Domestic Violence Lawyers
LAS VEGAS LAWYER FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (DV) CHARGES
Nevada’s domestic violence (“DV”) laws encompass many criminal offenses perpetrated against intimate partners, family members, and the like. The most common domestic violence charges include domestic assault, sexual assault, and battery. If you’ve been charged with domestic battery in Nevada, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.
A lawyer with a successful track record of defending domestic abuse cases will quickly understand the charges against you, develop a solid defense, advocate for lower sentencing, and push for dropped or reduced charges.
An experienced domestic violence lawyer in Las Vegas can help share your side of the story with the court, conduct an extensive investigation, and build a strong case in your defense.
Contact a highly experienced domestic violence lawyer today at The Vegas Lawyers. We’ll make your problem our problem. Schedule your free initial consultation by calling us at (702) 707-7000.
What Is The Definition Of Domestic Violence In Nevada?
Domestic violence definition: According to the Nevada Attorney General, a criminal offense that takes place within the context of an intimate relationship (i.e., spouse, partner, family member, parents of common children, etc.). is considered domestic violence.
Domestic violence charges can lead to jail time, fines, permanent loss of rights, and a forever tarnished reputation. Violence in the context of a domestic relationship ( Nevada Revised Statute § 33.018) can happen when one of the following acts is committed by one party in an intimate relationship against another:
- Domestic Battery
- Sexual Assault
- Compelling another individual (via force or threats of force) to engage in acts in which the individual has the right to decline or restrict a person’s ability to engage in acts they have the right to participate in
- Intentional acts of harassment against the other person (i.e., stalking, trespassing, larceny, destruction of private property, false imprisonment, and more.)
- Unlawful or forced entry into the other person’s residence (especially if there is a high probability of harm caused to the other individual)
If you’re facing domestic violence offenses, your first instinct may be to use search terms like “domestic violence lawyer near me,” pick the first result, and hire the attorney. However, it’s in your best interest to fully vet your potential domestic violence lawyer to ensure they are a good fit for your needs. Contact us today to discuss your case.
Domestic Violence Statistics
Relevant domestic violence statistics in Nevada are not always easy to access. However, our research uncovers a grim picture of the current state of domestic violence cases in Nevada (excluding domestic abuse false allegations). With that in mind, take a look at a few notable domestic violence statistics in Nevada below.
- Nevada ranks 7th in the U.S. for the rate of women killed by men.
- 96 percent of female murder victims were killed by a man they knew (of which 63 percent were killed by a domestic partner, husband, or boyfriend, or long-term partner)
- More than 43 percent of women and 32 percent of men in Nevada have experienced domestic abuse in their life.
- Nevada ranks 5th for the highest rate of rape in the U.S.
- Nevada also ranks 5th for overall highest rates of domestic violence in the U.S.
- Nearly 25 percent of all women in Nevada will or have experienced stalking.
The data is clear, domestic violence in Nevada is a real problem. However, there are also many instances of domestic abuse allegations that are simply false and which place the accused in a dangerous position. If you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence, contact The Vegas Lawyers as soon as possible to discuss the details of your case.
How Often Do False Allegations Get Made In Domestic Violence Cases?
Sadly, quite frequently. In fact, it happens all the time. According to statistics, approximately 8% or roughly 20 million Americans have faced false charges of domestic abuse. This is a startling statistic and demonstrates how widespread the problem of false accusations is. That being said, if you’re facing domestic violence charges, it’s extremely important to have a competent attorney fighting for you.
You’ve likely read the headlines of DV allegations that start with “man falsely accused of domestic violence.” It happens a lot. People make up allegations sometimes to gain leverage or exact revenge. Having said that, these are never easy cases and the skill and knowledge to properly investigate a case and come up with a solid defense strategy should never be underestimated. However, what’s not always apparent is the amount of research, investigation, and negotiation required by a domestic abuse lawyer to uncover false allegations.
Don’t allow false allegations to ruin your future. Contact us today to learn how we can help.
Who Do The Domestic Violence Laws Apply To In Nevada?
Nevada law offers domestic violence protections for certain groups of people. Generally, alleged domestic abuse victims fall into one or more of the following categories:
- A spouse or former spouse – Wife, husband, or fiancé
- Parents of common children – Parents who share children
- Current or former roommates – Anyone who has lived together (currently or in the past), including children, family, friends, and platonic roommates
- Dating relationships – Anyone who currently or used to date an alleged offender is entitled to domestic violence protections
- Children – In addition to blood-related parents, accused guardians of minors who are domestic abuse victims can also face prosecution
- Blood relatives – That includes any person related to the alleged DV offender by blood or marriage
It’s important to note that Nevada law defines a dating relationship as one where there is recurrent intimate contact and sexual involvement between two parties. Generally, DV laws don’t apply to casual encounters or one-night stands.
Which Acts Constitute Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence victims can suffer from one or more of the following acts that constitute domestic violence. They include, but are not limited to:
- Hitting or punching – One time or multiple times
- Slapping – On the face or anywhere else on the body
- Pushing or shoving – Even in a heated verbal exchange
- Strangling or choking – Can incur more harsh penalties and sentencing for DV offenders
- Grabbing – What may seem like an innocent grab may constitute domestic violence
- Throwing objects – Thrown objects can lead to serious injuries up to death
- Poisoning – One partner intentionally poisons another
- Biting or pinching – Depending on the context, this can lead to misdemeanor or felony DV charges
- Holding someone against their will – Otherwise known as kidnapping, it can incur harsher penalties if perpetrated against domestic abuse victims
In many cases, domestic violence victims suffer multiple abusive acts for years. However, in others, alleged domestic abuse victims were the aggressor. Irrespective, our criminal defense team is here to help you uncover the facts and develop a strong defense.
What Are the Penalties For Domestic Violence In Nevada?
Domestic violence penalties vary depending on circumstances and charges. For example, individuals charged with a domestic violence misdemeanor are likely to receive a lighter punishment than those charged with more serious DV crimes.
It’s important to note that individuals convicted of any domestic violence battery offense in Nevada are indefinitely prohibited from owning a firearm. Continue reading to learn more about specific domestic violence penalties for battery (Nevada Revised Statute § 200.485) in Nevada.
First Offense (Misdemeanor)
The penalties for a domestic violence misdemeanor conviction can include the following:
- Minimum 48 hours in jail, Maximum 6-months
- Mandatory community service (48 – 120 hours)
- Between $200 – $1,000 in fines, in addition to assessments
- One and a half hours per week of mandatory counseling for domestic violence (6 – 12 months) – paid by the defendant
- Possible enrollment in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program (Judge’s discretion)
- Counseling costs for underage minors who are victimized by the person facing domestic violence penalties
Second Offense Within 7 Years (Misdemeanor)
Individuals charged with a second offense face even harsher domestic violence penalties. The consequences for a second offense domestic violence misdemeanor include:
- Minimum 10-days in jail, Maximum 6- months
- Mandatory community service (100 – 200 hours)
- Between $500 – $1,000 in fines, in addition to assessments
- One and a half hours per week of mandatory counseling for domestic violence (12-months minimum)
- Possible enrollment in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program (Judge’s discretion)
- Counseling costs for underage minors who are victimized by the person facing second-offense domestic violence penalties
Third Offense Within 7 Years (Category C Felony)
What makes domestic violence a felony? When an individual commits acts that constitute a domestic violence misdemeanor three times within a seven-year period, he or she will face felony domestic violence penalties, including:
- Minimum 1-year in state prison, Maximum 5-years
- Fines up to $10,000 – per the court’s discretion
It’s important to understand that domestic violence penalties for DV cases involving strangulation, use of a deadly weapon, or substantial injuries are typically harsher.
Can A Domestic Violence Record Be Erased After Conviction?
A criminal record is a domestic violence penalty that can follow you for a long time. With that in mind, a criminal domestic violence record cannot be “erased” in Nevada. However, most individuals convicted of DV are eligible for a record sealing.
Record seal eligibility depends on the criminal charge, criminal history, and many other factors. Generally, the domestic violence record seal timelines in Nevada are as follows:
- Misdemeanor DV conviction: 7-years
- Category C felony DV conviction: 12-years
- Category B felony DV conviction: 15-years
A domestic violence conviction can limit career opportunities, housing, child custody rights, gun ownership and more. Contact The Vegas Lawyers if you’ve already paid the domestic violence penalty and are ready to move on with your life.
How To Defend Against Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence charges don’t always result in convictions. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, there are many possible DV defenses. Each of the following represents a potential domestic violence defense in Nevada:
- Defense Of Others: Nevada residents have the right to physically defend others in danger of immediate injury or death. However, it’s only a viable domestic violence legal strategy so long as the defendant doesn’t use more than necessary force to protect others.
- Endangered Children: In most cases, using necessary and reasonable force to protect a child from immediate danger or death is permissible under Nevada self-defense laws.
- False Allegations: False accusations can happen to anyone. Defendants who have been falsely accused are recommended to consult with a skilled attorney as soon as possible.
- Lack of Intent: Domestic violence requires intent. That means that accidental battery (i.e., tripping into someone and accidentally spilling hot coffee on them) is not typically a chargeable offense.
- Accidental Harm: Domestic violence is an act of intentional harm perpetrated against the accuser. However, in some cases, accidental injuries can happen. For example, suppose the defendant and their spouse were arguing, and immediately afterward, the defendant lost their balance, and accidentally knocked the accuser into the wall. They may not be criminally liable for any injuries sustained due to lack of intent.
- Self-Defense: Self-defense is the most commonly used domestic violence defense. Per Nevada law, you have the right to reasonably defend yourself if faced with immediate bodily harm or death.
DV offenses are taken seriously in Nevada. However, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense occurred. If the evidence against a defendant is flimsy, incomplete, falsely obtained, etc., a seasoned criminal defense attorney can use that to craft a successful legal strategy in a domestic violence case.
What Happens In A Domestic Violence Case?
What happens in a DV case depends on the charges levied against the defendant. Take a look at a general outline of what to expect before and during a domestic violence case.
Allegations and Filing Domestic Violence Charges
In most cases, allegations of domestic violence are brought by the alleged victim or an eyewitness. Once alerted, law enforcement must investigate, arrest the offending party (if probable cause exists), and await the prosecution’s decision to decline or pursue charges. It’s important to note, the police can only investigate. The decision to prosecute rests with the District Attorney. Therefore, immediately hiring the right lawyer can be significant because the lawyer may head off charges before they even get filed.
Warrant for Arrest for Domestic Violence Charges
The second step in any domestic violence case is the arrest. Generally, police officers can arrest individuals they believe are likely to have committed acts of violence against an intimate partner within the preceding 24 hours (with or without a domestic violence warrant).
Bail is not available until at least 12-hours after an arrest for DV. If a domestic violence warrant is issued, the court may also grant temporary protective orders against the defendant until the case is heard in court.
The Court Process In Domestic Violence Cases
Most domestic violence cases never make it to trial. The vast majority of DV defendants accept some type of plea bargain or have the charges dismissed. Of the cases that do go to trial, the court process for domestic violence charges is similar to most other criminal proceedings with one main exception, most felony DV offenses are not eligible for a jury trial. While this may seem unfair, and in many respects it is, it’s currently the law in Nevada.
Arraignment and the Initial Plea
The arraignment is the first time the defendant is brought before a judge to hear the domestic violence charges against him or her. The defendant has the option to enter an initial plea of guilt or innocence at the arraignment.
In the pre-trial hearing, also called the preliminary hearing, a judge determines whether probable cause exists that the defendant committed the alleged offense. If the judge finds probable cause, the defendant must face the domestic violence charges against him or her. If the defendant waives his or her right to a pre-trial hearing, the case is turned over to the district court for trial.
During a domestic violence trial, the prosecution presents evidence and witnesses to prove a defendant’s guilt. At the same time, the defense can present its evidence, refute the prosecution’s claims, and cross-examine witnesses. At the conclusion of trial, a judge renders a verdict and sets a sentencing date (if the defendant is found guilty).
It’s important to note that the prosecution can offer a plea bargain before or during any stage of the criminal trial process. However, it’s recommended that you consult with your attorney before accepting or declining any offers.
How Is Domestic Violence Different From Other Criminal Offenses?
The high rates of domestic abuse in Las Vegas, Nevada coupled with the serious nature of the crime has led the government to reduce certain rights for those charged with the domestic violence offenses. Unlike most other crimes, a police officer doesn’t have to witness the event before making an arrest. Instead, an allegation or eyewitness testimony is often enough to initiate charges.
Furthermore, unlike most other criminal cases, the prosecution can present evidence from past criminal activity to depict a defendant as a violent person with certain propensities. This, and other factors mentioned earlier, make domestic violence charges unique and different from other criminal charges.
Can A Domestic Violence Conviction Affect Gun Rights?
Yes. Another key difference between a domestic violence conviction and other crimes is that anyone convicted of DV can no longer own, let alone even possess, a gun, even if it was only a misdemeanor conviction. Nevada law, specifically NRS 202.360, prohibits felons and persons convicted of domestic abuse (irrespective of whether it was a felony or misdemeanor) from owning and/or possessing a firearm.
Owning a firearm after a domestic violence conviction is a federal crime in many cases. And being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm can lead to federal prosecution. That’s true even if the charges were reduced. Again, this highlights the importance of having a skilled and knowledgeable attorney representing you given the adverse and life-altering consequences that can result from a DV conviction.
Can A Domestic Violence Conviction Affect Child Custody Rights?
Being convicted of DV can significantly impact a parent’s child custody rights. A family court judge can order limited or restricted visitation rights or even terminate rights. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon in divorce situations for false allegations of DV to be thrown around in order to gain leverage. For this reason, and because of the major impact a DV conviction can have on child custody, it’s essential to have a skilled lawyer representing you. An aggressive defense can help show the prosecutor that false charges are being levied to gain advantage in family court so that the District Attorney’s Office takes a more measured approach to the case and maybe even reconsiders or dismisses the charges.
Is Hiring A Domestic Violence Attorney Necessary?
Yes. While hiring a domestic violence defense attorney doesn’t guarantee dropped or reduced charges, working with an experienced domestic violence attorney can substantially increase the likelihood of charges being thrown out, reduced penalties, and charge reductions. Generally, a few ways a domestic violence defense attorney can help you include the following:
- Assistance removing protective orders
- Advocacy for your rights
- Provide understanding about the charges against you
- Investigate your case, collecting evidence, and identifying witnesses
- Building a solid criminal defense strategy
- Emotional and mental support
- Less stress, headaches, and frustration for you
Hiring the best domestic violence lawyer requires a bit more work than simply typing best “domestic violence lawyer near me” on Google and clicking the first result. To the contrary, you must do your research, compare attorneys, ask questions, and understand your budget before choosing the best domestic violence defense attorney for your particular needs. As part of that process, you should focus on the basics such as experience, competence, and skills of the lawyer you’re considering. Additionally, it’s equally important to feel comfortable with your choice of attorney and hire someone that has compassion for you and everything you’re going through.
Contact The Vegas Lawyers If You’re Facing Domestic Violence Charges
Are you facing domestic violence or abuse charges in Las Vegas? If so, consulting a proven domestic violence lawyer can substantially increase the odds of a favorable outcome in your case. This is no time to gamble with your choice of lawyer. Only the best will do.
The domestic violence attorneys at The Vegas Lawyers have decades of experience successfully defending clients against some of the most serious criminal charges imaginable. When clients hire us, their problems become our problems. We handle each case as if it was our own liberty and reputation on the line. We’ll fight for the best possible outcome for you and your family.
If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, representing yourself or being underrepresented can be catastrophic. Don’t risk your future when you don’t have to.
Our skilled legal team will fight to ensure you get the least amount of penalties possible under the circumstances. Contact us or give us a call at 702-707-7000 for your free initial consultation today.