Many good citizens are falsely accused of the Nevada crime of "coercion" because it is such a vague offense that law enforcement can easily misinterpret. And if convicted, you face devastating penalties including imprisonment, fines, and a sullied criminal record that may keep your dream job out of reach.
For years our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers have defended clients against coercion charges with the end goal of getting the case dismissed altogether or negotiated down to a lesser offense. Keep reading below to learn more about Nevada coercion law, possible penalties, and how we can help.
The legal definition of "coercion" in Las Vegas, Nevada makes it "unlawful for a person, with the intent to compel another to do or abstain from doing an act which the other person has a right to do or abstain from doing, to:
(a) Use violence or inflict injury upon the other person or any of the other person's family, or upon the other person's property, or threaten such violence or injury;
(b) Deprive the person of any tool, implement or clothing, or hinder the person in the use thereof; or
(c) Attempt to intimidate the person by threats or force." (NRS 207.190)
As you can see, coercion covers a very broad spectrum of actions where one person bullies another person to do something that they do not legally have to do. An extreme example of coercion in Nevada is torturing someone until they reveal information you are after -- another example is threatening to shoot someone unless they do as you say.
Furthermore, if someone is accused of coercing a victim to commit a crime, he/she then faces charges of not only coercion but also the crime the victim committed! For example, if John threatened Joe with a severe beating unless he stole a car for him, then John would face charges for both coercion and the Nevada crime of auto-theft.
Coercion as a Defense
In addition to being a crime in Nevada, coercion is also a legal defense! If you can show the court that you were coerced into engaging in criminal activity, then your case should be dropped unless the charge is for the Las Vegas crime of murder -- the law presumes that even under duress you should not kill.
Note that coercion is a similar but separate offense from the Nevada crime of extortion. Extortion (also called blackmail) comprises only those situations where someone threatens someone else in order to procure something of value such as money or property.
There are many possible defense strategies to fight a coercion charge in Nevada. The following are just a few examples that could result in a coercion case getting thrown out or reduced to lesser charges.
- Lack of intent: Coercion is an intent crime in Nevada. If the prosecution cannot show that you intended to deprive the alleged victim of the right to act or not act in a certain way, then the charges cannot be sustained.
- False allegations: It is all too common for people to falsely accuse others of crimes out of jealousy, revenge, or mental illness. If your attorney can show that insufficient evidence exists to show you committed coercion or that your accuser lied, then your case should be dismissed.
- No assault or battery (in felony coercion cases): If the prosecution cannot prove that you resorted to physical force or the threats of immediate physical force to carry out the coercion, then you may be convicted of coercion as only a misdemeanor, which potentially carries no jail time.
The punishment for coercion in Clark County depends upon whether the coercion involved force or the immediate threat of physical force. If there was none, then coercion is just a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying a sentence of:
- up to six months in jail, and/or
- up to $1,000 in fines
- 1 - 6 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $5,000 in fines
Note that after someone is convicted of or pleads guilty to felony coercion in Nevada, the court will hold a separate hearing where the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt whether the coercion was sexually motivated. The judge will then take into account the results of this hearing when determining the final sentence. (NRS 207.193) (Learn more in our Nevada sex crimes article).
Coercion may be an aggravated felony, which means aliens convicted of it may face deportation from the U.S. Visit our page on the criminal defense of aliens in Nevada to learn more.
Call us if you need help . . . .
Thank you for reading our information page on the Nevada crime of coercion (NRS 207.190). If you have been arrested or have further questions, call our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to set up a free meeting on how we may be able to get your charges lessened or thrown out.