Domestic battery, also called "battery domestic violence" (BDV), is a very serious and a very common charge in Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada. If you are currently facing these charges, you should waste not time at all in availing yourself of experienced legal defense. The consequences are too severe, upon a conviction, to just ignore the process and hope for the best or to just rely on an over-worked, under-experienced public defender.
At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, we understand the details of Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Section 200.485 that deals with the crime of domestic battery. We have deep experience in defending our clients against this charge and have won many dismissals, acquittals, and reduced charges/sentences in the past. We can do the same for you.
Contact us anytime 24/7/365 by calling 702-380-4278, for a free legal consultation, and we will waste no time in getting started on building you a solid defense.
How Is Domestic Battery Defined Under Nevada Law?
Under NRS 200.485, the crime of domestic battery is defined as the intentional and unlawful application of physical force on a spouse, romantic partner, or any family member.
It is simply the crime of battery when committed against someone in a particular relation to the perpetrator, making it therefore "domestic."
The particular type of physical act can be a push, punch, shove, the hurling of an object at someone, burning, poisoning, or even spitting on someone.
It is not necessary that the victim was actually injured, much less severely injured, for a domestic battery charge to hold. But, when injuries do occur, that would likely make the sentence significantly more severe.
What Must the Prosecutor Prove?
In order to gain a conviction on a Nevada charge of domestic battery, the prosecution must prove two elements of the crime beyond all reasonable doubt:
- The defendant did, in fact, batter the alleged victim, intentionally applying unlawful physical force to him/her, according to the usual Nevada definition of battery.
- The defendant was related to the victim by marriage, was dating or living with the victim, was the child of the defendant or of the defendant's current/former romantic partner, was a relative of any kind of the defendant (whether by blood/marriage), or was a roommate of the defendant.
However, if battery is committed against someone else, a friend or a stranger, for example, that is not "domestic" battery. This is important because domestic battery is punished somewhat more severely than "ordinary" battery.
Note that intentionality is an essential element of the crime of domestic battery. An accident does not count, even if injury resulted from it. But "reckless indifference" that results in touching and/or harming another does still count as battery.
There are numerous false accusations and complaints made to police via 911 and other means, of domestic battery, in the state of Nevada. Do not assume that just because you have been accused, arrested, and charged, that you will be convicted. We at The Law Offices of Martin Hart have seen false allegations of this sort many times before, and we know how to cross-examine witnesses, challenge evidence brought against you, and defeat these kinds of charges.
Possible Penalties for Domestic Battery in Nevada
Domestic battery (NRS 200.485) can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony in Nevada, depending on the details of the case and the defendant's past criminal record.
The use of a firearm, knife, or other deadly weapon, the infliction of "substantial" bodily injury (like burns, disfigurement, or debilitation), or the attempt to strangle the victim, would all make the charge a serious felony. A third-time offense within 7 years, also is a felony.
Misdemeanor charges, for first offense, normally get community service and mandatory counseling in place of jail time. But second-offense misdemeanors require at least 10 days of actual jail time.
Depending on the severity of the case, a felony can be Category C or a more serious Category B.
Here is a run-down of the possible penalties for NRS 200.485 (domestic battery) in more detail:
- First-time misdemeanor level: from two days to 6 months in county jail (usually waived), fines and fees between $235 and $1,035, from 48 to 120 hours of community service, and 6 to 12 months of mandatory counseling.
- Second-time misdemeanor: from 10 days to 6 months in jail, $535 to $1,035 in fines/fees, 100 to 200 hours of community service, and 6 to 12 months of counseling.
- Third offense within 7 years, a Category C Felony: from 1 to 5 years in state prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Domestic battery with strangulation, Category C felony: 1 to 5 years in prison, and a fine of up to $15,000.
- Domestic battery inflicting "substantial" bodily injury, Category C felony: 1 to 5 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Domestic battery with a deadly weapon, Category B felony: 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Deadly weapon used and substantial bodily harm inflicted, Category B felony, 2 to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
Common Defense Strategies Against the Charge of Domestic Battery in Nevada
At the Law Office of Martin Hart, we have been defending clients against domestic battery charges for many years in Las Vegas and all over the state of Nevada. We have deep experience in building a solid defense for each case that we take on. We have "seen it all before," and we know which type of defense is likely to prevail in each particular type of case.
The common defense strategies we use in Nevada domestic battery defense cases include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Self Defense
If you were in danger of imminent physical injury/death at the hands of the alleged victim, or even if you only "reasonably believed" that to be the case, you had a right to defend yourself against aggression. However, you cannot have used excessive force (more than was necessary to neutralize the threat or perceived threat). Self defense is legitimate and is not domestic battery.
- Defense of Others
If you acted to defend another person who was present from imminent physical harm, or based on a reasonable belief therein, it is defense of others and not a crime. But the same rules apply here as for self-defense (above).
- Lack of Intent
Without the element of intent being established, you cannot be convicted of domestic battery, or any form of battery for that matter. It would instead be an accident or a misunderstanding. This is a very common defense.
- Police Misconduct
If illegal search and seizure, police planting of evidence, or other violations of your rights took place during the arrest, the presiding judge may suppress certain pieces of evidence from court, which may make the case unwinnable to the prosecution.
- False Accusation
It is extremely common for domestic battery and other domestic violence charges to turn out to be false, fabricated allegations. Often, these kinds of charges are hurled out of a spirit of revenge or to win a child custody battle. Sometimes, victims even self-inflict wounds to try to make the charges stick. We can get to the bottom of it, though; and we can call expert medical witnesses to help distinguish between self-inflicted and "others-inflicted" injuries.
- Lack of Sufficient Evidence
In many instance, a domestic battery case may come down to a "he-said she-said" situation, and there simply won't be enough evidence to meet the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt."
Plea Bargaining Nevada Domestic Battery Cases
We at The Law Offices of Martin Hart not only know how to fight for a dismissal or acquittal, but in the right situation and with our client's full knowledge and consent, we also can apply our well honed legal negotiation skills to win a favorable plea deal.
Sometimes, a plea deal will involve pleading guilty to battery domestic violence in exchange for a guaranteed minimal sentence of a first-time misdemeanor charge. That would mean only 48 hours of community service, no jail time, a fine of around $350, and taking a domestic violence counseling class at your own expense, which costs something in the neighborhood of $800. It would also mean probation (suspended jail sentence upon "good behavior") for 6 months.
However, it is not likely to get a domestic battery charge reduced to simple battery in Nevada, since Nevada law demands that the evidence must be demonstrably "too weak for a conviction" before this can be done. It would actually be easier to reduce a first degree murder charge to second degree than domestic battery to simple battery. But, sometimes the standard can be met or the weak evidence can lead to a dismissal or acquittal (even better).
Note that most misdemeanor domestic battery conviction, reduced or not, will involve probation. Probation allows you to avoid jail time, but you have to complete counseling classes and you have to avoid any more arrests (other than for minor traffic infractions) to avoid the possibility of your probation being cancelled and having to serve the original jail term.
Will I Have to Appear in Court?
In many instances, those arrested in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Nevada on a domestic battery charge live out of state or simply don't want to appear in court, if possible, for their hearing(s).
So long as you hire an attorney to represent you and appear in your place at your hearings, in most cases, you don't have to be there. But it is good to show up for the sentencing hearing, if not arraignment and other goings on (judges appreciate that, but it's not necessarily required either.)
If you have an actual jury trial, however, you must be present. And if it is a felony charge, you will likely have to show up in person at least for the preliminary hearing and the sentencing hearing. And if you don't have a defense lawyer, you need to show up for everything: otherwise the judge will issue a bench warrant to re-arrest you and bring you before the court.
And also realize that the failure to appear to answer for an alleged crime, in Nevada, is itself a crime. In fact, "failure to appear" can get you up to 4 years in state prison. That's obviously a huge risk. You can't afford to just ignore a Nevada domestic battery charge, no matter how trumped up or weak the case against you may be.
And by availing yourself of a skilled domestic battery defense attorney, with local knowledge of Nevada laws and court processes, you will greatly increase your chances of a winning your hearing and/or trial, besides being able to avoid having to come to all of the legal proceedings every step of the way.
Contact Us Today for Immediate Assistance!
At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, we have been successfully defending those accused of the crime of battery domestic violence for many years. We know what the law says and how the system works. We have deep experience in building solid defenses against these charges that can win your case either pre-trial or in-trial.
Contact us today at 702-380-4278, and we will immediately come to your assistance. We are available to take your call 24/7, and we will give you a free legal consultation on the details of your case, so you can get a clearer picture of your options moving forward.