Any battery charge is a very serious matter to be facing in a Las Vegas court, but when the allegation against you is battery with serious bodily injury, or another aggravated, felony level battery charge, the legal stakes run even higher.
You can't afford to enter a Las Vegas, Clark County, or other Nevada courtroom facing a battery with serious bodily injury charge without the benefit of a top-tier criminal defense attorney fighting for your future.
At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, we understand the gravity of a battery with serious bodily injury charge, and we know how to build you an effective defense that can get the charge dismissed, defeated, or reduced. We have helped many others in Nevada win these types of cases, and we can do the same for you!
For a free, no obligation legal consultation, contact The Law Offices of Martin Hart anytime 24/7 by calling 702-380-4278!
Assault & Battery in Nevada
Under Nevada law, "assault" is an attempt to unlawfully inflict physical harm on another person. Or, assault can refer to merely threatening physical injury or committing some act that causes someone to fear they are in imminent danger of suffering physical harm - if that fear be deemed "reasonable under the circumstances" by a Nevada court.
"Battery" occurs when things proceed beyond mere threats and attempts and one person actually applies physical force against another.
Assault and/or battery are often misdemeanor offenses in Nevada, but they can also be felonies. It all depends on the details of the incident, on the defendant's past criminal history (if any), and on whether any of various aggravating factors apply.
To commit battery causing "substantial bodily harm" or "serious bodily injury" is one of those aggravating factors that results in a felony charge.
Battery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury
Any form of battery involves making physical contact directly or by means of another object, with the intention to cause physical injury. But when actual injury is caused, the seriousness of the crime rises in accord with the seriousness of the injury inflicted.
Nevada law has very specific ways of defining what constitutes "serious" bodily injury. The definition is rather broad. It's not a label reserved for only the absolute worst case scenarios.
If the injury results in a "substantial" risk of death on the part of the injured party, if it causes permanent facial or bodily disfigurement of any kind, or if it causes the loss or impairment of a body part or bodily function, then it is "serious."
Also, if the injury causes "prolonged" physical pain, that makes it count as "serious" as well.
Thus, contrary to what many might tend to think, battery with serious bodily injury does not just apply to near fatalities. It also applies to cases where the injury results in a disability or in permanent disfigurement. And it's determined on a case by case basis by the presiding judge, whether or not the injuries are sufficiently "substantial."
However, we can still give some examples of the kinds of injuries that often qualify under the definition. These include:
- Serious head concussions or TBI.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Paralysis, whether full or partial.
- Gunshot wounds.
- Internal organ damage.
- Anytime bones are broken or stitches are required.
- Severe burns.
This is not nearly an exhaustive list, of course. But note that in general the severity of an injury is determined by whether it involved a risk of death, whether it caused disfigurement or loss of use of body organs/functions, the amount and type of medical care it requires for treatment, the length of time the injury lasts (or if it's permanent), and the amount of pain it causes.
However, financial loss and infliction of psychological pain is not relevant to determining if an injury is "substantial" for the purposes of the statute on battery causing substantial bodily harm.
How Is "Prolonged Physical Pain" Defined?
One way that "serious" bodily injury is defined is based on if the injury caused "prolonged" physical pain to the victim. This means that the pain would have continued significantly beyond the immediate moment when the injury was first inflicted.
Thus, not only the severity but also the duration of the pain becomes a legal issue in these cases.
There is no hard and fast rule as to "how long" the pain must have continued, but in most cases, the court will have little trouble in making this determination.
But remember that even if the element of "prolonged physical pain" is not substantiated by the prosecution so as to raise your battery charge to a felony, there are other elements (mentioned in the section just above) that could still do so.
Thus, it's critical that you have the aid of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands how these various elements are defined in law and practice and how they are proved. It could be the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, if not between a conviction and a dismissal or acquittal.
How Is Battery with Serious Bodily Injury Punished?
"Ordinary" misdemeanor level battery in Nevada is punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. But battery causing substantial bodily harm (a felony) is punishable by 1 to 5 years in state prison and a fine as high as $10,000.
Please NOTE: Any battery committed by strangulation is punished the same as battery causing substantial bodily harm.
Also, if battery causing serious bodily injury is committed by means of a "deadly weapon," it is punishable by 1 to 15 years in state prison and the $10,000 fine is mandatory.
Other Felony Battery Charges
But there are other felony level battery charges under Nevada law too, which also result in a more severe sentence. It is possible for multiple aggravating factors to apply to a single battery incident or for multiple incidents to be charged, thus dramatically raising the overall penalty.
Here are the penalties for some other types of Nevada felony battery charges:
- Battery against a probation or parole officer by an inmate out on parole/probation. This is a felony and can get you 1 to 6 years in state prison.
- Battery against those in a "protected class" such as law enforcement officers, medical workers, school officials, taxi drivers, and sports event referees. This can get you 2 to 10 years in state prison plus a $10,000 fine.
- Battery with a deadly weapon. This is also punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Battery by an inmate or someone out on parole/probation against someone in a protected class, plus with a deadly weapon and substantial bodily harm. The penalty can be 2 to 15 years in state prison in this case.
- Domestic battery, if by strangulation/suffocation and/or inflicting serious bodily harm, can also be charged as a felony.
Battery with Intent to Commit Another Crime
When an act of battery is committed in the course of committing or attempting to commit yet another crime, there are sentencing enhancements that apply under Nevada law.
Battery with intent to commit robbery or grand larceny is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison plus a $10,000 fine.
Battery with intent to commit murder can be punished by 2 to 20 years in state prison.
Battery with intent to perpetrate sexual assault (and with serious bodily injury inflicted), can get you a sentence as steep as life imprisonment, and the $10,000 fine. However, parole is possible after 10 years of actual prison time has been served.
Battery as a "hate crime," and with intent to commit a crime, is punishable by 1 to 20 years in state prison. A "hate crime" is where a person was targeted based on race, national origin, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.
Battery when the victim is a minor below the age of 16, with intent to commit sexual assault, is punishable by 5 years to life in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
Finally, those convicted of battery with serious physical injury in Nevada will also be ordered to make full restitution to the victim for all medical expenses, property damage, counseling, and other financial losses stemming from the attack.
The restitution order may simply be treated as a part of the sentence, or it might be a condition of getting out on parole or being approved for a suspended sentence after serving a minimum amount of actual jail time.
Defending Against Battery with Serious Bodily Injury Charges
At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, we have been successfully defending our clients against battery with serious bodily injury charges for many years. We know how to build you a solid defense strategy in these and all other types of Nevada assault and battery cases.
Although there are many different defenses available, here are a few of the most common ones:
- Lack of intent. There was no intent to inflict physical injury, nor was there an instance of reckless negligence where the accused should have known his/her actions would likely lead to serious injury or death of the victim. Without the element of intent, it was an accident and not a crime at all.
- Consent. Odd as it may sound, sometimes an injury occurs when the "victim" gave consent for the defendant to touch him/her in a certain way, but then to the surprise of both parties, an injury occurred.
- Lack of "serious" injury. If the injury suffered by the victim does not qualify as "serious" or "substantial" under Nevada law, the charge must be reduced from battery with serious physical injury, which can significantly reduce the sentence.
- Self-inflicted injuries. It may be the victim's injuries were not caused by the defendant's actions, that he/she never was really injured at all, OR even that the injuries were self inflicted in an attempt to get revenge on the defendant by blaming him/her for the injuries.
- Self defense. If the defendant reasonably feared for his/her safety, where imminent physical harm could have been inflicted on him/her, and if the defendant's actions were not more excessive than what was necessary to neutralize the threat, it is self defense and not battery.
- Defense of others. If you acted to defend another person, with the same limitations as mentioned for self defense, it is "defense of others" and you are not guilty.
- Mistaken identity. If the victim didn't get a good look at the perpetrator, especially if he/she was a stranger, it could be that the wrong person was mistakenly pinned with the crime.
- Lack of sufficient evidence. The burden of proof called "beyond all reasonable doubt" does not diminish simply because it is a more heinous crime being charged. If the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to meet that high standard, we at The Law Offices of Martin Hart won't let them "get away with" convicting you on weak, flimsy, inconclusive evidence.
If evidence against you was obtained illegally or your rights were violated in any way by police during the investigation, we can make pretrial motions that may get your case immediately dropped.
We know how to win in the courtroom in your behalf, but we also know when to negotiate for a favorable plea deal when that is the best option.
Contact Us Today for Assistance!
At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, we have deep experience in defending against the charge of battery with serious bodily injury and all other similar charges in Las Vegas and throughout the state of Nevada.
We are intimately acquainted with the Nevada Revised Statutes on these matters, down to the legal minutia. And we are equally familiar with local courtroom procedures and the most effective ways to win both pretrial and in court.
We will fight tenaciously in your behalf and for your future. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for help by calling 702-380-4278. We can give you a free consultation on the details of your case and can immediately get started on building you a solid defense!