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When Does Domestic Violence Become Federal Crime?


Domestic violence is not a usual federal issue as most of the cases are confined within a certain place and within a circle of family members. A disesteemed crime, domestic violence in Las Vegas holds substantial penalties under the Nevada law but just like any other offenses, it can turn to be under US domestic federal violence laws when it crosses some boundaries. On this article, we learn about federal domestic violence laws and how it could impact you if you are already accused of domestic violence in the State of Nevada.

Interstate Domestic Violence

Federal domestic violence is better known as interstate domestic violence and you are guilty of it if you cross state lines just to injure or threaten your spouse, your special someone, or someone you are sexually linked to. Notice that relatives and other family members are not included in the list because one difference of interstate domestic violence from a domestic violence charge in Nevada is it only covers domestic violence against partners.

The particular federal laws against domestic violence is even strengthened through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a federal law passed in 1994 that seeks to protect women from their abusers. Know that if you go from Nevada to another state and hit your wife, you will be under charges from federal domestic violence laws just like what is already established in VAWA which initially expired December last year.

Penalties of Interstate Domestic Violence

Stating the obvious, federal courts in Nevada will only handle domestic violence cases if the perpetrator traveled interstate. If it is found out that domestic violence is already happening in Nevada then State charges will apply and if rendered guilty of interstate domestic violence, federal laws against domestic violence shall be enacted where penalties included are based on the injuries sustained by the victim.

If the abused partner suffered serious injuries then it should be five years behind bars with fines. With a deadly weapon, the prison term will be increased to 10 years. If the victim dies then it would be a life sentence in federal prison.

Defenses against Interstate Domestic Violence

Naturally, if you do not want to get incriminated, you will defend yourself in court. Working with a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney should help you devise defenses so charges will be dropped or you will acquitted. Some of the defenses that you can consider when facing potential conviction through federal domestic violence laws are:

  • You did not travel interstate – if you are going to use this defense, it is best that you show concrete evidence such as absence of information regarding your interstate travel, footage of you in Nevada during the supposed time of the assault or eyewitnesses that could place you anywhere other than the place the victim is saying you were in
  • There is no domestic violence – yes, you traveled interstate but only to meet the alleged victim, not to harm them
  • Injuries were self-inflicted or accidental – you could also argue that the plaintiff went across the state and harmed themselves or was in an accident and he or she put the blame on you because of personal grudge

Entering plea bargains is also one available option that you could take, especially if your defenses are not deemed strong enough. Having both State charges and charges under domestic violence federal laws is extremely heavy for anyone so it is best to for a plea bargain if there seems to be any other way.

Still, the best thing to do to avoid all of this is not waiting for it to be a federal offense, stay where you are and get the help of a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about federal domestic violence laws to avoid it escalating it to something you do not want.

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