Proving Self-Defense in a Domestic Violence Case

Written by: The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata

Defending Against Charges of Battery Domestic Violence in Las Vegas

Being arrested for domestic violence in Las Vegas can be overwhelming. You may be unsure of your legal rights or whether you will have to go to jail. In some cases, you may have only been acting in self-defense, trying to protect yourself from serious injury or even death. No matter the situation, if you have been arrested or charged with battery domestic violence, you need to speak with an attorney. 

At The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata, we provide representation for individuals who have been charged with domestic violence in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada. Our experienced attorneys understand how challenging this time may be for you and your family, which is why we are here to help. 

It is important to defend against these accusations, which may deeply affect your reputation and your career. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

What Is Domestic Violence?

In Nevada, domestic violence is charged under the Nevada Revised Statutes § 200.485. Often referred to as Battery Domestic Violence or BDV, it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. Domestic violence, under state law, is not limited to physical violence. It may also include sexual or psychological violence. 

Domestic violence may be perpetrated against:

  • A current or former spouse
  • A person related by blood or marriage
  • A person with whom you have or had a dating relationship 
  • A person with whom you have a child in common

Battery domestic violence may also be charged if it involves a minor child of yours or the people listed above or if you are their legal guardian. If you are charged with domestic violence, the first call you need to make is to a qualified attorney who can help you understand your rights and help to guide you through the legal process.

What If I Acted in Self-Defense?

If you reasonably believed that the other person was going to hurt you, meaning they posed an immediate threat of harm and you used only force necessary to stop the threat, you may have a valid claim for self-defense. 

Nevada recognizes self-defense as a valid legal defense to domestic violence charges. As explained in the Nevada Revised Statutes § 200.275, justifiable infliction or threat of bodily harm is not punishable by law. Therefore, if you were justified in using the force and only used the amount of force necessary to stop the other person from harming you, you may have a valid defense. However, you cannot have been the aggressor in the situation. 

How to Prove Self-Defense in a Domestic Violence Case

Proving self-defense in a domestic violence case can be difficult without the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney. Self-defense is considered an affirmative defense under the law. This means that you admit to committing the crime, but you argue that it was justified.

Self-defense can be proven through evidence such as witness statements, expert testimony from medical professionals, previous domestic violence incidents, and audio or video of the event. 

Without clear evidence of a threat, it can be extremely difficult to prove that you acted in self-defense. Things like past criminal record, psychological evaluation, and even character witnesses can all be used to determine innocence. 

Hiring an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

The best chance to prove that you acted in self-defense is by working with a criminal defense attorney. It is strongly recommended that you consult with a lawyer immediately after an arrest for domestic violence. Early intervention can prove critical in domestic violence cases. In some cases, an attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed prior to going to trial.

Contact Our Office to Schedule a Free Consultation

Were you arrested for domestic violence when you were acting in self-defense? Attorney Garrett T. Ogata can help. Contact our office today to schedule a confidential consultation. Let us help you get through this time with dedicated legal advocacy when you need it most.

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