. Occasionally, federal and state law may overlap in a certain area, allowing both federal and state prosecutors to pursue the case.
The Office is called the "U.S. Attorney"; does that mean you represent individual "U.S." citizens?
The U.S. Attorney's Office does not represent individuals in matters or lawsuits you may wish to bring against another person, company or government agency. We represent the United States of America and its agencies, such as the United States Department of Interior, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Defense, etc. The United States Attorney’s Office also represents the United States of America in criminal matters filed against individual or corporate defendants.
Is your office under the Attorney General?
The U.S. Attorney's Office is under the U.S. Attorney General, not under the Nevada Attorney General. For state matters, please call the Nevada Attorney General's Office at (702) 486-3420 in Las Vegas, or at (775) 684-1100 in Carson City.
What are federal crimes?
There are many federal crimes. Some federal crimes involve narcotics, bank robbery, fraudulent activity that affects interstate commerce, wire fraud, mail fraud or tax fraud, any crime in which the United States is defrauded, guns, environmental crimes, and civil rights violations. Some crimes may violate both state and federal laws, such as bank robbery. In these cases, the local U.S. Attorney's Office works closely with state and local law enforcement officials to determine whether a case will be brought in federal or state court.
Does the U.S. Attorney's Office investigate crimes?
Investigations are generally conducted by federal law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Postal Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and others. We also frequently take cases from state and local agencies. The U.S. Attorney's Office works with those agencies to provide direction and legal counsel in federal criminal investigations.
How can I find out if a particular matter is being investigated?
If you are a victim of a federal crime and have been dealing with a law enforcement agency, you should contact that law enforcement agency to follow up on the status of the case. The U.S. Attorney's Office does not confirm or deny the existence of particular matters or investigations, and cannot discuss the status of any matter that may be pending litigation. Please be assured that all allegations of federal law violations are taken very seriously by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Can you suggest someone who could represent me?
The U.S. Attorney's Office is not permitted to make direct referrals. We suggest that you contact the Lawyer Referral Service sponsored by the State Bar of Nevada at (702) 382-0504 in Las Vegas or toll free at (800) 789-5747, or the Federal Bar Association Nevada Chapter at (702) 388-8600, which can refer you to an attorney in good standing who handles your particular type of litigation.
Can you refer me to a Federal Public Defender?
You can reach the Federal Public Defender in Las Vegas at (702) 388-6577 and in Reno at (775) 784-5626.
I am having a problem with a local business. Where can I turn for help?
Though it is not our function to provide legal advice, we suggest that you contact either the Better Business Bureau at (702) 320-4500 in Las Vegas or (775) 322-0657 in Reno, or the Nevada Department of Business and Industry Bureau of Consumer Affairs at (702) 486-7355 in Las Vegas or (800) 326-5202 (toll free). These organizations have clearinghouses for such complaints.
Does your office pursue "deadbeat parents"?
Yes, federal law allows us to become involved when the non-custodial parent is in another state. The parent must have failed to pay a past due child support obligation for over a year or one that is greater than $5,000. If you have a problem with unpaid child support, it is best to first contact the Family Support Division of the county District Attorneýs Office where the support order was issued. The number for the Family Support Division in the Clark County District Attorney’s Office is (702) 455-4755; the number for the Family Support Division in the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office is (775) 789-7100.
Where can I get a copy of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations?
The U.S. Department of Justice provides free ADA materials, but you must call the ADA Information Hotline to order these materials. The phone number is 800-514-0301 (Voice) or 800-514-0383 (TDD).
I need to contact a federal agency other than the Department of Justice. Can you tell me how?
If the agency has a local office, you can find its number in the blue pages of the telephone book under United States Government listings. If not, or if you need to contact its Washington, D.C. office, you may call the Federal Information Center toll-free at: 800-688-9889. You may also search online for the agency’s website, at which you will likely find contact telephone numbers.