Assault and battery are often construed as one criminal act. However, assault and battery constitute separate, distinct crimes, differing in their elements and requirements for conviction. The elements of each crime will be presented and then compared, signifying the distinctions between each act, followed by a discussion on possible defenses to both assault and battery and the steps you may take to challenge an accusation of assault or battery.
If you have been arrested for assault or battery, your future may be in jeopardy. Our Vegas defense attorneys with De Castroverde Immigration & Defense Lawyers could help with your defense.
What Is an Assault?
Under Nevada law, NRS 200.471, an assault is “unlawfully attempting to use physical force against another person; or intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm.” To prove that an assault has occurred, the prosecution must show that:
- The suspect intended to attempt to use physical force upon the victim or to place the victim in fear of bodily injury.
- The victim was aware that an assault occurred.
- The assault gave the victim an immediate fear of bodily injury.
Our assault defense attorney in Las Vegas can help you understand the charges you face. Penalties for an assault conviction vary depending on the circumstances. Under NRS 200.471(2), charges for assault include:
- Misdemeanor assault charges if a deadly weapon was not used
- Category B felony assault charges if a deadly weapon was used
- Category D felony assault charges if a probationer, parolee, or prisoner assaults a “protected class” that includes an officer, provider of healthcare, school employee, taxicab driver, transit operator, or sports official without the use of a deadly weapon
Penalties may include:
- Misdemeanor assault is punishable by community service, restitution, $1,000 in fines, and/or up to six months in county jail, according to NRS 193.150.
- Category B felony assault is punishable by not less than one year but not more than six years in state prison and/or a fine of not more than $5,000, under NRS 200.471(2).
- Category D felony assault is punishable by not less than one year but not more than four years in the state prison and/or a fine of not more than $5,000.
What Is a Battery?
Under Nevada law, NRS 200.481, a battery is “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” To prove that a battery has occurred, the prosecution must show that:
- The suspect intended to use unlawful force against the victim.
- The force used made physical contact with the victim.
- The victim did not consent to the physical contact.
Our battery defense lawyer in Las Vegas will explain the charges against you. Penalties for a battery conviction vary depending on the circumstances. The age and role of the victim, the role of the perpetrator, the use of a deadly weapon, and the degree of harm the victim suffered affect the charges and penalties. Under NRS 200.481, charges for battery of an adult include:
- Misdemeanor charges for battery without the use of a deadly weapon in which the victim does not sustain substantial bodily harm
- Category C felony charges for battery without the use of a deadly weapon in which the victim sustains serious bodily harm or is strangled
- Gross misdemeanor charges for battery upon a protected class
- Category B felony charges for battery upon a protected class without the use of a deadly weapon and the victim sustains serious bodily harm or is strangled
- Category B felony charges for battery upon a protected class with the use of a deadly weapon
The penalties may include the following:
- Misdemeanor battery is punishable by community service, restitution, $1,000 in fines, and/or up to six months in county jail.
- Gross misdemeanor battery is punishable by not more than 364 days in county jail and/or a fine of not more than $2,000, according to NRS 193.140.
- Category B felony battery is punishable by not less than two years but not more than 10 years in the state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000.
- Category B felony committed by a probationer, parolee, or prisoner who is in lawful custody or confinement is punishable by not less than one year but not more than 15 years in state prison, depending on whether a deadly weapon was used and whether the victim sustained serious bodily harm.
- Category C felony battery is punishable by not less than one year but not more than five years in the state prison as well as a fine of not more than $10,000, according to NRS 193.130.
Domestic Violence Can Be Assault or Battery
Domestic violence can be either assault or battery, depending on the circumstances. Often, people assume domestic violence is between two romantic partners, but that is not always the case. NRS 33.018 defines domestic violence as battery, assault, or other offenses that one person commits against his or her:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Dating partner (boyfriend or girlfriend)
- Relative by blood or marriage
- Mother or father of a shared child
- The child of a spouse or dating partner
- The legal guardian of his or her minor child
The penalties associated depend on the offense. For example, domestic violence battery by strangulation is a category C felony, punishable by:
- Between one and five years in state prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
Simple battery (first offense) is a misdemeanor, punishable by:
- Between two days and six months in city or county jail
- Between 48 and 120 hours of community service
- A fine between $200 and $1,000
Penalties may be higher, depending on the circumstances of the offense.
Our domestic violence defense lawyer in Las Vegas may be able to help with your domestic violence case.
Similarities and Differences Between Assault and Battery
Both assault and battery require that the suspect had the intent to commit the crime therein. Additionally, both assault and battery require the use of some sort of force or harm upon another individual.
Assault does not require actual physical contact with the other individual, only the fear of immediate bodily harm. The threat of the use of physical force or bodily harm against an individual may be sufficient for a conviction of assault under Nevada law. Battery, on the other hand, requires physical contact with another person.
Where assault requires that the victim was aware that an assault was occurring at the time of its commission, the battery does not have a similar requirement of awareness. Rather, battery requires that the victim did not consent to physical contact upon himself or herself by the suspect.
Common Defenses Against Criminal Charges of Assault or Battery
If you have been accused of assault or battery, a solid defense is critical to your case. Our criminal defense Las Vegas lawyer will listen to your side of the story, investigate what really happened, and craft a defense tailored to your situation. We will fight for your rights and your freedom.
Defenses to an assault charge include:
- No intent to commit an assault
- The acts that occurred were not offensive against the victim
Defenses to a battery charge include:
- No intent to commit a battery
- The victim consented to the contact
If you are accused of committing assault or battery, seek a strong criminal defense as soon as possible. Contact our team at the De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers to discuss your case and legal options.