Under NRS 200.481(1)(h) strangulation is defined as “intentionally impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person in a manner that creates a risk of death or substantial bodily harm.” Under , incidents of domestic battery by strangulation in Nevada will now lead to felony charges. Depending on the severity of the attack and evidence brought against you, a domestic battery by strangulation offense can be charged as a Category B or a Category C felony.
In order for domestic violence to be proven one of the following relationships must be involved:
- Spouse or domestic partner (current or separated)
- Significant other (current or separated)
- Minor children of any of the above people
- Relative by blood or marriage (except for cousins or siblings)
- A person the defendant is a guardian of
Strangulation is a very loose term in the Nevada court system. For example, in LaChance v. State, 130 Nev. Op. 29 (2012), the Nevada Supreme Court found that simply placing the hands on another person’s collarbones and applying pressure is enough to support a charge for domestic battery with strangulation.
A few years ago, incidents involving domestic battery by strangulation in Nevada were classified as misdemeanors. Punishments were much lighter under the old law. For example, jail time was only a maximum of six months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, in July of 2009, a new bill went into effect in the state of Nevada to crack down on domestic violence by strangulation charges. Assembly upgraded strangulation in domestic violence situations from a misdemeanor to a felony. Not only that but depending on the circumstances of the incident, punishment for domestic battery by strangulation can either be classified as a Category B or C felony, with Category B being the more serious of the two. With the recent shift in how these charges are handled, you must be represented by an experienced Nevada criminal defense attorney.
All it takes is for an accusation of domestic violence to be made against you in Nevada and a criminal investigation will ensue. Prosecutors can press charges even without the cooperation of the victim due to the stigma of domestic violence victims being intimidated by their abusers. For example, if the accuser decides that they want to drop all charges of domestic violence, Nevada courts will reject the notion unless there is evidence to prove there was no harm done. Therefore, even if you believe the accusations against you are untrue, you must be proactive in protecting your rights, otherwise, you could face serious penalties for a crime you did not commit.
The penalties for domestic violence by strangulation charges are harsh, however, with the right defense, it’s possible to get these charges mitigated. Simply reducing a Category B felony to a Category C felony could be the difference of a decade in prison. The specific criminal charges and potential consequences will vary depending upon the victim, whether the suspect already has a criminal background, and whether a deadly weapon was used during the altercation. The full consequences for domestic battery by strangulation in Las Vegas include the following:
Category C Felony:
- Possible imprisonment for 1 to 5 years
- $15,000 fine
- $35 administrative assessment fee
Category B Felony:
- Possible imprisonment from 1 to 20 years
- $10,000 fine
- $35 administrative assessment fee
Domestic violence is taken very seriously in Nevada. In fact, just an accusation of domestic violence is all it takes for a criminal investigation to be activated. Prosecutors can also press charges without the cooperation of the victim if they believe an act of domestic violence took place. Essentially, if Las Vegas police believe you may have strangled a loved one or family member, you must be prepared for legal action.
If you are charged with domestic violence by strangulation in Las Vegas, hiring a domestic violence defense attorney is crucial to receive the best possible outcome in court. Your attorney may be able to successfully dispute the claims against you through several domestic violence defense strategies. Some of the more effective defenses for these charges include:
Out of all criminal charges, domestic violence most often sees self-defense come into play. If your partner or a family member attacks you, you have the legal right to defend yourself to avoid reasonable harm or death.
In some cases, a family member or relationship partner will make a domestic violence accusation out of anger, jealousy, or a desire for revenge. Domestic violence cases are especially prone to false accusations given how close and personal the relationships are. False accusations can be difficult to prove without skilled representation from a domestic violence defense lawyer.
A domestic violence conviction requires the prosecutor to prove intent. Therefore, if you can show that the injuries the victim sustained were the result of an accident, the charges may be dropped due to lack of intent.
The act of strangulation is what makes this type of domestic violence a felony in Nevada. If it can be proven that the injuries you caused were only minor and not caused by strangulation, the charges can be reduced to a misdemeanor and avoid a felony. There are many benefits for a reduced charge, but the main one being standard penalties for a domestic violence misdemeanor are far less harsh than those of a domestic violence felony.