Yes. In 2015 the Nevada Legislature passed a bill that stripped firearm ownership for those convicted of a first-time domestic violence offense. Consequently, the Nevada Supreme Court held that a first-time domestic violence charge was a “serious crime” because of the collateral consequences of a conviction. In the case of Andersen v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 448 P.3d 1120, 2019
Nev. LEXIS 53, 135 Nev. Adv. Rep. 42, 2019 WL 4384133, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature amended the penalties associated with a conviction under NRS 200.485(1)(a)
. Specifically, NRS 202.360
—a statute that prohibits the possession or control of firearms by certain persons—was amended to criminalize possession or control of a firearm in Nevada by a person who “[h]as been convicted in this State or any other state of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33)
.” 2015 Nev. Stat., ch. 328, § 3(1)(a), at 1782. Consequently, those that are charged with a domestic violence offense are eligible for a jury trial, which is a benefit to criminal defendants.
Arraignment: 1st Step – The process begins with the arraignment. The accused will have their accusations formally read to them during this hearing. The person accused of domestic violence will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest during this time. The accused accepts his or her conviction but refuses to admit guilt by pleading “no contest.” Using the evidence offered in your case, your Las Vegas lawyer can assist you in making the best decision possible about plea negotiations.
Pretrial Conference: 2nd Step – The purpose of the pretrial conference differs from case to case, but the ultimate goal is to settle the case without having to go to trial. If you intend to enter a guilty or no contest plea, the court will determine a sentence based on the following factors:
- The seriousness of the case
- Testimony of the victim
- The defendant’s full criminal history
Keep in mind that in Nevada, pleading guilty or no contest does not result in a lower sentence. The judge will not take this into account when recommending a sentence, and if the defendant rejects the prosecution’s offer, the case will proceed to trial.
Pretrial: 3rd Step – Prior to the trial, there is a pre-trial period. It allows both the prosecutor and the defense to acquire all relevant material for their respective cases. Prosecutors and defense attorneys may share documents, engage experts to testify, and prepare their cases.
Trial: 4th Step – During the trial, the prosecutor’s purpose is to present the court with as much evidence as possible in order to show the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor will focus on the victim’s statement, undoctored images of the domestic abuse, the victim’s medical records, and 911 tapes are all examples of evidence that could be offered. The defendant’s lawyer will then have the opportunity to use evidence, witness testimony, and other means to show the flaws in the state’s case and prove that their client is innocent or that the state cannot meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) unanimously decided in 2016 that even a single misdemeanor domestic violence conviction can result in a noncitizen’s removal from the US under Section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This means that even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction can result in noncitizens being deported. Noncitizens should be aware that, in addition to being deported, a conviction of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge could result in them being denied other forms of immigration relief as well.
A person with a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction in any state is prohibited from carrying firearms under Nevada law, which follows federal law. The court must inform the person convicted of a battery that constitutes domestic violence that he or she is prohibited from owning, possessing, or having under his or her custody any firearm, and must also order the person convicted to permanently surrender, sell, or transfer any firearm that he or she owns or has in his or her possession, custody, or control. NRS 202.360 (1)(a)
and 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33)
Many people think that because they’ve been charged with their first domestic violence offense in Las Vegas, they have to live with it on their records. They continuously face stigma from potential employers, nervous when conducting background checks, or simply pained by knowing they have this charge following them around their entire life. However, you do have options and can seal these records. In fact, domestic violence charges in Nevada can be sealed much like most other crimes. As with all other convictions in Nevada, there is a waiting period before the conviction and arrest can be sealed. For a domestic violence conviction the waiting period is seven years. If your case is dismissed you can seal the file immediately after the dismissal order is entered by the court. For more information about getting your criminal record sealed, contact the Spartacus Law Firm today.
One of the most common defenses that could get a first domestic violence offense in Las Vegas dismissed is that the defendant was acting in lawful self-defense. Often these types of cases fall under the category of “he said she said”. That’s why it’s critical that you have a skilled and aggressive criminal defense lawyer fighting for you. Nevada law permits people to fight back against an aggressor as long as:
- They reasonably believe it is necessary to avoid imminent injury to themselves or someone else, and
- They use no more force than necessary to deflect the attack
Another common defense to domestic violence charges is that the “victim” falsely accused the defendant. Especially between those in domestic relationships, this is more common than you might think. Some accusers may even self-inflict injuries before calling 911 in an attempt to back up their allegations and create a narrative against the defendant. Lastly, it can be an effective defense to argue that the incident was just an accident. As long as the defendant did not knowingly touch the victim in an unlawful way, first domestic violence charges in Nevada may be dropped with the help of your defense attorney.