Self-Defense in Nevada: Know Your Rights

According to the Nevada Law, people are allowed to fight back against intruders that are threatening them.

Crimes that people commonly perform self-defense against are assault, battery, attempted murder, home or car invasion, and domestic violence. Nevada is considered a “stand your ground” state, making it justifiable for a defender to harm or kill someone who is posing a threat to them. However, there are certain weapons that are and are not allowed in Nevada.

Self-Defense Weapons in Nevada

Nevada is an open-carry State, meaning you can carry a handgun, stun gun, or taser in plain view.

However, weapons including most knives and nunchucks are illegal in the State of Nevada. Knives are legal to carry in public in Nevada, although there are exceptions to the types of knives you can carry.

  • Permit is required for concealed carry of knives.
  • Requires sheriff’s permission to conceal carry a knife with a three-inch or longer blade.
  • Carrying knives at schools or childcare facilities is prohibited.
  • It is illegal to brandish knives in front of two or more people.

Failing to abide by these knife laws will result in a misdemeanor, meaning that you will have to pay a fine and even potential jail time. However, using a knife or another force to protect yourself against an aggressor is totally legal in the State of Nevada.

When Is Self-Defense Legal in Nevada?

The Nevada law permits self-defense in certain situations, including break-ins or attempted assault. The use of self-defense is legal if:

  • The person has a reasonable belief that an aggressor poses an immediate threat to them or their property.
  • The person inflicts no more force than necessary when resisting the aggressor’s threat.

Since Nevada is a “stand your ground” State, the court gives victims the option of fighting back in self-defense even if they are able to escape the conflict. For lethal self-defense in Nevada, there are certain circumstances that must take place in order for the victim to kill the aggressor posing a threat to them.

According to NRS 200.120, justifiable homicide only occurs when the danger was urgent, the non-aggressor faced death or substantial bodily harm, a reasonable person in the same situation as the non-aggressor would also fear for their life, and the non-aggressor was not acting out of revenge. Just having a “bare fear” of being injured by the aggressor is insufficient evidence to justify a killing.

Additionally, Nevada has a “Castle Doctrine,” stating it is justifiable to kill an intruder in an occupied home or vehicle if the intruder is trying to commit a felony and posing a threat.

Reasons for Self-Defense

Self-defense is justifiable against violent crimes that an aggressor might present when posing a threat to you. These violent crimes include rape, sexual assault, battery, attempted murder, and domestic violence. Victims of assault or battery are legally allowed to fight back as long as they are using reasonable force in order to defend themselves from assault.

With domestic violence, it can sometimes be difficult to prove self-defense because there is usually little evidence, especially if it was in a home. This can cause the situation to go in either direction, depending on the circumstances and court, as the person using self-defense may be wrongly accused.

In Nevada, self-defense is considered “affirmative defense,” meaning the defendant has the burden to claim that they acted in a lawful way to protect themselves. Frequent and important evidence in self-defense cases include eyewitnesses, surveillance footage, and medical testimonies. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim did not act in a lawful way of self-defense.

If you are involved in a case of self-defense, it is very important that you have a trusted legal team by your side in court. Self-defense cases can be very tough to beat with little to no evidence and no legal team, meaning that your act of self-defense may not be accused as self-defense. At The Defenders, our qualified attorneys have had many self-defense cases and will aggressively defend your self-defense case.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the legal definition of self-defense in Nevada?

Self-defense in Nevada is the use of force to prevent imminent bodily harm or death to oneself. To meet the legal criteria for self-defense, individuals must have a reasonable belief of imminent danger and use no more force than necessary. It’s crucial to note that acting outside the law or using excessive force can lead to criminal charges, even if in self-defense.

What does “stand your ground” mean in Nevada?

“Stand your ground” is a legal defense in Nevada that permits individuals to use deadly force if necessary for their safety. It allows individuals to act in self-defense without fleeing or retreating from an attacker before using deadly force. However, defendants must show they had a reasonable fear of imminent harm and used no more force than necessary to protect themselves. This is in contrast to the traditional “duty to retreat,” which requires people to try and escape an altercation before using deadly force.

If I am attacked, what self-defense measures can I legally use in Nevada?

In Nevada, individuals being attacked have the legal right to defend themselves using any force necessary to avoid harm. This includes deadly force if there is a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury, even if retreat is possible. We recommend speaking with a criminal defense attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.

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