Sexual assault is rampant in Nevada and is one of the crimes that fill the time of the state’s investigators. In 2014, CNN ranked Nevada as the 36th out of the 50 states where rape is most common. By the first half of 2016, at least 800 sexual assault cases are reported in Las Vegas. This took an even staggering turn as by the following year, which is 2017, murder and robbery rates dropped but sexual assault cases increased even more, finishing to 1,249 cases by the end of the said year.
Sexual assault does not only damage the physical body of the but also the soul of the victim. This is why it is not surprising that the city of Las Vegas and the entirety of Nevada is becoming ultra-vigilant when it comes to this crime. The Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) shows the grounds that constitutes as sexual assault/s and what would happen if someone is charged with it. Read below to learn sexual assaults as defined by NRS.
How does the NRS define sexual assault?
According to NRS 200.366, you are committing sexual assault if you subject another person to sexual penetration either by yourself or another person. It also covers coercing a certain individual to perform sexual penetration to himself or herself, to another person, or to a beast against their will and consent.
Sexual penetration is defined as intercourse between genitals, fellatio, or any form of intrusion to the private areas (including anal openings). It does not matter if it is done on a slight degree or another object is used for penetration, it still counts as sexual assault if done against the victim’s will.
What are the penalties of sexual assaults as defined by NRS?
Still according to NRS 200.366, a person guilty of sexual assault is subjected to:
- Life imprisonment without possibility of parole
- Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 15 years of sentence
If there are no physical injuries sustained from the sexual assault, the perpetrator could avail parole after 10 years in prison.
Now, if the sexual assault was done to a child, there are even graver penalties one must face. If the child is under 16 years, it is a category A felony charge which includes life imprisonment with the possibility of parole only after 25 years of sentence. If there are bodily harm done to the child, no parole would be granted.
For children under 14 years old, it will take 35 years of prison sentence for parole to be possible as long as the child victim did not suffer bodily harm. Perpetrators of under 18 years old are not covered by these laws as they are minors. These penalties are reserved for adults. Some of the factors here also make up other sexual offenses to children such as lewdness with minors.
How are the victims protected?
There are also laws written in the Nevada Revised Statutes that talk about how victims of sexual assault should be safeguarded.
To prove the culprit’s crimes, a victim of sexual assault should report the offense, cooperate with investigations, and testify in the court. During these times, the victim should be protected as they can be harassed in the public or grow their own insecurities because of the stigma.
According to NRS 200.3771 and 200.3772, to protect victims of sexual assault, documents that show their names, photographs, testimonies, criminal history, and other personal information should be confidential. They can also use pseudonyms to hide identities and public officers who has access to documents of the victim should not disclose anything from it. But when the victim’s files call for a release, the court should authorize on conditions that the issuance will not personally harm the victim or that a good outcome will come from it. Defendants have the right to know personal information of the victim as so they can prepare their defenses.
What defenses can you use against charges of sexual assaults?
There are several defenses a defendant can work with to prove his or her innocence. One of the most obvious ones is claiming your innocence. Stand by your words and it will show if the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to debunk you. Obviously, to strengthen your innocent stand, you will need powerful alibi and other evidences.
Another defense that you can use is that there is consent coming from the plaintiff. While this is particularly difficult to prove, it can be the key to the overall abolishment of the case.
The final defense to consider is the insanity or mental incapacity defense, you can counter that you were suffering mental illness at the time and therefore have no proper judgment during the time of the encounter. Of course like the other defenses, you need hard proof.
Regrettably, drunk defense for sexual assaults has long been removed as a valid defense. However, Ontario, Canada revived it for their province earlier this year.
Cases of sexual assaults hold some of the most severe charges in Nevada as it ultimately destroys the life of a victim in almost every aspect. Just this year, the citizens of Las Vegas came together to battle the escalating crime. The Rape Crisis Center in Nevada raised funds in Las Vegas downtown in hopes of raising awareness that sexual assault is rife and it does not just happen to a single gender. In the previous years, the LVMPD (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department) launched Stay SAFE (sexual assault free-environment) where security guards, bartenders, and bouncers had undergone training to stop a potential sexual assault as most victims are intoxicated individuals in bars who more or less lose their coordination to refuse sexual advances.
Being accused for sexual assault is a daunting thing as the entire state is against you. If you believe you are falsely charged and you have evidence to prove it, seek the aid of a criminal defense attorney that specializes in sexual assault. To learn more about NRS 200.366 and what is included on its sexual assault definition, read the NRS section here.