Overview of Nevada’s Stand Your Ground Law and How It Impacts a Claim of Self Defense

You are walking to your vehicle after an enjoyable night at El Cortez Hotel and Casino. A random person approaches you aggressively with a weapon and demands you give them all of your money and cell phone. You reasonably fear that this person is going to seriously harm you so you decide to pull out your firearm (concealed and carried lawfully) and shoot this individual. They die as a result. Could you be sent to prison for these actions?

Answer: Likely not. Or, at the very least, you have a strong defense against any homicide charges.

In Nevada, there are self-defense laws designed to protect a person from being punished when they use justifiable force against another person in a circumstances where force is necessary to protect themselves, a loved one, another person needing assistance, or their property.

Nevada also has a stand your ground law. According to § 200.120 of the Nevada Revised Statutes, a defense of justifiable homicide may be asserted and no duty to retreat exists when the killing of another individual was necessary self-defense and the following conditions are met:

  • The defendant was not the original aggressor;
  • The defendant had a right to be present at the location where deadly force was used; and
  • The defendant was not engaging in criminal activity at the time deadly force was used.

This is slightly different from § 200.200 of the Nevada Revised Statutes which states that a person can kill another person in self-defense if it appears that (i) the danger was so urgent and pressing that, in order to save their own life, or to prevent the person from receiving great bodily harm, the defendant reasonably determined that the killing was absolutely necessary; and (ii) the person killed was the assailant, or that defendant endeavored to decline any further struggle before the deadly blow was initiated.

In addition to being able to stand your ground to protect yourself, under Nevada Revised Statute § 200.160, you can justify committing homicide when it is done in the lawful defense of your spouse, a parent, child, sibling, or of any other person in your presence or company when one, or some, of these individuals is in imminent danger of being harmed. Homicide is also justifiable and defendable if someone attempts to commit a felony upon you, in your presence, or in your home.

Reasonableness Standard

It is important to understand that if you use deadly force while defending yourself or others, you need to have more than general fear or concern. You, through your Las Vegas criminal defense attorney, must present evidence reflecting the fact that the circumstances igniting your fear were sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person and you truly acted under those fears and not in revenge or with some other malicious intent.

How a Las Vegas Defense Attorney Utilizes the Stand Your Ground Law

Your Las Vegas legal defense team can, and should, utilize every statutory provision it can in order to protect you and your legal rights. A skilled and effective Las Vegas defense lawyer should be proactive when asserting the Stand Your Ground Law on your behalf and may even be able to prevent criminal charges from being filed, or dismissed if they have already been filed.

With proper legal representation, you may be entitled to immunity from prosecution for any harm, even death, which you inflict as a result of your efforts to lawfully defend yourself.

Bear in mind, the procedures associated with securing a dismissal of criminal charges can become quite complex. If you are looking to rely on the Stand Your Ground Law, you need to make sure you have must an experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive, Las Vegas defense attorney willing to advocate on your behalf.

Take Action Today – Contact LV Criminal Defense

If you or a loved one was charged with a violent crime in or around Las Vegas and the alleged victim instigated the conflict, contact Las Vegas criminal attorney Nick Wooldridge and the skilled legal team with LV Criminal Defense.

We will aggressively pursue a claim of immunity on your behalf to prevent arrest, indictment, and/or prosecution. At each and every stage of the criminal process we will be fighting on your behalf.