There are situations where these charges may be lessened or dismissed, especially if the victim entered the home or property of the attacker. How or why assault with a deadly weapon charges are dismissed is specific to each case.
What are deadly weapons in Nevada?
Nevada Revised Statutes § 193.165, defines a deadly weapon as any object that can induce death or serious bodily injury when used in an ordinary way. Materials are also included in this broad definition. Using an item that is normally unassociated with inflicting bodily injury falls under this statute as well.
Some of the more common deadly weapons that Nevada recognizes include:
- Spring guns;
- Incendiary or other explosive devices;
- Small bladed knives like switchblades or dirks;
- Trefoils, nunchaku or throwing stars;
- Brass knuckles, Billy clubs and similar;
- Firearms of all kinds; and,
- Nail, paint and similar guns propelled by compressed air.
Other weapons may fit this classification, including nuclear waste or gases.
On what grounds can these charges get dismissed?
Clark County prosecutors shoulder 100% of the burden of proving your guilt in assault cases. With enough mitigating evidence, your attorney can dissuade the jury from buying into conjecture or conflated truths.
To successfully defeat charges of assault with a deadly weapon, your attorney may assert these defenses:
- Lacks element of intent. The law clearly separates accidental from intentional. There must be an element of intent in the assault case, which self-defense or accidents would lack. According to Nevada Revised Statutes § 200.471, the victim must have feared for their life in order for simple assault to survive reasonable doubt; that element no longer exists if your intention was to leave them alone but they attacked you first.
- Weapon was not deadly. Your attorney may present evidence that the weapon allegedly used to commit the felony was not deadly.
- Defending yourself. Should someone come onto your property or illegally enter your home, Nevada allows homeowners to protect themselves and family with force provided that force is not excessive.
Penalties if convicted
If Clark County prosecutors are successful in proving their case, defendants may face between 1 and 6 years in prison, fines, restitution and loss of gun ownership privileges. Repeat offenders may be subject to additional fines, sentences and penalties deemed appropriate by the judge.
Should you face these charges, you must retain counsel immediately. Evidence and witnesses are two key elements of your case, and the prosecutor will have both prior to charging you. To defend yourself and get these charges dismissed, your attorney needs access to the weapon allegedly used, witnesses to the crime, and your police statement if one was given.
Facing charges of assault with deadly weapon?
If an investigator has indicated you might be under arrest soon, or an investigation has been launched, you should immediately invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. If you wish to cooperate, do so under the tutelage of an experienced defense attorney. Do not attempt to hide or discard the weapon if the crime lab has yet to find and process it; this could immediately implicate you.
In cases where assault with a deadly weapon could lead to significant jail time, or the victim is fighting for their life, you should immediately hire an attorney and prepare for potential voluntary manslaughter or similar charges.