A domestic violence charge is one of the most likely charges that you can get arrested for in Nevada. According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Nevada is consistently ranking as the 1st in the nation with the most domestic violence fatalities. A recent study conducted by Everytown Research showed that the women in Nevada are 65 percent more likely to be shot by their assailants during a domestic violence struggle. In 2017, there are 63,561 domestic violence contacts made by Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCEDVS) to their victims.
These statistics show how rampant domestic violence is in Nevada, especially in its cities of Las Vegas where substances are rife and where gun laws are lax.
It can happen. Suddenly, a police officer is behind your ear reciting your Miranda Rights as your hands are being cuffed. Do not panic! If you are innocent of the domestic violence crime, know that there are plenty of chances to prove it. Read below to learn what happens after a domestic violence arrest and what your next moves can be.
Classifying Domestic Relationships
A domestic relationship is basically the relation between families of blood or those bounded by legal binds. A domestic violence usually happens between spouses and can extend to the children and even beyond the nuclear family. Grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, and any distant relatives can be victims and the perpetrators can also be any one of them. Opposed to popular belief, a domestic violence just do not happen inside the home—it can happen anywhere as long as the victim is of kin.
Out of all the crimes prevalent in Nevada, domestic violence seems to be the most affecting as apart from the physical and mental abuse done to a person, it is a betrayal by your own family member and it can create wounds far worse than other fatalities.
Before and After the Arrest
When you get arrested for domestic violence, it is guaranteed to have a probable cause. Police officers cannot arrest you without evidence and testimonies can be a form of evidence that can be used to ultimately take you.
A warrant of arrest is usually in order—or in some cases a search warrant, where police officers raid your premises because of probable cause and in hopes of catching evidence that could let them finally arrest you. Family members who are evidently victims of domestic violence are more than enough for police officers to seize you.
When arrested, your rights to an attorney and your right to remain silent will be declared and you will be taken in custody. Standard procedures will follow (called booking) that constitutes inspections, fingerprint scanning, capture of your photographs for records, and incarceration. At this moment, an appointed police officer or your own attorney can detail what will happen to you.
Domestic Violence Trials
After booking, your case will be endorsed to the prosecutor’s office where your final charges will be decided. Up next is your arraignment or your first appearance in court. Here, your charges will be officially laid down for you to hear and so you and your attorney can plan out your next step. Here is where you will also need to plead guilty or not guilty. It depends on your decision whether you will proceed to trial.
When you plead guilty, no trial will proceed and you will be automatically convicted. Pleading not guilty will enter the case into trial. Insufficient evidence or its failure can also be the cause of the court dismissing the case altogether. Before trial you can also put up a bail where you can avoid being detained behind bars. However, bailing does not mean you are completely free as bails only act as a collateral so the court is assured that you will still attend hearings.
During the trial, your attorney will have to present evidence and angles to prove you are innocence of domestic violence. At the final leg of the trial, you can present a plea bargain. With all the materials and accounts on hand, the jury will decide whether you are liable or not with the judge putting down the final verdict.
Defenses against Domestic Violence Charges
Charges for domestic violence can vary in levels depending on the situation of the case but here are the basic consequences that you could be incriminated of:
1st offense within 7 years
- Misdemeanor charge
- 2 days to 6 months behind bars
- 48 to 120 hours of community service
- Fine of at least $200 to $1,000
- 6 to 12 weeks of domestic violence counselling
2nd offense within 7 years
- Misdemeanor charge
- 10 days to 6 months in jail
- 100 to 200 hours of community service
- $500 to $1,000 of fine
- 12 weeks of domestic violence counselling classes
3rd offense within 7 years
- A Category C felony charge
- 1 to 5 years in prison
- Fine of $10,000
Battery domestic violence with use of weapons, strangulation, and fatal injuries also come with a different set of penalties, often graver than the most common ones.
To counter all of these, you and your defense attorney can use several defenses like the following:
- Unethical and unlawful arrest and booking
- No proper evidence like clear bruises on the body or any psychological effects
- Plaintiff was drunk or not in a proper state during domestic violence contact
- You have witnesses that can testify that you are not there during the supposed domestic violence act
- You have no evidence of domestic violence on your body. No scratches or marks from a victim that is trying to fight back
- You are acting out of self-defense and the one incident is accidental
Aside from this, you and your defense attorney should gather as much as evidence as you can as well as studying pleas, defenses, and rules of evidences that you can use.
Getting arrested is bad enough but correlate it with domestic violence and you will experience one of the worst situations in your life. A domestic violence arrest will be full of repercussions like an intense social stigma and a rift between you and your family. Attorney Ross Goodman is a defense attorney in Nevada that specializes in domestic violence cases. If you believe you are unlawfully accused, Attorney Goodman will help you find your way to freedom. Contact him today.