Assault and Battery
Most people tend to use the terms “assault” and “battery” interchangeably, but under Nevada law, they have very different meanings and can lead to very different results.
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.” 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.”
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. This means that if you are convicted of simple battery or simple assault, you can face up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
However, Battery can take many other forms and result in different kinds of battery charges.
Battery with Substantial Bodily Harm
As the name implies, this type of Battery must include some sort of severe harm. Unfortunately, Nevada statutes do not define “substantial bodily harm.” Suffice it to say, 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 he also suffered a concussion which required an overnight stay at a local hospital. Joe would likely be charged with Battery with Substantial Bodily Harm.
Battery with Substantial Bodily Harm is a very serious offense and is considered a Class C felony. This mean that in our example, Joe would be facing up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Battery with use of a Deadly Weapon
Battery with use of a Deadly Weapon means that you committed a battery by using some object or instrument. Again, Nevada does not define what constitutes a “deadly weapon.” Even if you would never use a specific object as a “deadly weapon”, if the object could potentially cause death, for example, a rock, a stick, or 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 to 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.”
Battery with a Deadly Weapon is also a very serious offense. This is a Class B Felony. Persons convicted of Battery with a Deadly Weapon can face up to 10 years in prison and fines 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 be charged with domestic violence if you commit a battery against someone who 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. Even with a first time domestic violence conviction, there is mandatory jail time, classes, fees, and community service requirements. Furthermore, if convicted:
- You may lose your right to carry or retain a firearm.
- There is no exception to firearm 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 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! We have over 25 years of criminal defense experience. Call us now at (702) 405-0001 to arrange a consultation.