Nevada Law NRS 200.4001 defines battery as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon someone. An individual may be convicted of battery with the intent to commit a crime, such as a robbery or grand larceny. Or worse, a person may be convicted of battery with the intent to kill.
Both of those types of battery are considered Category B Felonies and are punishable with a minimum of 2 years in prison and up to 20 years (in the case of the latter.) Here’s everything you need to know about battery laws in Nevada, explained by our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys.
Battery with Attempt to Commit Sexual Assault
If the battery crime is committed with the attempt to commit sexual assault on someone 16 years or older, and the crime results in substantial bodily harm to the victim or is committed by strangulation, the charge is raised to a Category A Felony and the perpetrator may be sentenced to life without parole, or life with the eligibility of parole after 10 years have been served.
If that same crime is committed, but without substantial bodily harm, the penalty is a minimum of 2 years in prison and a maximum of life with the possibility of parole. If the victim is under the age of 16, the minimum prison sentence is five years, and the maximum remains the same.
Battery Against an Officer of the State
Another subset of battery crimes is battery committed upon an officer, which includes a police officer, provider of health care, school employee, taxicab driver, transit operator, sports official, fire-fighter, prosecuting attorney, judge, an employee of the State, jailer/guard, or other State-oriented jobs.
The list in its entirety can be found under NRS 200.4852. The penalties for committing battery towards one or more of these persons are higher/worse.
Battery and Domestic Violence
NRS 200.485 describes that battery which constitutes domestic violence will result in a misdemeanor for the first offense, which comes with a penalty of imprisonment for any time between 2 days and 6 months and up to 120 hours of community service. Also, the person guilty of battery in a domestic violence situation will pay between $200-$1000.
For the second offense within seven years, the penalty is raised, and the person will be jailed for a minimum of 20 days and up to 6 months. The community service is increased to 200 hours, and the fine is between $500-$1000.
For the third offense within seven years, the crime is no longer a misdemeanor. It is raised to a Category B Felony, and the penalty is a minimum of 1 year in prison and up to 6 years in prison. There are also fines of $1000-$5000.
More Severe Penalties for Battery
If there is strangulation involved, sexual assault, or a deadly weapon used, all of the aforementioned penalties are raised, as the crimes being committed are considered far worse. The same can be said for if a child is involved—the penalties and punishments are higher. Also, if the victim is pregnant at the time of the crime, the penalties are more severe.
Depending on the circumstances, the person found guilty of battery in a domestic violence situation may be required to cover the costs of counseling for the victim(s) and may be required to attend counseling or anger management themselves, either during or after their jail sentence is completed.
Common Defenses Against Battery
It may be possible to have an attorney negotiate down or dismiss a battery charge in Las Vegas through a plea bargain. Common defenses include:
- The defendant was falsely accused.
- The defendant was acting in self-defense.
- The defendant was acting in defense of others.
- The injury subjected upon the victim was an accident.
If an individual is claiming ‘self-defense,’ they must show that a threat of unlawful force or harm was being used against them. That is, they were experiencing a real, perceived fear of harm for themselves (and, of course, there must be an actual basis for this perceived fear.)
The attorney must also show there was no harm or provocation on their part, and there was no reasonable chance of retreating or escaping the situation.
It is also important to note that, in the case of a self-defense plea, the amount of force used upon the victim must be reasonable compared to the threat posed by the victim. For example, if someone was weaponless and scratching at an individual’s arm, and the person being scratched picked up a gun and shot the scratcher. This would very likely not qualify as a reasonable mode of self-defense.
There are some exceptions to these rules, such as the “stand your ground” defense and Nevada’s “Castle Doctrine” (which allows people to defend their homes or cars from intruders, even if the intruder did not have a weapon.)
Criminal Defense Attorneys for Battery Charges
These laws are complex and depend upon the details, so it’s best to speak with an experienced attorney regarding the specifics of your case. To learn more, contact our criminal defense lawyers in Las Vegas for a free, no-judgment, no-obligation consultation.