City Of Sparks

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I talk to a City Attorney?
The Sparks City Attorney's Office is located in Sparks City Hall at 431 Prater Way. The telephone number for the Criminal Division is 353-2320. The telephone number for the Civil Division is 353-2324. To ask about Court dates, warrants or fine payments, please contact the Sparks Municipal Court, which is located at 1450 C Street and the phone number is 353-2286.
Back to top

Where is the City Attorney's office located?
The Sparks City Attorney's Office is located in Sparks City Hall at 431 Prater Way.
Back to top

What is the difference between the Sparks City Attorney and the Washoe County District Attorney?
The Sparks City Attorney, like the Washoe County District Attorney are elected by the citizens to ensure fair and unbiased influences. The District Attorney prosecutes gross misdemeanors and felonies, which can carry several years of prison or jail sentences, including the death penalty for murder, as well as misdemeanor offenses occurring in the County. The Sparks City Attorney prosecutes misdemeanor offenses with adult defendants that occur within the City of Sparks. Misdemeanors are offenses that have a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. The most common misdemeanors are traffic offenses (including DUI), shoplifting, small amounts of illegal drugs, battery (including domestic violence) and violations of City Codes.
Back to top

Is the City Attorney my lawyer?
The City Attorney does not represent either the victim of a crime or the person accused. The City Attorney represents the interests of the City by enforcing the laws of the City and State. The City Attorney does provide help to victims and witnesses through the Victim Advocate who works in the office. The Victim Advocate can explain the Court process; give information about the status of cases; make referrals to safe houses and other community resources; and, go to Court with victims.

Back to top

I have a legal question/problem, who can I speak to?
Call the Lawyer Referral and Information Service at (800) 789-5747.
Back to top

Can I file a crime report with the City Attorney?
The City Attorney does not do criminal investigations. Reports of crime should be filed with the Sparks Police Department. If you are the victim of a crime, you should make a report as soon as possible. Call the police at 353-2428 or, in emergencies, dial 9-1-1.
Back to top

Can I "drop charges"?
Although the City Attorney always considers the wishes of crime victims in making decisions concerning prosecution, those decisions are made solely by the office. The Prosecutor must consider many factors including the facts of the case; the defendant's prior record; the protection of other citizens and the possible intimidation of witnesses. State law prohibits dismissal or reduction of certain offenses.

Back to top

Can I get an appointed lawyer?
The Court will appoint a defense lawyer to people accused of crimes only if they cannot afford to hire a lawyer, and if the City Attorney is asking for jail time upon conviction. If no jail time is being asked, defendants can either hire a lawyer or represent themselves.
Back to top

What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a physical confrontation between family members or people in a relationship that live together. It may involve husband/wife; boyfriend/girlfriend; parent/child or even brothers and sisters.
Back to top

What can I do if I am a victim of domestic violence?
Call the police immediately. Dial 9-1-1 if the abuser is still there. Victims of actual, or even threatened abuse can get Court orders requiring the abuser to stay away from the victims or anywhere they may be. These Protection Orders can be obtained from the Family Court at One South Sierra Street in Reno. Call 325-6726. Once a Protection Order is issued, keep a copy handy at all times. Do not allow violations of the Order by inviting the abuser to visit "on good behavior". All violations of a Protection Order should be reported to the police immediately. Information for contacts, support and assistance:

Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence (NNADV)
220 S. Rock Blvd. Suite 7
Reno, NV 89502
(775) 828-1115
Committee to Aid Abused Women (CAAW)
1735 Vassar Street
Reno, NV 89502
(775) 329-4150
Safe Embrace
275 Hill Street Suite 244
P.O. Box 3745
Reno, NV 89505
(775) 322-3466
Victim-Witness Assistance Center
75 Court Street Room 115
P.O. Box 11130
Reno, NV 89520
(775) 328-3210
Washoe Legal Services
650 Tahoe Street
Reno, NV 89502
(775) 329-2727
Nevada Legal Services
204 Marsh Avenue
Reno, NV 89509
(775) 324-0222
(775) 284-3491
Confidential Address Program
P.O. Box 2743
Carson City, NV 89702
(775) 684-5707
Temporary Protection Orders (TPO)
One Sierra Street 3rd Floor
Reno, NV 89501
(775) 328-3127
Washoe County District Attorney
Family Support Division
One Sierra Street
Reno, NV 89501
(775) 789-7100
Victims of Crime Program
4600 Kietzke Lane Building I-205
Reno, NV 89502
(775) 688-2900
Crisis Call Center
(775) 784-8090
Sexual Assault Support Services

Back to top

Why were charges filed when I just wanted the police to make him/her stop?
The law requires police to make an arrest when they see that someone has been hurt by domestic violence. The police may arrest one or more of the people involved. Domestic violence is a serious crime the City Attorney will always prosecute.
Back to top

What is a subpoena?
A subpoena is a Court Order that requires you to come to Court on a specified date and time because you are a potential witness in a criminal case. If you do not come to Court, the Judge may hold you in contempt and issue a warrant for your arrest. Your employer may not punish you for obeying a subpoena.

Back to top

Does the Sparks City Attorney write the City's laws?
The Sparks City Attorney generally helps City departments, the Mayor, and the City Council with all types of important legal documents, including proposed ordinances to change City law. In most cases, these departments and elected officials shape their own policies and proposals for new laws with the City Attorney providing technical assistance and review. Sometimes, when community problems arise, the City Attorney will sponsor his own legislation to help address those problems. Some examples of City Attorney sponsored legislation are the Sparks anti-vehicle booting ordinance, the anti-solicitation on public streets ordinance as well as revising outdated or unconstitutional ordinances.
Back to top

Where can I find City Ordinances?
The City Clerk's Office maintains, updates, and publishes the Sparks Municipal Code (SMC). Copies of the SMC are found in most local public libraries and is also available on the City of Sparks Website.
Back to top

How do I file a claim for damages against the City?
Claims for damages against the City must be filed with the City's Risk Manager within the applicable statute of limitations. A claim form can be obtained by calling (775) 353-2345. You can also obtain a Claim for Damages form by visiting the Risk Management Department, located in Sparks City Hall at 431 Prater Way, Sparks, NV 89431.
Back to top

I am having difficulty with my landlord. Where can I find assistance?
The following organization may be able to help: Northern Nevada Apartment Association (775) 322-6622
Back to top

I missed my court date and I think I have a warrant out for my arrest. Who should I call?
The Sparks Municipal Court at (775) 353-2286.
Back to top

I have a suspended license and my car was towed. Who should I call?
You need to contact the towing company that towed your vehicle. If you do not know who towed your vehicle and you believe the Sparks Police were involved in the towing of your vehicle, call the Sparks Police Department at 353-2428.
Back to top

Where should I take complaints about the City?
In general, if you think a City department is doing something it should not - or not doing something it should - you should contact the head of that department or the Sparks City Manager at 353-2310, by e-mail at or by fax at 353-1510. Because other City departments are not supervised by the City Attorney's Office, the City Attorney can typically address complaints only about our own employees.
Back to top

Where should I take complaints about City Attorney employees?
Complaints or concerns about the performance of City Attorney employees may be made by writing to the City Attorney's Office at 431 Prater Way, Sparks, NV 89431. You may also fax the City Attorney at 353-1688 or contact him directly at 353-2324 or at his e-mail:
Back to top

Where should I take complaints about a police officer?
Complaints or concerns about the performance of a Sparks Police Officer or a Sparks Police operation should be made in writing to the Sparks Police Internal Affairs Officer, 1701 E. Prater Way, Sparks, NV 89431 or by fax to 353-7834. You may also leave a message with Internal Affairs at 353-2430.
Back to top

What is the Sparks City Attorney's policy concerning the release of public records?
Sparks City Attorney Chet Adams has consistently applied a liberal interpretation of Nevada's Public Records law to ensure that citizens are provided with all legally accessible information concerning Sparks government. Mr. Adams was once publically threatened with a Grand Jury investigation because of his commitment to openness when he provided public documents of a politically sensitive nature. Mr. Adams was ultimately acknowledged as having done the right thing in bringing sunshine into government. The Sparks City Attorney must also be sensitive to the personal privacy interests of victims and witnesses to crime, as well as the confidentiality of city employees and the criminal justice system in regards to ongoing criminal investigations. Simply put, the Sparks City Attorney is committed to public awareness, openness and government accountability.
Back to top

How do I obtain a copy of a public record in the City of Sparks?
To review or receive a copy of a public record, you must first make a request to the City department that has the records you are interested in reviewing. For example, if you are interested in reviewing a copy of a report from the Department of Public Works, you should direct your request to that Department. If you are looking for police records, you may encounter problems under Nevada Law. Any information concerning ongoing criminal investigations is confidential and cannot be released.
Back to top

Do I have to make my request in writing?
No. You may make an oral or written request, in person or through the mail. However, we recommend that you put your request in writing so there is a clear record of your request. A written request that is clear and concise also helps the custodian to respond to your request in a timely and efficient manner.
Back to top

What do I need to say in my request?
There is no specific form that must be used to request records, nor is there any language you must use in your request. You must provide a reasonable description of the desired records. To expedite processing of your request, you should be as specific as possible.
Back to top

How long does a City Department have to respond to my request?
Generally, the City must respond to a request to inspect or copy records within three (3) to ten (10) days. In "unusual circumstances," the City may extend its time to respond. "Unusual circumstances" permitting the extension are limited to the need to: (a) search for and collect the requested records from facilities separate from the office processing the request; (b) search for, collect and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records included in a single request; and/or (c) consult with another part of the department or with another department that has a substantial interest in the response to the request.
Back to top

How much may the Department charge me for responding to the request?
The Department may charge you for the duplication of copies of records. For routinely produced documents, such as copies of an agenda, the City may not charge you anything. For documents gathered and copied to your order, the City may charge five cents per page. The Department may charge you a higher fee if it must perform "extraordinary efforts" to locate or copy large numbers of documents. If you request a copy of a record in other than a paper format, the Department may charge you for the cost of the medium on which the information is duplicated (e.g. a computer disc). In addition, a Department may charge you for the postage required to send you the records.
Back to top

Do I have to tell the City why I want the record?
No. You do not have to give the City a reason for reviewing the record. City employees, however, may ask questions relating to your request if it helps them respond to the request or direct you to another Department that may have the records you seek.
Back to top

What records are public?
A public record may consist of any medium that contains information, such as a computer tape or disc or video or cassette recording. Every record made or received by the City is presumed to be a public record, unless it is subject to an exemption. Exempt records are those that federal, state or local law prohibits the City from disclosing or permits the City to decline to disclose. For example, the United States and Nevada Constitutions prohibit the City from releasing information that would violate an individual's right to privacy. Other records, such as medical histories of employees are also exempted because of federal privacy laws. The custodian of records must either give you a copy of the requested record or provide you with a written justification of why the record is not public. The City is neither required to create a document in response to a request, nor is the City required to honor prospective requests. However, you can place your name on a mailing list to receive agendas by contacting the City Clerk's Office.
Back to top

If the custodian denies the request, is he or she required to give me a written log listing the documents the City is refusing to disclose?
No. Although the City is required to provided a written justification giving the legal reason why the record is not public, the law does not require the City to provide to you a document log.
Back to top

If a City official denies me access to a record, is there anything I can do?
Under State law you may sue in court if you believe the record you are requesting is not otherwise declared by law to be confidential. If you have been denied access to a record that you believe to be public and that the City has improperly withheld, you may contact the Sparks City Attorney directly. You should send (1) a copy of your original request and (2) a copy of the Department's response to: Office of the City Attorney
Attention: Chet Adams
P.O. Box 857
Sparks, NV 89432-0857
(Fax) 775-353-1688 The City Attorney will then review the matter. If the record has been improperly withheld, the City Attorney will advise the custodian of records to release the record to you.
Back to top

Is the City Attorney or his staff attorneys available to speak to our group or get involved with our organization?
The City Attorney is a member of several Sparks business, charitable and educational organizations and also encourages his staff attorneys to participate in community projects as well. The Sparks City Attorney's office has assisted Sparks High in its Mock Trial competition as well as worked with local elementary schools in such projects as the "Tuck Trial". While the demands of our job are time consuming and do not always allow for additional projects outside the office, we are always happy to work with groups within the Sparks community to raise public awareness about the legal issues facing the City. Please contact the Sparks City Attorneys Office if your group is interested in having someone make a presentation or assisting you in a community event.
Back to top

Back To Top