Battery is a very commonly charged criminal offense in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada. Battery crimes vary greatly in terms of what must be proven by the prosecutor and the potential punishment faced by the Defendant. For instance, in a classic example of a fight breaking out at a bar, the offense could be a simple misdemeanor charge punishable by six (6) months in the detention center. However, there are many ways this same scenario can give rise to a more serious Felony offense.
Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 200.481 discusses Felony Battery and its potential repercussions.Definition of the Crime and Essential Elements Felony Battery
For the State to prove someone guilty of committing felony battery, it must show beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements:
- The accused had the intent to commit the battery.
- The accused used unlawful force on someone else’s body;
The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt one or more of these following elements, depending on the alleged crime:
- The accused used a deadly weapon.
- The alleged incident resulted in substantial bodily harm.
- The accused had the intent to commit another crime.
Battery occurs when an individual uses any force or violence in the form of any harmful or offensive touching upon the person (the body) of another person (IE: punching, slapping, hitting, kicking, biting) with another individual. This is different from assault, for more on assault please see our page here.
When battery with a deadly weapon is charged, the State is alleging that the person used force or violence against another person, while using, or threatening to use, a “deadly weapon.” A deadly weapon is defined by Nevada Revised Statute (NRS 193.165) as “any instrument which, if used in the ordinary manner contemplated by its design and construction, will or is likely to cause substantial bodily harm or death;” or “any weapon, device, instrument, material, or substances which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing substantial bodily harm or death.” A deadly weapon can range from a baseball bat to a vehicle to a gun, depending on the circumstances of each individual case.
When the incident resulted in substantial bodily harm, the State is alleging that the accused used force or violence on someone else’s body and that unlawful force resulted in substantial bodily harm. Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 0.060 defines substantial bodily harm as “bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss of impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ,” or “prolonged physical pain.” Substantial bodily harm can range from concussions, severe burns to broken bones.
When the accused had the intent to commit another crime, the State is alleging that the accused had the intent to commit another crime and while doing so, used force or violence amounting to battery. This can be charged where the prosecutor alleges that a battery was committed while the person committing the battery had the further intent to rob, intent to commit mayhem, the intent to commit grand larceny, the intent to kill or the intent to commit sexual assault.Related Offenses
Other similar or related offenses include:
- Robbery – NRS 200.380
- Grand Larceny – NRS 205.202
- Domestic Violence – NRS 200.485
- Felony Domestic Battery – NRS 200.485
- Misdemeanor Battery – NRS 200.481
The accused (A) and the alleged victim (B) arranged to meet up so that A could purchase a car from B. While negotiating, the two begin to argue. A and B cannot agree on the price. A hits B over the head and B suffered a concussion and prolonged pain. A could be charged with battery resulting in substantial bodily harm.
Another example is where A has a plan on robbing a convenience store. A decides that he is going to bring a gun with him. During the robbery, A shoots his gun at a store clerk. The store clerk has to have surgery. A could be charged with many crimes in addition to his attempted Robbery, such as battery with the intent to commit robbery, battery resulting in substantial bodily harm and battery with a deadly weapon, all of which are separate Felony offenses.Defenses to Felony Battery
As with every other type of crime charged in Nevada, the fact that a charge is filed does not mean the Defendant will be convicted. There could be many different defenses to this allegation which could lead the charges being reduced or raised as defenses at Trial.
While battery is a general intent crime, it can be argued in a Felony Battery case that, for instance, the person accused had no intent on committing another crime and as such, his or her criminal defense attorney can argue that the accused lack the intent necessary for the crime of battery with the intent to commit the other crime (such as sex assault or robbery).
In Nevada, an individual has the right, or is “justified” to use reasonable force in defending themselves. As such, it is not unlawful to hurt or kill someone if the person reasonably believes that the other person could cause immediate substantial bodily harm or death. Depending on the scenario, a defense attorney can show the court that the accused was justified in the actions, such as using force or violence, if the accused was acting in self-defense.
The State of Nevada has the burden of proof in every case, including Felony Battery. A person should be acquitted if the State has insufficient evidence and cannot prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced Las Vegas Criminal Attorney can often show a Court or a Jury that the State’s evidence is insufficient, and does not meet the substantial burden necessary.
Every case is unique and presents its own set of circumstances. Because of this, the best defense in every criminal case is different. A knowledgeable and skilled Las Vegas Criminal Defense attorney can review the facts and the law in each case to build the best defense possible.Potential Penalty for Felony Battery
The penalty for felony battery varies based on the case.
If the battery resulted in substantial bodily harm the crime is a Category C Felony and the accused faces one (1) to five (5) years in the Nevada Department of Corrections, and/or a fine of $10,000. If a deadly weapon was used, but it did not result in substantial bodily harm, the accused will be charged with a Category B Felony, and faces two (2) to ten (10) years in the Nevada Department of Corrections, and/or a $10,000 fine. If the alleged crime involved battery with a deadly weapon and, resulted in substantial bodily harm, then that individual faces two (2) to fifteen (15) years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
The punishment for battery with intent to commit another crime varies based on the crime that the State alleges the accused was intending to commit. Battery with intent to commit mayhem, robbery, or grand larceny is a Category B Felony. In that circumstance the accused faces two (2) to ten (10) years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted. If the accused is being charged with Battery with Intent to Kill, then that individual faces two (2) to twenty (20) years in prison. Battery with the intent to commit sexual assault that results in substantial bodily harm, or is committed by strangulation, is a Category A Felony, meaning that the accused faces the potential of life in prison. If the crime accused is Battery with Intent to Commit Sexual Assault, which does not result in substantial bodily harm, that person is still being charged with a Category A Felony but faces two (2) years to life in prison with the possibility of parole and/or a fine of up to $10,000.Criminal Defenses for Felony Battery
Felony battery can be a very complex case and can have many different elements involved. You will want, and you need, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help you face this frightening charge. It is absolutely critical that the accused meets with an experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney immediately in order to begin building the best defense possible. If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with a Felony Battery offense a call to former Chief Deputy District Attorney Josh Tomsheck is one of the best decisions you can make. Las Vegas Criminal Lawyer Josh Tomsheck has a wealth of experience handling these charges and all other serious felonies.
For more information about the charge and defense of a Felony Battery in Las Vegas, call the law firm of Hofland & Tomsheck right away to schedule your free consultation. (702) 895-6760.