A battery charge can range from a misdemeanor to a very serious felony, depending on the circumstances. In Nevada, a battery is a willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. A “willful” use of force means that the person must have intended to touch the other person. An accidental contact would not constitute a battery under the Nevada definition.
Often times, people have the misconception that the “use of force” must be violent. However, the law is clear that it is a “use of force” or “violence” upon the person of another. As such, a use of force can be very different from an act of violence. An example of this would be spitting on another person, or splashing a glass of water at another person. Additionally, putting a drug into someone’s drink or food without their knowledge can constitute a use of force.
Typically, whether a battery is charged as a misdemeanor or felony will depend on the severity of the act, as well as whether there are any aggravating factors involved. In the above examples with the spit or the glass of water, these would most likely be charged as a misdemeanor. You can click on the misdemeanor page to learn more about the ramifications and possible punishments if it is charged as this. A misdemeanor battery is referred to as a “simple battery”. Typically a simple battery will involve no substantial bodily harm, strangulation, or deadly weapon. The punishment for a conviction of simple battery would be up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
However, when a battery results in substantial bodily harm or involves strangulation or a deadly weapon, it will likely be charged as a Category B or C felony, and the penalties increase dramatically.
The most common defense to a battery charge is self-defense. This would include using a reasonable amount of force to defend yourself against harm either being inflicted, or about to be inflicted by the other person. Hand in hand with self-defense is defense of others. This would be committing the battery to defend the body of another person. Additional defenses relate to the language of the law, such as claiming that the act was not willful, such as an accidental strike, or the lack of ability to form a criminal intent, such as being unconscious or intoxicated.
If you have been charged with a battery, it is important to consult with an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney right away. Call 702-830-7925 for a free consultation.