Penalties for domestic violence in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada are severe, even for a first offense. Domestic violence convictions are enhanceable, meaning that your first offense within any 7 year period is a misdemeanor, your second offense within 7 years is also a misdemeanor, and your third offense within 7 years is a felony. Here are the penalties for first, second, and third offense domestic violence in Clark County, Nevada.
2 days to 6 months in jail
If you are convicted of battery domestic violence first offense, at least two days in jail is mandatory. The maximum sentence is six months in jail. In many cases, however, your case can be negotiated or otherwise dealt with to avoid any jail time. In rare cases where jail time cannot be avoided, house arrest may be an option.
48 to 120 hours community service
If you are convicted of battery domestic violence first offense, you will be ordered to complete a minimum of 48 hours of community service. Community service is any unpaid work you do for a non-profit organization that helps the community. Many people choose to volunteer for a church or community center if they are required to do community service.
$200 to $1,000 fine
If you are convicted of battery domestic violence first offense, you will be ordered to pay a fine—a minimum of $200 and a maximum of $1,000—plus administrative fees. With administrative fees included, the current minimum is $345 in fines and fees. Fines may be avoided if your case is negotiated to a lesser offense, your case is dismissed, or we go to trial and win. But in cases where fines cannot be avoided, you will ordinarily have the option of completing additional community service instead of paying a fine.
6 months to 12 months of domestic violence counseling
If you are convicted of battery domestic violence first offense, you will be required to attend domestic violence counseling. The "shorter" domestic violence counseling course is 6 months long. You will have to attend weekly classes, in-person. So that is 26 classes total, with each class being 1.5 hours long. There are several agencies that offer domestic violence counseling spread around throughout Las Vegas and Clark County, and each is a little different. You will also have to pay for the counseling. Prices vary somewhat between counseling agencies, but currently the 6 month program costs about $800. The long-term domestic violence counseling program, which is 12 months long, is similar except that it consists of 52 classes, each 1.5 hours. It will cost twice as much.
It is possible to avoid domestic violence counseling in many cases. If the case is dismissed or otherwise disposed of without a conviction, you won't have to complete domestic violence counseling. In cases where that is not possible, I may be able to negotiate your case so that you only have to complete anger management or impulse control counseling, both of which are less time-consuming and less expensive.
Drug and alcohol counseling
If you are convicted of domestic violence, and alcohol or drug abuse played a factor in the alleged domestic battery, the judge may order you to complete a drug and/or alcohol assessment, and complete any follow-up treatment deemed necessary. This may include attending AA or NA meetings, although many times drug and alcohol counseling may be handled through adding a drug or alcohol component to the mandatory 6-month domestic violence counseling.
"Stay away" order
If you are convicted of domestic violence, the judge may order you to "stay away" from the alleged victim until the case is closed. That means no contact whatsoever with the alleged victim, either directly or third parties, until the case is closed. This can be ordered even if the alleged victim wants to remain in contact with the defendant. A "stay away" order is similar to a temporary protective order ("TPO") although it is a separate and distinct order. If a TPO is dissolved, it does not affect the stay away order, and vice versa. Violations of a "stay away" order can result in jail time due to contempt of court.
If you are convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, you can be deported unless you are a United States citizen. So if you are not a United States citizen, it is important that you plead your case to something less than domestic violence (and, in fact, less than a simple battery) or get the case dismissed.
If you are convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, you lose your gun rights permanently under federal law. So it is very important for people who value their gun rights to avoid a conviction for domestic violence. Moreover, it is not enough to have the charge reduced to a simple battery. You will still lose your gun rights under federal law. You will have to plead to a lesser offense, like a disorderly conduct, or get the case dismissed, in order to save your gun rights.
A second conviction for battery domestic violence within 7 years is a misdemeanor, but all the minimum requirements are increased. The minimum jail sentence is now 10 days (but the maximum is still six months), and the minimum fine is $500 (but the maximum is still $1,000). The community service requirement is increased to a minimum of 100 hours, and a maximum of 200 hours. Finally, for a second conviction for domestic violence within 7 years, the defendant will be required to complete 12 months of domestic violence counseling.
A third offense for domestic violence within 7 years is a felony, punishable by a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years. Moreover, the judge cannot suspend that sentence and grant the defendant probation. This means that if you are convicted of third offense domestic violence, you will spend a minimum of one year in a Nevada prison before you are eligible for release on parole. For more information about felony domestic violence, click here.