If you have been accused of making threats, harassment, or similar offenses in Las Vegas or anywhere throughout Nevada, you could face serious consequences if convicted and should not settle for anything less than the best possible legal representation.
What is dealt with under the rubric of "criminal threats" in many other states is in Nevada subsumed under laws concerning harassment, stalking, sending threatening or obscene letters, or making terrorist threats.
At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, we are intimately familiar with the details of all Nevada laws related to threats, regardless of what label the Nevada Revised Statures (NRS) put on these actions. We have deep experience in defending people against this class of criminal charge, and we have a long and strong track record of winning these types of cases.
Contact us anytime by calling 702-380-4278for a free legal consultation on how to defeat a threat related charge against you in Las Vegas, Clark County, or anywhere in the state of Nevada!
Harassment Under Nevada Law
Under Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 200.571, "harassment" is used as a very broad legal rubric that takes in such diverse offenses as threatening to cause bodily injury on another person, to damage another person's property, to restrain or physically confine ("falsely imprison") another person, or even to commit an action that would likely compromise someone's physical/mental safety.
Thus, harassment is the equivalent to "making threats" in other state law codes, by and large.
Harassment is similar to stalking under Nevada law, but differs in that stalking involves the attempt to forcibly make contact but not necessarily to inflict harm. And in the same way, cyber-stalking differs from cyber-harassment.
To be guilty of harassment NRS 200.571, you must have knowingly, intentionally made the threat. It must have been a threat to inflict real harm on another person, and there must have been a reasonable fear created in the other person that the threat would, in fact, be carried through on.
Note that either words or actions can be used to make a threat under Nevada's harassment law. Nor does the threat have to be of immediate harm to be inflicted, nor even a threat to harm the individual to whom the threat is communicated (it could be to harm, for example, the child of the one threatened.)
A first time, unaggravated harassment offense in Nevada is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 month in county jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
A second or subsequent offense is a "gross misdemeanor," punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
If the threat caused a reasonable fear of death or of "substantial bodily harm," then harassment can be charged as a Class B Felony and punished by 2 to 15 years in state prison and a fine as high as $5,000.
If the harassment was committed via Internet or texting, it can be charged as a Class C Felony and punished by 1 to 5 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Also, a protective order is often imposed by the judge to keep the convicted person from contacting or getting within a specified distance of the victim for a particular period of time. Violating a protective order is itself a crime, punishable by a year in jail and a $2,000 fine for misdemeanors and by 1 to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for felonies.
As harassment is considered a crime of "moral turptitude," immigrants may be at risk of deportation or other negative immigration repercussions if convicted of it.
At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, we use many effective defense strategies to defeat harassment charges. These include defense of self or others, false accusation, actions do not rise to the level of harassment as defined in NRS 200.571, exercise of lawful authority (as with police or security guards on duty), and exercise of freedoms of speech/assembly.
Threatening or Obscene Letters
Under NRS 207.180, it is a crime in Nevada to send threats or obscenities to others via letter or other forms of writing, like Internet or text-messages. In reality, this is a special type or harassment offense.
If you send a letter or other form of written communication that threatens to kill or physically harm another person, damage someone else's property, accuse someone of a crime, or expose another person's weaknesses or failures and thus humiliate him/her, it counts as a "threatening letter" under NRS 200.180.
If you send a "bullying" letter that is anonymous, that too can count as a violation of NRS 200.180.
Sending threatening letters differs from blackmail in that the latter also includes an "offer" to not carry out a specific threat if the victim will give money or something else of value to the perpetrator.
Any anonymous letter, or one sent under a fake name or pretending to be someone else, that is very vulgar and profane in content is an "obscene letter" for the purposes of NRS 200.180. The obscenity can be expressed in words and/or pictures, and it can be sent via letter, text, social media messaging, or in virtually any other way.
Sending threatening or obscene letters NRS 207.180 is a misdemeanor crime in Nevada. It can be punished by up to 6 months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Common defense strategies against NRS 207.180 we use at The Law Offices of Martin Hart include: lack of a genuine "threat" or "obscenity," fabricated allegations, illegal search & seizure, and police misconduct and violations of the defendant's rights.
Also note that the imprecise language of much of NRS 207.180 often makes it easier for a skilled defense lawyer to defeat the prosecution's case, or at least to get a reduction in charge to breach of the peace or another lesser offense.
Stalking Under Nevada Law
Under NRS 200.575, Stalking is a a criminal activity defined as a pattern rather than a single incident. Stalking is done to try to cause fear in another person or to try to forcibly make contact with that person.
Typical stalking actions include constantly showing up at someone else's workplace or home and making unwanted, frequent phone calls or texts to another person. Oftentimes, stalking is committed by X-spouses or X-romantic partners, though of course it can be committed by others as well.
To count as stalking, the perpetrator's actions must have been repeated, willful and/or malicious, such as would cause a "reasonable person" to feel threatened or harassed, and must have actually resulted in the victim feeling threatened/harassed.
Stalking is a misdemeanor offense, but becomes a gross misdemeanor for a repeat offense. In aggravated cases (where there are threats of death/bodily injury), it can be a Class B Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Also, anyone convicted of stalking in Nevada is automatically subject to a permanent restraining order. A temporary restraining order is issued when the charge is filed.
Note that picketers, protesters, photographers, and reporters cannot be convicted of stalking for just doing their job or exercising their Constitutional rights of free speech and assembly.
The same defenses that work against a charge of harassment largely apply to a stalking charge as well. The difference, mainly, is that stalking involves an attempt to make contact, while harassment may not.
Issuing Terrorist Threats
Under NRS 202.448, it is a crime in Nevada to make a "terrorist threat." Terrorist threats are a special sort of threat. They involve a threat to harm one or more other people. The threat is intended to cause a panic, interfere with the normal operations of government, harm or alarm other people, or to extort money or some other object out of those threatened, or out of one person or entity by threatening another.
Any threat made with an intention to cause harm of the sorts listed above, is a terrorist threat, regardless of whether the threat actually had that effect.
Many times, terrorist threats are made against churches or other places of worship, government agencies, and abortion clinics.
Note that making a "bomb threat," while a felony in itself, is not covered under NRS 202.448 Making Terrorist Threats under Nevada law.
Making terrorist threats is a Class B Felony in Nevada, punishable by 2 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Whether one gets something closer to the minimum or maximum sentence will be determined by such considerations as the nature of the threats made, the purpose for which the threats were made, and what harm (if any) actually was caused by the terrorist threat(s).
In many cases, a good defense attorney can get a terrorist threat charge reduced to such lesser charges as reckless endangerment or breach of the peace.
Also, note that making terrorist threats is a crime of "moral turptitude" and, as such, can result in deportation or other negative immigration consequences for immigrants (both legal and illegal.)
At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, we understand that not everyone accused of the crime called "making terrorist threats" in Nevada is a true "terrorist." Many times, they are completely innocent. Other times, this charge is a gross exaggeration of their actual conduct or its intent.
How do we defend our clients against a charge of making terrorist threats under NRS 202.448? Here are our most commonly used defense strategies:
- Lack of "Malicious" Intent
If there was not intention on the part of the accused to try to hurt or frighten anyone, cause mass hysteria/panic, profit off a terrorist act, or prevent the carrying out of the normal operation of government, then there was no issuing of a "terrorist threat."
Making an off-color joke or one that you are not at all serious about, say a joke about hijacking an airplane or blowing up the whole town is not a terrorist threat because there was no intent to carry out the act or inflict any harm or cause any fear in others.
- False Accusation
It's not uncommon for a terrorist threat charge to be filed out of spite or a spirit of revenge against a completely innocent person. Or, it could be a simple misunderstanding that caused the accusation to be made.
For example, let's say an X-husband moves to another state and illegally skips out on paying spousal/child support. Then the X-wife gets annoyed and makes up a story - "he told me he would kill everyone at the school my kid attends if I bugged him about it again!" But it was a totally false, fabricated story made up to get revenge.
Not only can we defend you against false allegations, but we can likely help you file charges against your accuser for making out a false police report and/or defamation of character.
- Freedom of Speech
In some instances, an emotional outburst to a psychologist, doctor, or lawyer is considered protected speech under the First Amendment, even if the words uttered might be construed as a "terrorist threat" in another context.
If there is any reasonable doubt that the "threat" was indeed a true one, intended to create fear/inflict harm, then you cannot be convicted of making terrorist threats.
Finally, let us mention that Nevada law is still unsettled as to whether NRS 202.448 is eligible for record sealing. If the particular incident is shown to not have been a "violent crime," the record can be sealed 5 years after the case is closed.
Contact Us Today for Immediate Assistance!
At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, we can assist you in winning the best possible outcome to your threats defense case. We are well acquainted with this practice area and we will know how to build you a solid defense and win your case!
Contact us 24/7, 365 days a year, at 702-380-4278 for a free criminal defense consultation and immediate attention to your case!