In tort law, a protected class of people generally refers to people of a certain race, gender, color, religion, or sexual orientation. In Nevada, certain criminal statutes also protect specific categories of people from harm by making the crime worse if the victim is a member of one of the protected classes. One of these criminal statutes is assault.

What Is Assault on a Protected Class in Nevada?

Under Nevada law, this charge occurs when a person places another individual in fear of immediate harm or attempts to commit a battery against the individual. Also, the individual, or victim, is in a protected group of individuals acting in their capacity as a protected individual. Furthermore, the person committing the assault must either know or should have known that the victim is a member of one of the protected classes.

Who Is in a Protected Class Under the Nevada Assault Law?

The members in a protected class regarding an assault charge are:

  • Jailers
  • Firemen
  • State officials
  • Police officers
  • School employees
  • Healthcare providers
  • Judges
  • Doctors
  • Taxi drivers
  • Sporting officials
  • Transit officials

What If a Deadly Weapon Is Involved?

If a person uses a deadly weapon in the commission of 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 member of a protected class 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 instrument 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, then 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

Do I Need to Talk with a Lawyer?

It is vital that you talk to a Nevada criminal lawyer about your assault charge. Having good legal representation could make the difference between prison time and a reduced or dropped charge.