Domestic Violence Charges Defense in Reno, NV

Here’s what you need to know about domestic violence charges.

Domestic Violence

You’ve been accused of domestic violence. Today, the very suggestion that you have engaged in a violent act presents the prospect of some severe legal repercussions, not the least of which may include jail time. 

Domestic violence is a serious matter, and depending upon the severity of the accusation, courts can hand out some harsh and unyielding punishments. When charged, you need someone on your side to either disprove the charges or lessen their severity in the eyes of the court.

Examining how a domestic violence charge is perceived in the state of Nevada, what it entails, its ramifications and the possible penalties involved is important when making determinations for your defense—a good, highly-experienced attorney is a must.

Nevada’s Domestic Violence and Battery Laws

Domestic Violence charges can be cited as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the severity of the action—your past criminal history determines how the court perceives the charge and how charges get filed. A misdemeanor does not carry the legal stigma of a felony. If the charge is categorized as the latter, you will need a criminal attorney to decipher Nevada’s Domestic Violence and Battery Laws and provide the best defense.

Domestic Violence and Battery Laws: What You Need to Know

 Nevada law NRS 200.485 prohibits domestic violence. Under the law, domestic battery is defined as ANY willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon any person with whom you have a domestic relationship.

Under the Battery Law definition, the incident cannot be accidental; the physical confronting must be intentional. It does not require that injury be present and has no bearing on the charges. Any intentional touching of a spouse or partner, injury aside, can be charged under the law.

  • Domestic violence example. Pat and Kelly are dating. They get into an argument. Pat grabs Kelly from behind, and throws her to the floor, breaking her wrist. Pat has committed domestic violence.
  • Not domestic violence example. Pat and Kelly are joking around. They decide to wrestle in the living room. Pat grabs Kelly from behind, jokingly throws her to the floor, and breaks her wrist. This is not domestic violence.

Possible Penalties for Domestic Violence

  • A first domestic violence conviction. Punishable by at least 2 days in jail and not more than 6 months in jail. You must complete at least 48 hours of community service and pay a fine between $200 and $1000. The court may allow you to serve your jail time nonconsecutively so that you can work around your employment obligations. You will be required to complete domestic violence counseling.
  • A second domestic violence conviction. If it is within 7 years, it can result in a jail term of between 10 days and 6 months, depending on the severity of the charge. Those found guilty are required to perform 100-200 hours of community service and pay a fine of $500 up to $1000. You will be required to complete domestic violence counseling.
  • A third domestic violence conviction. If it is within 7 years, it is a Class C Felony. In all cases, the court will likely order your participation in weekly counseling and involvement in a treatment program if alcohol or drugs are involved. You will be required to complete domestic violence counseling.

Any conviction for a domestic battery will result in a loss of gun rights.

Defenses Tactics in Domestic Battery Cases

Even though domestic battery cases are some of the most common types of criminal charges filed in Nevada, they are not easy for the state to prove. A domestic battery case often comes down to the credibility of the victim. With little evidence to prove who is telling the truth, it’s up to the state to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.

Common defenses used against domestic violence charges:

  • The victim is lying to manipulate and control the accused person
  • A touching that occurred was just an accident
  • The person charged acted in self-defense or defense of another person
  • The victim is lying to manipulate a custody or divorce case
  • Is the relationship considered domestic?

To be a domestic battery instead of a simple battery, the victim and the offender must have a domestic relationship. Qualifying relationships include:

  • Family member
  • Spouse
  • Dating relationship
  • Roommate (thought this is rarely charged)

A dating relationship must be more than casual. Nevada law  NRS 33.018 defines a domestic relationship as frequent, intimate interactions with the expectation of affection or sexual contact.

Legal Progression of a Domestic Violence Case

If your case is a misdemeanor, it may go to either a bench trial before a judge or a jury trial. If it is a felony, you have the right to a jury trial. Nevada law says that the state can only offer a plea resolution if it believes there’s a lack of evidence against you, and they are not likely to win the case at trial.

At this juncture, it is critical that your defense attorney aggressively pursues this side of the legal argument and convince the state that their case against you is weak.

Can a Domestic Violence Conviction Impact a Child Custody Case?

A domestic violence conviction can have consequences that extend beyond the criminal courtroom. If the charge of domestic violence against you is upheld, it may well affect child custody. A conviction gives the other side a legal upper hand, and you may find yourself on the wrong end of a custody battle. Visitation can be affected, or worse, contact with your children may be interrupted.

What to Do? Hire a Good Defense Attorney

If you’re going through a divorce or custody proceeding or an active custody case, it’s critical to have the best defense possible against the domestic violence charges filed against you. A good defense attorney scrutinizes the other person’s statements as questionable. The other person is then seen as possibly enhancing their domestic charges against you to gain leverage in the custody case. It’s been known to happen.

Common Related Charges

If you’re facing domestic battery charges, you might also be facing one or more related charges:

  • Assault with a deadly weapon. Any object that can cause substantial bodily harm or death. For example, if you throw a heavy object at your partner, you can face a serious felony charge in addition to charges of domestic violence.
  • Battery with substantial bodily harm. If a victim suffers a serious injury because of domestic violence, the person who commits the act can face felony charges. A serious injury is any lasting disfigurement or injury that causes significant physical pain and hospitalization.

If you face either of these related charges, you have a right to a trial by jury. A defense attorney can help you evaluate the charges, so you understand the accusations and what the state needs to show to prove the case against you. This is a serious charge; without a defense attorney, you cannot hope to fight it in court.

Don’t Fight a Charge Without Representation

When you’re facing a domestic battery charge in Nevada, your life turns upside down in an instant. You are facing the loss of freedom and finances and the prospect of lengthy community service, counseling, and other court-ordered demands. Things get complicated when it comes to child custody or contact with your children.

Fight Back!

Fortunately, you can fight back against a domestic battery charge. Working with a qualified defense attorney can help you build a defense that aggressively fights the charges against you. Your attorney will help you understand the specifics of the charges and the legal options available to fight and defend yourself.

Have You Been Charged with Domestic Battery?

Neahusan Law is your legal lifeline in Reno, Sparks, Fallon, Carson City, Fernley, and the surrounding Nevada communities. Our attorneys will fight your legal battles, giving your case the attention, it deserves. Contact Neahusan Law today at 775-420-5142 or fill out the contact form on our website.