Assault Defense Attorney In Reno, NV
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Criminal charges involving aggressive, threatening, and violent actions are among the most serious crimes one can face. This includes charges of assault. Although many are familiar with this charge, few understand that although the terms “assault” and “battery” may be used together or interchangeably, they are actually distinct and separate crimes in Nevada. The key difference is that while battery involved actual physical contact (such as a punch) assault can occur without physical contact.
Assault, as it is defined by law, can be best understood as attempted battery. Per Nevada statute, assault involves intentionally making another fear that they will be physically harmed.
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What defines the assault:
Assault, as it is defined by law, can be best understood as attempted battery. Per Nevada statute, assault involves intentionally making another fear that they will be physically harmed. Providing this requires prosecutors to establish that:
- A defendant had the intent to commit an assault; and
- The alleged victim was aware the assault was happening at the time.
The elements of a defendant’s intent and a victim being aware may seem vague, but they are important to understand in terms of assault charges. As an intent-based crime, assault involves a person who can reasonably be expected to commit a crime. Whether or not they truly intended to doesn’t mean they still can’t be charged. For example, threatening another person in a way that would reasonably cause them to fear immediate physical force (and cause them to be “aware” of being assaulted) is enough to constitute intent
Assault Crimes and Penalties
In Nevada, assault, as well as battery, may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Charges and penalties therefore depend largely on the specific issues involved, as well as whether there were other aggravating circumstances present. For example, charges and penalties can be enhanced when the following factors are present:
- Prior convictions for assault / battery
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Assault involving strangulation
- Assault / battery resulting in substantial bodily harm
- Assault committed in federal facilities such as airports
- Assault against “protecting class” individuals (i.e. police officer, teachers, firemen, etc.)
- Assault with the intent to commit a serious felony (i.e. robbery, sexual assault, etc.)
While penalties depend on a range of circumstances, there are some general guidelines Nevada uses in cases of both misdemeanor and felony assault. These include:
Misdemeanor assault (simple assault) – Punishable by fines, community service, and up to 6 months or, in cases where alleged victims are members of a “protected class” up to 364 days in jail.
Felony assault – Fines and between 1 to 4 years in a Nevada state prison, or between 1 to 6 years in prison if a deadly weapon was involved.
Defending against assault allegations requires a focus on the elements involved, including intent. As such, common defense strategies may introduce concepts of self-defense, accidental conduct (lack of intent), consent (in situations where participants such as athletes are presumed to consent to physical contact), and a lack of reasonable fear of immediate physical harm. However, because the unique circumstances of a case have such a large impact on charges and penalties, defense strategies must be tailored accordingly.
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Joey Gilbert Law is comprised of proven Reno criminal defense attorneys who leverage decades of experience to fight for clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies. If you have been charged with assault, battery, or a related offense, you can be confident knowing that when you choose our firm, we prioritize personalized attention and customized defense strategies to seek the best possible outcome – whether that means reduced charges and penalties, alternative sentencing, or case dismissals and acquittals.
To discuss an assault case in Reno or any of the surrounding areas of Nevada, call 775-210-1501 or contact us online for a confidential case review. We’re available 24/7!