"Sexual Harassment" in Nevada
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

Grope
Certain kinds of sexual harassment are criminal in Nevada.

Like it sounds, sexual harassment is bullying someone else in a sexual or suggestive manner. Nevada has several laws that prohibit specific behaviors that may constitute sexual harassment. These offenses include the following:

(Click on a crime to go directly to that section.)

  1. The Nevada crime of stalking
  2. The Nevada crime of harassment
  3. The Nevada crime of assault·
  4. The Nevada crime of peering
  5. The Nevada crime of coercion
  6. The Nevada crime of extortion
  7. The Nevada crime of indecent exposure
  8. The Nevada crime of open or gross lewdness
  9. The Nevada crime of breaching the peace
  10. The Nevada crime of hate crimes

The harassment can be subtle or blunt, verbal or physical, and it does not matter what age or gender the victim is. Name-calling, telling sexist jokes, and leering are usually not criminal in Nevada unless the behavior is recurrent or coupled with threats.

Predictably, sexual harassment that involves physical touching usually carries harsher sentences in Nevada than sexual harassment that is only psychological. Depending on the case, the Clark County D.A. may agree to dismiss the charge or reduce it to a lesser offense in exchange for the defendant agreeing not to take the matter to trial.

Scroll down to learn more about each of these Nevada sexual harassment offenses including their standard defenses and punishments.

1) Stalking as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 200.575)

Definition:

Stalking is trying to force contact or communication with someone while willfully causing him/her to feel scared for the safety of him/herself or family. An example of stalking as sexual harassment is following someone who does not want to be followed down the hall or on the street while shouting suggestive things.

Defenses:

Common defenses to stalking include:

  • The victim falsely accused the defendant of stalking
  • The victim's fears of his/her safety being threatened were unreasonable
  • The defendant's behavior was constitutionally protected free speech or assembly
Penalties:

Stalking penalties depend on the defendant's criminal record, the severity of the alleged stalking, and whether the alleged stalking occurred online or over the phone.

A first offense of stalking that did not involve the internet or cause the victim to fear substantial bodily harm in Nevada is a misdemeanor in Nevada carrying:

A subsequent offense is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

Meanwhile, a conviction of “aggravated stalking” ... which is stalking that causes the victim to fear death or substantial bodily harm in Nevada ... is a category B felony in Nevada carrying:

Finally, cyber-stalking (which occurs through email, text-messaging, or the internet) is a category C felony in Nevada carrying:

  • 1 to 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe up to $10,000 in fines.

Note that the court may also impose a restraining order on the defendant prohibiting him/her from contacting the victim. Learn more about the Nevada crime of stalking.1

2) Harassment as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 200.571)
Definition:

The legal definition of harassment in Nevada is using words or conduct to knowingly threaten another person (or his/her family) with harm so that he/she reasonably fears the threat will be carried out. The threatened harm can be either:

  • Physical injury,
  • Property damage,
  • Physical restraint or confinement, or
  • Anything else meant to substantially impair the victim's bodily or psychological safety

An example of harassment as sexual harassment is leaving someone threatening notes saying that he/she is going to be raped soon.

Defenses:

Typical harassment defenses include:

  • The victim falsely accused the defendant of harassment
  • The victim's fear of the defendant's actions was unreasonable
  • The defendant's behavior was constitutionally protected free speech or assembly
Penalties:

Nevada harassment penalties turns on the defendant's criminal record, whether the harassment included threats of substantial injury, and whether the harassment occurred online or over the phone.

A first offense of harassment without the internet or causing fear of substantial bodily harm is a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

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

A subsequent offense is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

Harassment that causes the victim to fear death or substantial bodily harm is a category B felony in Nevada carrying:

  • 2 to 15 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe a $5,000 fine

Finally, cyber-harassment is a category C felony in Nevada carrying:

  • 1 to 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe up to $10,000 in fines

The court may also order the defendant to stay away from the victim as well. Learn more about the Nevada crime of harassment.2

3) Assault as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 200.471)

Definition:

Assault is basically an intended battery, and no physical touching actually occurs. In order to convict a defendant of assault, the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements:

  • The defendant put the victim in reasonable apprehension of an immediate unlawful physical touching,
  • The defendant intended to commit the assault, and
  • The alleged victim was aware of the assault as it was happening

An example of assault as sexual harassment is someone making a sudden groping motion to a women's breasts or behind.

Defenses:

Common defenses to Nevada assault charges are:

  • The victim was unaware of the alleged assault as it was happening
  • The victim's apprehension of physical touching or harm was unreasonable
  • The defendant was acting in self-defense
  • The victim consented to the alleged assault
Penalties:

As long as no deadly weapon was involved, assault is a misdemeanor carrying:

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

Learn more about the Nevada crime of assault.3

4) Peering as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 200.603)
Definition:

It is a crime to knowingly go to a person's residence in order to secretly peer, peep, or spy on them through a window or other opening. An example of peeping as sexual harassment is looking through a bathroom keyhole at someone else undress.

Defenses:

Common defenses to peeping include:

  • The victim consented to the peeping
  • The victim falsely accused the defendant of peeping
Penalties:

Peeping without a deadly weapon, camera, or audio recorder is a misdemeanor carrying:

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

Peeping without a deadly weapon but with a recording device is a gross misdemeanor carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

Peeping with a deadly weapon is a category B felony carrying:

  • 1 to 6 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe up to $5,000 in fines

Learn more about the Nevada crime of peering.4

5) Coercion as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 207.190)
Definition:

The legal definition of "coercion" in Nevada is intentionally bullying another person to do, or not do, something by either:

  • injuring (or threatening to injure) the victim or victim's family or property,
  • depriving the victim of any tool or clothing, or hindering his/her use of a tool or clothing, or
  • trying to intimidate the person by threats or force

An example of coercion as sexual harassment is a boss threatening to have a female employee fired if he/she does not remove her bra for him.

Defenses:

Common coercion defenses include:

  • The defendant had no intent to deprive the victim of the right to do, or not do, something.
  • The victim falsely accused the defendant
Penalties:

Coercion without using force or the immediate threat of physical force is a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying a sentence of:

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

But if the coercion did involve assault or battery, then it is as a category B felony, which carries a sentence of:

  • 1 to 6 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe up to $5,000 in fines

Note that once someone is convicted of felony coercion in Nevada, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether the coercion was sexually motivated. The court will then take the results of that hearing into account when deciding the final sentence. (NRS 207.193) Learn more about the Nevada crime of coercion.5

6) Extortion as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 205.320)

Definition:

Also called blackmail, extortion is when someone threatens to do any of the following in order to obtain money, favors, or something of value:

  • accuse someone of a crime,
  • injure a person or property,
  • publish untruths, or
  • expose any secret

An example of extortion as sexual harassment is threatening to post naked pictures of someone unless that person agrees to go out with him.

Defenses:

Common extortion defenses include:

  • The defendant never intentionally threatened the victim in order to obtain something of value
  • The alleged extortion qualifies as a legitimate legal business offer
  • The victim falsely accused the defendant
Penalties:

Extortion is a category B felony. The standard punishment includes:

  • 1 to 10 years in Nevada State Prison, and/or
  • up to $10,000 in fines, and
  • restitution

Learn more about the Nevada crime of extortion.6

7) Breaching the Peace as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 203.030; NRS 203.040)

Definition:

The Nevada crime of committing a breach of peace comprises any disruptive behavior involving either:

  • making loud or strange noises,
  • conducting oneself in a tumultuous and offensive manner,
  • threatening, traducing, or quarreling, or
  • challenging to fight, or fighting

An example of sexual harassment as breaching the peace is screaming sexually-charged insults at someone in pubic.

Defenses

Common defense to breach of peace are:

  • The defendant did not intend to incite a breach of peace
  • The defendant was exercising his/her First Amendment right to free speech
Penalties:

Breach of peace is a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

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

Since breach of peace is a minor offense that carries little stigma, a defense attorney may try to get a serious sexual harassment charged reduced down to breach of peace as part of a plea bargain.

Learn more about the Nevada crime of breaching the peace.7

8) Indecent Exposure as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 201.220)

Definition:

It is illegal in Nevada for someone to openly and obscenely reveal the body of him/herself or someone else. An example of indecent exposure as sexual harassment is an employee taunting a coworker by flashing his genitals at her.

Defenses:

A common defense to indecent exposure is that the victim falsely accused the defendant. If no photographic evidence exists to document to alleged incident, the prosecution may have a difficult time proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Penalties:

The sentence for the Nevada offense of indecent exposure turns the defendant's criminal record.

A first offense of indecent exposure is a gross misdemeanor, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines, and
  • possible sex offender registration

A subsequent offense of indecent exposure is a category D felony in Nevada, carrying

  • 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison,
  • maybe up to $5,000, and
  • possible sex offender registration

Learn more about the Nevada crime of indecent exposure.8

9) Open or Gross Lewndess as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 201.210)

Definition:

The legal definition of the Nevada crime of "open or gross lewdness" comprises the following two circumstances:

  1. any intentional sexual act done where others could see it; or
  2. any nonconsensual sexual encounter that falls short of rape
Defenses:

Common defenses to open or gross lewdness are:

  • The defendant acted unintentionally, such as by accident
  • The victim falsely accused the defendant
Penalties:

The sentence for open or gross lewdness depends on the defendant's criminal record.

A first offense of open or gross lewdness is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines, and
  • possible sex offender registration

A subsequent offense of open or gross lewdness is a category D felony in Nevada, carrying:

  • 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe up to $5,000 in fines, and
  • possible sex offender registration

Learn more about the Nevada crime of open or gross lewdness.9

10) Hate Crimes as sexual harassment in Nevada (NRS 193.1675)

Definition:

The punishment for many sexual harassment crimes can be as much as doubled if the defendant did it because of the victim's:

  • sexual orientation,
  • religion,
  • color,
  • national origin,
  • physical or mental disability, or
  • gender identity or expression

An example of a hate crime as sexual harassment is stalking a victim by sending him sexually offensive racist texts because he is African-American.

Note that hate crimes are not independent offenses but rather an enhancement to an underlying charge. If a defendant gets acquitted of the underlying crime, such as stalking in the above example, the hate crime enhancement gets dismissed as well.

Defenses:

Common defenses to hate crime enhancement charges include:

  • The victim falsely accused the defendant of the hate crime
  • The incident was an accident
Penalties:

The misdemeanor crimes of assault, harassment, stalking, or breach of peace are prosecuted as gross misdemeanors if they were committed as a hate crime. Therefore the punishment would be:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines.

And the 2 to 15 year prison sentence for aggravated stalking could be as much as doubled if committed as a hate crime.

Learn more about Nevada hate crimes.10

Additional consequences for sexual harassment in Nevada

Note that defendants in sexual harassment cases may also face civil lawsuits brought by the purported victims. The penalties may include compensatory and punitive money damages.

Also note that if the alleged harassment occurred in the workplace, the defendant may face suspension or termination from his/her place of employment.

Img-call-m

Accused of sexual harassment in Nevada? Call us …

If you are facing criminal sexual harassment allegations, call our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to discuss your case for free. We may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to have the charges reduced or dismissed. We are also ready to take your case to trial and fight for a “not guilty” verdict.

Legal References:

1 NRS 200.575.

2 NRS 200.571.

3 NRS 200.471.

4 NRS 200.603.

5 NRS 207.190.

6 NRS 205.320.

7 NRS 203.030; NRS 203.040.

8 NRS 201.220.

9 NRS 201.210.

10 NRS 193.1675.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Regain peace of mind...

Our defense attorneys understand that being accused of a crime is one of the most difficult times of your life. Rely on us to zealously and discreetly protect your rights and to fight for the most favorable resolution possible.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370