If you find yourself facing the charge of battery in the state of Nevada, you could be sentenced to very severe penalties if convicted, including jail/prison time and heavy fines. Additionally, the consequences of having a battery conviction on your criminal record can include difficulty finding employment, difficulty renting a home or apartment, loss of professional licenses, and more.
At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, the attorneys offer you expert criminal defense in a wide array of practice areas, including that of battery and domestic violence battery. Attorney Martin Hart has a track record of obtaining the best possible outcome in even the most difficult and complex battery cases, and he stands ready to fight for you in your case as well.
For a free legal consultation with the attorneys at Law Offices of Martin Hart concerning battery charges filed against you in Las Vegas or anywhere else Clark County, call our office at 702-380-HART (4278).
How is "Battery" Defined in Nevada?
In the state of Nevada, assault and battery are separate but closely related crimes. "Assault" is the crime of attempting to or "convincingly" threatening to commit an act of battery. "Battery" is the intentional application of physical force or violence upon another, regardless of the amount of force or the result of it.
A failed battery is essentially an assault. For example, if you swung your fist at another person intending to strike him or her but you missed, you nonetheless committed an assault. But if you contact his or her body, even with only the tip of your thumb, you have still committed battery upon that person and can be charged.
Battery need not have resulted in a serious injury or in any injury at all to fit the legal definition. However, if the battery resulted in substantial bodily harm to the victim, the sentence will likely be more severe.
Also note that with assault, the victim must have been aware of the perpetrator's actions; but with battery, no such awareness is required. A battery can be committed against infants, against those who are asleep, and even against those in comas, while assault generally cannot because those victims would not have been aware of the perpetrator's actions.
To gain a conviction on the charge of battery, the prosecutor must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- Applied unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another; and
- Intended to use unlawful force or violence against said person.
Possible Penalties for a Battery Conviction
The prosecution can file a battery charge as either a misdemeanor or felony in Nevada. Because of this, the range of severity in the category of the offense and (correspondingly) in punishment is very wide in this practice area. Also note that non-citizens risk deportation if convicted of battery and that battery committed while aboard an airplane is punishable as a federal offense.
"Basic" or "simple" battery, i.e. without a deadly weapon and without any aggravating factors, is a simple misdemeanor, punishable by:
- Up to 6 months in county jail;
- A fine of up to $1,000;
- Community service in place of jail time.
Because sentencing is within the sound discretion of the judge, he or she could also order a defendant to attend classes/counseling on topics like anger management, and also order the defendant to stay away from the victim.
If the victim was in a protected class, such as a police officer, fire fighter, parole officer, taxi driver, or school teacher, battery is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by:
- Up to a year of incarceration in the county jail;
- A fine up to $2,000.
If the battery results in substantial bodily injury of the victim or involved strangulation, it is a Class C Felony, punishable by:
- A minimum of 1 to a maximum of 5 years in prison;
- A fine up to $10,000.
If the defendant was a prisoner or was on parole/probation a the time of the offense, the battery is a Class B Felony, punishable by:
- A minimum of 1 to a maximum of 6 years in prison.
- A fine up to $10,000.
If the victim is both in a protected class and suffered substantial bodily injury or strangulation, it is a Class B Felony, punishable by:
- A minimum of 2 to a maximum of 10 years in prison.
- A maximum $10,000 fine.
Battery Constituting Domestic Violence
If the battery was committed against a present or past significant other, roommate, or family member, you may be charged with battery constituting domestic violence ("DV" for short). DV is punishable separately and is an enhanceable offense. If you have been charged with DV, click here for detailed information regarding what constitutes DV and what the possible penalties are.
Battery With a Deadly Weapon
Committing any offense with use of a deadly weapon or while in possession of a deadly weapon can expose a defendant to an enhanced penalty at sentencing, if convicted. A "deadly weapon" is any item that if used the way it is intended, will result in harm or death. Firearms and knives are clearly deadly weapons. However, even ordinary everyday items can be considered deadly weapons. If the defendant used the item in a manner which was readily capable and in fact caused substantial bodily harm or death, the item is considered a deadly weapon. Thus, a vehicle, baseball bat, hammer, or broken glass bottle could all be considered deadly weapons.
Battery with a deadly weapon is a Class B Felony and can be punished with a fine of up to $10,000. However, the length of the prison term varies based on several factors. Without any additional aggravating factors, battery with a deadly weapon can be punished by 2 to 10 years in state prison.
Battery with use of a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm or strangulation is punishable be a term of 2 to 15 years.
When the perpetrator is a prisoner or on parole/probation, the sentence range is still 2 to 10 years.
When a prisoner or one on parole/probation inflicts substantial bodily injury or commits assault by strangulation, the sentence range is 2 to 15 years. As you can see, using a deadly weapon in the commission of a battery heightens your possible time in prison.
Battery With Intention to Commit an Additional Crime
Often, battery is committed in the course of attempting to commit some other crime. If so, it is a felony, and the punishment will depend upon which other crime the defendant attempted to commit.
Battery with intent to kill is a Class B Felony, punishable by:
- A minimum of 2 to a maximum of 20 years in state prison;
- A fine of $10,000.
Battery with intent to commit mayhem/robbery/grand larceny is also a Class B Felony and is punishable by:
- A minimum of 2 to a maximum of 10 years in prison.
- A $10,000 fine.
Battery with intent to commit sexual assault/rape is a Class A Felony, punishable by:
- A maximum fine of $10,000;
- If substantial bodily harm or strangulation was involved:
- life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 10 years in prison;
- life without the possibility of parole.
- If the crime did not result in substantial bodily harm to the victim and the victim was a minor aged 16 to 17:
- A minimum of 2 years to a maximum of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years in prison;
- If the crime did not result in substantial bodily harm to the victim and the victim was a minor under the age of 16:
- A minimum of 5 years to a maximum of life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Common Defense Strategies
At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, we understand the consequences of a major battery conviction and that even the more minor battery charges can nonetheless have serious impacts on one's future if convicted. Because of this, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Martin Hart put themselves in the defendant's shoes and tenaciously and vigorously fight your battery case to obtain the best possible outcome for every client they serve.
The attorneys at Law Offices of Martin Hart will always build a defense based on the specific details of the case at hand, but over the years, certain common defenses have definitely emerged.
Here are some of the most common and most successful defense strategies our attorneys have used to fight the charge of battery:
- Accidental injury: Unless the prosecution can prove that the battery was committed intentionally, the jury or judge may find the offense was an accident.
- Self-defense: Even if force was intentionally applied to another person, if the defendant committed it in response to an imminent threat of bodily injury being inflicted by the victim, it is not battery. But for it to count as self-defense, only a reasonable amount of force can have been used, i.e. only the amount necessary to protect him or herself.
- Defense of others: The same principle involved in self-defense applies if a reasonable amount of force was used to prevent imminent bodily injury being inflicted on a family member, friend, or other person who was present at the time of the incident.
- False accusations: Especially in battery domestic violence cases, it is not uncommon for a current or former spouse or romantic partner to fabricate false accusations of battery. A grudge may motivate him or her to use this as a means of revenge. A good defense lawyer, however, will be able to cross-examine the accuser and other witnesses and challenge false or circumstantial evidence brought against you. In particular, a medical expert may be able to show that any injuries on the "victim" were actually self-inflicted.
- Mistaken identity: In some cases, a masked or otherwise disguised perpetrator may have assaulted a victim in a dimly lit area, or some similar scenario, which makes it difficult for the victim to properly identify the true suspect. The wrong person may well be accused in such cases, but by establishing an alibi and bringing the victim's identification into question, a skilled defense lawyer can win these cases.
- Police misconduct: If illegal searches and seizures, arrest without probable cause, failure to read the arrestee his or her Miranda Rights, police planting or falsification of evidence, or other instances of police misconduct are proven, the evidence the police obtained due to the misconduct will be ruled inadmissible. At that point, depending on the evidence tossed out, the case could be dismissed altogether.
Contact Us Today
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Martin Hart have successfully handled numerous battery defense cases in the past, aiming to achieve the best possible outcome for their clients. Attorney Martin Hart has both the legal expertise and the real-world experience to fight your battery case, and will work tirelessly to resolve your case, whether through a dismissal, an acquittal, or a reduced charge/sentence.
To learn more or for a free legal consultation regarding the details of your case, call the Law Offices of Martin Hart at 702-380-HART (4278).