NRS 207.180 – Penalties Associated with Sending Threatening or Obscene Letters

Sending Threatening or Obscene LettersAccording to NRS 207.180, it is a crime to threaten another person through letters or writing to another person, anonymously or otherwise. Threatening letters can include threats to:

  • Maim, wound, kill or murder
  • Burn the person’s house
  • Destroy the person’s property

It is also a crime to attempt to extort money or property from a person by sending a letter that:

  • Accuses that person of a crime, or
  • Threatens to reveal that person’s failings

Obscene letters are letters that include:

  • Vulgar language
  • Obscene pictures
  • Reflections about that person’s standing the community

There are a few key provisions of this statute. First, it extends well beyond simply threatening physical violence, it also includes accusing a person of a crime, or threatening to reveal private information about their illnesses or failings. Second, the letter can be sent through various means, it is not limited to letters sent through the mail but also letters sent through a private messenger, email, public publication, or other media. Third, the crime covers letters sent anonymously, signed by the actual letter sender, and letters bearing a fictitious name.

Defenses to a threatening letter charge under NRS 207.180

If you or a loved one have been charged with violating NRS 207.180 in Nevada, it is important to remember that the burden is proof is upon the State of Nevada to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you have committed the crime. Most crimes have defenses that can be raised to refute the state’s argument. An experienced attorney may raise the following defenses against a charge of threatening letters or writing:

  • Mistaken identity. The State of Nevada must show that you were the one who sent the letter. If the letter was sent anonymously, an attorney can call into question whether you were the sender of the letter.
  • Not obscene. The question of what is and isn’t “obscene” is a difficult and ultimately subjective one in the law. There is no simple definition of obscenity. An attorney may argue that although you did send the letter, the pictures or writings included in the letter do not reach a level of obscenity and therefore no crime was committed. This defense would, of course, apply to any allegedly obscene letters, but not to any allegedly threatening letters.

Potential Penalty for Committing the Crime of Threatening Letters or Writing under NRS 207.180

The crime of threatening or obscene letters or writings is a misdemeanor crime. Therefore, if a person is convicted of such a crime they can face:

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  • Up to $1000 fine
  • Up to Six (6) months in a county jail
  • Both

Charged with Violating NRS 207.180? Take Action and Contact LV Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been charged with sending a threatening letter in Nevada, contact our team of seasoned and aggressive Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys. Depending on the facts of your case, we may be able to persuade the prosecution to reduce the charges or to drop them all together so your record stays clean.