Charged with Domestic Violence In Nevada?
Do you find yourself charged with domestic violence in Nevada?
If so, there are certain things you need to know. Domestic violence is a serious charge that should not be taken lightly.
You need to know your rights and what steps you need to take before going to court. You need to prove your innocence or find a favorable resolution to your case.
You must know how to fight the charges if you are falsely accused of domestic violence. A domestic violence charge can damage your reputation, family, and career.
A skilled attorney like our team at The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm can help you navigate this legal process. You need to know your rights and what possible consequences you may face if found guilty.
What follows will help you know what the Nevada law says about domestic violence. We will explain what domestic violence is under Nevada law. We will also explain the court procedure and what you must do while fighting your case. You will also learn what you can do to fight the charges or get them reduced.
What is a Domestic Violence Charge in Nevada?
Domestic violence is willful harm against a person you are in a relationship with. This relationship includes spouses, dating people, or anyone living together. This also includes people who are divorced or separated.
Domestic violence is different from other random acts of violence. This difference is because both perpetrators and victims know each other.
Domestic violence can include:
- Assault and battery
- Forcing or threatening someone to do something that they have the right to refuse
- Sexual assault
- Harassment including stalking
- False imprisonment
- Unlawful or forcible entry, or entry of a house against the will of another person
Domestic violence is considered a form of battery. Battery includes hitting, pushing, biting, and other unwanted physical force. These events do not have to cause bodily injury to be considered battery.
A first-offense domestic violence charge in Nevada is considered a misdemeanor. It is regarded as a form of battery and may include probation, jail time, and fines. Charges can escalate depending on repeated offenses or other mitigating circumstances.
What is a Domestic Act of Violence?
There are several common forms of domestic violence. Each form includes some relationship between the accused and accuser.
- Spousal Abuse is abuse between spouses or domestic partners. There is always a power imbalance. This type of abuse may include physical, emotional, verbal, or financial abuse. Gaslighting can be a form of spousal abuse too.
- Rape/Sexual Assault: This type of abuse often happens between spouses. It can also include other people that live together. It is forcing or pressuring their partner to commit sexual acts, including rape.
- Child Abuse: This type is an abuse of a child by a parent, grandparent, step-parent, or partner of the child’s parent. This abuse can include physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual assaults on the child.
- Elder Abuse: This is the abuse of an older adult by their children, grandchildren, or caregiver. This abuse can include physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. The abuser may also take financial advantage of the victim. Threats of the destruction of property can also be elder abuse.
- Stalking/Cyberstalking: Stalking is a type of harassment. The victim often fears for their safety. Stalking can include any unwanted contact or communication. Stalking typically includes following someone’s movements. Appearing at their home or work unannounced is also a form of stalking. Cyberstalking is a form of online stalking. This includes harassing messages or comments on social media. Gaining access to email or online accounts is also cyberstalking.
Domestic violence takes various forms. Some of these can add to the consequences of a domestic violence conviction. If they respond to a domestic violence call, they will arrest you. Be cooperative with them. You can plead your case later with your attorney.
Knowing your charges’ details is essential if you are charged with domestic violence. This will help you, and your attorney better prepare your defense to fight the charges. They can begin to gather witnesses and evidence to support your case.
Is DV a Felony in Nevada?
A first offense of domestic violence is considered a misdemeanor in Nevada. A third domestic violence conviction within seven years is considered a category-C felony.
The punishment for a category-C felony can include:
- 1-5 years in prison
- No less than $10,000 in fines
Initial domestic violence charges hold heavier penalties if a weapon is involved. Any subsequent domestic violence charges are a category-B felony.
Domestic violence with strangulation is an automatic category-C felony. If a weapon is used and causes bodily harm, that is also a category-C felony. Penalties can include:
- 1-5 years in prison
- Up to $15,000 fine
Domestic violence that causes severe bodily harm is treated as a class-B felony. This is if a deadly weapon is not used.
If a deadly weapon is involved, but no serious harm is received, it is still a category-B felony. However, the punishment is more severe:
- 2-10 years in prison
- Mandatory $10,000 fine
How Long is Jail Time for Domestic Violence in Nevada?
The jail sentence for domestic violence depends on several factors. The court will like the number of times you have been convicted of domestic violence. They will also look at the specifics of your case will play a factor.
- First Offense: The first offense is a misdemeanor. You will have to serve from two days to six months in the county jail. You will also have to pay a fine of $200-1,000. You may have to do between 48 and 120 hours of community service. You will also attend weekly domestic violence counseling for 6-12 months.
- Second Offense: The second offense in seven years will result in a jail sentence of ten days to six months. You will also have to complete 100-200 hours of community service and pay a fine of $500-1,000. Mandatory domestic violence counseling for at least 12 months is also required.
- Third Offense: A third domestic violence offense in seven years is a Category-C felony. There is a jail sentence of one to five years and a fine of no more than $10,000.
The judge can also add fines and jail time depending on the circumstances of your case. This includes strangulation or if a weapon was involved. The judge will also consider if drugs or alcohol were factors. Probation may not be granted under Nevada law.
The judge can choose to require the completion of drug and alcohol programs. Family counseling may be necessary if children are involved.
Victims of domestic violence may request a restraining order against the accused. You both must follow the rules of any court order before, during, and after your trial.
What Should I Do If Accused Of Domestic Violence?
If you are charged with domestic violence in Nevada, there are a few things you should and shouldn’t do. These can protect you and your case. It can also keep you from getting yourself in worse trouble.
In the case of false accusations, you and your attorney may be able to prove your innocence. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may be able to enter a plea bargain.
- Waive Your Right to Remain Silent: The police can use anything you say against you. It is important to remember this even if you have not been charged. Even if you want to tell your side of the story, get the advice of an attorney first. They will ensure that your rights are not violated and that you do not say anything that can haunt you later.
- Speaking to Your Accusor: You may want to discuss things with your accusor. This is especially if they have filed a restraining order. If you need to contact them, speak with your attorney and let them be the mediator.
- Destroy Unfavorable Evidence: You may be tempted to get rid of evidence that puts you in a bad light. However, this is evidence tampering and will only get you in more legal trouble.
- Contact an Attorney: Domestic violence cases are complicated and tricky cases to handle. You want a skilled attorney who can get the best outcome for your case, like the team at Rosenblum Law Firm. While not required, using an attorney is to your benefit.
- Conduct a Pre-file Investigation: This can be done before charges are filed. Your attorney may also be able to prove your innocence before charges are filed. They may also talk to the prosecutor about filing a lesser charge.
- Gather all evidence and documentation: Gather any evidence surrounding your case. This includes witness statements, surveillance videos, and photos. This may prove beneficial to your case. Your evidence will help to establish your innocence of the charges. It may also prove your accusor guilty of false claims.
- Find Evidence to “impeach” your accusor: This is important with a false accusation. You want to undermine the accusor’s credibility. Anything you can do to create doubt in their charges will help your case.
- Take a Voluntary Private Polygraph: A polygraph test can help prove your innocence. You are not required to take a polygraph, but you can take a private test. The advantage of a private test is that you don’t need to disclose the results. The results of the test are confidential unless you decide to inform them.
Do I Need to Follow a Restraining Order?
In a domestic violence case, a restraining order is often issued. This is designed to separate both parties in the case. You must follow the terms of the order. If you make your accusor feel unsafe, it can cause more problems for you. Failure to do so can cause you more legal issues.
You are forbidden to contact your accusor if a restraining order is in place. This includes:
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- Social media
- Visiting their work
- Visiting their home
- Interacting with them in public unless agreements in child custody
You must follow the letter of the restraining order. There are two types of restraining orders in Nevada:
- Temporary Protective Order (TOP), which lasts up to 45 days
- Extended protective orders that last up to a year
A restraining order is issued before the accused has a chance to defend themselves. You may ask for a hearing afterward. Failure to follow the order can result in misdemeanor charges, including:
- Up to six months in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
Also, if your restraining order forbids the possession of a firearm, you must get rid of it. Failure to do so is considered a Category-B felony.
What Happens During a Domestic Violence Trial?
During your trial, your attorney will work towards proving your innocence. If they cannot do so, they will try to enter a plea bargain to reduce the charges against you.
Suppose you have been falsely accused of domestic violence. In that case, your attorney may try to prove the reason for the accusations. Your attorney may use several strategies to prove your innocence.
Reasons may include:
- Leverage in a divorce, separation, or child custody hearing. The accusor wishes to get the upper hand on the accused. The desired result is either to gain a favorable custody decision or a financial award.
- To get revenge against the accused. Perhaps they are angry over a breakup and want to get back at their former partner. There may be an argument, but it did not get to the level of domestic violence.
The next step for your attorney is to prove your accusor is making a false claim.
They may also verify the accusor’s story of events is inaccurate. This can be achieved in a few ways:
- Your attorney will look for holes and inconsistencies in their account. This is why it is essential to be honest with your attorney so that you do not come off as unreliable.
- They may also find mitigating circumstances on the accusations. These may include:
- Acting in self-defense: Law allows a person to fight back against their aggressor. If they believe it is necessary to protect themself or others, they are protected by the law. Also, they do not use more force than they deem needed at the time.
- The act was an accident: Accidents can sometimes cause injury. You may be able to prove that you did not intentionally harm the victim. If so, the charges can be dropped.
- The charges are a fraud on behalf of the accusor: As mentioned before, an accusor may try to “get back” at the accused. They may fake injuries or make a false 911 call.
It is the prosecutor’s job to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney will do everything in their power to put suspicion on your accusor’s claim.
An attorney will call an expert and character witnesses for defense and prosecution. Your attorney may also ensure that the police conducted themselves appropriately. Tampering or failure to follow proper procedures can cause charges to be dropped. Your attorney can get charges thrown out if the evidence is suppressed. Charges can also be thrown out if police perform an illegal search.
In some cases, the prosecutors may be open to a plea bargain. These are often only applicable for first offenders. This option is only relevant if the state’s evidence is weak.
A typical plea bargain deal may include:
- $430 fine
- 48 hours of community service
- 26 weeks of weekly domestic violence counseling
- A 30-day suspended jail sentence. If the defendant completes the other terms, they will not have to serve the jail sentence.
Remember that even if you and your accusor reconcile, that state may still pursue the charges. If your accusor does not wish to proceed, the prosecutors may continue with the process. This will happen if there is enough evidence to pursue a domestic violence charge.
Can I Sue If I am Falsely Accused?
In some cases, yes. You may file a civil lawsuit for damages. This is possible in the case of false accusations. These suits usually fall under malicious prosecution laws or defamation laws.
You can sue for either economic or non-economic damages.
Economic damages can include compensation for:
- Attorney fees
- Lost wages due to trial or incarceration
- Cost of litigation
- Medical or physiological therapy costs
- Court fees and expenses
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Damage to reputation
- Emotional distress
The damages awarded in a lawsuit depend on your case’s specifics. Your attorney can advise you on the best route to take if a lawsuit is an option for you.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a DV Charge?
Domestic violence is not an easy charge to win. You have to prove your innocence, and that can be a difficult thing to do depending on the circumstances. You need someone who knows domestic violence law and can help you gain favorable results.
Our team at The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm has experience with domestic violence cases. We can help you to find a favorable result for your case.