Have You Been Charged With Simple Assault?

What constitutes simple assault in the State of Nevada? Keep reading this brief discussion to learn how simple assault is defined, what you should do if you are charged with simple assault, and when you should contact a Las Vegas assault attorney.

The law in Nevada defines assault as either:

  1. attempting to use force against a person, or
  2. placing someone in reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm

Assault victims are not touched, but they experience the fear of being touched and injured. You cannot assault someone who is sleeping, in a coma, or simply not looking at or listening to you. In practice, however, a verbal threat alone is rarely enough to prompt an arrest for simple assault.

What Are the Assault Charges in Nevada?

While “simple” assault is usually a misdemeanor in Nevada, there are several exceptions:

  1.  If the victim was an on-duty police officer or a member of another protected class, the charge is a gross misdemeanor punishable upon conviction with a jail sentence and a fine.
  2.  If the perpetrator was in police custody, in prison, or on probation or parole, the charge is a Category D felony punishable upon conviction with a prison term and a costly fine.
  3.  If a deadly weapon is displayed or brandished during an assault, the charge is assault with a deadly weapon, a Category B felony punishable upon conviction with a lengthier prison term and a costly fine.

What Are the Other Consequences of an Assault Conviction?

Because assault is deemed a violent crime, if you are not a U.S. citizen, an assault conviction may trigger a deportation proceeding. If you hold a professional license in Nevada, an assault conviction may prompt disciplinary action by your professional licensing board.

An assault conviction establishes a criminal record which can make it difficult to find employment, obtain a loan, find housing, or attend certain educational institutions. In some cases, assault convictions may be sealed after some time has passed (as explained below).

How Can You Fight an Assault Charge?

In the Las Vegas area, if you are charged with assault, you must contact a Las Vegas assault lawyer immediately. Your lawyer will review the details of the charge, examine any evidence, interview any witnesses, and develop an aggressive, effective strategy for your defense.

The defenses that may be offered to an assault charge include but are not necessarily limited to:

  1. You had no intention of assaulting anyone, and what happened was an accident.
  2. You acted in self-defense or the defense of one or more others.
  3. You’ve been misidentified, and someone else committed the assault.
  4. No assault happened, and the charge against you has been fabricated.

If you are charged with assault, do not plead guilty or presume that you will be convicted. To win a conviction, the state must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and a good defense attorney will work hard to challenge and cast doubt on the state’s evidence.

Can an Assault Conviction Be Sealed?

Nevada convictions for battery or assault can usually be sealed after enough time has passed, but because battery and assault are categorized as violent crimes, the waiting period before a battery or assault conviction may be sealed is twice as long as the waiting period for non-violent crimes.

To seal a misdemeanor assault or battery conviction, the waiting period is two years. For felony assault or battery convictions, the wait is ten years. When you become eligible, a Las Vegas assault attorney can explain how convictions are sealed and guide you through the process.

Sealing a conviction removes the record of that conviction from public access. A sealed conviction cannot be seen by neighbors, landlords, or most employers, although law enforcement agencies and professional licensing boards may access sealed records in specific circumstances.

What is Battery in Nevada?

Unlike some states, in Nevada, battery and assault are two different crimes, although the public at large – and sometimes even lawyers and judges – frequently use these two terms interchangeably.

Battery happens in Nevada when someone intentionally and illegally touches someone else. Unlike assault, battery requires physical contact such as stabbing, biting, or punching. In fact, if you are passed out or unconscious, you can even be battered without knowing it.

It’s important to know that if you bump into someone or accidentally strike someone while you’re trying to carry a bulky package or object, if your action was unintentional, no crime was committed, and you should not be charged with battery.

However, an accident like this could be considered an act of negligence, and if you accidentally injure someone this way, you could be taken to civil court and sued for damages.

What Are the Battery Charges in Nevada?

As there are several different assault charges, there are also several battery charges. Simple battery is a misdemeanor, but if the victim is a member of a protected class, simple battery is charged as a gross misdemeanor.

However, the charge is a Category B felony if:

  1.  A protected class member is strangled or seriously injured.
  2.  Battery with a deadly weapon is committed against a member of a protected class.
  3.  The battery is committed by an inmate, probationer, or parolee.

If you are charged with any crime in Nevada, including any assault or battery charge, you must be defended by a lawyer who has substantial experience with violent crime cases and a record of success on behalf of his or her clients. But how can you find the right Las Vegas assault lawyer?

Why Choose Goodwin Law Group?

The right attorney can make the difference between a conviction for assault and an acquittal. In the Las Vegas area, you can take your case directly to a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced, knowledgeable, and committed to fighting effectively for justice on your behalf.

If you are charged with simple assault or with any other crime of violence in or near the Las Vegas area, attorney Charles Goodwin at Goodwin Law Group will determine the best strategy for your defense and bring your assault case to its best possible resolution.

Charles Goodwin has an outstanding record of success in assault cases, winning acquittals or having the charges reduced or completely dismissed. He represents those accused of violent crimes in Las Vegas and throughout Southern Nevada.

Now or in the future, if you are charged with assault or battery in or near the Las Vegas area, call Goodwin Law Group promptly at 702-819-8242 for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case, and get the personalized legal advice and help you need.