Malice in Nevada Law: What You Need to Know

Malice is defined as “the intention or desire to do evil or ill will.”

Malice is intentional in all forms, meaning you are well aware of what you’re doing to another. In legal terms malice indicates the intention without excuse, to commit an act that is unlawful.

Another legal term that is commonly used is “malice aforethought.” It is the premeditation or predetermination required as an element of some crimes. For example, in first-degree or aggravated murder, one of the elements that must be proven in a court of law is that the crime was predetermined with malice.

If malice can’t be proven in a first-degree murder case then the defendant can’t be charged with first-degree murder and can be charged with the lesser crime of murder.

This can mean the difference between getting out of prison and not. Since malice is a state of mind it is often difficult to prove. A good defense attorney can use this to their advantage and possibly get your charges reduced or dismissed based on the evidence.

Malice as It Pertains to Nevada Law

The difference between consequences for a malicious crime and a non-malicious crime are very different and it can be a dramatic swing. So you should have a clear understanding of what malice or malicious intent is under Nevada law.

Under Nevada law Title 15 of the Nevada criminal code malice is defined as “your goal is to annoy, injure, or vex another person”.

It is also considered malice based on your actions if you “act with willful disregard to the rights of another person.”

Malice Express or Implied Defined

Malice can be either expressed or implied and the definition of each carries a very different set of circumstances.

  • Express malice– a deliberate intention to do something unlawful.
  • Implied malice-Occurs when a person shows a “ depraved heart” by committing a crime without provocation.

Malicious Prosecution

Malicious prosecution is illegal under NRS 199.310 which states it is illegal to maliciously and without probable cause, causes, or attempts to cause an innocent person to be arrested or proceeded against for a crime that they didn’t commit.

A common example of malicious prosecution is domestic violence charges that occur during a tenuous divorce or custody issues. It is common for one of the partners that is breaking up to call the police and say that the other partner hit or violated them in some way. This however is not true but the person is arrested anyway.

This is considered malicious prosecution and is a crime. The person who reported the crime can be arrested for malicious prosecution and sent to jail and fined. The penalties for malicious prosecution depend on the crime that the victim is charged with for example:

  • If the victim is charged with a felony then the defendant can receive up to 1-4 years in Nevada state prison and up to $5000 in fines
  • If the victim is charged with a lesser crime like a misdemeanor then the defendant can get up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1000 fine.

As a side note, the person who was wrongly accused of the crime can sue the accuser in civil court for compensatory and punitive damages.

Defenses Against Malice or Malicious Prosecution

Since malice is a state of mind and hard to prove in most cases, the specific facts of the incident play a very important role in whether or not malice has occurred. There are a few strategies that your defense attorney may use to defend these types of cases.

  1. Absence of malice – It means that you had no intent. If your defense team can show that your intentions were good or in the best interest of the person or public or that there was at least no malice, then the charges should be dropped or dismissed.
  2. Presence of probable cause -In the case of malicious prosecution, it is perfectly legal to report someone to the police that you believe is actually committing a crime. The term here that applies is reasonably believed, meaning if your defense attorney can prove that you reasonably believed that the other person was committing a crime then you should not be charged with malicious prosecution.
  3. Lack of evidence -In all criminal cases, it is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If a defense attorney can prove to just one juror some form of doubt about the evidence by proving the evidence is insufficient, unreliable, or erroneous then the charges should be dropped for lack of evidence.
  4. The person committed the offense -If you are charged with malicious prosecution, but the person was charged with a crime then your charges should be dropped. This could be a lengthy process since you’ll need to see how the other person’s charges play out in court.

A good defense team can use multiple defense strategies to place doubt in the minds of jurors and in some cases get your case for malice or malicious prosecution dismissed or reduced to a minor offense. If it comes down to it your defense team will go to trial to obtain a not-guilty verdict.

Malicious Mischief Law and Penalties in Las Vegas

Malicious Mischief is a group of crimes defined in Nevada that includes vandalism, destruction of personal property, hurting animals, and ruining signs, or other papers. One of the most frequently seen crimes in and around Las Vegas of malicious mischief is tagging or graffiti.

Malicious mischief can be charged as a misdemeanor up to a felony depending on the specific offense and the amount of damage.

The sentence is loosely based on the amount of damage done to the property and/ or how many times the defendant has been charged with the crime previously. For example, if the damage is between $250 but less than $5000 dollars, then it is considered a gross misdemeanor and the penalties are up to 364 days in jail and up to a $2000 fine.

Additional fines and community service depending on the person’s history, restitution, and a driver’s license suspension from 6 months to 2 years.

The charges become a felony if the damage took place on federal property or was a landmark. If you have prior convictions for malicious mischief, then the fines and jail time increase with every further conviction.

What to Do if You Are Arrested for Any Malicious Crime

As you can see malice has many forms from malicious mischief to malice murder. So the charges and penalties can be very different depending on the charges. If you have been arrested or a loved one has been placed in jail, call The Defenders immediately.

You may think you’re doing the right thing by speaking with the police but they can and will use any given statements against you. You’ll also need an attorney to represent you at a bail hearing to get you released on bail after an arrest.

Having an attorney at a bail hearing can get your bail reduced or even get you released on your own requiring you not to pay bail. Make sure not to sign anything from the police or prosecutors’ office before seeking an attorney’s advice.

The Defenders will investigate the charges against you using our in-house investigative team, call today if you’ve been charged in any crime.

Why Call The Defenders

While our offices are located in Las Vegas and Reno we have represented clients all over the state. We will give you a free consultation, and at that time we will give you an honest and truthful case review and will tell you what to expect from your case going forward.

We have been representing clients for years and have a proven track record of getting cases dismissed or charges reduced. In some cases, we will negotiate a plea deal for our clients if we believe that it is beneficial to our clients. We have represented clients that have been charged with everything from white-collar financial crimes to murder.

Our firm employs a variety of attorneys with many specialties to assist our clients. We wouldn’t recommend anyone attempting to navigate the court system without an experienced legal team on their side.

If you have been charged with any crime including one involving malice you should speak with an experienced, respected legal team as soon as possible. Not calling an attorney could be the difference between being convicted of a crime or having the charges dismissed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is malice in Nevada law?

Under Nevada law Title 15 of the Nevada criminal code malice is defined as “your goal is to annoy, injure, or vex another person”.

It is also considered malice based on your actions if you “act with willful disregard to the rights of another person.”

What is malicious mischief?

Malicious Mischief is a group of crimes defined in Nevada law that includes vandalism, destruction of personal property, hurting animals, and ruining signs or other papers.

What is the punishment for malicious mischief?

The punishment for malicious mischief can vary depending on the amount of damage done, how many times the defendant has been charged previously, and whether or not the damage was done to federal property or a landmark. Generally speaking, punishments for malicious mischief may include fines up to $2000, jail time of up to 364 days, community service, restitution and driver’s license suspension from 6 months to 2 years.

What should I do if I’m arrested for a malicious crime?

If you’ve been arrested or a loved one has been placed in jail, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced attorney. Don’t speak to the police or prosecutors’ office before seeking legal advice from an attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand the charges against you and may be able to get your bail reduced or even have you released on your own recognizance without having to pay bail. In some cases, a plea deal may be negotiated that is more beneficial to the defendant. It’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

What Does Criminal Defense Mean? An In-Depth Look

The Defenders Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers

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 becomes 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.

Numerous factors contribute to the complexities of a criminal defense. While the following are some common elements that can influence the outcome of your case, the attorneys at The Defenders are adept at navigating these and all other considerations to provide a robust and assertive defense against your criminal charges.

Elements of Criminal Defense

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 (as opposed to a bench trial).

A thorough understanding and application of case law in criminal proceedings can be vital to successfully defending someone charged under the statutes. It is equally important to know how and when to appropriately 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is criminal defense?

Criminal defense is the legal representation of an individual who has been charged with a criminal offense. This includes navigating the complexities of statute law, case law, and the rules of criminal procedure in order to assertively defend against criminal charges.

Do I need to hire an attorney if I am charged with a crime?

While it is not legally required for you to have an attorney represent you in court, it is highly recommended. The laws and procedures involved in a criminal case can be complex and overwhelming for someone without legal training. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can greatly increase your chances of a successful outcome in your case.

What should I do if I’m arrested?

If you are arrested, it is crucial to exercise your right to remain silent and request an attorney immediately. Avoid discussing your case with law enforcement or anyone else without your lawyer present. Contact The Defenders as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected from the start.

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.

In Las Vegas, What is an Accessory After the Fact?

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.

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Wrongful Conviction lawyers Las Vegas NV

Changes to the Nevada Criminal Laws – Wrongful Convictions

In 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 


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.

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Changes to the Nevada Criminal Laws – Fines and Fees

Las Vegas NV Criminal Defense Law Firm

Under 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.

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.

Previous Law and Its Issues

Before the passing of AB416, Nevada criminal law had a system for assessing penalties in three broad categories: fines, assessments, and fees. Fines were fixed amounts set by the state legislature for certain crimes; assessments were determined by courts as punishment; and fees were charged to defendants for various services related to their charges, such as drug testing or electronic monitoring.

However, critics of this system argued that it disproportionately affected low-income individuals who could not afford to pay these fines and fees. As a result, many individuals were stuck in a cycle of debt and incarceration.

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.
  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. In addition, in January 1, 2023, most traffic tickets were decriminalized. This means that failure to pay these tickets will no longer result in a bench warrant for arrest.

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.

Whether you are facing something minor like a misdemeanor traffic charge, or something more serious like a felony, The Defenders are here to help. Contact The Defenders today and let us help you navigate through these charges and protect your future.

The Defenders Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

Part 2 – Overhauls to the Nevada Criminal Laws

The 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.

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.  The 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.

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Part 1 – Overhauls to the Nevada Criminal Laws

Nevada’s state prison population is currently 13,800 inmates.  This is up 7% since 2009.  At current growth rates, the prison population in the Silver State is expected to hit 15,000 within the next 10 years.  State budgets to pay for prisons are expected to increase $770 million as a result.  While these statistics may not be shocking, compared to the national prison population, it is the exact opposite.  National prison populations have gone down 7% since 2009.  Perhaps the most alarming statistic finds that in 2017, 66% of those entering the Nevada prison population were convicted of non-violent crimes.

Because of these findings, one of the most sweeping changes to come out of the Nevada legislature in 2019, is an overhaul of the state’s criminal justice system.  Assembly Bill 236 (AB236) was forwarded to the governor and signed into law.  Most of the provisions of the act, having to do with adjusted punishments take effect July 1, 2020.  The portion of the bill addressing appropriations to fund the prison system take effect July 1, 2019.

AB236 is perhaps the most complex bill to come out of the legislature in 2019, it is 160 pages long, and changes the focus of Nevada’s criminal justice system for non-violent offenders.  This changing focus includes more emphasis on mental health treatments and diversion programs with the objective of dealing with the causes of non-violent crime and rehabilitation of offenders, rather than imprisonment.  The new law also focuses Increased attention on probation and parole.  The financial goal of the legislation is to save nearly $650 million in prison expense during the next decade.

Main Provisions of the new Law

Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Treatments revisions.

Eligibility requirements for admission to Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Treatments programs have been revised and expanded.  Provisions of law relating to Alcohol and Drug Treatment have been repealed and new programs have been established under the new law.

Probation and Parole Changes

Courts are authorized under the new law to set aside, dismiss, or defer judgement of conviction and place on probation defendants suffering from mental illness or substance abuse based on defendant’s successful completion the terms and conditions of probation which includes a court supervised treatment program for their condition.

Probation Terms have been revised under the new law.  The maximum terms of probation currently in effect are: 3 years for Gross Misdemeanors, and 5 years for felonies.  Under the new law, the maximum probation term is 12 months for Gross Misdemeanors or certain Suspensions of Sentence; 18 months for a Category E Felony; 24 months for a Category C or D felony; 36 months for a Category B felony; or 60 months for a violent or sexual offense.  Courts may add up to 12 months to a term to allow a probationer to complete a specialty court program for substance abuse or mental health.

Under existing law, if a court finds that a probationer committed one or more technical violations of the conditions of probation, the court may temporarily revoke probation and impose terms of imprisonment.  If a probationer is arrested for a technical violation, he must be brought before the court within 15 days for a hearing or be released back to probation.

A system of graduated sanctions must be provided by the State Board of Parole Commissioners, for parole officers to use when responding to technical violations of parole.

Category E Felonies

Current law requires courts to suspend sentences and offer probation to defendants found guilty of Category E felonies.  Courts had the choice not to provide probation if the person was: (1.) already serving a term or probation or was on parole for felony convictions at the time of the new crime, (2.) previously had his or her probation or parole revoked for a felony conviction, or (3.)had previously failed to complete a drug or alcohol treatment program.  The new law removes these exceptions and requires mandatory probation for all Category E felonies.

Redefinition of Burglary

Burglary has been redefined under the new law, based on what type of structure is being burglarized.  The structures recognized are Dwelling, Business Structure, Structure, and Motor Vehicle.  Punishments have been revised based on the type of structure burglarized: for a Motor Vehicle – 1st offense is a Category E felony, 2nd and subsequent offenses are a Category D felony; a Structure is a Category D felony; a Business Structure is a Category C felony; and a Dwelling is a Category B felony.

Theft Thresholds

Current law recognizes theft as a Category C felony, if the value stolen is more than $650 or a misdemeanor if below that amount.  Under the new law, a graduated scale is being implemented with amounts below $1,200 as a misdemeanor; $1,200 to $5,000 a Category D felony; $5,000 to $25,000 a Category C felony; $25,000 to $100,000 a Category B felony with prison term of 1-10 years and fines up to $10,000; and over $100,000 a Category B felony with prison term of 1-20 years and fines up to $15,000.

Grand Larceny follows this same schedule, with amounts less than $1,200 considered Petit Larceny.

Car Theft is considered Grand Larceny with a 1st offense a Category C felony and second or subsequent offenses within 5 years, a Category B felony with prison term of 1-6 years and up to $5,000 fine.

The Defenders knows the Law

The criminal law overhaul passed by the Nevada Legislature and signed into law by the governor will make big changes to outcomes in criminal cases.  Most of the provisions of this overhaul won’t take effect until July 2020.  The purpose of the changes is to focus attention on getting violence offenders into custody but reducing prison population of non-violent criminals.  Our lawyers know the law and are up to date on the upcoming changes.  Call us today to discuss your potential case at (702) 333-3333.


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Nevada Makes Changes to Domestic Violence (DV) Laws

The Nevada legislative session is drawing to a close for its 2019 term.  The legislature will not be in session again until 2021, unless a special session is called by the governor.  During this term 700 or so bills were sent to the governor.  As of this writing the governor has signed over 600 and vetoed only a few.

This session, Domestic Violence (DV) was on the mind of the legislators and a group of five bills was passed and signed by the governor: enhancing penalties for DV perpetrators; creating new DV crimes; increasing terms of Protective Orders and provided increased options to serve Orders; and enhanced privacy for victims of DV crimes.

Summary of new Domestic Violence laws

Enhanced Penalties – Assembly Bill 60 (AB60) effective July 1, 2019, increases punishments times for first and second offenses for Battery which constitutes Domestic Violence (BDV). If convicted, BDV first time offenders are guilty of a misdemeanor with jail time of 2 days to 6 months and fines of $200 to $1,000.  Intermittent sentencing has been increased from 4 hours to 12 hours for the first act. Second time BDV offenders if convicted are guilty of a misdemeanor, and the minimum sentence is increased from 10 days to 20 days.  Third time BDV offenders increased from Category C felony to Category B felony.

Senate Bill 218 (SB218) provides for increased punishments for repeat felony offenders of BDV.  Second time and subsequent felony BDV offenders will charged with a Category B felony with prison term of 2 to 15 years in state prison, and fines from $2,000 to $5,000.

New Domestic Violence Crimes – Assembly Bill 60 (AB60) also recognizes new offenses which qualify as Domestic Violence.  Coercion, Burglary, Home Invasion and Pandering are now recognized as unlawful acts that constitute domestic violence.  Also, BDV against a pregnant person is a new crime, punished on a first offense as a gross misdemeanor, and second and subsequent offenses as a Category B felony.

Increased Protective Order Terms – Protective Orders have received changes through three bills, Assembly Bills 19 and 410, (AB19 and AB410 respectively) and Senate Bill 218 (SB218).  AB19 takes effect July 1, 2019 while AB 410 is effective October 1, 2019.  SB 218 takes effect October 1, 2018.  The bills address the two types of protective orders in Nevada: Temporary Protective Orders (TPO), and Extended Protective Orders.  Until now, TPO’s were limited to 30-day terms.  AB410 changes the term to 45 days.  Extended Orders were limited to one-year terms, but AB19 changes that to up to two years.

AB19 also expands the methods used by Law Enforcement (LE) to serve Protective Orders, whether Temporary or Extended.  LE will deliver orders to the last known residence, and if service cannot be completed, will leave a notice in a conspicuous place.  LE may then attempt to serve the Protective Order at the adverse party’s last known place of employment.

Other methods for delivery are provided in the new law if multiple attempts fail to complete service.  AB19 also provides for more stringent punishments for people who violate the terms of a Protective Order, even if it is to answer a communication from the victim.  Repeated violations result in increased punishments.

SB218 provides increase punishments for intentional violations of Protective Orders.  First time violations are a misdemeanor, second time violations are a Gross Misdemeanor, and Third and subsequent violations are a Category D Felony.  SB218 also limits courts from considering any factor other than whether a petitioner for TPO or Extended Order was a victim of Domestic Violence or threat of DV.

Enhanced Privacy to Victims – Current law allows for fictitious addresses to be used by victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking, stalking and sexual assault by the Department of Health and Human Services.  Assembly Bill 41 (AB41) extends the use of fictitious address for such victims to all government agencies and public utilities.  AB41 takes effect July 1, 2019.

The Defenders provides vigorous defense against domestic violence charges

If you’ve been charged with a domestic violence crime, you face an increasingly complicated array of laws and penalties, which can potentially deprive you of your rights and freedoms.  Our lawyers know this area of the law and will provide you with a defense which focuses on preserving your rights.  If you have been charged with a domestic violence crime, or have a protective order issued against you, you need a lawyer to help you navigate this complex legal territory.  Call our office today to discuss your potential case at (702) 333-3333.

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Your Rights During a Home Invasion in Nevada

On February 1, 2019, it was reported that a man was injured inside his home in West Las Vegas when he was shot by two men attempting to break into his home.  He returned fire hitting the two suspects, who were transported to the hospital.  The man had been shot in the leg and he also was transported to the hospital.  It is unknown at this time, the condition of the suspected intruders or the victim.  What are your rights when being threatened by intruders, or home invaders? Do you have an absolute right to use deadly force against unlawful entry to your home?

There are very few absolute rights in the law, especially when it comes to the taking of human life.  Nevada law (NRS 200.120) defines “Justifiable Homicide” as allowable under three conditions:

  1. The person was not the original aggressor
  2. The person has a legal right to be in the location where deadly force is used
  3. The person Is not actively engaged in the furtherance of criminal activity at the time deadly force is used.

These considerations apply when the person is defending themselves or others, an occupied habitation, or occupied motor vehicle.

If one of the two alleged intruders in the above example, should die from his wounds, the man could fall under the Justifiable Homicide provisions of Nevada State Law.  The prosecutor would make that determination based on the facts of the case.

Castle Doctrine

Under (NRS 200.120) the castle doctrine, people in Nevada have the right to use deadly force to protect their occupied home or occupied vehicle from assault by a third party. They have no duty to retreat: He was allowed to use deadly force instead of retreating.

The presumption of a right to defend your life and your home has long been recognized by the law, growing out of the so called “Castle Doctrine” or “your home is your castle” concept, which in our legal tradition was passed down through English Common Law.  Nevada law reflects this same understanding in the aforementioned chapter dealing with “Justified Homicide,” and other states have similar statutes as an outgrowth of the “castle doctrine.”  Under this doctrine, deadly force may be used in self-defense against an intruder of an occupied home.  Shooting someone entering an unoccupied home not considered “justifiable homicide.”

Standing Your Ground

Nevada is what’s known as a “stand your ground” state. Nevada requires what’s called a no “duty to retreat” before killing in self-defense only as long as the one who is fighting back: is not the original aggressor, has a right to be in the place where deadly force is used, and is not defined as engaging in any sort of criminal activity.

In Nevada in 2011, the state legislature passed new measures which removed a requirement to retreat in the face of a threatening situation.  These “Stand Your Ground” statutes have been in effect since that time and about half the states have adopted similar legislation.  Most recently, the Nevada Legislature in 2015, passed SB175 which became law in June 2015, and included the defense of an occupied motor vehicle to the legal list of defendable circumstances recognized by law, among other provisions.

Possible Legal Charges

In some cases, charges could be filed against you for homicide even while defending your home.  If this has happened to you, you should seek the services of an aggressive, driven attorney who will represent your rights under the protections Nevada law provides for you.  The lawyers of The Defenders understand these laws and will build a legal defense that will stand up to court scrutiny.  To discuss your case, call our office today at (702) 333-3333.

“Great Law Firm! The Attorneys were very helpful & understanding with any questions I had. They were able to help me out with my case, highly recommend..if your looking for a great Law Firm look no further! Staff is very professional & quick to help thanks Defenders” – Alexandra morfin

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