Las Vegas Defense Attorney for Assault and Battery Charges
Experienced Criminal Defense Law Firm in Clark County, Nevada
Assault and battery charges are extremely serious in Nevada. The two offenses are separate crimes, with different statutory definitions and separate penalties. There are also other specific crimes for different types of assault and battery that can be charged. Regardless of the type of assault and battery charges you face, it is essential to have an experienced criminal defense attorney defend vigorously against the charges.
At The Gersten Law Firm, we have the knowledge and experience to defend against all types of assault and battery charges. Attorney Joseph Gersten applies his unique investigative background, his knowledge of local courts and processes, and his criminal defense experience to thoroughly analyze and evaluate the circumstances and aggressively defend you.
The Difference Between Assault and Battery
Assault and battery are two different, separate criminal offenses. Under Nevada law, the crime of assault includes “unlawfully attempting to use physical force against another person” or “intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm.” The most important fact about assault is that no actual contact is necessary for the crime of assault to be committed. The attempt to use force — or placing someone in fear of bodily harm — is all that is necessary.
The crime of battery is defined as “willful and unlawful use of force or violence” on another person. The element that distinguishes battery from assault is that battery involves contact with the victim. In contrast, an assault can be committed even if no contact or touching occurs.
Simple and Aggravated Assault and Battery
Both assault and battery can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony in Nevada, depending on the circumstances of the case. Even a misdemeanor charge can result in prison time and a fine. Felony charges fall into different categories of seriousness depending on the situation and carry more severe potential penalties than misdemeanor charges.
The presence of aggravating factors increases the severity of the charge. Sometimes, charges are referred to as “simple battery,” “aggravated battery,” “simple assault,” or “aggravated assault.” The different terms refer to the severity of the circumstances, as well as the seriousness of the charges.
When a deadly weapon is involved in an assault or battery, the charge will be a felony. If a battery occurs in a public place like a transit station or school zone, the battery can be charged as a felony, even if a deadly weapon is not involved. Serious bodily injury to the victim — which involves death, extreme pain, disfigurement, or loss or impairment of a bodily function — raises a battery charge to a felony as well.
In addition, an assault or battery against a person belonging to a class of specifically protected persons, as defined in the law, is charged as a felony. If the conduct that provides the basis of the charge is directed at any of these individuals while the person is performing his or her professional duties, the seriousness of the charge escalates significantly. Protected persons include:
- Police officers, corrections officers, and other law enforcement officers
- Teachers and other school employees
- Health care providers
- Taxicab drivers and transit officers
- Sports officials
If a prisoner in custody or an individual on probation or parole commits an assault or battery against a person belonging to the protected categories, the person will be charged with an even more serious felony.
Whether assault and battery are charged as a misdemeanor or felony depends on all the specific circumstances that are involved. The presence of any aggravating or special factors can escalate the charges. The degree of felony charges can vary in severity based on the specific situation as well.
As the seriousness of the charges increases, so do the potential fine and prison term. A person convicted of assault or battery can also be required to pay restitution to the victim.
There are special situations that can be involved in an assault or battery as well: Specific battery charges are associated with domestic violence, as explained on our page on domestic violence charges. For immigrants and non-citizens, assault and battery charges may sometimes lead to deportation. An assault and battery committed on an airplane can be punished under federal law rather than under state law.
Sexual assault charges are a completely different category of crimes from assault and battery. Additional information about defending against sexual assault charges is available on our page devoted to those offenses.
Battery With the Intent to Commit a Crime
Nevada law separately recognizes specific battery offenses when the battery occurs during commission of another crime. These battery charges are always felony charges. They include:
- Battery with the intent to commit mayhem, robbery, or grand larceny
- Battery with the intent to kill
- Battery with the intent to commit sexual assault
A battery with the intent to commit sexual assault can be charged as a category A felony, if the battery results in substantial bodily harm or involves strangulation. Battery with the intent to commit a crime can carry increased penalties on account of special characteristics of the victim, including race, color, religion, or sexual orientation.
Defending Against an Assault and Battery Charges
The elements of an assault charge or a battery charge are very legally specific. The prosecutor must prove those elements to make a case. One of the first steps your attorney will take is to thoroughly investigate the circumstances that led to the charges. Having an attorney like Joe Gersten, who has an extensive investigative and analytical background, can make all the difference in how your case is resolved, even in the early stages of the case.
After the circumstances are determined, your attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor to attempt to find the most favorable result possible. That may mean reaching a plea bargain for a lesser offense, alternative sentencing, or even dismissal of the case, if your attorney can establish that the circumstances do not meet the requirements for the charges or that a defense to the charge is present.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Las Vegas Assault and Battery Defense Attorney
For any type of assault or battery charges, it is essential to have an experienced, knowledgeable attorney represent you. By their nature, assault and battery charges are extremely complex. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction or guilty plea can carry very severe consequences, including substantial prison terms and fines. Having a conviction on your record can significantly and adversely affect many aspects of your life as well.
You need a trusted, experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the laws, knows the local criminal justice system, and knows how to investigate and analyze evidence. If you are facing an assault or battery charge in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, you should talk with Las Vegas attorney Joseph Gersten. He will discuss and evaluate your case based on his extensive investigative background and Las Vegas criminal defense experience.
Your initial consultation is free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.