What Is Domestic Battery First Degree? Definitions, Penalties, and Common Defenses in Nevada

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If you’ve been charged with domestic battery 1st degree in Nevada, you may be wondering what kind of penalties you’re facing. The short answer is that a conviction for domestic battery 1st degree, depending on the severity, can result in up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

In this post, we’ll take a more detailed look at the consequences of a domestic battery 1st degree charge in Nevada.

Definitions: Battery, Domestic Violence, and Domestic Battery

You can learn more about the difference between domestic violence, battery, and domestic battery here. In that post, you’ll find several examples and scenarios that help to illustrate the key distinctions among these three terms.

As a quick overview:

  • Battery: any willful or unwillful use of force or violence upon another person
  • Domestic Violence: willful use of force against a person you have a domestic relationship which includes battery and assault

Combining the two, battery domestic violence (BDV) is when someone commits battery to any person(s) he or she has a domestic relationship with. This means:

  1. Current or former spouse-domestic partner
  2. A minor child or stepchild living in the home
  3. A co parent of a minor child
  4. Any relative by blood or marriage
  5. Any person living in the same home

If battery is committed on any person above than it is considered domestic battery, otherwise it is just battery, which is still a serious crime but very different from domestic battery.

Recent Law Changes

Another thing to keep in mind is that a recent (2019) ruling, individuals charged with first or second degree battery which constitutes domestic violence now have a right to a jury trial.

This is important, as it gives you the chance to have your case heard by a group instead of just a judge.  This can be extremely beneficial, as it increases the chances that your side of the story will be heard and considered.

What Is Domestic Battery of the 1st Degree

The definition of domestic battery of the 1st degree is relatively simple: it occurs when a person commits battery against a victim with whom he or she has a domestic relationship, and the battery results in “substantial bodily harm.”

According to NRS 0.060, “substantial bodily harm” means (1) bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ; or (2) prolonged physical pain.

Strangulation, broken bones like a broken finger, severe burns, and black eyes can all be considered “substantial bodily harm.” Head injuries, particularly concussions, can also be classified as such.

Consequences and Penalties for Battery Domestic Violence

Typically, BDV charges are classified as misdemeanors. First and second offense, assuming there was no “substantial bodily harm,” have its own corresponding penalties, jail time, community service, and counseling.

But a third offense within a seven year period is automatically categorized as a category B felony, which carries harsher penalties.

We touched on this topic more in this article about battery vs domestic violence.

Penalties for Domestic Battery 1st Degree in Nevada

But if you were charged with Battery Domestic Violence First Degree, these are the penalties you can expect:

  • Battery Domestic Violence resulting in substantial bodily harm (no deadly weapon used):
    • Category C Felony
    • 1-5 years in state prison, a mandatory fine of $10,000
  • Battery Domestic Violence resulting in substantial bodily harm (with deadly weapon used):
    • Category B Felony
    • 2-15 years in state prison, a mandatory fine of $10,000

Furthermore, a person convicted of domestic battery 1st degree will have a criminal record which can make it difficult to find employment, secure housing, or be approved for loans. This individual may also lose their right to possess firearms.

Given the serious nature of the penalties, it’s important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side if you’ve been charged with domestic battery 1st degree in Nevada. An experienced attorney will know how to challenge the prosecution’s case and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

If you or someone you know has been charged with domestic battery 1st degree in Nevada, contact The Defenders for a free consultation. We will review your case and help you understand your options. Call us today at 702-333-3333.

What to Do If Arrested or Charged With Domestic Battery

Child staying hidden while her parents are in a violent dispute

Under Nevada law, police officers are required to arrest a person when they have probable cause to believe that a person has, within the last 24 hours, committed an act of domestic battery. Further, a person arrested for an act of domestic violence cannot be admitted to bail prior to serving a 12-hour cooling-off period.

Below are some other things you need to know about being charged with domestic battery:

  • you do not have to injure someone to be convicted of battery
  • a charge doesn’t mean a conviction
  • conviction affects child custody
  • the victim cannot just drop the charges
  • a conviction impacts firearm possession

After an arrest for battery where domestic violence was present, there are some crucial steps you can take.

First, do not admit guilt or make any statements to the police or jail staff. Anything you say can, and will be used against you in court.

Next, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help protect your rights, navigate the criminal justice system, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

In addition, you can also take the following steps:

  • Take photographs of any injuries you may have incurred. These photos can be used later on in your defense.
  • Never violate a protective order (aka a restraining order)

Ask your attorney to file a motion to modify the restraining order, especially if you have children with the victim and need to maintain contact for their sake.

How to Fight a Domestic Battery Charge

There are various ways to defend against BDV charges. Never accept any false allegations against you including domestic violence. If you have been falsely accused then you need to hire a defense attorney like The Defenders right away since a domestic violence charge can affect the rest of your life including immigration status, ability to gain employment, ability to own a firearm, and even can include jail time.

Below are some common defenses for domestic battery:

You Acted in Self Defense or Defense of Others

If you reasonably believed that you or someone else was in imminent danger of bodily harm, you had the right to use force to defend yourself or others.


The battery occurred in anticipation of a perceived attack by the victim who has a history of previous violence toward the defendant

False Accusations

The victim falsely accused the defendant of domestic violence because the victim is angry, wants revenge, or hopes to gain an advantage in child custody proceedings.

The Battery Did Not Occur at All

The victim lied about the alleged domestic battery and there is no evidence to corroborate the victim’s story.

What The Defenders Can Do For You

If you’re in criminal trouble in Nevada, welcome to the law firm that can help. Here’s how we can help:

  • Investigate your case to determine all facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged crime
  • Determine whether there was police error or misconduct, or you are being falsely accused
  • Go over the strengths and weaknesses of your case with you to give you an idea of how your case will stand up in court
  • Inform you of all the legal options available to you
  • Offer guidance, support and sound legal advice

Prosecutors have a vast amount of resources available to them to find the necessary evidence to convict you.

The Defenders are well versed in the prosecution’s tactics and can help you counter them aggressively.

We have a number of creative options available to us that can convince the court to dismiss or reduce the charges against you, and we will use every resource we have to vigorously fight for your rights.

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