In Nevada, you have the right to protect yourself and others when facing an unprovoked threat of physical harm. Despite acting in self-defense, some people have been arrested for assault, battery, or even homicide after using force against another person. Reno criminal defense lawyer William J. Routsis understands that self-defense can be a complicated issue to present effectively. He has successfully argued self-defense theories on behalf of many defendants in Reno and other areas of Nevada and California.Nevada Self-Defense Laws
Generally, it is a crime to intentionally inflict a bodily injury upon someone else. However, using reasonable force against another person is permitted in some situations under Nevada law. An individual may defend themselves or another person with force as long as they reasonably believe that they are facing an urgent or pressing threat of bodily harm to them or another person, and as long as they use no more force than needed to deflect the threat. Typically, you have no duty to retreat before defending yourself in your home or in another place in which you have a legal right to be if you did not initiate the fight, and if you were not otherwise violating the law at the time.
Using deadly force or killing someone in self-defense is only allowed in limited circumstances. A homicide is justified in Nevada if the defendant or someone else was in imminent danger of death or substantial bodily harm, and a reasonable person in the same position would be in fear for their own life. Furthermore, the act cannot be committed out of revenge. Lethal force may also be justified to stop a home invasion in Nevada. Under the castle doctrine, you may use deadly force against an intruder who enters your home while you are present. The homicide may be justified even if you do not believe that the intruder is going to kill you or cause bodily harm.Establishing Self-Defense in a Criminal Case
If the defendant in a criminal case in Reno or elsewhere in Nevada has acted in self-defense, they should be able to avoid being convicted of a crime. Self-defense may be asserted as a defense against most violent crimes, such as assault, battery, domestic violence, and homicide. In Nevada, self-defense is an affirmative defense. While the prosecution has the burden to prove that the defendant committed the alleged crime, the defendant has the initial burden to raise the issue of self-defense. If the record contains some evidence to support the defendant’s claim of self-defense, the burden then shifts to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in legitimate self-defense.
It is important to show that the defendant’s fear was reasonable and that the amount of force used was lawful under the circumstances. Evidence used to assert self-defense in a criminal case may include video or audio recordings from surveillance cameras and cell phones, testimony from medical examiners and other experts, and eyewitness testimony from individuals who were present when the incident occurred. Each case is different, and a qualified attorney can examine the facts and details of your situation for evidence of self-defense.Retain a Criminal Lawyer in the Reno Area to Contest Your Charges
If you are being prosecuted for an alleged violent crime, but you were acting in self-defense, an experienced criminal attorney can help you assert your innocence. William J. Routsis has represented defendants for over two decades in felony and misdemeanor criminal cases, including assault, domestic violence, and homicide. He understands the complexity of a self-defense claim and can assist you in presenting the evidence in the best possible light. Mr. Routsis serves defendants in communities such as Carson City, Elko, Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe, Susanville, Winnemuca, and Quincy. To request a free consultation regarding your case, contact us online or call our office at (775) 337-2609.