Assault is a crime in Nevada. It is characterized in two ways by Nevada law. Assault can happen when a person intentionally makes another feel afraid of immediate physical harm.
It can also happen when a person tries to commit a battery against someone but is unsuccessful in the endeavor. A battery is an unlawful application of force used against a victim to cause injury or offensive touching.
What Are Assault And Battery? How Are Assault And Battery Punished?
As previously mentioned, assault and battery should not be confused. This is mainly because jurisdictions treat them as different offenses. An easy way to remember the distinction between the two crimes is that battery requires the use of force and actual contact; an assault requires the victim to reasonably think or be aware that they are in danger of imminent harm, even if no actual physical injury happens. To put it simply, assault and battery refer to a combined attempt and act of making harmful contact with another individual.
Regarding the charge of assault and battery, the penalties depend on whether you are being charged with simple assault or battery or if you are being charged with aggravated assault or aggravated battery. Penalties are largely determined by the type of harm inflicted on the victim.
An example of this would be if the victim’s harm resulted in serious injury or if it was determined that the defendant planned to kill the victim, the judge could order a more drastic penalty and sentence. A judge may also impose a more harrowing penalty if other aggravating factors are present, such as a specific identifying aspect of the victim.
Some common examples of potential punishments include, but may not be limited to:
- Imprisonment, the length of which is specified by the severity of the crime;
- Parole or probation;
- Court-ordered, mandatory anger management classes;
- Significant fines, the amount of which are determined by the severity of the crime; and
- Loss of the privilege to possess firearms.
Additionally, the crime will be recorded on the defendant’s criminal record.
If you are found guilty of committing the crime of assault and battery, you may also be held civilly liable. This means that your victim could sue you for causing them harm. If their case against you is victorious, you could be liable for the following costs associated with the victim:
- Physical injuries;
- Pain and suffering;
- Out of pocket medical costs;
- Hospital expenses;
- Prescriptions; and
- Wages missed from work because of the injuries sustained.
What Are Some Assault And Battery Defenses?
For an assault charge, the victim must have reasonably feared that they would be harmed. For a battery charge, they must have actually been harmed. If any element of the assault or battery cannot be proven, the claim will not be successful.
Defenses available for assault and battery charges will vary greatly based on each case’s specific circumstances. Some general legal defenses that are used in assault and battery cases include:
- The Claim Cannot Be Proven: Each charge element must be established. As previously mentioned, the defendant must have intended to commit an assault or battery. If it can be established that they did not possess such intention, neither assault nor battery can be proven;
- Intoxication From Alcohol Or Drugs: If the accused became willingly intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, this would not serve as an acceptable defense. This defense will only work if they unknowingly became intoxicated, such as if they were drugged;
- Mental Illness: Mental illness, another medical condition that creates an incapacity for forming intent, may serve as a defense to reduce the punishment. A triumphant plea of insanity would likely result in being committed to psychiatric care;
- Simple Mistake: The defendant may not have meant to commit an assault or battery. This defense is entirely dependent on whether it can be established that the defendant acted deliberately;
- Self Defense: The individual claiming self-defense must demonstrate that they were afraid they would be harmed and did not act first. Further, they must demonstrate that they had no other option but to retaliate physically;
- Defense of Others: Similar to self-defense, the accused must demonstrate that they had a reasonable fear that someone else would be harmed instead of showing that they were afraid of being harmed;
- Defense of Property: The defendant will need to demonstrate that they had a reasonable fear that their property would be damaged, and there was no way to respond but with assault or battery;
- Consent: If the alleged victim consented to the act, this could serve as a defense. An example of this would be playing a contact sport, such as wrestling;
- Privilege: Some are granted the right to commit assault and battery with impunity. An example of this would be how law enforcement is allowed to commit assault and battery when they claim it was necessary for their job; or
- Mistaken Identity or Alibi: A potential defense would be if the defendant can demonstrate that they were not at the scene and have an alibi. Another defense would be if the alleged victim misidentified their attacker.
What Is Assault Against a Protected Class?
Nevada recognizes certain protected classes against whom committing an assault is worse than committing an assault against an average individual. Therefore, assault against a protected class happens when a person commits an assault against a member of one of the protected classes. It comes with a more severe penalty than an assault against a non-protected individual.
Who Is Considered a Protected Class in Nevada?
The state considers the following individuals in a protected class regarding criminal activity:
- Sporting officials at sporting events
- Taxi drivers
- Public transit operators
- School workers
- Correctional officers
- Healthcare employees
- Police officers
- First responders
- State officials
What If a Deadly Weapon Is Involved?
If a person uses a deadly weapon to commit an assault against a member of one of the listed protected classes, then the crime is more severe. While assault without a deadly weapon against a protected class member is a gross misdemeanor, it becomes a felony if a deadly weapon was used in the assault.
What Is a Deadly Weapon?
A deadly weapon is any tool created and designed to inflict injury or death. This weapon can range from a shotgun to brass knuckles.
What Is the Penalty for Assaulting Someone in a Protected Class with a Deadly Weapon?
If a person uses a deadly weapon while assaulting a member of a protected class, they are guilty of committing a Category B felony. If convicted of a Category B felony, a person faces:
- One to six years in prison
- $5,000 fine
- Prison time and a fine
What Do Nevada Prosecutors Have to Prove to Convict Me of This Type of Assault?
To prove that a defendant is guilty of committing an assault against a protected class, a state prosecutor must establish:
- The defendant committed the assault on the victim
- The defendant planned to commit the assault or intended to commit a battery against the victim
- The victim was an individual in one of the previous protected classes working in their capacity as a member of a protected class
- The defendant knew or should have known that the victim was a member of a protected class
What Is the Punishment for Assaulting a Member of a Protected Class?
The penalty is a gross misdemeanor which is:
- A year in county jail
- $2,000 fine
- Fine and time in county jail
Nevertheless, if the perpetrator is on probation or parole or is presently serving a prison sentence, the crime is a Category D felony. The punishment for a category D felony in the state of Nevada is:
- One to four years in prison
- A fine of up to $5000
- Both a fine and a prison sentence
Do I Need an Attorney for My Assault Crime?
It is essential to hire a Nevada criminal attorney for your assault charge. Your attorney will know the best way to resolve your case positively. Use LegalMatch to start settling your legal problems today.