It depends on the crime, but suspects may face harsher charges in Nevada for causing victims to sustain any serious injury ranging from loss of consciousness to organ damage.
Many Nevada crimes carry stiffer penalties when the victim sustains "substantial bodily harm." Such crimes include assault, battery, battery domestic violence, child abuse, stalking, and even DUI. For instance, a first- or second- conviction of driving drunk is only a misdemeanor as long as no one gets hurt. But if someone gets killed or seriously injured from a drunk driving incident, the defendant automatically faces felony charges.
NRS 0.060 defines "substantial bodily harm" as either:
- Bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ; OR
- Prolonged physical pain.
During criminal trials involving substantial bodily harm, the defense and prosecution may call expert medical witnesses to testify as to the severity of the injuries. Exhibits such as test results and X-rays may be introduced. In some cases the defense attorney may also cross-examine the victim about the injuries and whether they may have been self-induced.
Examples of injuries that qualify as "substantial bodily harm" include:
- damage to organs
- broken bones
- serious burns
- wounds requiring stitches
Read more information on substantial bodily harm in Nevada.