Las Vegas Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys
How Nevada Defines Domestic Violence
In the state of Nevada, incidents of domestic violence are formally referred to as “battery domestic violence.” The charge involves 2 components. Battery refers to any “violent, hostile, or unwanted touching.” The victim does not necessarily need to sustain injuries.
The assailant and the victim must also have been in a domestic relationship at the time of the battery. A domestic relationship refers to any familial or intimate relationship. Qualifying relationships include spouses, domestic partners, two individuals in an exclusive or nonexclusive relationship, and close relatives (excluding siblings and cousins in most situations). Battery involving friends, strangers, neighbors, or anyone else is a separate crime and does not constitute battery domestic violence.
Allegations of domestic violence can lead to serious legal consequences and substantially harm your reputation. When facing these charges, you will need experienced and professional legal representation that is on your side and willing to do whatever it takes to defend you.
Our Las Vegas domestic violence defense lawyers at Pitaro & Fumo, Chtd. have multiple decades of combined legal experience and are extremely familiar with how domestic violence cases are adjudicated. No matter your situation, we are prepared to pursue numerous types of defense strategies to fight for your rights.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Nevada
A conviction in a case involving domestic violence can result in serious penalties, including a combination of fines, counseling, mandatory community service, and jail or prison time. The nature and severity of the incident, along with any aggravating factors, will influence the penalties that are ultimately assigned. Repeat offenders within a 7-year period will also face more severe punishments.
Nevada assigns the following penalties for battery domestic violence convictions:
- First Offense, Charged as a Misdemeanor. Up to 6 months in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, up to 120 hours of mandatory community service, and weekly mandatory counseling for at least 6 months
- Second Offense, Charged as a Misdemeanor. Up to 6 months in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000 up to 200 hours of mandatory community service, and weekly mandatory counseling for at least 12 months
- Third Offense, Charged as a Category B Felony. Up to 6 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
- Fourth Offense and All Subsequent Offenses in a 7-Year Period, Charged as a Category B Felony. Up to 15 years in prison and up to $5,0000 in fines.
Convictions in domestic violence cases can also lead to other damaging consequences. Victims of battery domestic violence often seek and secure restraining orders against their assailant. Subjects of restraining orders are often required to surrender their firearms, and violating the terms of the order can result in additional criminal charges. Domestic violence convictions can also have an impact on matters of child custody, as judges primarily consider the best interests of the child when making decisions.
Convictions for battery domestic violence will appear in criminal background checks if not sealed. However, you can only seal misdemeanor convictions after 7 years. You must wait 10 years to seal felony convictions. Having one or more battery domestic violence convictions on your record can make it significantly more challenging to secure employment, housing, loans, and other opportunities.
Penalties for Aggravated Domestic Violence Factors
The presence of aggravating factors can dramatically increase the above penalties. If the violence results in substantial bodily harm but did not involve a deadly weapon, a conviction can result in up to 6 years in prison plus a fine of up to $5,000. If a deadly weapon was present but there was no substantial bodily harm, a conviction results in a minimum of 2 years in prison with a maximum sentence of 10 years, plus a fine of up to $10,000. In situations where a deadly weapon caused substantial bodily harm, a conviction can lead to up to 15 years in prison in addition to a fine of up to $10,000.
Domestic violence incidents involving strangulation that do not involve substantial bodily injury or a deadly weapon still trigger enhanced penalties and will be charged as a Class C felony. A conviction can result in up to 5 years in prison plus a fine of up to $10,000.
If the victim in a domestic violence incident was pregnant, a first offense will be tried as a gross misdemeanor and can lead to a maximum of 364 days in jail in addition to a fine of up to $2,000. Subsequent offenses will be charged as Class B felonies and carry maximum penalties of up to 6 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Defense Strategies for Domestic Violence in Nevada
Our Las Vegas domestic violence defense attorneys can review the facts of what happened and explore a variety of defense strategies when planning how to approach your case. Every incident is different, and the defense options available to you will depend on what initiated the altercation and the specific types of violence that occurred.
In the state of Nevada, you are permitted to resort to violence in self-defense if you believe doing so is necessary to prevent bodily harm and you use no more force than is necessary to repel an imminent attack. For example, if your spouse threatened to kill you and approached you menacingly with a bat, you might strike them with a blunt object and run away while they are stunned. In this scenario, you could likely argue that you reasonably acted in self-defense to prevent your spouse from attacking you.
Note - self-defense does not apply to situations there is no imminent threat of attack. If your spouse threatens to kill you but takes no action, you cannot decide to assault them a day later and claim self-defense. Generally, self-defense actions must take place “in the moment.”
An act of hostile, violent, or unwanted touching must be intentional to qualify as battery domestic violence in Nevada. Any accidental act of violence does not qualify as battery domestic violence. Consider a scenario where you are in a heated argument with your spouse. You turn away, frustrated, and your spouse crosses the room and comes up close behind you without your realizing. You flip around to face her and accidentally strike her in the process due to the misjudged proximity. In this situation, you did not intentionally hit your spouse, though they still may call the police. If you are charged with battery domestic violence in these types of accidental scenarios, experienced legal representation can help charges get reduced or dismissed.
It is possible that you could be inappropriately accused of and charged with battery domestic violence without any sort of hostile or violent incident taking place. Though it can be unpleasant to consider, many accusations involving domestic violence are fraudulent and can even involve self-inflicted injuries. Fortunately, a thorough case investigation can typically poke holes in invented stories and cement your innocence. Experts can also often assess self-inflicted injuries and determine their authenticity.
Our Las Vegas domestic violence defense lawyers at Pitaro & Fumo, Chtd. understand what is at stake when you face these charges. No matter the aggravating factors involved or whether this is your first, second, or third offense, we can provide the robust legal defense that you need to secure a favorable outcome.