Definition Of Coercion Charges In Nevada
Within Nevada, NRS 207.190 states that coercion is a punishable offense when an individual deliberately forces someone to act (or refrain from acting) by either:
- Being violent — or threatening violence — towards the person, his/her family, or property
- Depriving the person of a tool, implement, or clothing
- Trying to intimidate the person through threats or force
In short, coercion consists of two elements:
- The criminal intent to deprive someone of a right, and
- A criminal act depriving someone of that right
1. It is unlawful for a person, with the intent to compel another to do or abstain from doing an act which the other person has a right to do or abstain from doing, to:
(a) Use violence or inflict injury upon the other person or any of the other person’s family, or upon the other person’s property, or threaten such violence or injury; (b) Deprive the person of any tool, implement or clothing, or hinder the person in the use thereof; or (c) Attempt to intimidate the person by threats or force.
2. A person who violates the provisions of subsection 1 shall be punished: (a) Where physical force or the immediate threat of physical force is used, for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000. (b) Where no physical force or immediate threat of physical force is used, for a misdemeanor.
Penalties and Punishments for Coercion
The severity of the Nevada crime of coercion is based on whether force was utilized or not. If no physical force is involved, then this offense only amounts to a misdemeanor with penalties including:
- Up to 6 months in jail, and/or
- Up to $1,000 in fines
But if the defendant applied or threatened to use physical contact, then coercion is classified as a Category B Felony and will be met with penalties that include:
- 1-6 years in prison, and
- Possibly up to $5,000 in fines
Sexually Motivated Coercion under Nevada Law
According to NRS 207.193, the process of determining whether coercion was sexually motivated requires a hearing. Furthermore, according to subsection 6 of this statute, an offense can be considered “sexually motivated” if one of the primary intents for committing it is sexual gratification.
When a defendant has been found guilty of coercion or attempted coercion, the prosecutor can request that the court convenes an additional hearing to establish whether or not the offense was driven by sexual motivation. Sex crimes are serious and must be vigorously combatted with the help of a skilled Las Vegas coercion attorney.
Prosecutors must submit and serve a written notice to the defendant at least 72 hours before any hearing, or else they will be prohibited from requesting the hearing. This notification must be delivered in writing prior to the commencement of the trial.
At the hearing, the prosecution is entitled to present evidence of whether or not the offense was sexually motivated. At this point, it becomes incumbent upon the defense to rebut that argument and for the prosecuting attorney to prove definitively that sexual motives were at play beyond a reasonable doubt. Subsequent to the court hearing, either a stipulation by the accused admitting that sexual coercion was present or a set of findings must be documented in legal records.
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 4, if a person is convicted of coercion or attempted coercion in violation of paragraph (a) of subsection 2 of NRS 207.190, the court shall, at the request of the prosecuting attorney, conduct a separate hearing to determine whether the offense was sexually motivated. A request for such a hearing may not be submitted to the court unless the prosecuting attorney, not less than 72 hours before the commencement of the trial, files and serves upon the defendant a written notice of the intention to request such a hearing.
2. A hearing requested pursuant to subsection 1 must be conducted before:
(a) The court imposes its sentence; or (b) A separate penalty hearing is conducted.
3. At the hearing, only evidence concerning the question of whether the offense was sexually motivated may be presented. The prosecuting attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense was sexually motivated.
4. A person may stipulate that his or her offense was sexually motivated before a hearing held pursuant to subsection 1 or as part of an agreement to plead nolo contendere, guilty or guilty but mentally ill.
5. The court shall enter in the record:
(a) Its finding from a hearing held pursuant to subsection 1; or (b) A stipulation made pursuant to subsection 4. 6. For the purposes of this section, an offense is “sexually motivated” if one of the purposes for which the person committed the offense was his or her sexual gratification.
Dissuading A Witness Under NRS 199.305
NRS 199.305 declares that if a person intimidates or threatens a crime victim, representative of the victim, or witness with the intention to prevent them from reporting an offense to law enforcement officers, initiating prosecution proceedings, or causing an arrest; they are guilty of dissuading a witness’ offense. An example would be Gonzales v State (2012), which saw this particular provision applied in practice. Coercion and dissuading a witness offenses often overlap or can be charged in the place of one another. Additional charges that may appear coupled with these accusations include domestic violence or assault allegations.
1. A person who, by intimidating or threatening another person, prevents or dissuades a victim of a crime, a person acting on behalf of the victim or a witness from:
(a) Reporting a crime or possible crime to a:
(3) Parole or probation officer; (4) Prosecuting attorney; (5) Warden or other employee at an institution of the Department of Corrections; or (6) Superintendent or other employee at a juvenile correctional institution; (b) Commencing a criminal prosecution or a proceeding for the revocation of a parole or probation, or seeking or assisting in such a prosecution or proceeding; or (c) Causing the arrest of a person in connection with a crime, or who hinders or delays such a victim, agent or witness in an effort to carry out any of those actions is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130. 2. As used in this section, “victim of a crime” means a person against whom a crime has been committed.
Defenses To Coercion Charges In Nevada
A plethora of strategies can be employed to overcome a coercion charge in Nevada, and below are only some probable methods that could lead to the complete dismissal of your alleged crime or lesser charges being brought up instead.
Lack Of Intent
In Nevada, coercion is considered an intent crime because it requires that the defendant deliberately and knowingly act. If the prosecution cannot demonstrate that the accused purposely intended to take away from the victim their ability to make a certain decision — or lack thereof — then these accusations are invalid. To illustrate this point further, witnesses who have seen events unfold and text messages exchanged can all be used as evidence of the absence of criminal intent on behalf of the defendant.
It is unfortunately frequent for people to make false accusations against others due to revenge, jealousy, or mental illness. If the defense lawyer can demonstrate that either the accuser was not telling the truth or there is insufficient proof of coercion, then it stands to reason that this case should be thrown out.
No Assault Or Battery
If the prosecution fails to establish that the defendant utilized violence or violent threats in order to coerce another individual, then their felony charge should be downgraded to a misdemeanor. Additionally, if physical force was only employed for lawful self-defense purposes, then their felony charge may also be appropriately reduced.
The defendant can also dispute the claims of coercion by arguing that their actions were legitimate and misinterpreted. After all, coercing someone is a rather abstract accusation, making it difficult to distinguish what defines this violation in the eyes of the law. If you’re facing coercion charges in Nevada, it’s critical that you reach out to an experienced Las Vegas coercion attorney as soon as possible.