Nevada "Harassment" Laws (NRS 200.571)
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

Las Vegas harassment charges are frequently slapped on perfectly innocent people. Perhaps their normal behavior was misinterpreted as threatening, or perhaps they were falsely accused. Whatever the case, getting convicted for harassment can carry hefty penalties and cause potential employers to not hire you.

Keep reading to learn about Nevada harassment law and how our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers may be able to help get your charges dismissed or reduced so your record stays clean. For a free consultation call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673).

The Legal Definition of "Harassment" in Nevada Law

Harassment in Las Vegas is an extremely general crime that comprises many possible actions. Broadly speaking, to harass in Nevada means knowingly to threaten someone else with harm so that person reasonably fears that the threat will be carried out. Such harm may include:

  • Bodily injury,
  • Physical damage to property,
  • Being restrained or physically confined, or
  • Anything else intended to substantially harm another person's physical or mental safety.

In order to be considered harassment in Clark County, the threats can be made by words or conduct. It's also considered harassment to threaten one person to harm another person, such as threatening a mother to hurt her baby. And the injury being threatened doesn't have to be immediate—threatening to do harm in the future may still be harassment.

Relation to Nevada crime of stalking

Although harassment is a separate offense from the Nevada crime of stalking, they are closely related because they both comprise behavior that causes another person to reasonably fear being harmed. The main difference is that harassment is the direct threatening of harm through words or actions, whereas stalking usually involves trying to force contact with the victim.

Legal Defenses

If you've been charged with harassment in Nevada, remember that you can't be convicted unless the prosecutors prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you're guilty. And since many of these cases have no hard evidence other than the accusations of the supposed victim, it's not uncommon for the D.A.s to ultimately dismiss the case or reduce it to a more minor charge. Some defenses your lawyer can explore using are the following:

  • Your actions were in self-defense.
  • The "victim" is lying about what you said or did.
  • Your behavior did not rise to the level of harassment.
  • You were acting under "lawful authority" (such as a security guard or cop), or your actions fell under the constitutional protection of freedom of speech and assembly.

Penalties

The penalties a Clark County judge will impose for a harassment conviction depends upon whether the person committed harassment before, threatened substantial bodily harm in Nevada, or used the internet to carry out the harassment:

Standard penalties

A first offense of committing harassment is just a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying the following sentence:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to a $1,000 fine

Any subsequent harassment offenses are charged as gross misdemeanors in Las Vegas, which have double the maximum penalties:

  • up to 1 year in jail, and/or
  • up to a $2,000 fine

Fear of death or substantial bodily harm

If a harassment allegation in Las Vegas allegedly caused the "victim" to fear substantial bodily harm, then the D.A. may instead bring category B charges carrying a sentence of:

  • 2 to 15 years imprisonment, and
  • maybe a $5,000 fine

Online harassment

And if the threatening behavior transpired over the web, text-messaging or a similar service, the harassment may be charged as a category C felony in Las Vegas, which mandates:

  • 1 to 5 years imprisonment, and
  • maybe a $10,000 fine

Protective Orders; (NRS 200.591)

In many Nevada harassment cases, a judge will also impose either a temporary protective order (TPO) or an extended protective order requiring the suspect to keep away from the "victim" for a predetermined period of time. Deliberately violating one of these orders can carry harsher penalties than the harassment itself:

It's a gross misdemeanor to intentionally defy a temporary order in Nevada. The punishment includes:

  • up to 1 year in jail, and/or
  • up to a $2,000 fine

And it's a category C felony to intentionally break an extended order in Nevada. The punishment includes:

  • 1 to 5 years imprisonment, and
  • maybe a $10,000 fine

Non-citizens

Because harassment may be considered a "crime involving moral turpitude" (CIMT) in Nevada, immigrants arrested for it are at risk of deportation if they're ultimately convicted. That's why it's important for any alien charged with any crime to hire counsel to try to negotiate the charges down to something non-removable in order to protect their resident status.

Call us if you've been arrested . . . .

Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers will explore every avenue to try to get your harassment case thrown out or lessened to petty charges. If you're facing criminal charges of any kind, we welcome you to contact us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation.

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