In the state of Nevada, there are strict rules regarding when child support and spousal support must be paid. When you divorce or have a child out of wedlock, a spouse or a parent with custody of a child can petition the family court to have a child support or spousal support order entered. If support is not paid in accordance with a court order, there are a number of different approaches taken to try to force the payment of the funds that are due. Many of these proceedings are handled in family court.
In some circumstances, however, failing to support a spouse, a former spouse, or a minor child could actually rise to the level of criminal conduct within the state of Nevada. The state rules regarding the crime of failure to support a spouse or child are found in Chapter 201 of Title 15. Title 15 is Nevada’s Penal Code, and Chapter 201 is the part of the penal code detailing crimes against public decency and good morals.
This means that, if you have failed to provide adequate support for your spouse or have failed to provide adequate support for your child, you could find yourself facing serious criminal charges. You need to have an attorney who understands the criminal laws in the state of Nevada and who can help you to decide on the best approach to take when you are being prosecuted.
LV Criminal Defense is here to help. We have represented defendants accused of many different violations of Nevada’s criminal law, including many offenses against public morality. We can put our substantial legal experience to work to help you decide on the best response to charges, so give us a call for assistance today.
The subsection of Chapter 201 that deals with the crime of failure to support a spouse, former spouse, or child includes Nevada Revised Statutes section 201.015 through 201.080. Collectively, these statutes establish the definitions of words used within the law, explain which court has jurisdiction over the case, provide details about the evidence that can be presented and the defenses that can be raised, and establish both the definition of the criminal conduct and the penalties that could be imposed upon a defendant who has been convicted of failure to support a spouse or child.
According to Nevada Revised Statute section 201.020, a defendant could be convicted of a misdemeanor criminal offense for a knowing failure to provide for the support of a current or former spouse or a minor child. A defendant could also be convicted for a failure to support a child who has reached the age of adulthood but who remains unable to support himself or herself as a result of infirmity, incompetence, or any other legal disability contracted before the child reached the age of majority.
However, a defendant could actually be charged with a more serious crime, a Category C felony, if the amount that the defendant owes for nonpayment of child support or for nonpayment of spousal support ordered by the court totals at least $10,000. If the defendant is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of Nevada Revised Statute section 201.020 and the defendant owes at least $5,000, the defendant could also be charged with this Category C felony offense.
The same statute which establishes the rules and penalties also makes clear that the defendant can be prosecuted for a failure to pay spousal support or child support in any court in a county where the court issued the child support or spousal support order; where the defendant lives; where the custodial parent who the support is owed to lives; where the child the defendant owes support for resides; or where the current or former spouse who is owed money resides.
For purposes of this statute, a minor child is defined to include a child that is not emancipated and that has not yet reached the age of maturity. The statute also makes clear that in a criminal case for failure to pay support, there is no greater evidence required to prove that a marriage took place, or to prove that the child in need of support is the child of the defendant, than the evidence that would be required in a civil action.
Husbands and wives can testify against each other in cases related to failure to pay child support or spousal support, and statutes that normally prohibit husbands and wives from testifying against each other and disclosing confidential information shared between spouses do not apply in these proceedings. This is an important rule to ensure that either spouse is able to testify against his or her husband or wife for failure to pay support that is due.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
While accusations of nonpayment of spousal or child support are very serious, there are defenses that can be raised when a defendant has been accused of a crime in connection with nonpayment. For example, Nevada Revised Statute section 201.051 sets forth the requirements for raising an affirmative defense centered around being unable to pay child or spousal support. A defendant will need to provide a written notice before trial of intent to claim he or she was unable to afford support and will need to provide information on witnesses that will testify on his behalf.
LV Criminal Defense can help you to determine if raising an affirmative defense is an appropriate course of action given the evidence against you and the nature of your alleged offense. You should involve a lawyer as soon as possible to be your advocate as you make decisions throughout your case that could affect your future.
A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney at LV Criminal Defense can provide representation as you fight charges for failure to support a spouse, former spouse, or child. If you are accused of not paying support, we can work closely with you to decide on the best course of action for resolving your case and hopefully getting criminal charges dismissed or reduced. To discover more about how our legal team can provide assistance, give us a call today.