Assault with a deadly weapon is a serious crime in Nevada that will result in a felony charge, jail time and steep fines if a conviction is made. Anyone who is facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon should immediately seek the counsel of an experienced attorney who understands the complexity of this type of crime and can begin building your defense right away.
The Differences Between Assault/Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Battery
The crime of assault with a deadly weapon, if convicted in a court of law, is a category B felony in the state of Nevada – but the legal definition of the general crime of assault itself is often unclear or misunderstood. Many people immediately associate the crime of assault with the crime of battery, and while it is very common for the two charges to be paired together, they are actually separate acts that are distinctly different.
● Assault (as defined by NRS 200.471) is an unlawful attempt to use physical force against another person or intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm.
● Battery (per NRS 200.481 is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.
While both crimes involve the intent to harm, the primary difference between assault and battery lies in the physicality of the act. Harmful physical contact is what makes the crime one of battery. Assault involves only the clear threat and potential follow through or attempt and failure to do physical harm without any actual contact being made.
● Assault with a Deadly Weapon – With the clarification of the terms above, assault with a deadly weapon becomes more easily understood as someone attempting or threatening physical harm to another person with the use of an instrument that has been defined by law as a “deadly weapon”. One important point in this type of assault charge is that the deadly weapon does not actually have to be actively used in the assault. The definition extends to include weapons that are not just in the hand or elsewhere accessible on the body of the offender, but also weapons that are in reasonable reach. The victim in this crime doesn’t even have to see the deadly weapon in order to bring this charge against someone – they just have to believe that the intent to be harmed with a deadly weapon was real. This also encompasses cases in which someone attempts to harm someone else with an object, by trying to hit them with something or throwing something at them but misses.
Legally Recognized Deadly Weapons
Nevada defines a deadly weapon (in NRS 193.165) as “any instrument which, if used in the ordinary manner contemplated by its design and construction, will or is likely to cause substantial bodily harm or death” and “any weapon, device, instrument, material or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used is readily capable of causing substantial bodily harm or death”.
The following instruments are recognized as deadly weapons in the state of Nevada:
● Revolvers, pistols and other firearms (loaded or unloaded)
● Incendiary or explosive devices
● Daggers, swords, dirks, or switchblade knives
● Billy clubs bats, metal knuckles, and blackjacks
● Paintball guns, BB guns, and spring guns
Other instruments can also potentially be recognized as deadly weapons depending on their usage in relevant circumstances.
Penalties for the Conviction of Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Nevada classifies assault with a deadly weapon as a category B felony if convicted. The penalties for this crime include:
● From 1 to 6 years in prison
● Fines up to $5,000
Defending a Charge of Assault with a Deadly Weapon
There are many possible ways to defend a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Some of the most common defenses for this crime include the following:
- Acting in Self Defense – If you were only defending yourself against harm in the situation that led to your charges, it is possible to prove this and have your charges dismissed. The state of Nevada does allow people who are in what they feel is a dangerous or life-threatening situation to defend themselves up to the point needed to alleviate or end that danger. A new product on the market is self-defense insurance or CCW Insurance. We were invited by the USCCA to join the Critical Response Team for Nevada. USCCA gives you up front bail money and covers all of your legal fees.
- No Deadly Weapon Present – If there is a way to prove that someone was threatening the use of a deadly weapon but that there was not actually anything that could be considered a deadly weapon present at the time of the altercation, then it can sometimes be possible to have the charges reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed.
- Lack of Intention – The perception of an assault is often detailed only by the victim of an alleged assault, meaning that there are cases in which the threat or fear experienced by the victim was misconstrued for some reason. An attorney who has experience with assault cases can often prove in these circumstances that there was no real threat or intention to cause fear or harm behind the actions that led to the assault charge.
- Lack of Reasonable Apprehension – Because assault requires an intentional act meant to deliberately cause fear or harm, in some cases, it is easy to prove that the defendant was not acting in a deliberate way but that the alleged victim became unreasonably apprehensive on their own.
It is up to the prosecutor to prove to the jury that an unlawful attempt was made to use physical force against the victim, that the threat of physical harm with the use of a deadly weapon was intentional and that the deadly weapon in question was used or available to use to make these threats.
Assault cases can quickly become complicated and often involves a lot of conflicting details and statements. If you or someone you love has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, we encourage you to contact our offices today. We offer a free case evaluation and a professional level of the knowledge and experience needed to make a difference in the defense of an assault case.