In the state of Nevada, it is unlawful to libel someone. If you commit libel, you could be sued by the person whom you libel. In addition to potentially being sued, it is possible that you could be convicted of the crime of libel.
There are very specific requirements for a defendant to be found guilty of a libel offense. If you have been accused of libel, you need to understand how the law in Nevada works and what a prosecutor would need to prove in order for you to be convicted of the criminal offense.
It is also important to make smart choices regarding what defenses you raise or what approach you take in responding to the charges. To make sure you approach the charges in the best way possible designed to reduce the likelihood of conviction or lessen the possible penalties for the offense of libel, you should get legal help from a Nevada criminal defense attorney with experience handling libel cases.
LV Criminal Defense can provide the representation that you need when you have been charged with libel. Libel is part of Chapter 200 of Nevada’s criminal code, which is the chapter in which crimes against persons are defined. We have provided representation to defendants accused of all different kinds of crimes within Chapter 200 and we have considerable legal experience that we can apply to your case to help you navigate the criminal justice system. To find out more about the ways in which we can assist you, give us a call today.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
According to Nevada Revised Statute section 200.510, libel is defined as a malicious defamation that is intended to expose the defamed person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule. A defendant can be found to have libeled someone when the defamation is expressed in print, in writing, on a sign, on pictures or similar media, or in any other form designed to disseminate the libelous information.
In order for a prosecutor to prove libel, the prosecutor must show that the malicious defamation was likely to blacken the memory of the dead; likely to impeach the integrity, honesty, virtue, or reputation of the victim; or likely to publish the natural defects of the living person, living person’s community, or association of persons who are being defamed.
Both writers and publishers can potentially be convicted of a criminal offense for committing libel. As N..R.S. 200.510 explains, any person who is convicted of libel under the relevant statute would be convicted of a gross misdemeanor offense. This includes writers and publishers.
However, a defendant who has been accused of libel can introduce evidence during court proceedings that show the allegedly defamatory statement was a true statement. If the jury determines that the statement was, in fact, a true statement and if the jury also determines that the communication being called libelous was both true and published for a good motive and for justifiable ends, the defendant should be acquitted. The jury has the right to determine both how the laws on libel apply as well as the facts of the case including whether the statement was true and appropriately disseminated or not.
Within the libel subsection of Chapter 200, there are additional statutes addressing other aspects of libel charges in addition to the basic definition found within N.R.S. 200.510.
For example, N.R.S. 200.520 defines what publication means for purposes of the libel statute. N.R.S. 200.530 explains the circumstances under which an editor and a publisher can be held legally responsible for defamation crimes. N.R.S. 200.550 provides information on what happens when someone has furnished libelous information and what penalty can be imposed, and N.R.S. 200.560 details the penalty for the offense of threatening to publish libel. Finally, N.R.S. 200.540 establishes the rules for the venue where the criminal proceedings must take place in libel cases.
For purposes of the laws related to criminal libel, a publication is broadly defined to include any method of communication of the defamatory statement. Editors and publishers of publications, including books, newspapers and serials, and managers or copartnerships or corporations that issue books, newspapers, or serials, could all potentially be charged with libel.
However, if publishers or editors are charged with criminal libel, they can introduce evidence in court to show that the defamation was published without their knowledge or fault and/or was published against their wishes by another defendant who did not have authority to make the publication. If it was published without the knowledge or wishes of the editor or publisher and the editor or publisher wishes to avoid criminal liability for it, the editor or publisher would need to show that the defamation was retracted as soon as it became known and that an equal degree of publicity was given to the retraction as was given to the initial statement.
The laws are clear on the circumstances under which an individual, an editor, or a publisher could potentially be criminally prosecuted for libel as a result of publishing a false statement for purposes of causing harm. The penalties for this offense can be serious and, in some cases, it is possible for defendants convicted of this gross misdemeanor offense to face jail time.
Because of the potentially serious consequences, LV Criminal Defense should be contacted as soon as you come under investigation for libel. Our dedicated and experienced legal team will fight aggressively to help you defend your reputation, your career, and your freedom. Give us a call today to find out about the ways in which our Las Vegas criminal defense law firm can provide you with help as you navigate the criminal justice system and face libel charges.