When is disciplining my child illegal in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Oct 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

It depends on the case, but any punishment that causes the child to experience or risk unjustifiable pain, physical harm, or mental trauma, may be prosecuted as child abuse in Nevada. Traditional corporal punishments are typically legal in Nevada, such as:

  • spanking;
  • a smack; and
  • sending the child to his/her room without supper

But hitting the child to the point of injury crosses the line into abuse. And depriving the child of food for more than a couple of meals in a row could also qualify as abuse. Child abuse in Nevada can be prosecuted as a gross misdemeanor or a felony depending on the following factors:

  • whether the abuse was willful;
  • whether substantial harm occurred;
  • whether abuse was sexual;
  • how old the child is; and
  • whether the defendant committed child abuse before

There are various defenses to the Nevada crime of child abuse. The most common ones include:

  • The child made up the abuse allegations;
  • The parent was acting in self-defense; or
  • The child was injured from an accident

It is not a defense to child abuse allegations that the parent never intended to harm the child. If a parent knowingly commits an act to punish the child and the child sustains an injury because of it, it does not matter that the parent never meant for the child to get hurt. Read more information on the Nevada crime of child abuse.

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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