Las Vegas Not Charging Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Cases

State Says Defendants Are Entitled To Jury Trials

Associated Press
October 04, 2019 - 6:22 am

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The city of Las Vegas has stopped charging people with misdemeanor domestic violence after the state Supreme Court said defendants in the cases are entitled to jury trials.

The city instead will now be prosecuting such cases as simple battery.

Both are misdemeanors, but domestic violence can become a felony on the third offense. It also requires mandatory counseling for defendants.

The Las Vegas Municipal Court handles about 5,000 misdemeanor domestic violence cases annually that usually are resolved in bench trials.

Some say municipal courts statewide are ill-equipped to handle jury trials.

The high court ruling last month cited a state law that prohibits those convicted of domestic violence from possessing a firearm. The court said the potential loss of a constitutional right makes the crime a “serious offense.”