In Nevada, every conviction is included in your criminal record. The record can gravely affect your career and personal life. A criminal record can also lead you to face more severe penalties in subsequent offenses. Understanding what the law considers assault and battery in different situations is critical to know the legal steps to take if you face charges. At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we are devoted to offering legal guidance to defendants facing assault and battery charges.
Our top-tier criminal defense attorneys are available to help you with legal representation. We take pride in protecting our client’s rights and building strong defenses. We offer our services in Las Vegas, where our offices are based, and the larger Nevada. If you or your loved one face assault and battery charges, contact us to discuss your case and determine efficient legal defenses.
Overview of Assault and Battery under State Law
In Nevada, assault and battery are two distinct crimes. You can be charged with each crime individually or both simultaneously. The law that addresses assault is found in the Nevada Revised Statute(NRS) Assault 200.471. The NRS 200.471 defines assault as intentionally attempting to use force against a person or deliberately placing a person in fear of imminent bodily harm. It should be noted that you must not have caused actual physical damage to the victim; this crime element is causing fear of physical harm.
On the other hand, battery crime is defined under NRS 200.481 as the deliberate touching of a person in an unlawful way. That is the intentional illegal use of force or violence on another person. The two are mostly intertwined because assault turns to the battery immediately when there is physical contact.
Furthermore, punishments for the two offenses also differ. Assault has less severe penalties than battery. However, assault can also have severe penalties if a deadly weapon was used to inflict fear. Battery without a deadly weapon and intent is a minor crime and will fall under a misdemeanor. If a deadly weapon was used, the battery could be a gross misdemeanor or a felony.
Suppose a prisoner or a person commits the assault of a protected class member while the prisoner is in probation or parole. In that case, the assault crime will be a Category D felony, and the offense of battery will be a Category B felony.
Factors that Make Assault and Battery a Misdemeanor or Felony
For an assault offense to be termed a felony or misdemeanor, the circumstances under which the crime happened are analyzed. For instance, if you assault or batter a member of the "protected class" occupation, your penalties will be more severe, and you could be charged with a felony offense.
The "Protected class" occupations are taxi drivers, healthcare providers, school employees, officers (including the police), sports officials, firefighters, judges, and transit operators. An assault and battery offense will be a gross misdemeanor if the victim is a member of this protected class. As long as the defendant knew the occupation of the victim of assault and battery, then their offense is charged as a gross misdemeanor.
A further determinant is whether the defendant has a criminal record. If you commit a crime of violence such as assault and battery and have a criminal record, your offense will most likely be charged as a felony. The judge will issue more severe penalties than if it was your first criminal offense.
Furthermore, assault with a deadly weapon will have you face charges that carry severe penalties. A deadly weapon can be a knife, a firearm, or any other inherently dangerous object. A further addition to penalties is if the defendant.
Related Crimes to Assault and Battery
Assault and Battery with a Deadly Weapon
Assault or battery with a deadly weapon is a separate offense from assault and battery. Both assault and battery with a dangerous weapon offense are charged as felonies. A deadly weapon is any item used to inflict fatal physical harm. There are no specifications on the type of weapon considered lethal. For instance, if you stab someone with a fork or a pen or a knife, all three may be regarded as deadly weapons. A conviction of this offense can carry as much as six years in prison penalty.
Domestic Assault and Battery
Assault and battery against a victim by his/her family member, household member, or someone with whom he/she has a close relationship is termed domestic violence assault and battery. In such cases, the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor offense. However, if the defendant’s third conviction is due to domestic violence in seven years, it will be a Category C felony as provided in NRS 200.485.
A domestic violence assault and battery offense have different penalty provisions depending on the defendant's criminal record. If it is the first domestic violence assault or battery offense within a period of seven years, the defendant will be subject to a 2-day to 6 months jail term, 48 to 120 hours of community service, and a fine of the range $200 to $1,000.
If you are convicted of a second domestic violence assault or battery, you will be subject to a penalty of 10 days to 6months jail term, 100 to 200 hours of community service, and a fine of between $500 and $1,000. A domestic violence conviction will also require you to attend mandatory counseling sessions.
The Nevada crime of attempted murder is defined under Nevada criminal as trying to kill somebody but failing. The prosecutor has to prove that you took a step in trying to kill someone. It is a Category B felony carrying a 2-20 years imprisonment penalty. A further sentence enhancement is if poison was used in the attempted murder.
Aiming a Gun at a Person
Under the NRS 202.290, aiming a gun at a person is a gross misdemeanor. It is charged as Nevada's crime of pointing a gun at a person. The penalties for this conviction are a jail term of up to 364 days or a fine of up to $2,000. Even if the gun was not loaded or you did not intend to aim the weapon at the person, you can still be charged with it. Furthermore, you can be accused of this crime even if you pointed a gun at someone who did not know a gun was being aimed at him/her.
Maiming someone is a category B felony in Nevada and is charged as mayhem (NRS 200.280). The offense includes acts such as chopping off a victim's part of the body, such as an ear or a finger. The penalties are 2- 10 years imprisonment or a fine of up to $10,000 at the judge's discretion.
How the Defendant’s Guilt is Established
For you to be convicted of assault, the prosecutor should prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally inflicted fear of bodily harm to the victim. On the other hand, for you to be convicted of battery, the prosecutor should prove that you intentionally made physical contact with the victim that could have caused harm.
Pleas and Pre-trial Options
Having a competent criminal attorney ensures that the evidence and claims filed against you are critically analyzed so that if they are not substantial, the case is dismissed before trial. However, if the charges proceed to trial, your attorney can negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. Your attorney can also prepare defenses to convince the judge and the prosecutor to give a lighter sentence in exchange for you pleading guilty of the charges against you. He/she will also guide you to plead guilty to charges with less severe penalties if applicable.
Penalties for Assault and Battery Charges
The punishment for a misdemeanor assault charge where the offender did not use a deadly weapon is a jail term of up to six months or a $1,000 fine. If the crime victim is a protected person, for example, a police officer on duty, the charges would be a gross misdemeanor. An assault and battery gross misdemeanor has a penalty of a jail term of up to 364 days or a fine of up to $2,000.
Suppose the defendant was in police custody, parole, and probation or prison, the assault and battery case will be a Category D felony of Nevada. In that case, they will face felony charges. Assault and battery penalties are 1-4 years imprisonment or a fine of up to $5,000. Furthermore, assault and battery with a deadly weapon is a Category B felony in Nevada and carries a penalty of 1-6 years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000.
Making Restitutions to Plaintiffs
Restitutions involve the defendant covering the expenses or reimbursing expenses the victim used due to the offense committed against them. If a charge of assault or battery, the court may require you to pay restitution as part of the sentence or probation condition. Restitutions can be covering medical costs or replacing damaged property for the victim.
In Nevada, crimes of violence are deportable; if you are a visa or green card holder and are convicted of assault or battery, you risk deportation. Often, felony charges are at high risk of leading you to be deported than misdemeanors. However, since the law constantly changes, you may face deportation if convicted with a minor assault or battery offense. It is in your best interest to seek guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Seeking legal counsel on immigration and criminal counsel can help you understand your case better and know which steps to avoid deportation.
Common Defenses for Assault and Battery Charges
The nature of each criminal allegation is different from the other. Therefore, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to develop a suitable defense. Some possible arguments that can apply to assault and battery charges are:
- The Incident was an Accident
To be charged with assault in Nevada, the prosecutor must prove that you intended to instill fear of physical harm to someone. If the assault offense happened by accident, then you are not guilty. Similarly, for you to face battery charges, the prosecutor must prove that you used unlawful physical force on someone.
- The Defendant Acted in Self-defense
Nevada self-defense law permits you to defend yourself if you feel that you are in danger of getting injured. Consequently, if you are charged with assault or battery, your attorney can argue that you committed it to self-defense. You have to prove that you were in imminent danger of being harmed, and the force you used was reasonable in such circumstances.
- It Was a False Accusation
It is possible to get accused falsely of having committed assault or battery. Evidence such as CCTV footage at the crime scene, an alibi, and witnesses can help you prove your innocence.
- No Fear of Immediate Bodily Harm was Caused.
If you can prove that you did not pose an actual threat of bodily harm or inflict fear of physical harm. You can argue in court that your actions did not cause real apprehension.
Sealing Criminal Records of Assault and Battery
Once enough time goes by, you can have assault and battery charges sealed from your record. It means that after a given period provided by Nevada law, the assault and battery conviction can be taken out of a criminal record. Sealing provisions are:
- Misdemeanor- 2 years after the case closes
- Gross misdemeanor- 2 years after the case closes
- Category D felony- 10 years after the case closes
- Category C felony- 10 years after the case closes
- Category B felony- 10 years after the case closes
Moreover, if your charges get dismissed, you can immediately petition the court to seal your record.
Find a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Charges of assault and battery can have severe consequences on your life if found guilty. Therefore, it is in your best interest to equip yourself with a criminal defense attorney’s counsel as early in the case as possible. Fortunately, at The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we strive to provide quality criminal defense solutions for assault and battery suspects. Our law firm handles cases out of Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, contact us at 702-380-4278.