Assault and Battery
Most people tend to use the terms “assault and battery” interchangeably, when in actuality these simple legal terms are very different and can lead to far differing results under the Nevada Criminal Justice System.
In Nevada, an “assault” is when someone attempts (or tries) “to use physical force against another person” OR “intentionally places another person in reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm.” NRS 200.471 But what does this all mean?
Here’s an example of an assault: Joe Friend and Bob Buddy are at a local bar and get into an argument over who’s rival college football team is better. They both have had a little too much to drink. Joe yells at Bob and states that if he says one more thing about his team, Joe will punch him in the nose. Bob eggs Joe on and tells him that his team has the worst quarterback ever. Joe proceeds to take a swing at Bob. Bob sees the punch come towards him and steps aside in enough time to miss being hit in the face. Because Joe tried to hit Bob, Joe has just committed an assault against Bob.
Battery, on the other hand, happens when someone actually hits or physically harms another person. In Nevada, it is defined as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” NRS 200.481.
In our scenario, if Joe landed his punch on Bob’s face, he could be charged with Battery.
Both simple Battery and Assault are treated as Misdemeanors. The penalties and/or punishment could mean up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1000 fine. Battery, however, can take many other forms or charges.
Battery with Substantial Bodily Harm
As the offense implies, this Battery must include some sort of severe harm. Unfortunately, Nevada statutes do not define “substantial bodily harm.” Suffice it to say, that if you commit a battery that breaks a bone, causes scarring or permanent injury, you may be charged with this offense.
In our scenario, let’s say, Joe hit Bob strong enough to knock him to the ground. Bob suffers lacerations to his head which required stitches and also suffered a concussion which required an overnight stay at a local hospital. Joe would likely be charged with Battery with Substantial Bodily Harm. This is a very serious offense and is considered a Class C felony. Joe is facing 12 to 60 months in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
Battery with use of a Deadly Weapon
Battery with use of a Deadly Weapon, means that you committed a battery by using some other object or instrument. Again, Nevada does not define what constitutes a “deadly weapon.” Even if you would never use this object as a “deadly weapon”, if this object could potentially cause death, for example, a rock, a stick, a butter knife, then it is likely that you could be charged with Battery with use of a deadly weapon.
For example, let’s change some of the facts between Joe and Bob. Joe and Bob are both angry leaving the bar and are taking their fight outside in the parking lot. Bob again says that Joe’s quarterback “throws like a little girl”. Joe seething in anger gets into his car, hits the accelerator and moves towards Bob. Joe sideswipes Bob with his car and knocks him to the ground. Bob suffers lacerations to his head and a concussion. In this situation, Joe’s car would be considered a “deadly weapon.”
This is a very serious offense and should not be taken lightly. It is a considered a Class B felony. If convicted a person could spend between 24 – 120 months in jail and be fined up to $10,000.
Generally speaking, Domestic Violence is a battery committed by someone against another he/she has some sort of relationship with. This includes current and former spouse(s), girlfriend(s)/boyfriend(s), and relatives. But did you know that you can get charged with domestic violence, if you commit a battery against someone who merely resides or is just living with you?
For example, with our scenario, if Joe and Bob were roommates and Joe punched Bob. Joe could potentially be charged with domestic violence, even though there is no blood relation or romantic involvement.
While, a first time domestic violence conviction is considered a misdemeanor, the State of Nevada does not take this offense lightly, there are mandatory jail time, classes, fees, and community service requirements which must be fulfilled. Furthermore, if convicted:
- You could lose your right to carry or retain a firearm.
- There is no exception to this restriction if you are active duty military or a peace officer. You, too, can lose your permit to carry a firearm.
- A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction can only be sealed after 7 years and a felony domestic violence conviction (3rd offense within 7 years) can NEVER be sealed.
Thus, the consequences for any of these offenses can be quite severe and life changing. If you are arrested or have been charged with any of the above crimes- Do not take it for granted! Hire the criminal law firm of Las Vegas who has over 20 years of experience. We can help. Call us at 702-405-0001 or fill out our contact form on this page for more information. Operators are standing by to assist you. Initial consultations are confidential and free.