Being accused of battery can be devastating. The consequences of a conviction are life-altering, and there is a lot of shame that comes with the accusation alone. Aside from the legal ramifications of a battery charge, there can be social consequences, and many people find themselves unable to return to normalcy for a long time. This is especially the case when someone is convicted, which is why the legal strategy they create with their attorneys is incredibly important. Fighting a battery charge can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible if certain legal strategies are implemented.
What Is Battery in Nevada?
Nevada state statutes define battery as willfully and illegally using force or violence against another person. Many people think of violent acts when hearing this definition, but even just touching someone can be considered battery if the other person did not consent beforehand. Legally, an injury does not need to occur for someone’s behavior to be classified as battery; intent to harm is all it takes. Using an object to injure someone or attempt to injure them is also battery.
In the state of Nevada, there are 4 types of battery, and each crime is associated with its own consequences. The 4 types of battery in Nevada are:
- Simple battery
- Battery resulting in major bodily harm
- Battery using a deadly weapon
- Domestic violence battery
Simple battery, also known as misdemeanor battery, carries the least heavy consequences. For someone’s actions to be considered simple battery, they must meet the following conditions:
- They touched someone intentionally and the touch was unwanted
- They did not have a deadly weapon at the time
- They were not imprisoned or on probation at the time
The first time someone is convicted of simple battery in Nevada it will be classified as a misdemeanor. Penalties could include a 6-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.
There are certain enhancements for misdemeanor battery, and when someone’s actions fit the description, they will be charged with gross misdemeanor battery. Gross misdemeanor battery has to meet the same conditions as simple battery, as well as:
- The person who was attacked had special protections under the law. Some examples of applicable protections include teachers, public transit workers, judges, healthcare professionals, firemen, and more.
If someone is convicted of gross misdemeanor battery, they could receive a jail sentence of up to 1 year as well as a $2,000 fine.
Battery Resulting in Major Bodily Harm
Nevada state law defines battery resulting in major bodily harm as hitting or touching someone intentionally and causing severe physical injury to that person. Examples of major bodily harm include:
- Broken bones
- Injured organs
- Lacerations that require stitches
- Wounds from stabbings or gunshots
Again, an action resulting in major bodily harm to another person must be intentional to be considered battery. Anyone convicted of battery resulting in major bodily harm will receive strict consequences, as the crime is classified as a Category C felony. The potential consequences include:
- A prison sentence between 1 and 5 years
- A fine of up to $10,000
Battery Using a Deadly Weapon
Battery using a deadly weapon is defined as intentionally trying to cause injury to another person using a weapon that could cause major bodily harm or death. Therefore, anything that can be used to injure to someone could be considered a deadly weapon, in addition to commonly known weapons such as guns and knives. For example, if someone hit another person over the head with a beer bottle and that person wound up with a concussion and needed stitches, the beer bottle would be classified as a deadly weapon.
Battery using a deadly weapon is classified as a Category B felony in the state of Nevada. Consequences include:
- A prison sentence between 2 and 15 years
- A fine of up to $10,000
The length of the prison sentence and total amount of fines imposed on someone convicted of battery using a deadly weapon generally depend on how severe the resulting injury was and, in some cases, what weapon was used.
Domestic Violence Battery
Domestic violence battery occurs when someone intentionally makes offensive physical contact (violent or otherwise) with someone they are in or used to be in a domestic relationship with. In this context, “relationship” includes”
- Spouses and former spouses
- Anyone who is blood-related
- People who live together
- People who have dated or are dating
- People who have children together
The conditions that need to be met for someone’s actions to be considered domestic violence battery are the same as other forms of battery. The state singles out this type of behavior to remind people that violence committed against a loved one or household member is not just a private matter, and that it can be prosecuted.
The potential consequences for domestic violence battery depend on whether it is the first offense. A first offense will be classified as a misdemeanor, with a jail sentence between 2 days and 6 months. The convicted person will also have to pay a fine between $200 and $1,000 and perform between 48 and 120 hours of community service. They will also need to attend counseling for 1 and a half hours a week for 6 months.
A second domestic violence battery offense is also a misdemeanor. The consequences include a jail sentence between 10 days and 6 months, a fine between $500 and $1,000, between 100 and 200 hours of community service, and 1 and a half hours of weekly counseling for a year.
A third domestic violence battery offense is a felony and results in a prison sentence between 1 and 5 years. Felony domestic violence battery cases do not qualify for probation.
In certain battery cases, the person convicted will be required to pay restitution to the person they committed the battery against. This is done to compensate that person for any losses due to their injuries, such as hospital bills, therapy, or damaged property. Whether someone will pay restitution is up to the judge.
Defending Against a Battery Charge
Having a strong defensive strategy is extremely important when fighting a battery charge. Common defenses include:
- Accident: For someone to be convicted of battery, the incident in question must have been intentional. If the defendant can prove that their actions were accidental, they will not be convicted. For example, if someone closes a car door without realizing that another person’s hand is still in the car, they cannot be charged with battery for the person’s injured hand.
- False accusation: Someone may falsely accuse another person of battery to get revenge on them, because of a misunderstanding, or due to misidentification . If someone accused of battery can prove that the accusations is false, the charges will be dropped.
- Self-defense: A person accused of battery can claim self-defense so long as the force they used was proportionate to the force being used against them. For example, if someone has a gun pulled on them, it would be considered reasonable for that person to inflict physical harm to stop the attack.
- Consent: If someone accused of battery can prove that they were engaged in a consensual physical confrontation, such as a planned fight, they cannot be convicted of battery.
- Defense of others: If someone caused harm to another person because they were defending someone else, they may be able to use that as a defense in court. For example, if someone caught 2 people in an intense fight and had to use force to break them up because one of them became seriously injured, that could be a plausible defense against battery charges.
- Intoxication: Intoxication may be a plausible defense for a battery charge, but only if the intoxication was involuntary. If someone was drugged unknowingly and became violent as a result of the effects of the drug, they might not be held legally responsible for their behavior.
An important aspect of defending against a battery accusation is gathering as much evidence as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help someone do that by contacting witnesses, collecting the appropriate documentation such as police reports and medical records, and more.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you have been accused of battery and are now facing legal consequences, contact the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover today. With over 25 years of experience working in the justice system, our attorney can help you navigate the legal process with empathy and personalized service. Our goal is to help you secure the best possible outcome for your situation, such as having your charges reduced or even dropped. Contact us today at 775-502-1575 or via our online contact form for a free consultation.