Can a Lawyer Defend Someone They Know is Guilty?

Self Defense Concept – Homeowner Ready to Fight Armed Robber

In Nevada, there are a few different statutes that apply in certain situations involving the act of self-defense. Defending your home and your vehicle is referred to as the Castle Doctrine, while defending yourself is referred to as standing your ground. The Nevada laws establish a clear criteria for determining if self-defense is justifiable or not, and if someone is truly in fear for their life. If you are facing a criminal charge of self-defense, it is important you have proper legal representation to discuss your particular situation and relevant laws, as well as help you in court.

Castle Doctrine

The Castle Doctrine makes it acceptable to use some sort of deadly force in your home to defend yourself and your property. If you believe that the intruder is breaking into your house to commit a felony, it is acceptable for you to perform a deadly action against the intruder. For example, if an intruder broke into your home trying to steal jewelry and you believe you are being harmed, you have the right to self-defense. NRS 200.120 and NRS 200.130 allow justifiable homicide, stating that defense in an occupied dwelling or personal vehicle is acceptable when another person is intruding with the intent of committing a violent crime against the person or their property. Under Nevada’s Castle Doctrine, people can kill an intruder of an occupied dwelling or vehicle if they reasonably believe the intruder has violent intentions. Additionally, there is no duty to retreat from an occupied dwelling or vehicle before using some sort of deadly force to defend themselves. Even if there is a window or door to easily escape, you are not required to leave, as you can defend yourself and your property.

Stand Your Ground

In Nevada, stand your ground laws are fairly similar to Castle Doctrine laws, although it includes protecting yourself, not just property. Victims are entitled to the option of fighting back in self-defense if they feel threatened with serious body harm or even death. Similarly to Castle Doctrine, the person is not required to retreat to avoid the conflict. A victim may defend with deadly force if:

  • They did not initiate the situation
  • They have the right to be at that location
  • They are not violating the law
  • They have a reasonable fear or substantial bodily harm or death

Protecting your spouse, children, or friends in the presence of you when the act happens also falls under the stand your ground law. Justifiable homicide is accepted in these situations because of the fear that you or the company in your presence may face due to someone aggressively trying to cause substantial bodily harm or death. If the original aggressor is fleeing or attempting to flee from the situation and not trying to cause problems, the use of deadly force would not be justifiable.

Proving Self-Defense in a Criminal Case

If you were charged with a criminal case and you want to state self-defense was the cause for it, there must be evidence. Besides Castle Doctrine and stand your ground, there are other specific laws in Nevada where self-defense is a reasonable defense to a criminal charge. When there is a criminal case involving the use of deadly force against someone else, the prosecutor has the option to bring or not bring charges if the evidence is clear. If the prosecutor files charges, it is left up to the judge to decide whether or not the evidence of the case proves that self-defense was the reason, and up to the defendant to state that the act was because of self-defense.

Any action involving substantial bodily harm or death can cause serious penalties, and if you were to use self-defense as a mechanism due to threat, you would need evidence. If you are dealing with a criminal case that involves self-defense, it is essential you have an experienced attorney who has dealt with similar situations to help you with your case. Fighting these charges and proving self-defense with little evidence and no attorney is very difficult and can be unlikely to win. At The Defenders, our qualified legal team has had experience with criminal cases involving self-defense and will aggressively fight the charges to ensure you are not falsely charged with a criminal case due to self-defense.

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