H1: THE NEVADA SUPREME COURT NOW ALLOWS JURY TRIALS FOR DOMESTIC BATTERY CHARGES
H2: CURRENT PENALTIES FOR DOMESTIC BATTERY (FIRST)
In Nevada, the first Domestic Battery conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail, counseling, and a fine.There was no right to a jury trial.
H2: NEVADA LEGISLATURE THEN NEVADA SUPREME COURT CHANGE DOMESTIC BATTERY LAW
Last year the Nevada Legislature added a penalty for domestic battery convictions. Those convicted of Domestic Battery can no longer own firearms. The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the US and Nevada Constitution. Christopher Andersen appealed his Domestic Battery conviction when he was denied a jury trial. The Nevada Supreme Court agreed and held that everyone who is charged with Domestic Battery is entitled to a jury trial. Why is this important?
H2: IMPACT ON HOW DOMESTIC BATTERY CHARGES ARE PROCESSED
Currently, most domestic battery cases are resolved with a plea of no lo contendere. The defendant does not plead guilty but admits that the state has enough evidence to convict him or her. there are some differences in the effect of a plea of no lo contendere and a finding of guilt. This has helped the courts work through the domestic battery cases on its docket. Jury trials take longer than bench trials. It is harder to convince six jurors than it is one person., Now that those accused of domestic battery have the right to a jury trial, it will slow the resolution of these cases. I will certainly advise my clients to ask for a jury trial. I do not think that the justice and municipal courts in this state are set up to handle jury trials.
H2 IMPACT ON FAMILY LAW
How does this impact family law cases? Per NRS 125c.0035 the court considers about thirteen factors to determine the best interest of the child and custody arrangements. One factor is whether it can be shown by clear and convincing evidence that there has been domestic violence. Family law cases and criminal cases move at different speeds. Now that those accused of Domestic Violence will be able to ask for a jury trial, this will slow down the adjudication of the criminal trials. The Family Court judge may be forced to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine if domestic battery did occur. The defendant in the criminal matter will not be able to testify as that testimony could be used in the criminal trial.
If you have any questions about this or any other legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.