Defending against any domestic violence accusation is essential. That is especially true because an allegation involving domestic violence can affect your life in many ways beyond the implications of a conviction (which include fines, prison time, and a criminal record). Your rights in family law matters (like divorce and custody), the ability to own a firearm, and even employment opportunities may be adversely impacted by a conviction.
As soon as you know that someone made an allegation, you should talk with an attorney who knows domestic violence law. Your lawyer can protect your rights from the very outset, even during an investigation. Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten has the experience to defend you against any domestic violence accusation. Your initial consultation at The Gersten Law Firm is always free-of-charge.
Domestic violence accusations typically involve legally and factually complex circumstances. The Nevada domestic violence laws include specific requirements that provide opportunities for a lawyer to defend against a domestic violence accusation.
Nevada law defines acts that constitute domestic violence. For conduct to qualify as domestic violence, there are two requirements: 1) the existence of a specific type of relationship between the defendant and alleged victim, and 2) conduct by the defendant that qualifies as violence under the statute.
While domestic violence charges frequently involve spouses or couples (or former spouses or partners), violent conduct against other individuals also may constitute domestic violence. The alleged victim may be a child, grandparent, another family member related by blood or marriage, or a legal guardian. Friends and neighbors usually do not qualify for domestic violence protection, although roommates or others living in the same household may qualify.
The law defines a broad range of acts that qualify as violence for purposes of domestic violence, including battery, assault, destruction of property, threatening conduct, stalking, and arson. Domestic violence charges involve one or more criminal offenses, depending on the circumstances. The nature of the conduct determines the specific criminal charges filed as the result of the domestic violence accusation.
The most commonly charged domestic violence offense is known as “battery which constitutes domestic violence.” Battery domestic violence — also sometimes called BVD or domestic battery — involves violent or forceful intentional physical touching in an offensive manner. It includes contact like hitting, biting, choking, or throwing objects at another person.
Domestic battery is a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the whether there are prior offenses. A first offense usually is a misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses are felonies. Penalties include fines, prison time, counseling, and community service. Potential penalties increase with repeated convictions.
When domestic violence allegations occur, there also may be a proceeding for a temporary protection order / TPO, which are civil rather than criminal matters. Violating a TPO can result in criminal charges. Having legal counsel represent you in those proceedings is extremely important.
A domestic violence charge relies on evidence that includes testimony of the victim and witnesses, as well as available documentary evidence of the injuries (such as photos or medical records). The police investigation report also may include statements from the defendant about the circumstances that led to the charge.
To get a conviction in a domestic violence case, the prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Defending against the charge therefore involves undermining or contradicting the evidence underlying the charge to the extent possible.
Depending on the circumstances, several different approaches may be available to defend against a domestic violence charge. The lawyer’s strategy may include demonstrating any of the following circumstances:
Regardless of the specific circumstances that underlie a domestic violence charge, asserting an aggressive defense is critical. When a skillful lawyer represents you, there is a chance of getting the charges dismissed. Even if the charges are not dismissed, an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a plea agreement that avoids the harsh consequences of having a record of a domestic violence conviction.
The best time to talk with a lawyer is as soon as you know there is a domestic violence accusation against you. Your attorney can defend you in the investigative stages before an arrest even occurs.
Attorney Joseph Gersten is an aggressive criminal defense lawyer who knows Nevada domestic violence laws, as well as the laws for related offenses. He also can assist with issues involving protection orders and restraining orders.
If you face a domestic violence accusation in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, Attorney Gersten will discuss and evaluate your case based on his extensive investigative and criminal defense experience. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.