Understanding Your Rights After Allegations of Domestic Violence
In Nevada, domestic violence or domestic battery is a heavily prosecuted offense that could affect nearly every aspect of your life. If convicted, you could face jail time, a hefty fine, suspension from your job, and loss of your custodial rights. Even allegations of domestic battery can have serious consequences.
If you have been charged with domestic battery, contact the Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata for a free consultation. Attorney Garrett T. Ogata is an award-winning, nationally recognized lawyer, recently named in Best of Las Vegas for domestic battery. He is committed to providing you with the aggressive, dedicated representation you deserve. Contact our office today.
Why Do People Make False Allegations of Domestic Violence?
When a person makes a false allegation of domestic violence or domestic battery, it is usually designed to hurt the other person. Many times, a person is falsely accused by a spouse or former spouse during a contested divorce or custody battle. Being accused of domestic battery can affect your parental rights during a custody case, so a disgruntled spouse may use it to gain favor in the court.
False allegations are extremely serious and take away from real victims of domestic violence. Whether it is for revenge, was in the heat of an argument, or obtain a favorable disposition in a family law case, it is wrong to falsely accuse someone of such an egregious offense. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, you need an attorney.
What Are the Defenses to Domestic Violence?
Being accused of domestic violence can impact your job, your parental rights, and your freedom. District attorneys vigorously prosecute domestic violence and domestic battery offenses and rarely dismiss the charges unless there is a valid defense.
An experienced attorney can use a variety of arguments and defense strategies on your behalf. For example, if you were falsely accused, a defense lawyer can fight for your rights and freedom.
Common defenses in domestic violence cases include:
- The defendant was falsely accused
- The defendant was acting in self defense
- The offense was an accident and not willful
- There is not enough evidence to convict the defendant
- The arresting officers lacked probable cause to lawfully arrest the defendant
To have the best chance of achieving a positive outcome in your case, you need an experienced lawyer who knows how to fight the charges against you.
What Counts as Domestic Violence in Nevada?
Under Nevada law, domestic violence can only be committed against certain people within your family, including a spouse, former spouse, or a person you had or are having a dating relationship with. However, an offense against a sibling or cousin is not considered domestic violence under Las Vegas law unless the defendant and the sibling or cousin are in a “custodial or guardianship relationship with each other.”
Other family relationships named under the domestic violence statute include:
- Your spouse or former spouse;
- Any person with whom you have had or is having a dating relationship;
- A person with whom you have a child;
- A minor child of any of those persons; or
- A minor child or any other person appointed the custodian or legal guardian for the person’s minor child.
According to Nevada’s legal statute NRS 33.018, any “knowing, purposeful, or reckless course of conduct intended to harass the other person,” including carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, false imprisonment, or injuring or killing an animal, can be considered domestic violence.
Domestic violence can include any of the following offenses:
- Sexual assault
- Destruction of private property
- Home invasion
What Would Make a Domestic Violence Case More Serious?
When a domestic violence case involves allegations of a more serious offense, the penalties will be increased. If convicted of committing any of the following “aggravating” factors, you could face more severe consequences such as additional prison time.
Aggravating factors in a domestic battery offense include:
- If the battery involved strangulation;
- If a deadly weapon was used during the offense;
- If you have any prior convictions; or
- If the alleged victim was pregnant and the offender knew this or should have known.
What If the Alleged Victim Has No Injuries?
A victim does not have to present visible injuries for you to be convicted of domestic violence. Pursuant to the statute, domestic violence can include any form of harassment, such as stalking, trespass, or destruction of private property.
As discussed above, if an alleged victim has a change of heart and wants to drop the charges, it may not be up to them. A prosecutor is the only one who can dismiss or reduce the charges in a domestic violence case.
What Happens If the Alleged Victim Does Not Want to Testify?
It is not uncommon for an alleged domestic violence victim to recant their allegations or to decide that they do not want to go forward with prosecution. Unfortunately, once law enforcement is involved, it is not up to the victim whether to go forward with the charges.
A prosecutor determines whether or not there is sufficient evidence to convict a person of domestic violence and will pursue charges even if a victim is unwilling to testify.
Under NRS 400.485, a prosecutor cannot dismiss domestic battery charges unless it is not supported by probable cause or the prosecutor would be unable to secure a conviction at trial because there is insufficient evidence. Because of this strict standard, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney if you are charged with domestic battery or any other form of domestic violence.
Contact Our Office for a Free Consultation
If you are charged with any form of domestic violence, you need to contact an attorney immediately. Domestic battery can result in up to six months in jail on a first offense. Call or text Attorney Garrett T. Ogata if you have been accused of domestic violence in Las Vegas. You deserve an attorney with the experience and dedication you need to get a favorable disposition in your case.