5 Myths About Domestic Violence Charges

We receive calls every day from people charged with domestic violence. Most people want to know how to get their charges dropped or dismissed and many people charged with domestic violence in Las Vegas have a lot of misconceptions about their case. These misconceptions can cause a defendant representing himself or herself to be blindsided by a prosecutor, a judge and even the victim if they aren't aware of all of the pitfalls and procedures. 

Making an admission, paying a fine or burying your head in the sand doesn’t make the criminal case go away. Domestic violence charges and convictions can carry life long implications that can affect your family, your finances and even your freedoms. This article addresses the top 5 misconceptions and myths we often hear from prospective clients charged with Domestic Violence in Nevada. 

 My spouse/significant other can just dismiss the charge against me

Wrong. Nevada law states that once a charge of domestic violence has been filed, the only person that can actually dismiss the charge is the prosecutor. This is true no matter what the alleged victim says and no matter what attempts the victim may make to have the prosecutor dismiss the charges. You would hope that the prosecutor will take the victim’s statements into consideration when determining whether to proceed with prosecuting a charge of domestic violence, but in the end, it is up to the prosecutor, not the victim, to decide whether or not to dismiss the case. 

 I can still carry a gun after a conviction of domestic violence

Wrong. Under federal law, a person is prohibited from carrying a firearm or ammunition after a conviction for even a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Nevada State Law also precludes possession of a firearm after a conviction of domestic violence. 

I can retain joint custody of my children even if I am convicted of domestic violence. 

Sort of wrong but also maybe right. Nevada custody laws state that a perpetrator of domestic violence is presumed to not even be fit for joint physical custody of children let alone primary physical custody of children. To establish domestic violence, it must be proven in a custody case by clear and convincing evidence. While a conviction of domestic violence alone is not enough to establish the accused is the actual perpetrator of domestic violence by clear and convincing evidence, family courts will take it into consideration. 

 If the victim doesn’t show up to court my charges will be automatically dismissed

This is not always true. Having the victim’s testimony will certainly help the prosecution prove their case but it is not necessary in every case to prove domestic violence. 911 recordings, witness statements and even the accused’s statements can be used to show domestic violence occurred. Further, if the victim is served with a subpoena he or she must appear at Court or face potential warrants for failing to appear.

I wasn’t read my rights so the case has to be dismissed

We previously did an article about when Miranda warnings are required. Just because you weren’t read your rights doesn’t mean your case will be dismissed. An officer responding to a domestic violence call can ask questions and make observations without reading you your rights. Your Miranda warning is only required if you are placed “in custody.”  Just because an officer arrests someone doesn't immediately require that the Miranda warnings be given. Just because a Miranda warning wasn’t given immediately doesn’t mean your case will be dismissed. 

Led by a former prosecutor having tried hundreds of criminal cases, our attorneys understand that there are two sides to every story. If you or someone you know is charged with domestic violence we can help. Call us today at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our online form for more information. 

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