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Is Domestic Violence a Felony?


Is domestic violence a felony or not?

Domestic violence, as defined by the American Bar Association, is a pattern of many behaviors directed at achieving and maintaining power and control over an intimate partner. Among such behaviors are physical violence, emotional abuse, isolation of the victim, economic abuse, intimidation, and coercion and threats. There is however no single criminal offence called “domestic violence”.  However, many forms of domestic violence are crimes such as harassment, assault, criminal damage, attempted murder, rape and false imprisonment.  Obversely, not all forms of domestic violence are illegal,  for example, some forms of emotional abuse are not defined as crimes. Talk to your Las Vegas domestic violence defense lawyer for help with theses kind of cases.

In almost all jurisdictions, domestic violence can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges are considered less serious crimes and is subject to lighter penalties. A person convicted of felony domestic violence, on the other hand, may face a harsher set of penalties including a prison sentence of net less than one year and a fine of over a thousand dollars. But when is domestic violence a felony? In some states, including Nevada, the law determines whether or not domestic violence is a felony or a misdemeanor based on whether or not the victim is injured and the extent of those injuries. If a victim does not sustain injuries or sustains only minor injuries, the defendant may be charged with misdemeanor domestic violence. If, however, the victim is seriously injured, this may result in a felony domestic violence charge.

In Nevada, domestic violence generally falls under the offence referred to as “battery constituting domestic violence” in Nevada Revised Statute 200.485. If you have been charged with battery domestic violence for the first or second time within a seven year period, then you face just misdemeanor penalties as long as the following are true:

  • no substantial bodily harm resulted
  • no deadly weapon was used
  • and no strangulation occurred

When is domestic violence a felony in Nevada?  If it is your third or more offence within seven years, even if there was no strangulation, deadly weapon or injury involved, you will be charged with a category C felony for your “battery constituting domestic violence” offence. Is domestic violence a felony in Nevada if someone got hurt? Yes, even if it is your first time “battery constituting domestic violence” offence, you may be charged with a category C felony if the alleged abuse involved strangulation or resulted in substantial bodily harm like heavy bruises and broken bones. If you committed “battery constituting domestic violence” with a deadly weapon, you may already be charged with a category B felony which may be punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.

For more information about Nevada felony DUI, talk to your criminal defense attorney.


Nolo – Domestic Violence

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