The world is not a safe place. As much as we would like it to be, there are dangers present and many come from other people. If you are walking down the street and someone attacks you, what would you do? What if you were in your own home and someone broke it with obvious intentions of harming you? Would you fight back?

According to Nevada law, you are well within your rights to fight back if you are threatened or attacked. It isn’t quite so simple though. Here’s what you need to know.

guide to self defense in las vegas

How Does Self Defense Work in Nevada?

Under Nevada law, a person who feels that they are in immediate danger is allowed to use reasonable force if they need to defend themselves or someone else. Nevada is a stand your ground state, meaning that if a person is attacked or believes that they are in imminent danger, they have no duty to retreat. They may “stand their ground” and use force that is appropriate to the situation and is the equivalent of what a reasonable person would exert.

Sometimes a self defense case is very straightforward. Other times it can be more complex. The burden of proof is on the person who is claiming that they acted in self defense so it may take more work to prove in court.

What is the Nevada Law on Self Defense?

The Nevada self defense law is NRS 200.120 – “Justifiable homicide” defined; no duty to retreat under certain circumstances. It says that the killing of a person done in self defense is called justifiable homicide. It can be self defense for the person who believes they are in danger, their occupied home, or their occupied vehicle. If someone approaches the person and they intend to commit an act of violence against them or they intend to illegally enter the occupied home or vehicle, the person being attacked has the right to defend themselves.

The law also states that the person is not required to retreat prior to using the deadly force but they must meet three requirements:

  • They are not the ones who originally started the altercation
  • They have a right to be at or in the location where they used the deadly force
  • They are not actively committing a crime when they use the deadly force

What Four Things Are Necessary to Prove for Self Defense?

In order to establish that they acted in self defense, the person must prove four things:

  • They did not provoke the attack
  • They believed that they were in danger of imminent injury or death
  • The amount of force they used was of a reasonable degree
  • They had a reasonable fear of death or injury

This places the burden of proof on the person who is claiming that they acted in self defense.

What are Common Self Defense Weapons?

The most common self defense weapons are handguns, tasers, and stun guns. Nevada is an open-carry state, so these items can be carried on a person as long as they are in plain view. Other weapons like nunchucks and brass knuckles are illegal in Nevada, as are most types of knives.

However, there are some exceptions to the law regarding carrying knives:

  • A knife that has a blade that’s three inches or longer requires the sheriff’s permission for concealed carry
  • Conceal carry of knives requires a permit, regardless of blade length
  • Brandishing a knife in front of two or more people is illegal
  • It is illegal to carry a knife to a childcare facility or school

As long as you adhere to these Nevada knife laws, you can legally carry a knife. Further, using a knife for self defense is well within the law.

What are Some Defense Strategies to Support Justifiable Homicide (Self Defense)?

Self defense is an affirmative defense action in Nevada which means that the person defending themselves, the defendant, has the burden of proof to show that they acted in a lawful manner to protect themselves or someone else.

Having a good defense attorney is crucial. They will help you build your defense strategy and may use any number of different types of evidence, including:

  • Eyewitness statements
  • Phone calls
  • Surveillance footage
  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Medical testimonies
  • Audio recordings
  • Police reports

While the defendant must prove that they acted within the law to protect themselves, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their actions did not warrant self defense or that self defense was not necessary.





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