The Nevada crime of sexual assault — equivalent to the charge called rape or sexual battery in other states — is one of the most serious crimes in the state. Depending on the circumstances, including the age of the victim, the penalty can be life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Other consequences — such as being required to register as a sex offender — can ruin a person’s life by making it nearly impossible to find housing and a job. Because of the seriousness of a sexual assault charge, having a trusted, experienced criminal defense attorney represent you is absolutely essential.
In a sexual assault case, accurate investigation and analysis of the facts and evidence are extremely important. Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten holds a Master of Forensic Sciences degree. He worked for the Intelligence Division of the U.S. Secret Service, as well as the Office of Criminal Investigations at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At The Gersten Law Firm, we know the law, as well as local law enforcement and court practices and procedures. Attorney Gersten will put his extensive criminal defense experience and local knowledge to work in assessing the full circumstances, asserting a forceful defense, and exploring all options for resolving the charges. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation.
Sexual assault in Nevada is defined in by Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 200.366:
A person who subjects another person to sexual penetration, or who forces another person to make a sexual penetration on himself or herself or another, or on a beast, against the will of the victim or under conditions in which the perpetrator knows or should know that the victim is mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of his or her conduct, is guilty of sexual assault.
There are only two elements necessary to establish the crime:
Noticeably absent from the requirements is use of physical force. Defendants often believe that overt force is necessary to convict for sexual assault. That is not the case.
Unless the charge involves an underage victim, the issue in a sexual assault case generally revolves around the question of consent — including whether the victim consented or had the capacity to resist or consent. The Nevada Supreme Court determined that a victim’s submission does not necessarily equate to consent by the victim, which affects how a defense of consent can be asserted.
The Nevada Supreme Court also decided that that testimony of a sexual assault victim can be sufficient to support a conviction, even in the absence of other supporting evidence. That court rule is part of the state's law on sexual assault charges. It is yet another reason the charges are so difficult to defend.
Defense of sexual assault charges is further complicated by the fact that Nevada has a rape shield law that prevents the defendant from using previous sexual conduct of the victim as part of a defense. The Nevada Supreme Court has made a narrow exception, which allows a defendant to use the victim’s prior false allegations of sexual assault or sexual abuse under specifically prescribed circumstances.
Generally, the penalty for sexual assault is life imprisonment. Whether a defendant will be eligible for parole and the length of the minimum eligibility period depend on the age of the victim, as well as other circumstances explained below. In the absence of those other factors, the minimum eligibility for parole after a conviction is:
However, if a conviction included allegations of substantial bodily harm and the victim was under age sixteen (16), the penalty is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. If a conviction included allegations of substantial bodily harm and the victim is over age sixteen (16), the offense is punishable by life imprisonment and minimum eligibility for parole is increased to fifteen (15) years.
In addition, if the defendant has certain prior convictions, the sentence can be increased to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole regardless of other circumstances.
There are statutes of limitations that set limits on how long after an incident a sexual assault charge can be filed. Generally, the time limit is four (4) years. However, that time limit can be extended significantly when the charge involves an underage victim.
In addition to sexual assault, Nevada has a number of other crimes that are considered sex crimes, including:
At The Gersten Law Firm, we vigorously defend against all Nevada sex crime charges.
Sexual assault charges are extremely serious. You need a trusted, experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the laws and knows how to investigate and analyze evidence. If you are facing a sexual assault or other sex crime charge in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, Las Vegas attorney Joseph Gersten will discuss and evaluate your case based on his extensive investigative and criminal defense experience. Your initial consultation is free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.