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The Legal Separation Between Domestic Battery and Domestic Abuse

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The Legal Separation Between Domestic Battery and Domestic Abuse


If you’ve been accused of domestic abuse or battery, you must understand the difference between these two allegations. Both share many similarities, but there are important legal distinctions between the two.

Such distinctions are important in the law. In this case, they could mean the difference between freedom and jail time.

Here is a broad overview of domestic abuse and domestic battery, along with the potential penalties for each.

Defining Domestic Battery

In most states, domestic battery is defined as physically striking or harming a family member or anyone else who lives in the home.

You can be accused of domestic battery against:

  • Anyone romantic partner
    • Current or former spouses
    • Someone you are casually dating
    • Current or former girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/etc.
  • Cohabitants, including roommates
  • Anyone with whom you share a child
  • Family members, even if you don’t have a close relationship

Domestic battery is a crime, and it can result in criminal penalties.

Defining Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is a range of behaviors that are not necessarily illegal.

Examples include:

  • isolation
  • verbal abuse
  • financial control
  • emotional abuse

Criminal Penalties for Domestic Battery in Nevada

A first-offense domestic battery charge is considered a misdemeanor. Conviction can result in up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.

Domestic battery is a felony if:

  • The battery resulted in significant bodily
  • The offender has a prior domestic violence conviction

A felony domestic battery conviction in Nevada can result in up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. If the offender has prior convictions, Nevada law requires a mandatory prison sentence of at least 2 years.

Domestic battery charges in Nevada can also result in a restraining order, limiting the alleged offender’s ability to see their family and live in certain areas.

Penalties for Domestic Abuse You Could Suffer in Family Court

Because many examples of domestic abuse are not explicitly illegal, they are penalized in other ways. Often, spouses will accuse one another of abuse in court, affecting the results of a divorce.

Abuse may influence the court's decisions on:

  • Custody and visitation arrangements
    Alleged abusers could lose all parental rights to see their children, or they may be forced to endure supervised visitation.
  • Property division and/or spousal support
    The alleged abuser is forced to give up a larger portion of the marital assets or pay more in spousal support.

Family court proceedings can take place at the same time as a criminal trial, and the outcomes of these cases can impact each other.

Defenses Against Domestic Abuse Allegations


Self-defense is justifiable when someone believes they are in danger of being harmed by another, and they act accordingly.

False Accusation

If you can prove that the accuser made up the allegations, this casts a strong reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case.

Lack of Intent

A successful abuse allegation requires intentional actions. If you can demonstrate that the alleged abuse was accidental or unintentional, it is possible to reduce the severity of the charges.

Lack of Evidence

In some cases, the prosecution may not have sufficient evidence to prove their case. When this happens, it is easier to have your charges dropped or reduced.

Mental Incapacity

If the defendant has a mental illness or incapacity that negates intent, they can avoid criminal prosecution. However, be careful with this defense. If the court agrees, it could order you to stay in a mental institution.

Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover is here to help you fight domestic abuse and domestic violence allegations. If you need representation, contact us online for a free consultation. You can also reach us by calling (775) 502-1575.

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