Nevada Supreme Court rules domestic battery defendants are entitled to a jury trial

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The Nevada Supreme Court ruled this week that changes to domestic battery laws by the 2015 Legislature elevated that crime to the point where it qualifies for a jury trial.

Until the appeal by Christopher Andersen, misdemeanor domestic battery was considered a petty offense that doesn’t qualify for a jury trial. Generally, offenses with six month or less maximum sentences including first time DUI’s do not warrant a jury trial

That has been the case for first offense domestic violence cases but the court said additional penalties change the game in this case. The additional penalty was to criminalize the possession or control of a firearm by some one convicted of domestic violence.

“In our opinion, this new penalty — a prohibition on the right to bear arms as guaranteed by both the United States and Nevada Constitutions — clearly reflects a legislative determination that the offense of misdemeanor domestic battery is a serious one,” the unanimous opinion issued this week states. “Given that the Legislature has indicated that the offense of misdemeanor domestic battery is serious, it follows that once facing the charge is entitled to the right to a jury trial.”


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