Nevada "Battery Domestic Violence" Penalties (NRS 200.485)
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

The punishment for violating Nevada domestic violence law varies depending on the case. A first- or second-time offense that involves no deadly weapons, strangulation, or serious injuries carries little jail if any. Otherwise, defendants face years in prison.

Continue reading to learn specific sentencing schemes for the Nevada crime of "battery domestic violence" (abbreviated "BDV"). On this page our Las Vegas lawyers also provide related information about probation, plea bargains, restraining orders and child custody.

Penalties for BDV with NO deadly weapons, strangulation, or major injuries

A first domestic violence offense within a 7-year period is a misdemeanor in Nevada.  The punishment includes:

  • 2 days - 6 month in jail,
  • 48 - 120 hours of community service,
  • $200 - $1,000 in fines plus a $35 administrative assessment fee and a $100 program assessment fee, and
  • 6 - 12 months of weekly domestic violence counseling classes at the defendant's expense. Classes last 1 ½ hours each, and judges typically impose a 26-week program. (For an example go to the Las Vegas Municipal Court domestic violence program page.)

Note that judges usually suspend the jail sentence requirement as long as the defendants comply with all other sentencing terms.

Also note that judges may permit defendants to serve any jail time intermittently as long as each incarceration period spans at least four consecutive hours.1

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A second domestic violence offense within a 7-year period is also a misdemeanor.  However, the sentence is a little harsher:

  • 10 days - 6 months in jail,
  • 100 - 200 hours of community service,
  • $500 - $1,000 in fines plus a $35 administrative assessment fee, and
  • 12 months of weekly domestic violence counseling classes at the defendant's expense. Classes last 1 ½ hours each.
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A third domestic violence offense within a 7-year period is a category C felony in Nevada even if the incident was relatively minor.2 Penalties include:

  • 1 - 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • a possible fine of up to $10,000 plus a $35 administrative assessment fee.
Penalties for BDV with strangulation
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Committing battery domestic violence by strangulation in Nevada is a category C felony carrying penalties of:

  • 1 - 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • a mandatory fine of $15,000 plus a $35 administrative assessment fee.3

Las Vegas domestic violence attorney Michael Becker gives an example of how these charges are prosecuted:

Hannah from Henderson gets into a verbal argument with her husband. She gets so angry that she reaches out with her hands and rings his neck for a moment. If caught, Hannah could be booked at the Henderson Detention Center for violating NRS 200.485 by strangulation.

Note that it doesn't matter in the above example if Hannah has no past domestic abuse convictions or that her husband wasn't hurt. Merely a momentary act of strangling makes Hannah criminally liable for felony BDV in Clark County and throughout Nevada.

Penalties for BDV with deadly weapons or serious injuries

A domestic violence incident where the defendant uses no deadly weapon but the victim sustains substantial bodily harm in Nevada is a category C felony. The sentence is:

  • 1 - 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • a mandatory fine of $10,000 plus a $35 administrative assessment fee.4
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Meanwhile, a domestic violence incident where the victim sustains no serious injuries but the defendant uses a deadly weapon is a category B felony in Nevada.  The punishment is much more severe:

  • 2 - 10 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • a mandatory fine of $10,000 plus a $35 administrative assessment fee.
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Finally, the harshest punishment is reserved for violations of Nevada battery domestic violence law where the defendant uses a deadly weapon AND the victim sustains substantial bodily harm. The category B felony penalties include:

  • 2 - 15 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • a mandatory fine of $10,000 plus a $35 administrative assessment fee.
Probation and Plea Bargains

Judges may not grant probation in Las Vegas domestic violence cases or elsewhere in the state.  There is no exception to this rule5.   But prosecutors routinely offer plea bargains with lesser penalties in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty to BDV and waiving the right to a trial.

The typical plea bargain for a first-time misdemeanor charge of battery constituting domestic violence in Nevada includes the following terms:

  • $430 fine,
  • 48 hours of community service,
  • 26 weeks of weekly domestic violence counseling, and
  • a 30-day suspended jail sentence that will not be imposed as long as the defendant picks up no new arrests until the case is closed.
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Note that district attorneys are not legally allowed to dismiss or reduce BDV charges to lesser offenses unless the state's evidence is weak. Las Vegas battery domestic violence lawyer Neil Shouse provides an illustration:

Jim is booked at the North Las Vegas Detention Center for hitting his girlfriend.  There are several eyewitnesses to the incident as well as surveillance video from a nearby store.  The prosecutor offers a plea bargain where Jim would plead guilty to BDV and do the minimum required penalties.

Since the D.A. in the above example seems to have a solid case against Jim, it's probably in his best interest to accept the plea deal.  Unless Jim's attorney can show that the eyewitnesses are unreliable and that the video is inadmissible evidence, the prosecution is unlikely to dismiss or lower the charges.

Restraining Orders

Victims of domestic abuse in Nevada may try to take out "restraining orders" against the alleged abuser. Restraining orders are when courts mandate an alleged abuser to stay away from the victim and possibly surrender their firearms.  There are two types of restraining orders in Nevada:

  • temporary protective orders (TPOs) that last up to 1 month, and
  • extended protective orders that last up to 1 year.6

Note that family courts issue protective orders without first allowing the alleged abuser to defend him/herself. However, the allege abuser may schedule a hearing afterwards to argue against the order.  In the meantime he/she must abide by the order or face misdemeanors penalties of:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines.

Learn more about the Nevada crime of violating a restraining order.

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Child custody

Parents with BDV convictions are at a grave disadvantage if they ever have a child custody dispute. Family courts presume it's not in the best interest of a child to be in the custody of a parent with battery domestic violence on his/her criminal record. That's why people accused of BDV are encouraged to retain counsel to try to get the charges reduced or dismissed.7

Arrested for BDV? Call an attorney…
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If you've been accused of the "Nevada offense of domestic violence," call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation.  We'll do all we can to get the charges dismissed or reduced so your record stays clean.

We represent clients throughout Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Washoe County, Clark County, Reno, Carson City, Laughlin, Mesquite, Bunkerville, Moapa, Elko, Pahrump, Searchlight, Beatty, and Tonopah.

 


1NRS 200.485(1) - Battery Which Constitutes Domestic Violence; Penalties.

2State v. English, 116 Nev 828, 835-836, 9 P.3d 60, 64 (2000) (Outlines procedure for proving past BDV convictions).

3NRS 200.485(2) - Battery Which Constitutes Domestic Violence; Penalties.

4NRS 200.481 - Battery: Definitions; penalties.

5NRS 200.485(8) - Battery Which Constitutes Domestic Violence; Penalties.

6NRS 33.017 - Definitions. (see an example of a TPO application at Clark County Family Court.).

7NRS 125.480 - Best interest of child.

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