Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Las VegasIt is not uncommon for those in a relationship to get into an argument. Simple arguments about who was supposed to take out the trash or pick up milk on the way home from work can sometimes easily escalate. And when those arguments escalate into violence, one or both individuals could be facing criminal charges of battery domestic violence.

In Nevada, a first offense simple battery domestic violence charge is a misdemeanor offense. However, a domestic violence charge is an enhanceable offense. This means that each time you are charged and convicted of a domestic violence offence the penalty gets harsher. If the violence involves the use of deadly weapons, strangulation or results in substantial bodily harm, then that charge can be escalated into a felony. A first or second domestic violence conviction can be treated as a misdemeanor and the penalty can include domestic violence counseling, fines, community service, and up to 6 months in jail. Additionally, a third offense within seven years can be charged as a felony and carries with it a prison sentence of 1-5 years.

What is battery domestic violence?

Battery domestic violence occurs when a person commits the intentional act of harmful or offensive touching on another they share or shared a domestic relationship with. This doesn’t just include a spouse, significant other, brother, sister, mother, father, roommate, but also covers any person with whom you have ever been in a dating relationship with or married to, any family member, or even a roommate. Even just the slightest amount of force against a loved one can result in a domestic battery charge.

An all too common story of domestic violence often involves the use alcohol.

It is important to note that once the police are called and someone is arrested for domestic violence, the decision whether to proceed with charges or not is no longer in the victim’s hands. Once the case is turned over to the prosecutor and charges are filed, it is now up to the prosecutor how far to take the case, even to trial. Even if the victim is now claiming he/she lied or exaggerated what happened, that is often times insufficient to see the charges dismissed. And although it is a misdemeanor offense, a battery domestic violence can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. It can lead to one losing his/her job, the loss of constitutional rights and in some situations, can lead to negative immigration consequences such as deportation.

There are a number of defenses to battery domestic violence, including self-defense. Often times, the evidence comes down to a he said she said version of events and it can be tricky for police officers, prosecutors and judges to figure out what truly happened. Sometimes the violence is accompanied by some visible physical signs, including scratches and red marks on the skin. Responding officers will usually take photos of these markings to be used in court later against the defendant.

If you are arrested for an act of domestic violence, there are a number of rights you need to remember in order to protect yourself. Remember, an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction and therefore implementing some of the following tips could later prove critical to your defense:

  • Always remember that everything you say can later be used against you – even if your case does not go to trial;
  • Do not make any statements to anyone other than your legal representation regarding the specific facts of what occurred;
  • Remain polite and cooperative when dealing with law enforcement – but always remember your right to remain silent;
  • Refrain from any movements that could be seen as acts of aggression or violence; • Refrain from sudden movements that may seem like acts of violence;
  • Contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney to assist you as soon as possible

Remember, even a simple battery domestic violence conviction can lead to life altering consequences. A conviction for domestic violence also affects your rights, since a person convicted of a domestic violence can never own or possess a gun or other firearm, and these types of charges can be used against them in family court proceedings when battling for child custody. Taking steps to protect yourself from the time of your arrest may help minimize some of these consequences down the road.

Even though a misdemeanor, a conviction for a battery constituting domestic violence can be very severe and damaging. If you have been arrested and charged with this type of offense it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to help fight your case and keep any penalties as low as possible.

For further information regarding a domestic violence charge, contact the attorneys at Gregory & Waldo at 702-830-7925 and set up a free consultation.