Can "battery domestic violence" charges get plea bargained down in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Oct 08, 2014 | 0 Comments

It may be possible, depending on the case.

Nevada law prohibits prosecutors from reducing or dismissing "battery domestic violence" (BDV) charges unless the state lacks sufficient evidence to prove their case. So much of the defense attorney's work is to try to show to the prosecutors that their evidence is too weak, inadequate, or unreliable to sustain a criminal conviction. (Refer to our articles, "Can domestic violence charges be dismissed in Nevada?")

If a Nevada criminal defense attorney can persuade prosecutors that their BDV case is not strong enough to win a guilty verdict, the prosecutor then should be amenable to negotiating a resolution. Ideally, the prosecutor would just dismiss the case; this often happens if important state witnesses become unavailable. Otherwise, the prosecutor may be willing to reduce the charge down to a simple battery or even a disorderly conduct.

Like BDV, simple battery and disorderly conduct are misdemeanors in Nevada. But whereas BDV cannot be sealed from a defendant's criminal record until seven years have passed since the case was closed, the waiting period to seal criminal records for simple battery and disorderly conduct is only two years. Also, BDV carries more of a social stigma than simple battery or disorderly conduct.

Finally, unlike battery domestic violence, simple battery and disorderly conduct are not "priorable" in Nevada. So whereas the penalties for BDV get harsher each time a person gets convicted, the penalties for simple battery and disorderly conduct remain the same no matter how many times a person gets convicted of them. Therefore if someone arrested for BDV gets the charge reduced to a simple battery or disorderly conduct, and then that person gets arrested for a second BDV later on, that second BDV incident will be prosecuted as only a first and will therefore carry lesser penalties. Read more information on the Nevada crime of battery domestic violence.

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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