What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Nevada?
Nevada domestic violence charges are extremely serious offenses in Nevada. The statute governing domestic violence is broad and complex. Many different types of conduct can fall within its scope. If you face a domestic violence allegation, a conviction can negatively impact your life far beyond the criminal penalties.
What Conduct Qualifies as Domestic Violence?
The statutory provisions in NRS 33.018 define acts that constitute domestic violence in Nevada. The law states that the following acts against individuals with certain relationships constitute domestic violence:
- Coercion under NRS 207.190
- Sexual assault
- False imprisonment
- Knowing, purposeful or reckless conduct intended to harass, including (but not limited to, stalking, arson, trespassing, larceny, destruction of private property, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, injuring or killing an animal, burglary, home invasion
These acts constitute domestic violence if the person committing the act and the affected person have one of the following relationships:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Blood or marital relationship
- Dating relationship
- Biological parents of a child
- Minor child of any of the above persons
- Minor child or a person appointed as custodian or legal guardian for the child
The statute defines a dating relationship for purposes of the law as “frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional or sexual involvement.” Casual relationships and ordinary associations between persons in a business or social context are excluded from the definition.
In addition, the law specifically excludes siblings and cousins from the scope of the provisions, unless the siblings or cousins are in a custodial or guardian relationship with each other.
Criminal Charges and Penalties for Domestic Violence
As defined in the statute, domestic violence includes many different types of conduct. Spousal abuse is commonly a basis for domestic violence charges, but the law also includes child abuse, elderly abuse, sexual assault (rape), and stalking or cyberstalking, as well as many other kinds of actions. The criminal charges arising from domestic violence are based on the nature of the conduct, so an act of domestic violence includes many different types of potential criminal charges. A single situation may give rise to multiple related charges.
Penalties for domestic violence vary, depending on the charges. Nevada has a specific statute that establishes penalties for battery domestic violence, NRS 200.485, which is one of the most common charges that results from a domestic violence incident. A first conviction carries a minimum of two days and up to six months in jail, 48 to 120 hours of community service, and a fine of $200 to $1,000. Potential penalties increase for repeated violations within a seven-year period.
The domestic violence battery law contains a provision that prohibits the prosecutor from dismissing the charge in exchange for a plea to a lesser charge for any reason other than insufficiency of evidence. The statute also requires law enforcement officers to arrest a person suspected of domestic violence battery within the previous 24 hours, even if the officer does not have a warrant.
In addition to the criminal charges for a domestic violence incident, a person may be subject to a domestic violence temporary or extended order of protection, which is a civil matter and a completely separate court proceeding. Legal representation in civil restraining order proceedings arising from a domestic violence situation is just as important as it is for criminal charges that are related.
Defending Against Nevada Domestic Violence Criminal Charges
If you face any charges relating to domestic violence, it’s absolutely essential to defend against the charges. A conviction can affect your child custody rights, your right to carry a firearm under both state and federal law, and adversely affect you in many other ways. Your employment and housing opportunities may even be negatively impacted. Aggressively defending against domestic violence charges and restraining orders is important for all these reasons.
An experienced criminal defense attorney has strategies for defending against domestic violence charges, based on the circumstances of the case and the nature of the charges. You should never try to represent yourself in any type of domestic violence case or in a proceeding for a temporary or extended protection order.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Clark County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
The best time to talk with a lawyer is as soon as you know there is a domestic violence allegation 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.