Assault in Nevada is an attempt to cause physical injury to another person – for instance, attempting to strike someone with a hand or object, and missing. Assault also is any intentional act or threat of action that reasonably causes a person to feel afraid of impending violence. Words alone do not constitute an assault. If, however, an offender also takes some sort of menacing action, such as stepping toward the victim or raising a fist, the offender has committed an assault. (NRS §200.471.)
Battery in Nevada is the intentional infliction of physical force against another person, such as punching another person or hitting someone with an object. (NRS §200.481.)
An assault or battery can be a misdemeanor or a felony in Nevada, depending on the circumstances and the victim of the crime.
To read about misdemeanor assault and battery in Nevada, see Misdemeanor Assault and Battery in Nevada.
An assault committed with a deadly weapon is a Category B felony in Nevada punishable by one to six years in prison and a fine up to $5,000, or both. (NRS §200.471.) If the offender committed the assault because of the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation or other special characteristics of the victim, the court can impose an additional one to twenty years in prison. (NRS §193.1675.)
The following battery crimes are felonies in Nevada and subject to the penalties listed.
Domestic violence battery
A battery committed by strangulation or that is the defendant’s third offense in a seven year period, against a household member, family member, or someone with whom the defendant is in a dating relationship or has children in common, is a Category C felony punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine up to $15,000, or both. (NRS § 200.485.)
Battery resulting in substantial bodily harm and/or committed with a deadly weapon
The following batteries are felonies (see below for information on "substantial bodily harm):
- battery which results in substantial bodily harm or that is committed by strangulation (Category C felony) punishable by one – five years in prison or a fine up to $10,000, or both
- battery committed with a deadly weapon that does not result in substantial bodily harm (Category B felony) punishable by two – ten years in prison or a fine up to $10,000, or both
- battery committed with a deadly weapon that results in substantial bodily harm or is committed by strangulation (Category B felony) punishable by two – fifteen years or a fine up to $10,000 or both
- battery upon a member of a protected class engaged in the performance of his duties – including police officers, healthcare providers, school employees, taxi drivers, and public transit operators, and sports official during a sporting event – which results in substantial bodily harm or is committed by strangulation. The assailant must have known of the victim’s employment status. Category B felony, punishable by two to ten years in prison or a fine up to $10,000, or both, and
- battery committed with a deadly weapon by a prisoner in custody or a person on probation or parole against a member of a protected class engaged in the performance of his duties, resulting in substantial bodily harm or committed by strangulation (Category B felony); punishable by two to fifteen years in prison. (NRS 200.481.)
- battery with intent to commit mayhem, robbery or grand larceny (Category B felony) punishable by two – ten years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
Battery with intent to commit a crime
Nevada singles-out certain batteries that were perpetrated in the course of committing another crime:
- battery with intent to kill the victim (Category B felony) punishable by two to twenty years in prison
- battery with intent to commit sexual assault that also results in substantial bodily harm or is committed by strangulation (Category A felony), punishable by life in prison with the possibility of parole or life in prison with the possibility of parole after a minimum of ten years served, to be determined by a jury, and a fine up to $10,000
- battery against a victim sixteen years or older with intent to commit sexual assault, which does not result in substantial bodily harm (Category A felony); punishable by two years to life in prison with the possibility of parole, and a fine up to $10,000
- battery against a victim under sixteen years old with intent to commit sexual assault, which does not result in substantial bodily harm (Category A felony); punishable by five years to life in prison with the possibility of parole and a fine up to $10,000. (NRS § 200.400.)
- Any sentence for battery with intent to commit a crime can be enhanced by an additional one to twenty years in prison if the offender committed the crime because of a special characteristics of the victim such as race, color, religion, or sexual orientation. (NRS § 193.1675.)
Deadly Weapons and Substantial Bodily Harm
A deadly weapon is either a weapon that is inherently likely to cause significant injury or death, such as a gun or a large knife, or an object that, under the circumstances is capable of causing significant injury or death, such as a two-by-four or a metal pipe.
Substantial bodily harm is defined in Nevada as:
- an injury which carries a substantial risk of death
- injury resulting in loss or protracted impairment of a bodily organ or limb, or
- injury that causes prolonged pain (significantly longer than the pain immediately caused by the injury).
Suspended Sentence, Probation and Sealing a Criminal Record
A court in Nevada can impose a suspended sentence and probation for felony assault or battery after a defendant has served any minimum prison sentence.
Seven to fifteen years after release from custody or successful completion of probation, depending on the category of felony involved, a felony offender in Nevada can file a request with the court to have his criminal record sealed. Sealing the record is at the discretion of the court.
For information on sealing records, see Expungement & Sealing Adult Criminal Records. For information on the laws in Nevada, see Expunging or Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Nevada.
A person convicted of assault or battery in Nevada can be required to pay restitution as part of his sentence or as a condition of probation or a suspended sentence. Restitution involves reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as the cost of medical treatment or counseling or repair of damaged property.
Pleas and Pre-Trial Options
If you are facing a charge of felony assault or battery in Nevada, you'll benefit from the services of an attorney, who can investigate the case and determine if you were wrongfully charged or there are other reasons why the case should be dismissed before trial. If the charges are not dismissed, an attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor on your behalf, or prepare a defense and represent you at trial if you believe you have been wrongly accused or if there are no reasonable plea options. Prosecutors often will negotiate and agree to let the defendant plead guilty to a different, less serious crime. Or, the prosecutor may agree to a lighter sentence, such as probation or less time in prison, in exchange for a plea of guilty to the charge.
The Value of Good Representation
A conviction for a felony becomes part of your permanent criminal record. If you are convicted later of another crime, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence in the new case. A convicted felon loses the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror (for seven years) and carry or own firearms. In certain circumstances, a felony conviction also can result in loss of a professional license. A conviction for a violent felony—can hurt you when you are looking for a job or applying to rent a house or apartment.
Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.