Domestic Violence

Las Vegas Domestic Violence Attorney

In Nevada, the law concerning the charge of a count of Battery Constituting Domestic Violence is found in Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Domestic Battery – NRS 200.485

1)         Definition of the Crime and Essential Elements

Battery Constituting Domestic Violence (also commonly referred to as Domestic Battery or Battery Domestic Violence)

For the State to prove someone guilty of committing battery domestic violence, it must show beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements:

1)    The accused and the alleged victim are either related (by blood or marriage), married, dating, or living together.

2)    The accused committed battery (the intentional infliction of unlawful physical force) against the alleged victim.

In Nevada, Domestic Battery is a “must arrest offense.” This means that a police officer has to make an arrest when called out for a domestic battery, unless mitigating circumstances exist. Typically, a person is charged with battery if the alleged victim has been hit, kicked, pushed, strangled, spit on, grabbed or bitten. Unlike many individuals which use the terms “assault” and “battery” interchangeably, in Nevada, Battery means that there was an actual physical force that connected to the other person whereas Assault would be a punch not connecting to the other person.

 The peace officer shall, unless mitigating circumstances exist, arrest a person when he has probable cause to believe that the person arrested has, within the preceding 24 hours, committed a battery upon his spouse, former spouse, or any other person whom he is related to by blood or marriage.(NRS 171.137))  

2)         Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

1. Assault – NRS 200.471

2. Assault with a Deadly Weapon – NRS 200.471

3. Felony Domestic Violence – NRS 200.471

4. Substantial Bodily Harm – NRS 0.060

5. Battery – NRS 200.481

3)         Examples

A couple gets into an argument about paying the rent. The man blocks the door from the bedroom so that the woman cannot leave. She pushes him out of the way so that she can leave. However, since she pushed him, she can be charged with the crime of domestic battery.

4)         Defenses to Domestic Battery

Battery Domestic violence is the most charged crime in the State of Nevada.  Domestic relationships can often lead to emotionally charged situations and there can be allegations of violence between the parties.  Equally as common are the potential defenses found to each individual allegation. 

It is very common for the defendant in a domestic violence case to have been acting in self-defense when the physical force was used against their partner. The defendant will have to show that there was a reasonable belief of being in immediate danger of being injured, which justifies the amount of force used in the domestic battery incident and that the force was not excessive.

It is also very possible for the domestic battery incident to take place in an extremely emotional situation. When parents are involved in a child custody or a bitter divorce, a parent may falsely accuse the other of domestic violence so that they can have an advantage in family court. The accused in this case will have to point out the inconsistencies in the witness statements or show how the statements are untrue.

It is not possible for a victim of domestic battery to just “drop the charges.” Once the prosecutor has filed charges, the victim cannot do anything about it. Every criminal allegation is different and almost every case has its own unique best defense to present.  An experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense attorney can review the facts and the law in each case to build the best defense possible. 

5)         Potential Penalty for Domestic Battery

The penalty varies based on how many prior incidents the accused has, and the injuries of the alleged victim. If convicted of a first offense domestic battery in the last seven years, the accused faces between two (2) days and six (6) months in jail, $200-$1,000 in fines, and can expect to take up to 120 hours of community service, and go through once weekly counseling sessions, each lasting an hour and a half.  For a second offense domestic battery in the last seven years, the accused faces ten (10) days to six (6) months in jail, $500-$1,000 in fines, 200 community service hours and counseling sessions lasting a full year.  A third domestic battery in seven years is a Category C Felony.  If convicted, the person faces one (1) to five (5) years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine of up to $10,000.00

If the domestic battery occurred by way of strangulation, that person is being charged with a Category C Felony and facing one to five years in the Nevada Department of Corrections, and a fine of up to $15,000.00.  This conviction would amount to a non probationable sentence meaning the person convicted cannot get probation and must serve time in prison. 

If the domestic battery occurred with a deadly weapon, then that person is being charged with a Category B Felony. The accused faces between two (2) to ten (10) years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine of up to $10,000. This crime is non probationable as well. 

If the domestic battery occurred with a deadly weapon and resulted in substantial bodily harm, then that person is being charged with a Category B Felony. That individual faces between two (2) to fifteen (15) years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine of up to $10,000.

6)         Criminal Defense for Domestic Battery

Domestic battery, although commonly charged against members of all walks of life, is a serious crime.  An allegation of Domestic Violence can be life changing.  It is imperative that a person accused of this serious and violent crime consult with a Las Vegas Domestic Violence attorney right away in order to decipher the best way to defend the allegation effectively. 

For more information about the charge and defense of domestic battery in Las Vegas, call the law firm of Hofland & Tomsheck right away to schedule your free consultation.  (702) 895-6760.