Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped?
Domestic Violence and Battery charges are severe and can lead to a host of other problems and charges against you if you are convicted of the crime.
Usually, domestic violence and battery charges cannot just be dismissed.
Nevada law specifically prohibits prosecutors from reducing or dismissing a charge of battery domestic violence (BOV) unless one of the following is the case:
- The prosecution is aware that the battery domestic violence charge is not supported by probable cause or cannot be proven at trial; or
- It is obvious that the battery domestic violence charge is not supported by probable cause or cannot be proved at trial.
So in other words, the district attorney is not legally allowed to offer plea deals to lessen or drop a charge of battery domestic violence unless the D.A. is aware, or it is clear that the evidence does not support the battery domestic violence allegation.
When someone is charged with battery domestic violence you need to hire a defense team immediately.
There are many defenses against these charges but they won’t automatically be dropped or lessons without a reasonable defense.
An experienced defense team can try and show that the case is too weak to try and get a conviction.
A defense lawyer will go over the suspects’ choices of whether or not to go to trial or plead guilty and what to expect if they choose either of these choices for battery domestic violence in Nevada.
Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Pled Down?
Since domestic violence charges can’t be automatically dropped in Nevada, can they be reduced?
If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prosecute the case against a defendant for domestic violence and prove the case, they might then offer to negotiate for a resolution.
There are some advantages to having a domestic violence charge reduced to simple battery or disorderly conduct.
- Domestic violence charges cannot be sealed from someone’s record for at least 7 years. A simple battery or disorderly conduct charge can be sealed after only two years.
- Simple battery or disorderly conduct penalties are not priorable. Meaning that if you are charged with simple battery or disorderly conduct the penalties are the same for each offense. If you are arrested for a domestic violence charge the penalties get harsher after each arrest.
- The stigma of a domestic violence conviction is much harsher than a simple battery or disorderly conduct charge.
How Is Battery Domestic Violence Defined in Nevada
There are two elements to the offense of battery domestic violence under NRS 200.485:
- You and the victim are or were in a domestic relationship; and
- You committed battery against the alleged victim
As long as these two elements are met, the charge of battery domestic violence can be made.
What Is Considered a Domestic Relationship?
Domestic violence charges can only be applied when the defendant and the victim share a familial, intimate, or domestic relationship these include:
- Spouse either current, separated or divorced
- Domestic partner current or separated
- Co-parents of a minor child
- Significant others regardless of the relationship were exclusive
- Minor children of any of the above
- Relatives by blood or marriage with the exception of cousins unless they are guardianship with you
- Guardian of the alleged victim
Physical violence against others like friends or neighbors is considered battery NRS 200.481 but not battery domestic violence.
Battery Definition in Nevada
Under NRS 200.481 battery is defined as deliberately touching another in a violent, aggressive, hostile, or simply unwanted way.
Typically the charges include the allegations of hitting, kicking, choking, cutting, or throwing objects at the victim.
There have been cases where the suspect has been charged with battery even if the victim has no injuries.
If there was unwanted or unlawful touching is the only thing that matters.
Restraining Orders after a Battery Domestic Violence Arrest
Once a defendant is arrested for a battery domestic violence charge even before a trial, the court and police are likely to issue a restraining or protective order for the defendant to stay away from the alleged victim.
Typically, the defendant is required to stay away from the victim at all the places the victim is during his or her day including the home, work or even the gym. You may not have contact with the alleged victim via phone, social media or the internet.
If a protection or restraining order is violated, the defendant can be charged with another crime of violating a restraining order (NRS 33. 100), which is then another charge added to the domestic violence charge.
Defenses Against Battery Domestic Violence Charges
Getting battery domestic violence charges dropped or reduced is very hard to do in nevada, an experienced attorney can use a few very effective strategies to fight against the charges:
- You acted in self defense: it is permissible to fight back if you reasonably believe that it is necessary to avoid imminent injury to you or someone else. You use no more force than necessary to prevent the attack.
- The charges against you are false: a victim may falsely accuse someone of domestic violence for revenge. This is particularly common in child custody cases. Some “victims” will go so far as to self-inflict wounds to back up false allegations.
- The incident was an accident: If there was no intent and you did not knowingly injure the victim in an unlawful way.
- Police misconduct: If police conduct an investigation or search without a warrant then the police might be guilty of police misconduct. Your defense lawyer can request that any evidence gathered during the illegal search be disregarded at trial.
- There is insufficient evidence: Since proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a very high bar to set for a conviction of battery domestic violence, you may be able to use the lack of evidence as a defense to get the charges dismissed. If the case does go to trial, you are entitled to either a jury trial or bench trial where a judge decides the verdict. We recommend always taking a jury trial over a bench trial.
- You suffer from battered women’s syndrome: This is used as a defense when a woman in an abusive relationship uses violence as a way of protecting themselves against further abuse.
What if the Victim Doesn’t Want to Press Charges
Even if the alleged victim chooses not to press charges against the defendant, it does not stop the case from moving forward. Nevada has specific rules about domestic violence charges specifically. The case against the defendant for domestic violence will continue because:
- Criminal charges including battery domestic violence are between the state of Nevada and the defendant. Victims have no say over whether or not charges are filed or cases head to court.
- The prosecution usually believes that domestic violence victims recant their stories for ulterior motives. Perhaps the victim is being threatened by the defendant’s family, or the victim wishes to repent because the defendant is the one who is financially responsible for supporting the family.
It is possible to get a conviction for domestic violence without a victim to testify.
The prosecution will rely on other evidence like police and medical reports, eyewitness testimony or other evidence that can prove the case.
Just because a victim doesn’t want to press charges doesn’t mean the case against a defendant won’t move forward.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I’m Charged With BDV?
Hiring an experienced lawyer to defend you against domestic violence charges can increase your odds of winning your case for several reasons:
- A private defense team can take the time and resources to investigate the allegations against you and search for evidence to use in your defense. A public defender doesn’t have the time or resources to investigate your case and may not even see your case until minutes before a court appearance.
- With a private law firm to defend you, the lawyers have time to go back and forth with the prosecution to wear down the prosecution to either dismiss the case or come to plea agreement that is more favorable to our clients
- Prosecutors are more likely to offer a plea deal to a defendant who is represented by a lawyer than himself/herself.
Battery domestic violence charges are very serious and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
You can face severe penalties and prison time based on the conviction.
You could also lose your job and have your children removed from your care. There is also a stigma attached to a domestic violence conviction.
Calling The Defenders to represent you and listening to their advice can help get the best outcome for your case.
The Defenders is an experienced law firm that specializes in defending clients against battery domestic violence charges. Our lawyers have a deep understanding of the laws and defenses available in Nevada. If you or a loved one is facing BDV charges, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.
Time is of the essence in these cases, so it’s important to act quickly and hire a capable defense team. We understand the urgency and seriousness of these charges, which is why we work tirelessly to protect our clients’ rights and obtain the best possible outcome for their case.
Don’t face domestic violence charges alone, trust in The Defenders to fight for you.