What is the penalty for domestic battery by strangulation in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Feb 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

The Nevada crime of battery domestic violence (BDV) with strangulation is a category C felony in Nevada under NRS 200.485. The punishment is:

The judge may not grant probation in lieu of prison. There is a ten (10) year waiting period after the case ends before the defendant can pursue getting a record seal. And if the defendant is not a U.S. citizen, the defendant may be deported for BDV with strangulation.

Learn more about BDV by strangulation in Nevada.

Definition of strangulation in Nevada

Nevada law defines strangulation as "intentionally impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person in a manner that creates a risk of death or substantial bodily harm." (NRS 200.481)

In the Nevada Supreme Court case LaChance v. State, 321 P.3d 919, 130 Nev. Adv. Rep. 29 (2014), the court affirmed a conviction of strangulation because the state presented the following evidence: 

[The defendant] placed his knee on [victim]'s chest and his hands on her clavicle/lower part of her neck and then put pressure on the area, impeding her breathing to the point that her vision was impaired. Depriving [victim] of oxygen to the point where she lost vision supports a finding that [the defendant] applied pressure to [victim]'s throat or neck in a manner that created a risk of death or substantial bodily harm.

In short, strangulation occurs when the defendant places his/her hands on the victim's collarbones with the intent to block breathing and blood flow.

Definition of battery domestic violence in Nevada

Battery domestic violence (BDV) is intentionally inflicting unlawful physical force ("battery") against either a:

  • certain family members such as children and parents,
  • spouse (or ex-spouse), or
  • dating partner (or ex-partner)

The battery can be any kind of illegal physical touching, such as punching, throwing objects at, and strangling. Defendants who attempt to strangle a family member or domestic partner face automatic felony charges.

Defenses to battery domestic violence in Nevada

There are many possible ways to fight against BDV charges. Common defenses include:

  • the defendant acted in self-defense;
  • the incident was an accident; or
  • the purported victim fabricated the whole abuse story and possibly self-inflicted his/her injuries

If the victim is alleging that the defendant strangled him/her, the defense attorney can hire an expert witness to review the medical records and other evidence. The witness may be able to show how there are no signs of strangulation to the victim or that any strangulation was self-inflicted.

Note that prosecutors will continue to press charges if the purported victim recants the story (at least initially). Whenever a victim recants a claim of BDV, prosecutors are suspicious about the victim's motives: Perhaps the victim is caving to family pressure to recant, or perhaps the victim wants the defendant out of jail to continue earning money. But if the case proceeds to trial and the victim fails to testify against the defendant, chances are decent that the prosecution may drop the charges.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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