What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Nevada?
This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting an order for protection. Domestic violence includes:
- battery (physical violence including slapping, punching, strangulation, etc.);
- assault (attempting to use physical force against you or intentionally placing another person in reasonable fear of immediate bodily harm);
- sexual assault;
- false imprisonment;
- multiple acts (a “course of conduct”) that are committed with the intention of harassing you. The acts include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- destruction of private property;
- carrying a concealed weapon without a permit;
- false imprisonment;
- injuring or killing an animal;
- burglary; or
- home invasion.1
For these acts to be considered domestic violence, you have to have a specific relationship to the person doing the act. See Who is eligible for an order of protection? for more information.
1 N.R.S. § 33.018
What types of orders are there? How long do they last?
There are two types of orders in Nevada:
A temporary order for protection is an order that can be granted based on your testimony or any evidence you present to the court in your application. If a judge finds that the abuser committed an act of domestic violence or there was a threat of domestic violence, the judge should grant you a temporary order without considering any other factor. The judge must make a decision within one judicial day of receiving your application. A temporary order can last up to 45 days or until your hearing for the extended order. If law enforcement is unable to serve the respondent within the 45 days before your hearing or if there is evidence that the respondent is hiding to avoid being served, the judge can postpone the hearing for 90 days and then for another 90 days, if necessary.1
Note: There can be a different way to get a temporary order rather than going to court to file it. If the abuser was arrested for domestic violence, you may be able to communicate with a judge by electronic means to request the order while the abuser is in police custody/jail. The judge can then issue an order and send it to where the abuser is in custody so that s/he can be served. The court would then mail you a copy of the order and have it filed in court within one business day. A judge should be available 24 hours/day, seven days/week in counties with a population of 52,000 or more; in a county with less than 52,000 people, it is optional for the county to make judges available 24 hours per day.2
An extended order for protection is awarded by a judge only after a hearing in which you and the abuser each have an opportunity to present evidence and tell your different sides of the story.3 An extended order lasts for up to two years.4 The expiration date should be on the first page of the order. Note: In Clark County, if there is divorce or custody case already pending, many of the domestic violence commissioners will only extend the order to 60 days.5
1 N.R.S. §§ 33.020(1)-(7); 33.080(1)
2 N.R.S. § 33.020(8)-(10)
3 N.R.S. § 33.020(4)
4 N.R.S. § 33.080(3)
5 Local Rule for the 8th District in Clark County, EDCR 5.22(k)
What protections can I get in an order for protection?
A temporary order can:
- Forbid further threats, harassment, or injury to you or your minor child either directly or through a third party;
- Order the abuser to stay out of your home;
- Prohibit the abuser from entering your place of employment, school, or other specified location;
- Award you temporary legal custody of children;
- Provide other relief the court considers necessary in an emergency situation;
- Prohibit the abuser from physically injuring or threatening to injure any animal owned by you, your minor child, or the abuser (and from taking possession of any animal owned by you or your minor child) either directly or through someone else; and/or
- Order anything else that is necessary.1
An extended order can grant everything mentioned above and the following additional things:
- Award you custody of your children and force the abuser to pay child support;
- Establish visitation arrangements and require supervision by a third party if necessary;
- Order the abuser to make rental or mortgage payments on the home in which you are living;
- Reimburse you for lost earnings and expenses due to you having to attend any hearing for an extended order;
- Make arrangements for the possession and care of any animal owned or kept by either party or your minor child;
- Order the abuser to pay all or part of the costs and fees you spent to file and get the order for protection;2
- Force the abuser to turn over to law enforcement or sell/transfer any firearms to a licensed firearm dealer within 24 hours of service (receipt) of the order for protection and prevent him/her from having or buying firearms while the order is in effect.3 Before ordering this, the judge must consider:
- any documented history of domestic violence;
- whether the abuser has used or threatened to use a firearm to injure or harass you, your child, or any other person; and
- whether the abuser has used a firearm while committing (or attempting to commit) any crime.
- Note: Even if the judge orders that the abuser cannot have or possess a firearm, there could be an exception made to allow the abuser to use or possess a gun during his/her job. Three conditions must be met, however:
- it is required by the employer that s/he use or have a firearm;
- s/he only uses it while performing his/her job duties; and
- the employer will store the firearm during any period when the abuser is not working.4
1 N.R.S. § 33.030(1)
2 N.R.S. § 33.030(2)
3 N.R.S. §§ 33.031(1); 33.033(1)
4 N.R.S. § 33.031(2),(3)
If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?
When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.
There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:
- The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
- One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
- If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.
However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.
You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.
Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.