Domestic Violence in Nevada – Part One – Statutes and Punishments
Nevada has consistently ranked among the top five worst states in the country for domestic violence arrests. Battery Domestic Violence is one of the most frequent reasons for arrests in Nevada. As defined in NRS 33.018, domestic violence has a broad meaning and encompasses many acts that can be construed as violations of the statute.
Elements of Domestic Violence
Under the statute, the elements of domestic violence are defined as an act that’s committed against someone with whom you have a more intimate relationship than friends or business associates. The statute specifies a spouse or former spouse, any other person related by blood or marriage, a person with whom you are residing or have resided, a person you are dating or have dated, someone with whom you have a child in common, or the minor children themselves, or legal guardians or custodians of minor children of either party as appointed by a court.
The acts that constitute domestic violence as specified in the statute, are: battery; assault; forcing or threatening force to compel someone to do something they have a right to refuse; sexual assault; harassing behaviors, such as stalking, arson, trespassing, stealing, destruction of property, carrying a concealed weapon without permit, injuring an animal; false imprisonment; and unlawful or forcible entry to another person’s residence, or entry against the will of the other.
All the acts against persons as defined above are classified as domestic violence and as such have certain punishments and remedies associated.
Battery that Constitutes Domestic Violence (BDV)
Battery is defined as the willful and unlawful use of force or violence against another person. When battery is committed against one of the persons specified in the statute, the punishments as contained in NRS 200.485 apply. This statute spells out punishments based on the number of times a person is found guilty for this charge, within a seven-year period.
A conviction for a first offense is a misdemeanor and is punishable by two days to six months incarceration in city or county jail, between 48 and 120 hours of community service, and a fine of $200 to $1,000. One will also be required to attend counseling sessions of 1.5 hours per week at their own expense for 6-12 months in a domestic violence counseling program that has been certified by the state of Nevada.
A second conviction within seven years is a misdemeanor with jail time from 10 days to six months, community service of 100 to 200 hours, and a fine of $500 to $1000. Domestic violence counseling for no less than 12 months is required for second offense.
For a third and subsequent conviction of BDV, it is considered a Category C felony and is punishable by one to five years in state prison and a fine of no more than $10,000.
As an exception to the above, if strangulation is a part of the battery the conviction is a Category C felony and is punishable by one to five years in state prison and a fine of no more than $15,000. This can apply from the first offense.
Additionally, the statute spells out the possibility of additional penalties at the court’s discretion, including enrollment in a state-certified alcohol or drug abuse program, and the possibility of child counseling by a child welfare agency at the expense of the guilty party.
The statute also prohibits a plea bargain, unless the prosecutor knows that there is insufficient probable cause or evidence too weak to be proved in court. Courts are also prohibited from granting probation or suspending sentences for this crime.
If a victim of BDV later recants their initial testimony, the District Attorney will most likely continue to pursue the charges without the support of the victim depending on the strength of the evidence obtained when the charges were first filed. In many cases, victims reconcile with the accused and no longer wish to pursue charges. In these cases, the prosecutors will assume that the initial statement given at the time of arrest were true and, in most cases, will continue to pursue the case.
Under the domestic violence statutes in the state, the victim has other remedies available to them such as temporary or extended protective orders, or restraining orders, which will be covered in a subsequent post.
The Defenders can provide a vigorous defense
The penalties for BDV are severe and require large amounts of time and investment to recover from. Possible defenses against these charges are: the defendant acted in self-defense, the act was an accident, and fraud on the part of the accuser. As with all crimes, the charges need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If the police conducted an illegal search as part of their investigation, evidence may be suppressed at trial to protect the defendant. If you have been charged with this crime, you will need an attorney to represent you to provide a defense which will protect your rights. Call the Defenders today to speak with one of our attorneys about your case at (702) 333-3333.