What does Criminal Defense mean?

If you are charged for committing a prohibited act under the criminal code of Nevada, the government entity (also called “the state”) who brought the charge The Defenders Las Vegas criminal defense lawyersbecomes the plaintiff, and you become the defendant. “The state” is represented by a prosecutor, who will attempt to obtain a verdict for the highest charges available under state law. The state in a criminal case may be a local jurisdiction, such as a city or town, but is referred to as “the state” as a division of the government.

Under the U.S. Constitution, you are guaranteed the right to an attorney to represent you in the criminal court where your case will be heard. As the defendant in the case, your attorney is also known as a Criminal Defense attorney, because their job is to legally defend you against the state’s charges. The state is required to prove all of its allegations “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In most serious criminal matters you have a right to have your case decided by a jury.

There are many factors which enter into what a criminal defense entails. The following represent some common factors which can determine the success of your case, but the lawyers of The Defenders understand these and all other factors which will provide a strong and aggressive defense to your criminal charges.

Statute Law

In the State of Nevada, the written laws of the state are contained in the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS). The NRS lays out the law of the State of Nevada in sections and cover everything from how the government of the state, counties and cities are structured, designation of state officers, how various departments of the state operate, traffic laws, civil laws, and criminal laws among many others.

Any charge made against a person in the state is governed by a law contained in the NRS, including punishments upon conviction of charges, which include costs, fees, jail or prison time, participation in rehabilitation programs, probation and parole and when or if they apply, among many others.

The NRS is the product of the State Legislature who draft the laws and amend or update them from time to time as needed. In any criminal defense a detailed working knowledge of statute law and its correct application is necessary. While a layman is not expected to know every jot and tittle of statute law, attorneys work to understand and apply the law in order to protect the rights of their clients. A criminal defense attorney will also know under what circumstances it is appropriate to accept a plea bargain.

Case Law

While statute law is the written law of Nevada, judicial review of laws through appeals can also result in either the change or striking down of laws. The Nevada Supreme Court is the court of highest authority in the state and can find statutes to be unconstitutional under the Constitution of the State of Nevada. For example, the Nevada Supreme Court recently found, due to changes in State Law, that jury trials are now available to those charged with Domestic Violence.

A proper knowledge and application of case law in a criminal proceeding can be crucial to the successful defense of a person charges under the statutes. Knowing how and when it is appropriate to appeal a verdict.

Rules of Criminal Procedure

Nevada Criminal Courts, like all other criminal courts throughout the United States, are governed by Rules of Criminal Procedure. Since you are compelled to participate if charged in a criminal proceeding, and since the state has the power to deprive you of life, liberty, and property, the stakes in a criminal proceeding are very high.

The rules of criminal procedure govern almost all aspects of criminal proceeding. As your case proceeds from investigation, indictment, arrest, and trial, violation of these rules may subject you to additional charges, may provide additional incriminating evidence and could result in additional penalties under the law. From how to address the court and opposing council, how to ask questions of witnesses, how to handle and introduce evidence, among many other aspects of a case are governed by these rules.

The Rules of Criminal Procedure in Nevada are found in the Nevada Revised Statutes Title 14. However procedural rules can also be found in many statutes which augment and are also part of the procedural rules for a criminal case.

Most non lawyers are not equipped to know or understand the Rules of Criminal Procedure. They are complex and found throughout the statutes. However, a misunderstanding or misapplication of the rules can have serious consequences to the outcome of your case. This is why you should have a lawyer represent you in any court of law, to protect your rights as your case goes forward and to ensure that all parties in the case follow these rules.

The Defenders provides Criminal Defense

To answer the original question, “What does Criminal Defense mean?” It means knowing and applying statute law, case law, and the rules of criminal procedure, among many other factors, to ensure that the rights of a defendant are preserved under the law. The lawyers of The Defenders have received the required training, have shown proficiency to the State Bar to be accepted as lawyers and have the experience with the courts in Nevada to be able to provide a strong and aggressive defense for you if you are charged with a criminal violation. If you have been charged with a criminal violation in Nevada, call us today to discuss your case at (702) 333-3333.

Is Prostitution Legal in Las Vegas?

Contrary to Las Vegas’s image as a party town and to many people’s perceptions, prostitution is NOT legal in Las Vegas or surrounding Clark County, Nevada.  While it is true that The Defenders las vegasprostitution is legal in certain rural counties of Nevada and in very specific circumstances, it is illegal outside of very well-defined parameters throughout the state.  If arrested for either soliciting a prostitute or soliciting clients for prostitution you face criminal charges which will remain on your criminal record which is searchable by employers and others in background checks until sealed.  There are time periods which must elapse after the conclusion of a case before a record sealing can take place.

Where and under what circumstances is prostitution legal in Nevada?

Prostitution is only legal in Nevada on a county by county basis, if the county population does not exceed 700,000, and then only in state licensed brothels.  Currently it is legal in 10 of Nevada’s 17 counties, and currently only 21 (down from a high of 35) state licensed brothels are in operation throughout Nevada.

Employees in state licensed brothels must be at least 18 years of age, have work cards, work of their own free will, and must submit to regular medical examinations to detect HIV and other STD’s, and must use condoms.  A legal brothel may not be located within 400 yards of a school or church and may not face a main street.  Outside of these specific locations and circumstances, soliciting a prostitute or practicing prostitution is subject to legal penalties in Nevada.

Penalties for engaging in prostitution in Nevada

Prostitution is defined by Nevada law (NRS 201.295) as: engaging in sexual conduct, which includes intercourse, oral-genital contact, or any touching of the sexual organs or intimate parts of a person, in exchange for a fee, monetary consideration, or other thing of value.

As an alleged customer attempting to solicit a prostitute in Nevada (NRS 201.354):

  • For a first offense is charged as a misdemeanor, which carries a jail sentence up to 6 months in county jail and/or up to $1,000 fine, plus an additional fine of $400, and a civil penalty of not less than $200. If dismissed, sealing of records may take place immediately.  If convicted, one year after conclusion of the case.
  • For a second offense is charged as a gross misdemeanor, which carries a jail sentence up to 1 year in county jail and/or up to $2,000 fine, plus an additional fine of $800, and a civil penalty of not less than $200. If dismissed, sealing of records may take place immediately.  If convicted, two years after conclusion of the case.
  • For a third or subsequent offense is charged as a gross misdemeanor, which carries a jail sentence up to 1 year in county jail and/or up to $2,000 fine, plus an additional fine of $1,300, and a civil penalty of not less than $200. If dismissed, sealing of records may take place immediately.  If convicted, two years after conclusion of the case.

As an alleged customer attempting to solicit a child (under 18) in Nevada:

  • For a first offense is charged as a Category E felony, which carries a sentence of 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison and/or up to $5,000 fine. If dismissed, sealing of records may take place immediately.  If convicted, no sealing of records is available.
  • For a second offense is charged as a Category D felony, which carries a sentence of 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison and/or up to $5,000 fine. If dismissed, sealing of records may take place immediately.  If convicted, no sealing of records is available.
  • For a third or subsequent offense is charged as a Category C felony, which carries a sentence of 1 to 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and up to $10,000 fine. If dismissed, sealing of records may take place immediately.  If convicted, no sealing of records is available.

As an alleged prostitute attempting to solicit a customer in Nevada:

  • Is charged as a misdemeanor, which carries a jail sentence of up to 6 months in jail and/or $1,000 fine.

As an alleged prostitute, who knows they have HIV, attempting to solicit a customer in Nevada:

  • Is charged as a Category B felony, which carries a sentence of 2 to 10 years in Nevada State Prison and/or up to $10,000 fine.

The Defenders will provide an aggressive defense against charges of Prostitution

While the penalties for charges of prostitution are severe, there are defenses against those charges, and the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt remains on the prosecution in such cases.  The lawyers of The Defenders have the experience, skill and knowledge to provide a criminal defense which will stand up in a court against the prosecution’s allegations.  If you have been charged with the criminal offense of soliciting, either as an alleged customer or provider, call our office today to discuss your potential case at (702) 333-3333.

Nevada Supreme Court establishes right to jury trial for Misdemeanor Domestic Violence

In a reversal of its 2014 ruling on the matter, the Supreme Court of Nevada (SCONV) ruled unanimously on September 12, 2019, that individuals charged with 1st and 2nd offense Battery which constitutes Domestic Violence (BDV) both misdemeanors, now have the right to a jury trial to hear the case.  As misdemeanors these cases are heard by municipal and justice courts who have jurisdiction in these matters.  This change will present challenges to these local courts who currently are not set up to empanel juries.

Why the change?

The eight-page decision of the SCONV, in Andersen v Eight Judicial District Court of State, has to do with whether misdemeanor BDV is considered a “petty” or “serious” matter.  In their 2014 decision, titled Amezcua v. Eighth Judicial District Court of State, the SCONV found that misdemeanor BDV was a petty matter, since the maximum sentence for the offense was less than 6 months in jail, consistent with U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) rulings.  Petty offenses have been long established by SCOTUS to be excluded from the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of a jury trial, found in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In the 2014 Amezcua decision, SCONV considered the additional penalties of 120 hours of community service, and a fine of not more than $1,000 and still found BDV to be a petty matter.  Since that ruling, the 2015 Nevada legislature added to Nevada state law the additional requirement that those convicted of misdemeanor BDV may not own or possess a firearm.   With this additional penalty SCONV finds now that misdemeanor BDV may no longer be considered a petty matter, but a serious matter, to which the right to a jury trial attaches.

Reaction to the decision

The decision of the Nevada high court has elicited responses from Domestic Violence victim advocacy groups as well as from the Nevada Attorney General and local District Attorneys.  Nevada AG Aaron Ford initially called the decision “devastating,” noting that it would have a chilling effect on DV victims reporting incidents.  He later stated that he understands why the court ruled as it did from a constitutional rights perspective, and that it would require additional judicial resources, such as access to victim advocates, additional prosecutors, additional laypersons to serve as Justices of the Peace, etc.  He concluded, “…the sad fact remains – domestic violence victims are at risk.”

SafeNest CEO Liz Ortenburger released a statement saying the ruling “clearly puts a batterer’s rights above those of the victim.  Delaying trials to meet a jury mandate will only serve to stall the judicial process by perpetuating the power and control dynamic of the abuser and forcing victims to live in a continued state of fear.”

Steve Wolfson, Clark County District Attorney, after reviewing some of the logistical challenges of implementing the changes required under SCONV decision, stated “I think we’re all a little concerned about the effect on all of us including victims.”

Clark County Public Defender, Darin Imlay, said his office is currently requesting jury trials for all misdemeanor BDV cases with the first case to go to trial within the next 60 days.  He responded, “I think they’re overstating the case. I don’t think anybody’s going to now go out and commit a domestic violence charge…” because they now get the option of a jury trial.

The Defenders represents those charged with Domestic Violence

The lawyers of The Defenders know the changes to the laws whether due to legislation or evolving case law and will be in a position to provide the strongest and most aggressive defense if you are charged with BDV.  While domestic violence continues to be a problem in Nevada and Clark County in particular, not all charges are valid.  Being charged with a crime in not the same as being guilty of a crime.  The prosecution must prove their charges “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which places the burden on them.  Our lawyers know this area of criminal law and are in a position to provide the greatest possible defense of your rights.  Call our office today to discuss your case at (702) 333-3333.

Learn More:

Andersen v. Eighth Judicial District Court of State

NRS 200.485 paragraph 10

Amezcua, 130 Nev. at 50, 319 P.3d at 605

U.S. Constitution -6th Amendment: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/courts/nevada-court-adds-jury-option-in-minor-domestic-violence-cases-1847883/

https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/public-defenders-moving-to-use-supreme-court-decision-on-jury-trials-in-domestic-violence-cases-victim-advocates-worried

Las Vegas Criminal Defense LawyersAssisting someone who has committed a criminal act in specific ways, may result in being charged with the criminal offense of being an Accessory after the Fact.  Nevada Law (NRS 195) defines two parties to crimes, Principal and Accessory.  A principal is a person who directly commits the criminal act, or who aids and abets in the commission of a criminal act whether present or not at the time the act took place.  An accessory is someone who is asked for assistance after the commission of the criminal act and does so.  Specific conditions must exist in such cases, as outlined below.

Accessory Defined (NRS 195.030)

An accessory is someone who was not involved or had knowledge of the crime before it was committed but becomes involved after the commission of the criminal act and knows that the criminal act took place.

An accessory to a Felony is defined as someone other than a spouse or domestic partner, who after the commission of a felony,

  • destroys or conceals or aids in so doing, material evidence of the felony or,
  • harbors or conceals the offender with intent to avoid or escape arrest, trial, conviction or punishment for the Felony,
  • knowing that the offender has committed the criminal act.

An accessory to a Gross Misdemeanor is someone other than spouse or domestic partner, parent or grandparent, sibling, child or grandchild, who:

  • harbors or conceals the offender with intent to avoid or escape arrest, trial, conviction or punishment for the Gross Misdemeanor,
  • knowing that the offender has committed the criminal act.

Accessories can be arrested and charged and if convicted may be sentenced to do time in jail or prison.  Being convicted of being an Accessory in a Felony is considered a Category C felony, unless you are a sibling, parent or grandparent, child or grandchild or the alleged principal.  In such cases, conviction is considered a Gross Misdemeanor.

Conviction for Accessory to a Gross Misdemeanor is punished as a Misdemeanor.

Punishments if convicted of being an Accessory (NRS 195.040)

An accessory in a felony conviction, is considered a Category C Felony, with punishments of between 1-5 years in state prison, and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

An accessory in a Gross Misdemeanor conviction, is considered a Misdemeanor with 30 days to 6 months in a county jail, and/or $100 to $500 in fines.

The Defenders represents those charged as Accessories to crimes

Several defenses to the charge of being an accessory to a criminal act are available, such as:

  • Having no knowledge of the crime
  • Being threatened for not providing assistance
  • Taking no action to assist the criminal

The lawyers of the Defenders have the knowledge and skills to provide an aggressive defense against such charges.  If you’ve been charged as an Accessory to a crime, call us today at (702) 333-3333.

Learn More:

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-195.html

Wrongful Conviction lawyers Las Vegas NVIn this last article in our series regarding new laws passed by the 2019 Nevada legislature and signed into law by the governor, this article discusses Assembly Bill 267 (AB267), which allows those who were wrongfully convicted in Nevada to be able to gain redress from the state.  This legislature focused much of their attention on

changes to Nevada’s criminal code.  We have focused on a few of the changes in this series.  This new law takes effect October 1, 2019.

AB267 sets conditions and monetary awards and non-monetary relief required of the courts as a means of redress for the wrongful conviction.  Those exonerated of crimes by state courts or found to have been wrongfully convicted are now able to sue the state for damages.  For those who have been imprisoned for a wrongful conviction, the new law sets a sliding scale for awards based on length of imprisonment for the wrongfully convicted act, with the top award being $100,000 per year, if imprisoned for 21 years or longer.

Conditions for suing the state for redress for a wrongful conviction

Statute of Limitations

Must file within 2 years after:

  1. A judgement or conviction was reversed and vacated, and charges dismissed
  2. Or, if court ordered a new trial and person was found not guilty or was not retried and charges were dismissed
  3. Or was pardoned by State Board of Pardons on grounds of innocence 

Conditions

If a person is not currently incarcerated and was wrongfully convicted in Nevada, they may bring civil action in a district court and must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she was:

  1. Convicted of a felony in Nevada and subsequently imprisoned
  2. Did not commit the crime for which imprisoned and was not:
  1. An Accessory or Accomplice to the acts for which convicted
  2. Did not commit the acts which formed the basis of conviction
  3. Did not aid or abet or act as Accessory or Accomplice to persons who committed the acts which formed the basis of conviction
  1. Was not convicted of an act included in the charged offense
  2. Any of the following:
  1. Conviction was reversed or vacated, and charges dismissed
    1. The basis of reversal or vacating charges was not a legal error unrelated to innocence and new trial found person not guilty, or was not retried and charges were dismissed
    2. Was pardoned by State Board of Pardons on grounds of innocence
  2. Did not commit perjury or fabricate evidence in convicted offense

Monetary Awards and non-monetary relief if wrongfully convicted

Non-Monetary Relief if successful in Wrongful Conviction action:

  1. Court required to issue Certificate of Innocence
  2. Court to order sealings all records of wrongful conviction

Monetary Relief if successful in Wrongful Conviction action:

  1. If imprisoned for 1-10 years = $50,000 for each year imprisoned
  2. If imprisoned for 11-20 years = $75,000 for each year imprisoned
  3. If imprisoned for greater than 21 years = $100,000
  4. Not less than $25,000 per year if person was on parole or if person was required to register as a sex offender

Other Monetary Relief Awarded:

  1. Reasonable attorney fees not to exceed $25,000 for case
  2. Tuition, Books, and Fees to attend Nevada System of Higher Education
  3. Health Care from the State
  4. Programs for re-entry to community
  5. Housing Assistance
  6. Restitution from person who committed the acts for which convicted
  7. Medical Care paid by person while imprisoned for wrongfully convicted act
  8. Counseling Services for person and relatives
  9. Assistance for Financial Literacy

The Defenders provides a strong and aggressive criminal defense

The lawyers of the Defenders have the knowledge and experience to provide an aggressive defense for criminal charges you are facing.  Our lawyers know the law and can represent you to protect your rights.  If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, call our office today to discuss your situation at (702) 333-3333.

Learn More:

https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/2019-legislature/nevada-sees-many-new-laws-but-how-will-they-affect-you-1682418/

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019/Bill/6486/Overview

Las Vegas NV Criminal Defense Law FirmUnder a sweeping set of new laws passed by the 2019 Nevada Legislature, criminal justice and procedures have been overhauled, with an objective to reducing the population of Nevada prisons of non-violent offenders, and changing penalties for certain non-violent crimes; with changes to the penalty system of Nevada criminal law, to focus on rehabilitation rather than incarceration.  This article continues our series on changes to criminal law in the

state.

The legislature passed and the governor signed into law Assembly Bill 416 (AB416), which addresses how and when the state collects fines, assessments, fees, and restitution for various crimes in the state.  The new law takes effect October 1, 2019.

Review of current law

Existing law authorizes courts to impose financial penalties to those found guilty of violating criminal laws, which include fines, administrative assessments, fees, and restitution.  It allows courts and state agencies to impose collection fees for delinquency is such cases.  Courts may also, under existing law: 1. Enter a civil judgement for unpaid fines and fees, 2. Request the prosecuting attorney to collect the unpaid fines or fees through attachment of property or garnishment of wages, 3. Order suspension of driver’s licenses or prohibiting the defendant from applying for a license for a specified period, and 4. Order the confinement of the person to a jail or detention facility for failure to pay such fines and fees.

AB416 Changes to existing law

State and Local Agencies responsible to collect such fines, administrative assessments, fees, and restitution, may no longer report delinquent fees and assessments to credit reporting agencies.  Furthermore, Prosecuting Attorneys may no longer act to collect the delinquent amounts.

Under the new law, courts may order the Suspension of Driver’s Licenses only if the court determines that: 1. the defendant has the ability to pay the amount due and is willfully avoiding payment, or 2. The defendant was indigent and was given the opportunity to perform community service to satisfy the debt, but has failed to perform the required service.

The new law also makes fines, assessments and fees for minor traffic accidents uncollectable after eight years.

Courts are authorized except when statute makes penalties mandatory, to order the defendant to perform community service instead of paying fines, administrative assessments or fees or imprisonment for misdemeanors.  Courts are also authorized to offer community service as a condition of probation for Gross Misdemeanors and Felonies.  Community service hours not more than of 200 hours for a Misdemeanor, 600 hours for a Gross Misdemeanor, or 1000 hours for a felony are to be scheduled over weekends or other times that allow the defendant to continue employment of care for family.

The Defenders will represent you if charged for a criminal act

The 2019 Nevada Legislative Session has concluded.  Many changes to criminal laws of Nevada were passed and signed into law during this session.  Our lawyers are keeping up to date with the changes.  Our lawyers have the experience, knowledge of the law, and will aggressively protect your rights under the law.  If you’ve been charges for a violation of criminal law, call our office today to discuss your case at (702) 333-3333.

Learn More:

https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/2019-legislature/nevada-sees-many-new-laws-but-how-will-they-affect-you-1682418/

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019/Bill/6794/Overview

The Defenders Las Vegas Criminal Defense AttorneysThe Nevada legislature made big changes to the criminal justice system in the state.  In our last post, we covered a portion of changes made by Assembly Bill 236 (AB236).  This post continues that discussion.  AB236 has been signed into law by the Governor and will take effect July 1, 2020.

Main Provisions of the new law (continued)

Credit Card Scanning Devices

Existing law makes it a crime to access, read, obtain, memorize, or store information encoded on the magnetic strip of a payment card: without permission of the authorized user of the card, and with intent to defraud the user or card issuer or any other person.  It is also a crime under existing law to possess a scanning device with intent to use it for an unlawful purpose.

The new law makes it a crime for a person to install or affix a scanning device on a machine used for financial transactions with the intent to use the scanning device for an unlawful purpose.  It is also a crime to access by electronic or other means a scanning device with unlawful intent.  Persons who install, affix or access a scanning device without unlawful intent, in the ordinary course of their business, or to complete a transaction are exempt.

Controlled Substances Convictions Reclassified

Under current Nevada law, certain acts having to do with controlled or counterfeit substances were considered: Category B Felonies for first offense for substances on the DEA Schedules I and II, and Category C Felonies for first offenses for substances classified as III, IV or V on the DEA Schedules.

The new law reduces the Category Classifications to Category C and D respectively.  This results in lower sentences for those found guilty of those crimes.  Probation, which is precluded for these acts under current law, will now generally be available if mitigating circumstances exist.

New Weight requirements for Trafficking Controlled Substances violations

Current law prohibits trafficking of DEA Schedule I controlled substances other than marijuana, marijuana or concentrated cannabis, and Schedule II controlled substances.  The penalties for such acts varied depending on which substance was being trafficked.

Under the new law, two classifications: low level trafficking, and high level trafficking are established, with revised weights of controlled substances to determine the penalties.

Use and Possession of controlled substances law revised

Existing law makes it unlawful to use or be under the influence of a controlled substance other than for use under a legitimate prescription.  Violations of these laws result in penalties from Gross Misdemeanor to Category E Felony depending on which DEA Schedule on which the substance is listed.  The new law classifies all violations of use of a controlled substance to Misdemeanors regardless of schedule.

Possession of controlled substances under the new law is classified by Low-Level Possession, Mid-Level Possession, and High-Level Possession depending upon the quantity and Schedule of the controlled substance possessed.  The new law also forbids low-level possession crimes or unlawful use from being considered to determine if a person is a habitual criminal.

Certain Felony Crime Categories Reduced

Skimmer Crime, Unlawful Distribution of a Controlled Substance, Gaming Crime, and Odometer Crimes (i.e. unlawfully changing an Odometer) have been reclassified from Category B Felonies to Category C Felonies and associated sentences for such crimes are reduced as a result.

Definition of a Habitual Criminal Revised

Under current law, you are considered a habitual criminal if convicted again of a felony after 2 previous felony convictions.  Under the new law, you will be considered a habitual criminal if convicted again after 5 previous convictions.

Miscellaneous Provisions

The rest of the bill covers miscellaneous directions to the Department of Prisons and addresses residential confinement, medical release of prisoners, geriatric parole, and early discharge of certain prisoners.

The Parole Board has certain provisions relaxed concerning granting of parole, and for re-entry plans to be drawn up 6 months prior to release, which includes providing photo identification cards, clothing, transportation costs, enrollment to a transitional living facility in certain cases, completed paperwork for Medicaid or Medicare, and 30 day supply of prescribed medications.

Other provisions provide for changes to procedures of the Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission, and tracking of savings under the new law by various state agencies to measure effectiveness of the new law.

The Defenders is tracking changes to the criminal justice overhaul

AB236 represents the most sweeping change to criminal law penalties and procedures in the history of Nevada.  Our lawyers will continue to track this and other changes to criminal law which resulted from the just ended 2019 Legislative Session.  Ryan Helmick and his Defenders team are committed to providing the most knowledgeable and aggressive defense for our clients.  If you have been charged with breaking criminal law, call us today to discuss your case at (702) 333-3333.

Learn More:

https://lasvegassun.com/news/2019/may/05/las-vegas-assemblyman-pushing-to-overhaul-criminal/

http://www.fernleyreporter.com/yeager-leads-quest-at-legislature-to-overhaul-nevadas-criminal-justice-system/

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019/Bill/6419/Overview

Defining Assault and Battery

We usually hear assault and battery used together and interchangeably but, under Nevada law, the terms have unique meanings:

Under Nevada law (NRS 200.471), Assault is defined as:

“Unlawfully attempting to use physical force against another person; or intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm.”

Battery is defined as (NRS 200.481):

“Battery means any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”

While the terms are very similar, the difference is that assault does not require physical touch, while battery does. Assault can take place, if the victim is in “reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm,” even if you didn’t intend it. Battery is the actual use of force upon another person.

Punishments Associated with Assault and Battery

While the crimes are different, the punishments are similar.

For simple assault, that is, no deadly weapon is used; it is considered a misdemeanor, resulting in a penalty of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. For simple battery, defined as, no deadly weapon used, and the victim suffered no substantial bodily harm, it is also considered a misdemeanor, which carries the same punishment.

However, the punishments ramp up considerably as the severity of the crime increases. If a deadly weapon was used in an assault, it is considered a Category B felony punishable by one to six years in State Prison and/or fine of up to $5,000.

If a deadly weapon is used in a battery, without substantial bodily harm to the victim, it is also considered a Category B felony, but the punishment is two to 10 years in state prison and up to $10,000 fine. If the battery results in substantial bodily harm, or strangulation was used in the commission of the battery, it is considered a Category B felony, with two to 15 years in state prison and up to $10,000 fine.

These are the minimum punishments associated with assault and battery crimes and additional punishments are set forth in the statute if the crime was committed upon an “officer,” provider of health care, taxicab driver, or school employee, or if the assault or battery occurred during the commission of another crime, such as robbery, sexual assault, or murder.

The Defenders will Provide a Strenuous Defense

If you have been charged with either assault or battery, call The Defenders today. There are many conditions to be considered which resulted in the charge. There may be mitigating circumstances that could lead to a reduced charge or even dismissal. Call us today to discuss your case at (702) 333-3333.

Background Checks in Nevada

If you have been convicted of a crime in Nevada, chances are, your prospects for obtaining employment may be hampered if the potential employer makes use of background checks prior to hiring. It is common practice for employers to use background checks in their pre-employment screenings. In fact, a recent survey found that 92 percent of employers do check background in their hiring process.

What Laws Govern the Obtaining and Use of Background Check?

Background checks are legal in Nevada. But there are restrictions: Nevada’s “ban the box” law prohibits government employers from asking about criminal history on the initial application; The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires certain employers to get applicants’ consent to run background checks

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) sets minimum requirements on a nationwide basis for various types of background reports and the information allowed to be included. Many states have additional requirements and allowances in addition to the FCRA. Nevada is largely in line with FCRA requirements, but has some additions as discussed below.

What Types of Reports?

The FCRA provides for two types of reports: consumer reports, and investigative consumer reports. Consumer reports includes information such as credit history, general financial and personal information about an individual, such as addresses of record, employment history, credit payment history, and overall indebtedness. Consumer Reports are largely obtained from public record information, and reports of creditors to various credit reporting agencies.

The Investigative Consumer Report contains additional information regarding an individual’s character, general reputation, personal practices, mode of living among other personal traits and practices. These reports are obtained from public records, but may also include results of personal contact with neighbors, friends, work associates and other acquaintances.

In order to obtain a Consumer Report, employers must disclose to prospective employees that a consumer report may be requested, and the prospective employee must acknowledge the disclosure by a signature. This disclosure and acknowledgment must be a separate document which contains nothing else but the disclaimer and signature.

Additional disclosure requirements for an Investigative Consumer Report require the prospective employer to notify the prospective employee, in writing, that the employer will be obtaining in-depth information. The report must be mailed or delivered to the person no later than three days after the report is requested. Additionally, the disclosure must advise the person that they have a right to obtain additional disclosures and a written summary of legal rights.

Consumer Reports may not include medical information without the written consent of the person, and may not include arrest information prior to seven years of the date of the report, unless the job will pay more than $75,000 annually. Convictions of felonies, and misdemeanors that occurred prior to the seven-year limit may appear.

Nevada Laws Governing Consumer Reporting

Until 2015, Nevada law did not allow reporting of criminal convictions prior to seven years of the report date. Nevada Senate Bill 409 removed these prohibitions bringing Nevada more in line with the FCRA. Convictions of any felonies and misdemeanors may now appear in Consumer Reports.

Nevada law prohibits employers from requiring a Consumer Report, or taking adverse action against a potential employee based on a Consumer Report, unless, the employer is required to do so by state or federal law, or the employer believes the prospective applicant has engaged in illegal activity, or the employer believes that the report is significantly related to the position.
The state considers a Consumer Report to be related to the position if the duties of the position include:

  • Care, custody and handling of, or responsibility for, money, financial records, corporate credit or debit cards or other assets
  • Access to trade secrets and other proprietary or confidential information
  • Managerial or supervisory responsibility
  • The direct exercise of law enforcement authority as an employee of a state or local law enforcement agency
  • The care, custody and handling of, or responsibility for, the personal information of another person
  • Access to the personal financial information of another person
  • Employment with a financial institution
  • Employment with a licensed gaming establishment

The Defenders Can Help

Even with Nevada’s additional restrictions on consumer reporting, the information in a Consumer Report can be damaging. Convictions of crimes in Nevada can be made available to potential employers, and the state no longer imposes a limit on how old the conviction may be. The best course, if charged with a violation of the criminal code, is to hire an attorney who can vigorously defend you against the charges.

The lawyers of the Defenders can provide that kind of defense and stand ready to assist you. Call us today at (702) 333-3333.

“On multiple occasions now, this law firm has went above and beyond for me. Thank you!” – Britney Poti

Read More:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/nevada-law-employer-use-arrest-conviction-records.html

http://www.employeescreen.com/iqblog/by-the-way/nevada-removes-7-year-limit-on-criminal-records/

https://www.peoplesmart.com/background-check

https://content.goodhire.com/nevada-employment-background-check-laws

https://hr.blr.com/whitepapers/Staffing-Training/Background-Checks/zns-Understanding-FCRA-Its-Impact-on-Background-Ch

https://www.justifacts.com/state-laws-and-background-checks-what-you-need-to-know/


Three dead on Strip after shooting, collision with cab

In our previous post on this subject, we covered the statutes that define and govern domestic violence cases in Nevada and outlined statutory punishments for defendants charged with and found guilty of battery which constitutes domestic violence (BDV). In this post, we will discuss additional potential domestic violence penalties.

Types of Domestic Violence Protection Orders

A protection order, commonly known as a restraining order, is an order from a court that restrains behavior of the adverse party. Nevada law NRS 33.017 through 33.100 provides definitions for two types of protective orders in cases of Domestic Violence. A temporary protection order (TPO) expires 30 days from issuance, while an extended protection order is in effect for no longer than 1 year from date of issuance.

The 30-day TPO prohibits the adverse party from any threat, physical injury, or harassment of the applicant; from being on the premises of or entering the applicant’s residence, place of employment, school, or places frequented by the applicant; will prohibit any and all communication by any means, including verbal, by telephone, by mail or email, either personally or by a third party, with the applicant until the order expires; may grant custody of any minor children to the applicant; prohibits threats to take or injure animals owned or kept by the applicant or adverse party; and any other instructions the court needs to make based on the circumstances of the order.

The extended order contains any of the provisions of the TPO, plus may specify conditions of visitation of minor children, and may require supervision by a third party of any visitation, if applicable; may order the adverse party to pay applicant’s rent and/or support of minor children; pay all costs and fees of the applicant in bringing the action, and pay income lost to the applicant for time taken to attend hearings associated with bringing the action.

Other Effects of Protection Orders

Adverse parties to an extended order are also prohibiting from purchasing or acquiring a firearm while the order is in force. Violators of this provision are guilty of a Category B Felony and will be imprisoned in State Prison for one to six years and a fine of no more than $5,000. The extended order may also require any firearms in the possession of the adverse party to be surrendered to law enforcement, a person designated by the court, or sold to a licensed gun dealer. Violations of an order to surrender a firearm within 24 hours will result in a search warrant being issued by the court for law enforcement to find the firearm and seize it.

Violation of Protection Order

In the case of either a TPO or extended order, any violation is considered contempt of court, and the adverse party may be arrested and held as specified in the order but no less than 12 hours before qualifying for bail. Additionally, the adverse in a TPO can be found guilty of a misdemeanor for violating the order, unless the act of violation, by law, carries harsher penalties. For example, if the violation of the order results from a violent act, the statutes for that act may specify a greater punishment.

A person who violates an extended order is guilty of a Category C felony punishable by one to five years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Protection Order Defense

Penalties for violating a Protective Order are serious and can subject defendants to additional jail time and fines. Three remedies are available to those served with protection orders, including:

  1. File a motion to dissolve the protection order. If the court agrees to hear arguments a date will be set and both the applicant and the adverse will appear. If court agrees to dissolve, the order is void and unenforceable
  2. File a motion to modify the protection order. If the court agrees to hear arguments, a date is set. The court will decide what, if any, modifications are needed at the hearing.
  3. If an extended order is issued, the adverse may appeal it to District Court. District Court may decide to affirm, modify or vacate the order. The order remains in effect during the appeal process.

The Defenders lawyers are capable to assist in all aspects of protective orders and will provide a defense that will work to vigorously defend your rights. Call us today at (702) 333-3333.