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Battery with substantial bodily harm Nevada – 3 key things to know
Battery with substantial bodily harm – Five things to know
Nevada criminal law defines battery with substantial bodily harm as the unlawful use of force resulting in severe physical injuries. A serious felony, battery causing substantial bodily harm is punishable by 1 to 15 years in prison depending on whether there was use of a deadly weapon.1 Here are three things to know:
1. “Substantial bodily harm” is very broad
What injuries qualify as substantial bodily harm run the gamut from long-lasting contusions to catastrophic brain injuries. Other examples of substantial bodily harm include:
Organ damage / impairment
Prolonged physical pain
Wounds requiring stitches
Any injury causing a substantial risk of death
Loss of consciousness also qualifies as substantial bodily harm, even if the victim did not sustain any cuts or bruises.2
2. Battery with substantial bodily harm is always a felony
Battery with substantial bodily harm is always a felony, even for a first offense. The punishment depends on the circumstances of the criminal case.
If the defendant did not use a deadly weapon, battery causing substantial bodily harm is a category C felony. This is punishable by one to five years in Nevada State Prison and possibly up to $10,000 in fines.
But if a deadly weapon was used, the crime is a category B felony. This carries two to 15 years in prison possibly up to $10,000 in fines.
The victim was a protected person
Battery causing substantial bodily harm is always a category B felony if:
The victim was working as either a health care provider, school employee, police officer / peace officer, taxi driver, transit operator, or sports official; and
The defendant knew – or reasonably should have known – about the victim’s occupation
(Note that if the victim was working as a sports official, the motivation for the battery must stem from what the victim did at a sporting event.)
The minimum prison penalty is two years in prison plus a possible $10,000 fine. If the defendant used a deadly weapon, the maximum prison term is 15 years. Otherwise, it is 10 years.
The defendant was in custody or under supervision
Battery causing substantial bodily harm is always category B felony if the defendant was either in prison, a parolee, a probationer, or in lawful custody (such as after having been arrested).
If the defendant used a deadly weapon, the prison term is two to 15 years. Otherwise, the court can impose one to six years in prison.3
3. There are several ways to fight the charges
Criminal charges for battery causing substantial bodily harm should be dismissed if:
the incident was an accident (even if the victim did get injured), or
the defendant was falsely accused or misidentified.
Typical evidence in these cases includes eyewitness testimony and surveillance footage. As long as the D.A. cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, the charge should be dropped.
Alternatively, a charge of battery causing substantial bodily injury could be reduced to a simple battery charge – which is only a misdemeanor – if the prosecutors cannot prove that the injuries were substantial.4 Here, the victims’ medical records would be key evidence.
Contact our Nevada law firm for help in Las Vegas, Henderson, and throughout Clark County and the state of Nevada.
Our criminal defense lawyers offer free consultations on creating attorney-client relationships. Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys can meet at our law offices or virtually.
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, 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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