Just days after being released from rehab, newlyweds Weston Cage (son of actor Nicholas Cage) and Nikki Williams were both arrested in California on felony Domestic Violence charges. According to reports, Nikki cut Weston on the arm with a bottle, punched him and threatened to jump off a balcony. Weston was arrested after police observed that Nikki had visible injuries also. There was blood all over the apartment, according to a witness. In addition, it was recently disclosed that Nikki is pregnant.
In Nevada, Battery is defined as: "any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another." The offense of Battery Domestic Violence is charged when the accused has a special relationship with the alleged victim, such as a current or former dating relationship, having a child in common, being related by blood or marriage or living together (with or without a romantic relationship).
Battery Domestic Violence is usually a misdemeanor offense, meaning it is punishable by up to six (6) months in jail. But, police and prosecutors can charge Domestic Violence as a felony under certain specific circumstances. Those circumstances include when: (1) an accused is charged with committing a third domestic violence related offense within seven years, (2) the alleged victim suffers substantial bodily harm, or (3) the offense is alleged to have been committed with a deadly weapon.
In order to prove the felony charge of Battery Domestic Violence, Third Offense, the prosecution must prove not only that the offense happened but must also prove that the accused has two valid prior convictions for a domestic violence related offense. To be considered "valid," the prosecution must show that the prior convictions comply with constitutional requirements.
To qualify as felony Battery Domestic Violence Causing Substantial Bodily Harm, the prosecution must establish that the offense occurred and that the alleged victim sustained either: "1. Bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ; or 2. Prolonged physical pain." NRS 0.060. Prolonged physical pain means suffering or injury that lasts longer than the pain immediately resulting from the wrongful act. Collins v. State, 203 P.2d 90 (2009).
To establish Battery Domestic Violence with a Deadly Weapon, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense occurred and that a deadly weapon was used in the commission of the offense. Nevada law provides that a deadly weapon is: "Any instrument which, if used in the ordinary manner contemplated by its design and construction, will or is likely to cause substantial bodily harm or death; [or] (b) Any weapon, device, instrument, material or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing substantial bodily harm or death . . ." A wide variety of items can be considered "deadly weapons" under Nevada law, including gun, knife, screwdriver, bottle, hammer.
Domestic Violence related offenses can be extremely complex. If you or someone you know has been arrested for or charged with Domestic Violence, it is important that you contact a Las Vegas Domestic Violence Lawyer right away. A Las Vegas Domestic Violence Attorney can assist you in analyzing the facts of your case, identifying appropriate defenses and providing you with the most aggressive defense strategy possible.