NRS 200.571: Harassment in Nevada—Definition, Penalties, and FAQs
While harassment is something most people don’t think they could ever do to another person, some people’s actions can be considered harassment, and someone might not even consider it harassment.
But harassment comes in many forms and can mean many things to different people.
For example, Nevada lawmakers recently passed a new law enhancing penalties for those who harass election workers. With a lot of issues surrounding the previous election, this couldn’t come at a greater time.
If you’ve been charged with harassment in Nevada, do not ignore the problem. It is important to take action now and contact an experienced lawyer who can review your case and help you protect your rights. You may be able to have charges dropped, or at the very least, reduced in severity so that they don’t affect your life as much.
The Defenders is an experienced law firm in Nevada with offices in Las Vegas and Reno that specializes in criminal defense. Our experienced lawyers are here to help you and provide the best possible defense against harassment charges. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.
What Is Harassment in Nevada?
A person’s actions might be considered harassment by one person but not by another. Even though harassment is a very broad term, in Nevada, to harass means knowingly to threaten someone else with harm so that person reasonably fears that the threat will be carried out.
These harmful actions may include:
- Physical bodily injury
- Damage to property
- Being restrained or confined
- Anything else that is intended to substantially harm another person’s physical or mental safety
Harassment in Nevada can be made as threats either with words or conduct.
It is also considered harassment to threaten one person with the harm of another.
Harassment doesn’t have to have immediate threats; the threats can also be in the future and still be considered harassment.
Different Forms of Harassment
Harassment is the words or conduct where the victim reasonably fears for their safety from harmful actions.
Both harassment and the crime of stalking are closely related since they both cause the victim to reasonably fear being harmed.
The main difference between harassment and stalking is that harassment is a direct threat through words or actions. Stalking on the other hand usually involves trying to force contact with the defendant’s victim. Stalking laws have become more prevalent over the years after many high profile stalking cases.
Stalking (NRS 200.575) is considered the willful conduct that causes another person to be reasonably frightened or intimidated. Aggravated Stalking is still stalking with the threat of serious bodily injury or death.
Both the crimes of harassment and stalking are very similar but the outcome based on what the victim believes and what the defendant is trying to accomplish makes the difference.
In some, cases a defendant can be charged with both harassment and stalking.
Online Harassment or Cyber Stalking
Online Harassment is another form of harassment where a person uses text messages, emails, or other electronic media to harass victims to the point that they are reasonably frightened for their safety.
Most people think of harassment as a personal relationship that has gone wrong like a bad breakup or something. However, workplace harassment is more common than people think.
A hostile work environment prevents the victim from performing their job duties or endangers the victim’s job based on the defendants actions.
Even if the victim does not lose their job or any money the harassment still exists and the work environment is still considered hostile.
What Are the Penalties?
The penalties for harassment in Nevada are all related to the incident and how it occurred.
- Has the defendant been previously charged with harassment
- Did they threaten the victim with substantial bodily harm
- Used the internet to carry out the actual harassment.
All three of these are very different crimes with very different penalties including:
Standard Harassment Penalties includes
- The first offense: considered a misdemeanor in Nevada with up to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine
- Second and subsequent harassment offenses: a gross misdemeanor with double the maximum penalties including up to 364 days in jail and up to a $2000 fine.
- Fear of death or substantial bodily injury: a category B felony with 2 to 25 years in prison and up to a $5000 fine.
- Online Harassment: a category C felony with 1 to 5 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
How Do I Fight the Charges
If the victim believes that the defendant’s words or actions will harm them, the defendant could be charged with harassment, even if there is no physical evidence. However, the prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. Without hard evidence, the charges may be reduced or dismissed.
Some of the most common defenses against the charge of harassment are:
- Your actions were in self defense: or you reasonably believe you were in danger causing you to react to defend yourself
- The victim is making the harassment up and lying about what you said or did
- Your behavior did not rise to the level of harassment
- You were under “lawful authority” such as a cop or security guard
- Your actions fell under the freedom of speech, constitutional protection
A good defense team will explore all possible defenses to defend against harassment charges and the penalties.
The law team of the Defenders will investigate your case thoroughly to determine what defense is the best course of action.
If it’s your first criminal charge there is a good chance you can get the charges reduced or even dismissed.
Protective Orders: NRS 200.591
In certain harassment cases, a judge may issue a protective order (or restraining order) against the defendant in the case to stay away from the victim for a certain period of time.
Temporary protection orders or (TPO) are a 45 day long restraining order the courts issue on an emergency basis without holding a hearing.
TPO’s are meant to guard against domestic violence, harassment, stalking, sexual assault, rape or child abuse.
A victim can also apply for an extended protection order that lasts one year (EPO).
Violating a protection order against the victim can lead to more charges and penalties that may be higher than the harassment case.
Penalties for Violating Restraining Orders
The penalties for violating a order of protection are:
Violating a temporary or 45 protection order is a gross misdemeanor and punishable by
- Up to 364 days in jail and
- Up to a $2000 fine
Violating an extended protection order is a class C felony and is punishable by
- 1 to 5 years in prison and
- Up to a $10,000 fine
Temporary protection orders can be issued on an emergency basis without holding a court hearing.
The Defenders Can Help You
When jail time becomes a possibility for criminal charges like harassment you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer.
You will be left with a criminal record if you are convicted of the crime of harassment or stalking.
Your life will be derailed with a conviction for harassment , you need to reach out to a local Nevada defense attorney as soon as you are accused of harassment so you can fight the charges against you.
The Defenders will investigate your case and put together a solid defense strategy against the charges against you.
If a protection order has been placed against you by the alleged victim that can also have an adverse effect on you and the case going forward.
Your defense lawyer can advise you what the protection order means and tell you what you need to do to comply with the protection order and what other steps to take.
Harassment charges also come with a moral stigma that most people don’t think about.
Certain criminal charges garnish a different kind of response than just criminal.
Sex crimes, harassment, stalking are all examples of criminal charges that cause a stigma that can follow the defendant around for the rest of your life.
If you have been charged with the crime of harassment, call The Defenders today for a case review.