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Las Vegas Domestic Violence First Offense Lawyer

First Domestic Violence Offense In Las Vegas

A first domestic violence offense in Las Vegas is a misdemeanor but can carry severe penalties if not handled properly. It’s highly recommended that you seek counsel from a trusted Las Vegas domestic violence attorney as quickly as possible to begin planning your defense. Otherwise, if convicted, the prosecutor is required to sentence you anywhere from 2 days up to 6 months of jail, a fine of up to $1,000, up to 120 hours of community service, and Domestic Violence counseling classes at least once a week for 6-12 months. These charges cannot be dropped and must be seen to end due to the state of Nevada’s strict stance on domestic violence cases and protecting abuse victims. Additionally, this serious offense is rather common in Clark County. All local police agencies are instructed to make an arrest if called to a domestic disturbance if they feel a crime has occurred, even if there are no visible injuries to either party. This practice results in many arrests of innocent parties and a trip to jail. Many times, when the police arrive and both parties claim the other was at fault, they will simply arrest them both and allow the court system to figure it out. Don’t assume a domestic violence charge will resolve itself, no matter how baseless an accusation may be. Make sure you speak with an attorney right away to be proactive in your defense.

What Is Domestic Violence?

According to NRS 200.485, domestic violence is strictly prohibited. Under this law, an offense is considered domestic battery with any intentional, offensive touching of another person. Essentially, domestic violence is a willful use of force against a person you have a domestic relationship with. Physical force against any other person is simply considered battery. Additionally, battery cannot be an accident, there must be an intentional touching act that takes place to warrant the charge. Although a victim doesn’t necessarily have to be injured for a battery to occur, you must touch them both intentionally and offensively, otherwise, a charge likely will not stick in court. If you’re facing a first domestic violence offense in Las Vegas, it’s critical that you speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

What Is Considered A Domestic Relationship?

In order for a domestic violence charge to be valid, there are certain requirements that must be met. First Domestic violence offenses in Las Vegas apply only when the accused and alleged victim share a familial, intimate, or domestic relationship. Examples of these relationships include the following:

• Spouses
• Domestic partners
• Co-parents of a minor child
• Significant others
• Minor children of the above or of the defendant
• Relatives by blood or marriage with the exception of cousins or siblings
• The accused is the guardian of the alleged victim

Although physical violence between friends, acquaintances, neighbors, or strangers can be considered battery according to NRS 200.481, it will not be seen as domestic violence due to there being no domestic relationship evident. However, this line can often be blurred and misconstrued in certain instances. It’s critical to have a skilled domestic violence lawyer in your corner to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

Penalties For First Domestic Violence Offense In Nevada

In the State of Nevada, the legislature has enacted laws that mandate certain sentences if you are convicted of a crime of Domestic Violence or Domestic Battery. Essentially, this means that the prosecutor must hand down certain minimum sentences if you are convicted, regardless of what the judge may want to do. It’s also critical to note that for each subsequent domestic violence conviction within a certain time period, the mandatory minimum penalties are enhanceable and become much harsher. Below is a summary of the penalties for first, second, and domestic violence offenses in Las Vegas:

First Domestic Violence Offense: Misdemeanor

  • At least 2 days, up to 6 months in County or City Jail
  • Fines of $200.00 up to $1,000
  • At least 48 hours and up to 120 hours of community service
  • Mandatory counseling classes of 1.5 hours per week for 26 weeks

Second Domestic Violence Offense: Misdemeanor

  • At least 10 days, up to 6 months in County or City Jail
  • Fines of $500.00 up to $1,000
  • At least 100 hours and up to 200 hours of community service
  • Mandatory counseling classes of 1.5 hours per week for 52 weeks

Third Domestic Violence Offense: Misdemeanor

  • At least 1 year, up to 5 years in Nevada State Prison
  • Mandatory Prison (not eligible for probation)

If the victim was pregnant and the defendant is aware that they are pregnant or should have reason to know that the alleged victim is pregnant then the first time domestic violence offense is charged as a gross misdemeanor NRS 193.140. A gross misdemeanor can be punished by up to 364 days in prison and/or a $2000 fine.

Probation and Plea Bargains

In Nevada, prosecutors may not grant probation in domestic violence cases even if it’s your fist domestic violence offense in Las Vegas. In fact, there is no exception to this rule as Nevada continues its zero-tolerance stance regarding these types of crimes. However, prosecutors routinely offer plea bargains with lesser penalties in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty to battery domestic violence and waiving their right to a trial. The usual plea bargain for a first domestic violence offense in Las Vegas includes the following terms:

  • $430 fine
  • 48 hours of community service
  • 26 weeks of weekly domestic violence counseling
  • A 30-day suspended jail sentence that will not be imposed as long as the defendant picks up no new arrests until the case is closed and completes all other sentencing terms

Defenses To First Domestic Violence Charge

Even though first domestic violence offenses in Nevada are some of the most common types of criminal charges, they are often hard for the state to prove and witness testimony is critical. A domestic violence case often comes down to the credibility of the victim with little other evidence to prove who is telling the truth. From there, it’s up to the state to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Luckily, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you build a defense strategy to combat these accusations and give you the best possible chance for the optimal outcome in your case. Below are some of the most common defenses your lawyer can deploy on your behalf:

  • The victim is lying to manipulate and control the accused person
  • A touching that occurred was just an accident
  • The person charged acted in self-defense
  • The victim is lying to manipulate a custody or divorce case

Statute Of Limitations For Domestic Violence Charges In Nevada

Nevada’s criminal statute of limitations for misdemeanor battery domestic violence is one year after the offense allegedly occurred. And Nevada’s criminal statute of limitations for felony battery domestic violence is three years after the offense allegedly occurred. Needless to say, it’s critical that you act right away to preserve your legal rights and best interest. Don’t wait another day, call the Spartacus Law Firm today to speak with our experienced domestic violence defense attorney. We offer consultations and help you better understand your case and the options available to you.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Receive A Jury Trial In Nevada For A First Time Domestic Violence Charge?

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.

What Are The Steps In The Court Process For A First Time Domestic Violence Offense?

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.

What Are The Immigration Consequences Of A Domestic Violence Conviction?

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.

Will I Lose My Right To Own Or Possess A Firearm If I Am Convicted Of Domestic Violence?

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).

Can A First Domestic Violence Charge Be Sealed?

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.

Can A First Domestic Violence Offense Be Dismissed?

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:

  1. They reasonably believe it is necessary to avoid imminent injury to themselves or someone else, and
  2. 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.

Contact A Domestic Violence Attorney In Las Vegas Today

If you’re being investigated, arrested, or charged with your first domestic violence offense in Las Vegas, it’s highly recommended that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These charges are often accusations and nothing more, but without skilled representation, a baseless accusation can change your life forever. Make sure your legal rights are protected and that you have the best defense prepared for your case. Contact the Spartacus Law Firm today for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.
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