Domestic Violence Charges

What You Should Know

  •  “Domestic violence” usually involves some form of physical confrontation between family members or members of a romantic relationship (such as spouses, ex-spouses, people who live together or have children together). A loud argument might have caused neighbors or family members to call the police, but usually it is one of the person’s involved in the situation. Not only may you have criminal charges, but the complaining witness may have filed a restraining order against you. These are not criminal charges in of themselves but can create separate criminal charges if not fought.

 Misdemeanor vs. Felony Domestic Violence Charges

  • While felonies and misdemeanors have different penalties, any kind of domestic violence conviction can strip you of your rights to own a firearm forever. Moreover, if you are in a custody battle for children, any domestic violence conviction can have consequences for your family case or even create a presumption that you are not fit for sole custody of the children and your current visitation rights might be revoked or suspended.

Common Questions

  1. Can a “Victim” force the State to Drop the Charges? 

In some cases, after calling the police, the “victim” realizes that the police aren’t there to help them win the argument, but actually TAKE THEIR LOVED ONES TO JAIL. The “victim” and everyone associated with the case finds out that they have lost control of the situation because, even though they started the situation by calling the police, the State of Nevada now controls the outcome. Even if a “victim” wishes to drop charges against the defendant, the State will CONTINUE TO PROSECUTE. The State may even threaten to put the “victim” in jail, if they don’t actively cooperate with the State!

2. What if the “Victim” hit me first? 

If a defendant used reasonable force against the “victim” to stop them from hitting them, then the defendant may have a claim for self-defense. However, this will require significant private investigation, because the police routinely look at situations involving multiple combatants and must make a determination as to the “original aggressor” or the person that really started the fight.

3. Can I still see my children? 

If the “victim” filed for a protective order or the State successfully got the Court to order you to stay away from the “victim” or your children, you may need to go back to court before you can legally see your children again.

Defense Strategies

 There are several bases to build a successful defense against domestic violence charges:

  •    Self-defense – If you used reasonable force against the named “victim” because you believed this was necessary to protect yourself, you could have been acting in self-defense. This may be a valid defense against your charges.
  •  False accusations – The named “victim”, e.g. your spouse, ex-spouse, or family member, may have falsely accused you of domestic violence because of revenge, anger, jealousy or as part of their divorce “strategy” to gain an advantage.  Bringing this to light may help ensure these frivolous charges are dropped.
  • Non-Intentional injury –  Criminal cases usually require some element of “scienter” or criminal state of mind. In cases where the defendant accidentally or unintentionally injured another person.  If the injury was unintentional, this may be grounds to have your case dismissed.

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Nevada Revised Statues and Laws about Domestic Violence

Additional Information

 Nevada Revised Statutes 

  • NRS 200.481 Battery
  • NRS 33.018 Acts which constitute domestic violence; exceptions.
  • NRS 171.137 Arrest required for suspected battery constituting domestic violence; exceptions.
  • NRS 33.030 Contents of order; interlocutory appeal
  • NRS 200.485 Battery which constitutes domestic violence: Penalties; referring child for counseling; restriction against dismissal, probation and suspension; notice of prohibition against owning or possessing firearm; order to surrender, sell or transfer firearm; penalty for violation concerning firearm; definitions.
  • NRS 33.0305 If court issues extended order, adverse party is prohibited from subsequently purchasing or otherwise acquiring firearm while extended order is in effect; penalty.
  • NRS 33.031 Extended order may prohibit possession of firearm by adverse party; factors for court to consider in determining whether to prohibit possession of firearm; exception; penalty.
  • NRS 33.100 Penalty for intentional violation of a protection order.
  •  NRS 33.122 “Domestic protection order” defined.
  • INA § 237(a)(2)(E).
  • Nevada Assembly Bill 60 (2019)
  • LaChance v. State, 321 P.3d 919, 130 Nev. Adv. Rep. 29 (Supreme Court Ruling)
  • Brown v. State (2020) 465 P.3d 220.

Learn More about Domestic Violence Charges

We write weekly articles to help you learn about Nevada Law. Here are our posts about domestic violence: