Intentionally violating a protection order is a crime in Nevada. In some cases penalties may even include prison. However a seasoned Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer may be able to get the charge reduced to a minor offense or even dismissed completely.
This page contains basic information about restraining order violations in Nevada. Keep reading to learn more about its definition, possible defenses, and the penalties a conviction carries.
What is a protection order violation in Las Vegas, Nevada?
A protection order violation is when the "adverse party" to a restraining order defies the rules in the order. A common example is an ex-boyfriend going to his ex-girlfriend's house even though the court had granted her a restraining order requiring the ex-boyfriend (the "adverse party") to stay away from her residence.
Nevada courts grant temporary or extended restraining orders to people allegedly at risk of being victims of either of the following five crimes:
- The Las Vegas offense of domestic violence
- The Las Vegas offense of stalking and harassment
- The Las Vegas offense of harassment in the workplace
- The Las Vegas offense of sexual assault
- The Las Vegas offense of child abuse
Each protection order is unique to the individual case. Protection orders may include provisions on anything from child visitation and relinquishing firearms to which locations are off-limits for the adverse party to go. Violating any provision in a restraining order is grounds for prosecution in Nevada.
For more information go to our article on Nevada restraining orders.
What are the defenses to a charge of violating a protection order in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Violating a restraining order may be a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the kind of order.
How best to fight allegations of a restraining order violation in Nevada turns on the specific facts of the case. Three common defense strategies include the following:
- The restraining order was not properly served: Nevada law outlines very strict rules for how a restraining order has to be served. For example some restraining orders have to be served on the adverse party in person. If a defense attorney can show that law enforcement failed to serve properly the restraining order, then the defendant should not be criminally liable.
- The defendant had no intent to violate the order: Violating the terms of a restraining order is not illegal if the person honestly did not mean to break the rules. If defense counsel can demonstrate that that the defendant's actions were the result of an accident, misunderstanding or a mental deficiency, the case should be dismissed.
- There is insufficient evidence to prove guilt: If a criminal case goes to trial, the prosecution bears the burden to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction. As long as the defense lawyer can raise this reasonable doubt by arguing that the state's evidence is too inadequate or unreliable, criminal charges should not stand.
What are the penalties for violating a protection order in Las Vegas, Nevada?
The punishment for defying a restraining order in Nevada depends on the underlying purpose of the restraining order:
Domestic violence and harassment in the workplace
Deliberately violating any restraining order against domestic violence or harassment in the workplace is prosecuted as a misdemeanor in Las Vegas. The sentence is:
- up to 6 months in Clark County Detention Center (or other county jail), and/or
- up to $1,000 in fines
Stalking or harassment, sexual assault, or protection of children
Meanwhile, deliberately violating a temporary protective order against stalking or harassment, sexual assault, or child abuse is prosecuted as a gross misdemeanor in Las Vegas. The sentence is:
- up to 364 days in Clark County Detention Center (or other county jail), and/or
- up to $2,000 in fines
Finally, deliberately violating an extended restraining order against stalking or harassment, sexual assault, or child abuse is prosecuted as a category C felony in Las Vegas. The sentence is:
- 1 to 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $10,000 in fines
Call us for help . . . .
If you have been charged with violating a restraining order in Nevada, call Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to talk for free. They may be able to negotiate a favorable resolution with prosecutors, or else they will fight the allegations all the way to trial.