Battery constituting domestic violence is taken very seriously by police and prosecutors in Nevada. It is also one of the more difficult criminal charges to fight. Often, there is very little evidence, and the case revolves around one person’s story versus another’s. Innocent people are convicted of battery domestic violence all the time. A domestic violence conviction can turn your life upside down. If you have been charged with domestic violence in Nevada, talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight to defend you.
Battery Domestic Violence in Nevada
Battery domestic violence (BDV) generally occurs when a person commits battery against an intimate partner or close family member. This includes violence against a:
- Spouse or former spouse;
- Relation by blood or marriage;
- Any person with whom they are residing;
- Someone in a past or current dating relationship;
- Someone with whom they have or are having a child with;
- Minor child of the above individuals;
- Their own minor child; or
- Legal guardian for their child.
Domestic violence is treated differently than other violent crimes because of the close personal relationship between the people involved. Disputes between people break out all the time; however when tempers escalate or alcohol is involved, sometimes people resort to threats or violence. Relationship problems, money problems, custody disputes, and divorce can often lead to stress and anger, causing people to do things they might never normally do.
Acts Which Constitute Domestic Violence
Battery domestic violence includes violent and abusive actions, and other actions intended to harass another person, including:
- Sexual Assault
- Destruction of private property
- Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit
- Injuring or killing an animal
- False imprisonment
Even if a person never intended to threaten or put another person in fear of harm, they can be charged with battery domestic violence. A push or a shove, or throwing something at another person can lead to BDV charges.
Arrest is Mandatory
Many people in Nevada are surprised to learn that there is a mandatory arrest policy in domestic violence cases. When a police officer suspects an individual of committing battery domestic violence, they are required to make an arrest. Even if the alleged victim says that nothing happened, or it was all a misunderstanding. If one person says they started the fight, the police can arrest the other person based on who they think was the primary aggressor.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
After someone is arrested for battery domestic violence, the court may grant a temporary order which prevents the arrested individual from contacting or threatening the alleged victim. If someone feels that a threat of domestic violence exists, even if nothing has happened, they can apply to the court for a temporary protective order. The court can grant the order without even giving notice to the adverse party.
The order can limit where an individual can go, who they can talk to, and even require them to pay rent or make mortgage payments for the applicant. An order can restrict an individual from going to the applicant’s residence, school, place of employment, or other locations. They can also restrict an individual from contacting someone by phone, text, email, or social media.
If the individual is found to be violating any terms of the protective order, they may be arrested, and face additional criminal penalties.
Criminal Penalties for Battery Domestic Violence
The criminal penalties and sentences for battery domestic violence will depend on the specific situation, type of abuse, criminal history, and other factors. Even a first-time offender can be given six months in jail. In general, the penalties for a first offense will include 2 days to 6 months in jail, up to 120 hours of community service, fines and fees of more than $1,000, and mandatory counseling sessions for up to a year at the defendant’s expense.
A second BDV offense within 7 years can result in 10 days to 6 months in jail, up to 200 hours of community service, fines and fees of over $1,000, and domestic violence counseling sessions for a year or more at the defendant’s expense. A third domestic violence offense in three years is considered a felony. Penalties include from 1 to 5 years behind bars and $10,000 in fines.
There are other penalties associated with a domestic violence conviction beyond jail time and fines. A BDV conviction can lead to a loss of your rights to own or purchase a firearm, vote, or hold elected office. Individuals who are not U.S. citizens may face deportation proceedings, forcing them to leave their family, job, and life in the U.S. behind.
A criminal battery domestic violence conviction can limit future job prospects, and disqualify individuals from college financial aid opportunities. Even if an individual doesn’t list their conviction on a job application, a routine background check will turn up their criminal record. Before you decide to plead guilty to a domestic violence charge, make sure you understand the real costs and penalties associated with a domestic violence conviction.
Legal Defenses to Battery Domestic Violence
Tempers run high in domestic disputes, especially when child custody, separation, or claims of infidelity are involved. This can cause people to say things that aren’t true, just to punish another person. When someone makes a false claim of domestic violence, the defendant may not think they have a chance to defend themselves. However, every defendant has potential legal defenses.
Your experienced BDV defense attorney will evaluate your case, and identify all available defenses. They can point out inconsistencies in the accuser’s story or call witnesses to dispute the accuser’s claims. Other defenses in a domestic violence case include self-defense or defense of another.
Experienced Las Vegas Defense Attorney
Battery domestic violence is a serious crime in Nevada, and can affect you and your family for the rest of your life. If you or a loved one is facing battery domestic violence charges, you need an experienced Las Vegas attorney to fight for you. Nadine Morton has over 13 years of experience defending individuals facing criminal charges in Las Vegas and throughout Clark County. Nadine Morton understands what it takes to build a strong case and fight to keep her clients out of jail so they can get back to a normal life.