Understanding Nevada’s Domestic Violence Statutes

Domestic violence is a serious offense in Nevada and carries stiff penalties. The state code of Nevada, known as the Nevada Revised Statutes (“NRS”), defines domestic violence and provides the penalties associated with convictions for domestic violence.

Most people, when they think of domestic violence, think only of a battery committed by one spouse or partner against another. However, in Nevada it is defined much more broadly. NRS 33.018 explains that the crime occurs when one of a specific group of acts is committed by one person against another and the two parties have a certain relationship listed in the statute.

Domestic violence can be charged when the prohibited act is committed by the alleged offender against any of the following persons:
o A spouse
o A former spouse
o Any other person to whom the suspected offender is related by blood or marriage
o A person with whom the alleged offender is or was actually residing
o A person with whom the alleged offender has had a dating relationship
o A person with whom the suspected offender is having a dating relationship
o A person with whom the alleged offender has a child in common
o The minor child of any of the above persons
o The alleged offender’s minor child
o Any person who has been appointed the custodian or legal guardian for the alleged offender’s minor child

According to the NRS, a “dating relationship” means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional or sexual involvement. The term does not include a casual relationship or an ordinary association between persons in a business or social context.

As can be observed by reviewing the statutory language, domestic violence is a much broader offense than most people understand. It is not simply an act of violence against one’s spouse or dating partner. Domestic violence can exist between a former spouse or dating partner, or even a person who simply lives in the same residence as the potential offender.

Understanding the law is the first step in knowing how to protect your rights. It is important to stay composed if you find yourself in a situation that may be perceived as crime by an outside viewer. The actions you take may be misinterpreted by an observer or describe incorrectly by a participant in the argument. Try to avoid these situations all together if you can. However, if you find yourself in the midst of an argument, be respectful and never threaten or take any action against the other person.