Battery vs Domestic Battery: Exploring Legal Differences

Like most states, Nevada makes a distinction between battery vs domestic battery. If you have been charged with either, you should understand the difference between the charges as well as the potential penalties if you are convicted.

How Is Battery Defined in Nevada?

The criminal offense of battery is governed by NRS 200.481 which defines battery as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” For example, hitting, shoving, or kicking someone could be charged as a simple battery in Nevada.

What Are the Potential Penalties for a Battery Conviction in Nevada?

If the battery did not involve the use of a deadly weapon and the victim does not fall into a protected class (discussed below), the defendant will be charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted, a defendant faces up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

If the defendant did not use a deadly weapon but the victim sustained substantial bodily harm or was strangled, the defendant may be charged with a Class C felony, punishable by one to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

If the defendant did use a deadly weapon, and the victim sustained substantial bodily harm or was strangled, the defendant may be charged with a Class B felony and may face a term of imprisonment of two to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

If the battery is committed upon an officer, provider of health care, school employee, taxicab driver or transit operator who was performing his or her duty or upon a sports official based on the performance of his or her duties at a sporting event and the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was acting in his official capacity and the victim suffered substantial bodily injured, was strangled, or a deadly weapon was involved, the defendant faces a Class B felony and may be sentenced to prison for a term of two years to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000. In the absence of a deadly weapon, strangulation, or substantial bodily injury to the victim, a defendant will be charged with a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

What Makes a Battery a Domestic Battery under Nevada Law?

In Nevada, battery domestic violence (BDV) is governed by NRS 33.018 which makes it a crime to commit a battery, assault, coercion, sexual assault, false imprisonment, pandering, or to engage in a knowing, purposeful, or reckless course of conduct intended to harass the other person if the defendant is or was in a domestic relationship with the victim. The key difference between a battery and a BDV is the relationship between the defendant and the victim. If the alleged victim is any of the following, it may be charged as battery domestic violence:

  • Spouse.
  • Former spouse.
  • Any other person to whom the person is related by blood or marriage.
  • Any other person with whom the person has had or is having a dating relationship.
  • Any other person with whom the person has a child in common.
  • The minor child of any of those persons.
  • The person’s minor child or any other person who has been appointed the custodian or legal guardian for the person’s minor child.

What Are the Potential Penalties for a Battery Domestic Violence Conviction in Nevada?

A first or second offense (within 7 years) of battery domestic violence is usually charged as a misdemeanor in Nevada, punishable by two days to six months in jail, 48 to 120 hours of community service, and a fine of $200 to $1,000. A third conviction within seven years can be charged as a Class B Felony, punishable by one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. In addition, aggravating factors can increase a misdemeanor BDV to a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Examples of aggravating factors include a pregnant victim or serious bodily injury sustained by the victim.

What Should I Do If I Am Charged with Battery or Domestic Battery in Las Vegas?

If you have been charged with battery or domestic battery in Las Vegas, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney at The Vegas Lawyers as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and defenses. Call us at 702-707-7000 or contact us online.