Like every other state, Nevada emphasizes violent crime involving husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, parents and children, and other family members or intimate acquaintances. Unfortunately, crimes of this nature are not uncommon in Nevada, with more than 27,000 people seeking the services of the Nevada Coalition To End Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Domestic violence is a severe criminal offense that can bring jail time and substantial fines. If you’ve been charged with a domestic violence crime, you need experienced legal counsel right away. Trust the team at De Castroverde Criminal and Immigration Law to provide you with the professional representation you deserve. Here’s what you need to know about Nevada laws for domestic violence.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
Nevada law broadly defines domestic violence as a crime involving individuals in a marriage, a family, or other close personal relationship. However, the law recognizes that violence can take forms other than physical altercations. According to the Nevada Attorney General’s office, it can also include situations involving power and coercion.
Under Nevada law, generally speaking, the crime of domestic violence can only be charged when the parties have certain relationships. These would include spouses or partners in sexual or romantic dating relationships, biological parents, blood relatives, or children. The intimacy between perpetrator and victim makes domestic violence different from other crimes. The two parties very often depend on each other for financial or other types of support. As a result, that relationship may be difficult to end in the long term even though the law includes stiff penalties for domestic violence.
How Is Domestic Violence Classified?
Domestic violence takes on many forms. Prosecutors can file various types of charges in situations involving:
- Spousal/partner abuse: This involves violence or other types of abuse between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, and same-sex couples. Often, these instances may result in charges of rape or sexual assault.
- Child abuse: In these cases, a parent, grandparent, or guardian commits physical violence against a minor in their charge. Charges can be filed here as well for emotional or verbal violence.
- Elderly abuse: Domestic violence cases also can involve physical, mental, or verbal abuse and threats against senior citizens. People charged with elder abuse are often grandchildren, children, significant others, or other types of caregivers.
- Stalking: Charges of domestic violence can also be filed in cases of stalking, which includes a form of emotional violence where perpetrators make victims feel terrorized and afraid for their lives. Cyberstalking is an emerging form of stalking, where perpetrators harass their victims online or take control of digital accounts to prompt fear and uncertainty.
What Are the Legal Ramifications for Domestic Violence?
Depending on the seriousness of the incident, domestic violence in Nevada can be charged across multiple levels as either misdemeanor, gross misdemeanors, or felonies. Be aware that charges against you become more severe depending on the presence of certain aggravating circumstances. Some of these specific circumstances include whether the incident involved the use of a weapon, whether there is a prior history of violence by either party, and whether children were near the altercation when it occurred. Keep in mind that the burden of proving these additional facts beyond a reasonable doubt belongs to the government.
Domestic violence is typically not a charge unto itself. Instead, Nevada leverages existing statutes in addressing this area of crime. For example, someone in Nevada, who is charged with battery domestic violence is someone who allegedly committed the crime of battery against a spouse, family member, child, or other intimate friend or family member. In other words, if no such relationship exists, then the perpetrator could be charged only with the battery, but not battery domestic violence.
A first-time offender convicted of battery domestic violence would typically face a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine, a program of community service, mental health counseling, and, in the worst cases, jail time ranging from two days to six months in jail. A repeat offender faces a more serious misdemeanor charge, with the potential for a longer jail stay, longer community service periods, and also a $1,000 fine.
If you’re charged a third time, you automatically face a more serious felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Subsequent offenses may elevate your case to a more serious felony category and include longer prison terms. Fines and jail terms also go up if the offense results in substantial bodily harm, involves a weapon, and if the victim was pregnant and it can be shown that the perpetrator knew it.
Domestic violence can also be charged in cases involving assault, sexual assault, stalking, and false imprisonment as long as the victim and perpetrator have a relationship as defined in the law.
Can Domestic Violence Happen Without Physical Abuse
Domestic violence does not have to involve physical harm. Other types of domestic violence involve actions that impact a person’s sense of security and mental well-being or lead to someone feeling controlled or terrorized. A few common examples include:
- Financial abuse: Taking control of or draining a person’s bank account against their will.
- Verbal abuse: Yelling, insulting, berating, or making someone feel inferior or weak.
- Technological abuse: Sending harassing texts or emails or spreading derogatory information about someone to their employers, families, or friends.
- Immigration status: Threatening to report someone to immigration authorities based on their lack of proper status to be in the country.
Experienced Criminal Lawyers at De Castroverde Law
Each of these cases requires different types of facts or evidence. If you’re accused of domestic violence, let De Castroverde Law represent you and put forth a thorough defense. Representing clients in Las Vegas, Reno, and Henderson, Nevada, our team includes former prosecutors who will hold the government accountable at every step of your case. We have experience in all types of criminal matters, from arson, assault, and battery to resisting arrest, sex crimes, theft, and weapons offenses. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation today. We will examine your case and make recommendations for how best to proceed.