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Spousal Abuse

Definition of Spousal Abuse in Nevada

Spousal AbuseSpousal abuse is a well-known type of domestic violence, and in fact, the most common type of domestic violence battery. Like all domestic violence battery, spousal abuse may involve physical, emotional, sexual, or verbal abuses to a spouse.

Because spousal abuse behavior and the consequences are very similar to domestic violence battery, Nevada does not have a separate crime of spousal abuse. Instead, any abuse in a domestic relationship, such as between an unmarried couple, qualifies as domestic violence. Current or former marriage is not a requirement for domestic violence battery charges.

What activities can be considered spousal abuse in Nevada?

Like all forms of abuse in domestic relationships (such as between a parent and child, a step-parent and a child, or two people involved in a romantic relationship), the legal consequences of spousal abuse in Nevada can be severe. It is important to understand that spousal abuse is more than hitting another person. Instead, all of the following activities may be considered spousal abuse:

  • Physical aggression;
  • Sexual abuse;
  • Intimidation;
  • Stalking;
  • Passive abuse, like neglect;
  • Endangerment;
  • Criminal coercion;
  • Harassment; and
  • Throwing objects or liquids at another person.

Depending on the case, depriving another person of the ability to sleep, use the bathroom, eat, or forcing them to use drugs or alcohol against their will may also be considered abuse.

Finally, less obvious activity can constitute spousal abuse, especially over time. This is usually considered emotional abuse and involves threats or intimidation that undermines the victim’s self-esteem and/or controls their freedom. You may have heard the following examples of this type of spousal abuse on the news in Nevada in these ways:

  • “If you leave me, I will kill you;”
  • Isolation from the victim’s friends or family;
  • Cutting off rightful access to financial and educational resources; and
  • Using excessive criticism, demeaning statements, and name-calling to establish control.

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As with any crime, spousal abuse must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecutor. For less obvious cases, the state may try to show a “pattern” of activities that are only abuse when considered together. This is not a simple situation to defend against, and is a good reason to hire a lawyer when you have been accused of spousal abuse that focuses on the feelings of the victim rather than any outward evidence of abuse, like a physical injury.

What if you have been accused of spousal abuse?

Like domestic violence battery, usually the police are called to the scene of a domestic dispute. There, the police will make a determination whether spousal abuse has occurred.

There is a mandatory arrest requirement for a person accused of spousal abuse in Nevada. This is true even if the police officers do not see evidence of a physical injury. Even if there are no physical injuries, or it is a first time offense, or that you have been married for a long time, the police will still arrest one of the partners.

The charges cannot be “dropped” by the spouse. Therefore, it is very important that you contact a spousal abuse defense lawyer in Las Vegas as soon as possible to help you avoid jail time and stiff penalties.

Learn more about the penalties for domestic violence battery.

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