The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department ("LVMPD") treats allegations of domestic violence very seriously. In fact, the Las Vegas Metro Police estimate that they fielded nearly 60,000 calls each year from individuals claiming to be the victims of an assault by someone in their household. In many cases, the policies of these agencies mandate an arrest after the accusation is made, even if the officer has serious doubts about the truth of the allegations. After an arrest, it is wise to seek out the services of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
False or exaggerated allegations could lead to an arrest or charge for domestic violence. In some cases, that false allegation is the only evidence that the crime was committed. False allegations can be made to gain an advantage in a divorce or child custody case. False allegations can also be made out of spite or in an attempt to control another person in a relationship. Both men and women can be accused of this serious offense.
After a false or exaggerated allegation of domestic violence, avoiding a conviction can be critical. Having a domestic violence offense on a person's criminal record could jeopardize his or her future career opportunities and create other long-lasting problems. This type of conviction could also prohibit a person from possessing a firearm. If you have been accused of domestic violence, then contact an experienced attorney immediately.
Lawyer for Domestic Violence in Las Vegas, Nevada
If you have been charged with any act of domestic violence in Las Vegas or the surrounding areas of Clark County, contact an experienced Las Vegas domestic abuse attorney at Gallo Law Office. Your reputation and future are paramount. James C. Gallo can help you protect both.
Attorney James C. Gallo will handle your case. He works hard to understand your concerns and help you find the best way to fight the case at every stage. Never make a statement to law enforcement about the allegation until after you have retained an attorney. Gallo Law Office represents clients throughout Clark County, including Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite and North Las Vegas. Call (702) 385-3131 or contact him online to schedule a free initial consultation.
Definition of Domestic Violence
Under Nevada law, "domestic violence" is defined by the relationship of the victim to the perpetrator, not by the acts committed. In domestic violence cases, these relationships between the parties can include:
- Sexual or intimate partners (including unmarried and LGBT couples);
- Qualified dating relationship;
- People who are related by blood;
- People related by shared biological parenthood;
- People related by their own minor child;
- Current or former family or other household members;
- A parent and child; and
- A child in the care or custody of the people described above.
Because of these unique relationships between the alleged abuser and a victim, the charges can become complicated. In some situations, the victim may want to have the charges dropped. However, when domestic violence is alleged in Nevada, the victim is not able to drop the charges. The prosecutor assigned to the case will investigate and determine if he or she will prosecute the case.
Domestic Violence Offenses
Domestic abuse cases rarely involve a single incident. In most cases, the domestic violence is alleged to involve a pattern of behavior. The pattern can involve allegations of physical violence or threats of physical violence, such as hitting, punching, kicking, pinching or inflicting burns. The accusations also could involve emotional and sexual abuse.
Examples of felonies committed in the context of domestic violence can include:
- Battery causing substantial bodily injury;
- Battery with a deadly weapon;
- Assault with a deadly weapon;
- Aggravated stalking;
- Sexual assault;
- Burglary; and
Several other acts could qualify as domestic violence, depending on the context. Battery, assault, stalking, false imprisonment, brandishing a deadly weapon and harassment all could qualify as misdemeanor domestic violence offenses.
Child abuse, child neglect and child endangerment could be included domestic violence offenses, depending on the relationship between the child and his or her alleged abuser. These allegations could be used when parents of a child are separated or seeking custody. It is important to defend yourself against the charges.
Determining the Primary Aggressor
Many domestic violence cases involve an accusation of mutual combat. In those instances, law enforcement officers make an attempt to determine the “dominant aggressor” or “primary aggressor.” In making that determination, prosecutors will look at the following factors:
- The comparative extent of injuries or serious threats creating a fear of physical injury
- History of domestic violence between the parties involved
- Comparative sizes and vulnerability of the parties involved
- Demeanor of the parties involved, including emotional state
- Any weapons used or threatened for use by either party
- Witness statements
- The environment in which the violence occurred
Additionally, officers will interview the parties and determine if either party makes any claims of self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, coercion or trespass. They also will examine them for the presence of defensive wounds, which could include scratches on a person's face, arms and hands or to the victim's neck in cases involving strangulation.
Penalties Associated with Domestic Abuse
When a person is convicted of a domestic violence offense, he or she could face various penalties, depending on the severity of the charge and his or her criminal history. Generally, misdemeanor domestic violence offenses could include jail time, fines or both. However, if it is a second offense, the charges could be more severe.
Felony sentences could include years in prison, expensive fines or both. A person also may be required to attend domestic violence counseling or even pay the cost of counseling for another party involved in the offense, including a child.
Victims in domestic violence cases can seek a protective order against his or her alleged abuser. The court-issued order likely would be a temporary order designed to restrict the interaction between the two parties. The alleged victim could file for a permanent order after the temporary one expires. Violating either could lead to criminal charges.
Firearm Possession Prohibition after a Conviction and Right to Trial by Jury
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, you will be prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to State and Federal law. It is illegal to possess a firearm after conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Because the consequences of a domestic violence conviction affect one's constitutional right to bear arms, the Nevada Supreme Court recently authorized tril by jury for misdemeanor domestic violence allegations.
The prohibition on possessing a firearm applies to any person who has been convicted of such misdemeanors at any time, even if the conviction occurred prior to the new law's effective date. A qualifying misdemeanor domestic violence crime must have as an element the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.
If a person who has been prohibited from possessing a firearm is caught in possession of one, he or she could face additional criminal charges. This could mean jail sentences, expensive fines or various other court-issued sanctions.
Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence - The NNADV provides education, support and advocacy throughout the State of Nevada to organizations that help prevent domestic violence. NNADV provides technical assistance, advocacy training and a resource library to many of Nevada's domestic violence programs and supports Nevada's direct-service organizations that service victims of domestic violence and their families.
Domestic Violence in Las Vegas, Nevada - Visit the official City of Las Vegas website to learn more about how domestic violence cases are investigated and prosecuted in Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada. Find information on the definition of domestic violence, why charges were filed, whether the case will be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony, testifying in court, dropping charges, and safety plans.
Finding an Attorney for Domestic Violence Defense in Clark County
If you were arrested for any domestic violence offense in Las Vegas or the surrounding areas of Clark County, contact an experienced domestic violence attorney at Gallo Law Office. Whether the allegations involve a felony or misdemeanor, James C. Gallo is ready to discuss the facts of the case with you. Call (702) 385-3131 for a free consultation either over the phone or in the office.
Studies show that for nine of the past ten years, Nevada has ranked among the top 10 states for the rate of women killed by men, according to the Violence Policy Center. The center's most recent report, based on 2012 data, ranked Nevada in sixth place out of all the states. Since law enforcement and prosecutors will treat the allegations seriously, you need an attorney that treats your defense just as seriously.
Misdemeanor cases that occur within the City of Las Vegas are prosecuted by the City Attorney's Office while felony cases are prosecuted by the Clark County District Attorney's Office. The Clark County District Attorney's Office also prosecutes misdemeanor cases that occur outside the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and Mesquite. Through every stage of the case of the case, from the arraignment, pre-trial conference through trial, James C. Gallo will fight to protect your rights.