What Constitutes Battery Under Nevada Law?
Here in Nevada, unlike many states, assault and battery are considered two different and distinct crimes. If you are charged with either assault or battery in or near the Las Vegas area, you must schedule a case evaluation – as quickly as you can – with a Las Vegas battery attorney.
A battery occurs in this state when one person illegally and intentionally touches another person. The crime of battery, as it is defined in Nevada, typically requires some type of direct physical contact – biting, punching, kicking, choking, or stabbing, for example.
What are the laws governing battery in the State of Nevada, and what are the penalties for a battery conviction? What steps should you take if you are charged with battery in this state, and when will you need the advice and services of a Las Vegas assault and battery lawyer?
What Are the Battery Laws in Nevada?
Even though it is usually charged as a misdemeanor, battery is classified as a “crime of violence” that entails serious consequences for anyone who is convicted. The specific penalties for a battery conviction in any particular case will depend on several factors:
- Did the victim belong to a protected class?
- Did the victim suffer substantial bodily harm?
- Did the defendant allegedly use a deadly weapon?
- Did the defendant have prior criminal convictions?
If a battery defendant did not use a deadly weapon, a battery charge is usually a misdemeanor in Nevada, unless the victim was strangled or suffered substantial bodily harm, in which case the charge is a Category C felony. Battery with a deadly weapon is a Category B felony.
If a victim of battery or battery with a deadly weapon belonged to a protected class – that is, if the victim was a police officer, health care provider, school employee, taxi driver, transit operator, or sports official – the prison term may be longer for a conviction, and the fine costlier.
What is Battery With Intent to Commit a Crime?
A battery that is committed with the intention of perpetrating any of the other crimes listed below is always charged as a felony (and may be penalized on conviction with a lengthy prison term), even if no deadly weapon was used and no bodily harm was sustained by the victim:
- grand larceny
- sexual assault
How Can You Fight a Battery Charge?
If you are accused of battery, whether the charge is a felony or a misdemeanor, you must contact a Las Vegas battery attorney at once. In most battery cases, a defense lawyer’s first move will be seeking to have the charge dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the court.
If that’s not possible, your options are a plea deal or a trial by jury. If the state’s evidence against you is overwhelming and your conviction is certain, your defense attorney may negotiate a plea deal that would let you plead guilty to a reduced charge and receive a lesser sentence.
If you are in fact guilty of battery, and you are offered a plea deal, discuss with your attorney whether you should accept or reject that deal. However, if you believe that you are innocent, and your battery case can’t be dropped or dismissed, you should assert your right to a trial by jury.
What Defenses Are Offered Against Battery Charges?
If your battery case goes to trial, your lawyer will explain what actually happened, cast doubt on the state’s evidence, and ask the jurors to return a not guilty verdict. Your lawyer will develop an appropriate legal strategy that may include one of these defenses against a battery charge:
- What happened was an accident: Accidental or inadvertent physical touching does not constitute battery. Even if you injured someone, an accident is not a criminal offense, although an injury victim may be allowed to sue you for negligence in civil court.
- You were acting lawfully and in self-defense: In the State of Nevada, you may legally defend yourself or others against unlawful physical force provided that you used no more physical force than was reasonably necessary.
- The accusation against you is false: Your attorney might argue that no battery actually happened and the accusation has been fabricated. Alternatively, your attorney could argue that you have been misidentified and that someone else actually committed the crime.
How Does Battery Differ From Assault?
In Nevada, while battery happens when a person illegally and intentionally touches another person, assault does not involve actual touching. Instead, assault happens when a person attempts to use force against someone else or places someone else in fear of immediate bodily harm.
A simple assault is typically charged as a misdemeanor in this state, but if the defendant was a parolee, a probationer, or a jail or prison inmate, it’s a Category D felony. If a deadly weapon was brandished or displayed, assault with a deadly weapon (a Category B felony) is the charge.
What is Battery Domestic Violence?
Separate definitions, laws, and penalties apply to battery domestic violence in Nevada. State law defines battery domestic violence as the intentional infliction of unlawful physical force on a current or former spouse, a current or former romantic partner, or particular family members.
Provided that no strangulation, serious injuries, or deadly weapon was involved, a first or second battery domestic violence offense in this state may be charged as a misdemeanor. However, if strangulation, serious injuries, or a deadly weapon was involved, an incident of battery domestic violence will probably be charged as a felony.
Accused of Battery? Call Goodwin Law Group
Take your battery case to a Las Vegas assault and battery lawyer who is skilled, experienced, and will fight aggressively for the justice you need. If you’re charged with battery or another violent crime, attorney Charles Goodwin will fight to bring your case to its best possible outcome.
Goodwin Law Group has an extraordinary success record in assault and battery cases, winning acquittals, acceptable plea agreements, or having charges dropped or dismissed. Attorney Charles Goodwin defends those charged with battery and other crimes throughout Southern Nevada.
If you are charged with battery or assault – currently or in the future – contact Goodwin Law Group immediately by calling 702-819-8242. You will receive a comprehensive case evaluation without cost or obligation, and Goodwin Law Group will put the law to work for you.