Nevada Battery Crimes and Penalties

In Nevada, a person can face felony charges if a battery involves a deadly weapon, strangulation, or substantial bodily harm.

By , Attorney · Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Updated June 09, 2023

In Nevada, any unlawful use of force or violence against another is a battery. Battery crimes start as misdemeanors but increase to gross misdemeanors or felonies if the defendant uses a deadly weapon, attempts to strangle the victim, causes substantial bodily harm, or targets a protected victim. Read on to learn more.

What Is Considered Battery in Nevada?

Nevada defines battery as "any willful and unlawful use of force or violence" against another. Striking another person with a fist during an argument or pushing someone are examples of battery. Other examples hitting someone with a bat, blocking someone's nose and mouth, or grabbing someone by the hair to hurt them.

To be considered battery, the use of force or violence must be willful and unlawful. If the defendant accidentally tripped and knocked over the victim, the force of being knocked down isn't a crime. Also, a victim doesn't need to suffer injuries for a crime to be battery. Any unlawful use of force or violence suffices. So shaking someone angrily, even if no injuries result, is a battery offense.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.481 (2023).)

What Are the Penalties for Battery in Nevada?

A battery that doesn't result in injuries or involve other aggravating factors falls under one of the penalties below.

Simple Battery: Misdemeanor

Battery without injuries or other aggravating factors is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Battery Against a Protected Victim: Gross Misdemeanor

Committing battery against a protected victim who's performing their duties raises the crime to a gross misdemeanor. A protected victim includes an "officer," school employee, sports official, "health care provider," taxicab driver, or transit operator who's performing their duties. A conviction for a gross misdemeanor carries up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

The term "officer" includes police officers, firefighters, correctional officers, prosecutors, judges, and government employees who make home visits.

"Health care providers" includes any employee or volunteer who provides health care services in the areas of medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, emergency services, ambulance services, pharmaceuticals, chiropractic care, homeopathy, optometry, psychiatry, social work, or counseling.

Battery by an Inmate, Probationer, or Parolee

A person under judicial or correctional supervision who commits a battery will face category B felony penalties. These individuals include inmates, probationers, and parolees. A conviction carries one to six years of prison time.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.481 (2023).)

What Are the Penalties for Battery Involving Substantial Bodily Harm or Strangulation?

A battery resulting in substantial bodily harm to, or strangulation of, a victim is a category C felony, punishable by one to five years of prison time. However, if the victim was a protected victim (as defined above), the penalty increases to a category B felony with penalties of 2 to 10 years in prison. Category B felony penalties also apply if a deadly weapon was used (as described in the next section).

Nevada law defines "substantial bodily harm" as prolonged physical pain, injuries that create a substantial risk of death, or injuries causing disfigurement or impairment to the body or an organ. "Strangulation" refers to intentionally trying to stop another's breathing or circulation by applying pressure to their throat or neck or blocking their nose or mouth.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 0.060, 200.481 (2023).)

What Are the Penalties for Battery With a Deadly Weapon in Nevada?

A person who commits battery with a deadly weapon faces the following penalties for a category B felony:

  • if no substantial bodily harm results—2 to 10 years in prison
  • if substantial bodily harm results—2 to 15 years in prison, and
  • if the victim was strangled—2 to 15 years in prison.

Deadly weapons include guns, knives, brass knuckles, or any items or substances that can cause substantial bodily harm or death by the manner in which it's used. This might include a rope, nylons, screwdriver, hammer, bat, crowbar, or a caustic substance like oven cleaner.

Additional Penalties for Battery Crimes in Nevada

Nevada law provides additional penalties when battery crimes involve vulnerable victims, hate crimes, or other aggravating factors. Additional penalties can double a defendant's sentence.

Some instances where a judge can impose an additional penalty include when a defendant commits certain battery crimes:

  • as hate crimes
  • because a victim was a first responder
  • on school property
  • for the benefit of a gang, or
  • against a vulnerable or older victim.

Any additional penalty imposed must run consecutively to the battery conviction (meaning the sentences run one after another).

(Nev. Stat. §§ 193.161, 193.1675, 193.1677, 193.168 (2023).)

Defenses to Battery Charges in Nevada

Common defense strategies in battery cases include raising the issue of self-defense, challenging the prosecution's case, or seeking a reduction in the charges.

Self-defense. The judge or jury may acquit the defendant if the defendant harmed the victim only in self-defense. Typically to win on a claim of self-defense, the defendant's actions must have been reasonable in light of the victim/attacker's actions.

Level of injuries. A defendant can argue that the prosecutor didn't prove the requisite level of harm to sustain the charges. For example, a defendant might argue that felony charges can't be proven because the victim didn't suffer substantial bodily harm and the charges should be reduced.

No deadly weapon or protected victim. Battery involving a deadly weapon or knowingly committed against a protected victim carries felony penalties. A defense attorney might argue that the object used in the battery wasn't a deadly weapon (say a lamp) or that the defendant did not know the victim was a protected victim performing their duties. If the defense attorney can poke holes in the prosecutor's case, the charges might be reduced or dropped.

Getting Legal Help

If you're facing battery charges, talk to a local criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can help explain the charges, the law, and the possible penalties, along with the future consequences of having a battery conviction on one's criminal record.

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