Nevada’s Assault and Battery Laws: Definition, Penalties, and More
When it comes to assault and battery, many people think the terms are interchangeable. In actuality, they are two distinct crimes, have specific legal definitions and carry different penalties based on the severity of the circumstances
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, contact an experienced assault and battery lawyer right away to understand your rights and legal options.
Definition of Assault
Assault is a crime that involves attempting to use physical force against another person or intentionally placing another person in fear of immediate bodily harm. It is important to note that assault does not require actual physical contact; it is based on the victim’s reasonable apprehension of harm.
By definition, assault is “unlawfully attempting to use physical force against another person; or intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm,”
Examples of Assault
In the State of Nevada, assault is simply the attempt to cause physical injury to another person.
Assault can take various forms, including:
- Throwing a bottle or object towards someone with the intention to cause harm, even if it misses.
- Attempting to slap or strike someone, but missing due to their evasive action.
- Holding a knife close to a person’s throat, creating a reasonable fear of immediate harm.
- Pointing a loaded taser gun at someone, instilling apprehension of bodily harm.
- Telling someone “I’m going to kill you!”
- The person must believe that they are in danger.
- Brandishing a deadly or non-deadly weapon in a manner that suggests potential use against the victim
It is important to note that mere verbal threats alone, without any accompanying physical action or reasonable fear of immediate harm, do not typically qualify as assault under Nevada law.
Definition of Battery
Battery is a distinct crime from assault and involves the intentional and unlawful physical touching of another person. Unlike assault, battery requires actual physical contact, and the touching must be forceful or offensive.
Battery is defined as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”
Examples of Battery
Battery, in the State of Nevada, is the actual infliction of physical force against another person with the intention of harming them.
It can take various forms, including:
- Punching, kicking, or physically striking another person.
- Grabbing and restraining someone against their will.
- Striking a person with an object, causing harm or offense.
- Indirect contact, such as poisoning someone’s drink or causing harm through other means.
It is important to note that bodily harm does not need to be substantial for an act to be considered battery.
Additional Examples Differentiating Assault from Battery
Simple scenario explaining assault:
Glenn and Steve get into an argument in a bar and Glenn threatens to punch Steve in the face. Steve is in fear of being severely harmed and calls the police. When they arrive, Glenn is charged with assault.
Note: Even though Steve was not physically harmed, he believed he was in imminent danger of being harmed which constitutes assault.
Simple scenario explaining battery:
Glenn and Steve get into an argument in a bar and Glenn punches Steve, dislocating his jaw. Someone calls the police, and Glenn is arrested and charged with battery.
Note: An assault becomes battery once physical contact has been made with the intention of harming another. Once the argument between Glenn and Steve escalated to Glenn punching Steve and dislocating his jaw, the act was constituted as battery.
Penalties to Expect for Assault and Battery Charges
Both assault and battery can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Depending on the circumstances, the victim, and the severity of the crime.
Penalties for Assault
The penalties for assault in Nevada vary depending on the specific circumstances of the offense. Here are the general penalties for different types of assault charges:
- Simple Assault: Simple assault is generally considered a misdemeanor offense with penalties of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Assault on Protected Class: If the victim belongs to a protected class such as a police officer, health care provider, or school employee, assault is classified as a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon: Assault with a deadly weapon is a felony offense, carrying a penalty of 1 to 6 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
It’s important to note that assault charges can be elevated to aggravated assault in certain circumstances, resulting in more severe penalties.
Penalties for Battery
The penalties for battery in Nevada depend on the severity of the offense and any aggravating factors involved. Here are the general penalties for different types of battery charges:
- Simple Battery: Simple battery is generally considered a misdemeanor offense with penalties of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Battery Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm: If the victim sustains substantial bodily harm or is strangled during the battery, it becomes a category C felony, punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
- Battery with a Deadly Weapon: Battery with a deadly weapon is a category B felony, carrying a minimum of 2 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000. If the victim sustains substantial bodily harm or is strangled, the maximum prison sentence can be increased to 15 years.
It is important to note that battery charges can also be elevated to aggravated battery in certain circumstances, resulting in enhanced penalties.
An assault or battery charge can be elevated to aggravated assault or battery and often incurs more severe punishments.
Aggravated circumstances are any component of a crime that increases the crime’s severity.
Increased Penalties for Crimes Against Protected Class
Jail time and fines can increase dramatically when the victim of assault and battery is of the “protected class” as stated in NRS 200.471
- Sporting officials at sporting events
- Taxi drivers
- Public transit operators
- School employees
- Correctional officers
- Healthcare workers
- Police officers
- First responders
- State officials
Even further, if the person committing the act against a person of the “protected class” has a status that is any of the following, they will face steeper fines and penalties.
- In custody of law enforcement
- On parole
- On probation
While assault and battery are the primary focus of this guide, it is essential to understand related offenses that may be charged in conjunction with or instead of assault and battery. Some related crimes include:
- Domestic violence
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
Each of these offenses may carry its own set of definitions, penalties, and legal considerations. It is important to consult with an attorney to understand the specific details of these related crimes and any potential charges you may be facing.
Defenses to Assault and Battery Charges
If you are facing assault or battery charges, several defenses may be available to challenge the allegations against you. Some common defenses include:
- Lack of intent: Demonstrating that you did not have the intention to commit the assault or battery offense.
- Self-defense: Asserting that you acted in self-defense to protect yourself from imminent harm.
- False accusation: Providing evidence to show that you have been falsely accused of the assault or battery.
- Lack of reasonable apprehension: Arguing that the alleged victim did not have a reasonable fear of immediate bodily harm.
Sealing Criminal Records
In certain situations, individuals convicted of assault or battery offenses may be eligible to seal their criminal records. Sealing a criminal record means that the conviction will not be visible to the general public or potential employers during background checks.
In Nevada, individuals with an assault or battery conviction may be eligible to seal their records two years after the case closes. However, specific eligibility requirements must be met, and the process can be complex. Consulting with an attorney experienced in record sealing is advisable to navigate the process successfully.
Getting Help With Assault and Battery Charges
Assault and battery are distinct offenses in Nevada, each carrying its own specific legal definitions and penalties.
If you find yourself in such a situation, it is crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to evaluate your case thoroughly and determine the most appropriate defense strategy based on the specific circumstances.
The repercussions of assault and battery can affect one’s life forever. If you have been charged with either assault or battery, call The Defenders today.
Our team of experienced attorneys will work tirelessly to protect your rights and provide you with the best possible defense. Don’t wait, call today for a consultation! Remember, the sooner you act, the better chance you have at achieving a favorable outcome.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a verbal threat alone be considered assault?
In Nevada, a mere verbal threat without accompanying physical action or reasonable fear of immediate harm is generally not considered assault. However, it is important to consult with an attorney to fully understand the specific circumstances and legal definitions that apply to your case.
Can I face felony charges for assault or battery in Nevada?
Yes, depending on the circumstances, assault and battery offenses can be charged as felonies in Nevada. Factors such as the use of a deadly weapon, substantial bodily harm to the victim, or targeting a protected class can elevate the charges to felony offenses.
What should I do if I have been falsely accused of assault or battery?
If you have been falsely accused of assault or battery, it is essential to gather all evidence and witness statements that support your innocence. It is also advisable to seek legal counsel immediately to protect your rights and defend against the accusations.
Can I seal my criminal record after being convicted of assault or battery in Nevada?
In certain cases, it may be possible to seal a criminal record after an assault or battery conviction in Nevada. However, specific eligibility requirements must be met, and the process can be complex. Consulting with an experienced attorney is recommended to navigate the process successfully.