Violent Crimes

In Nevada, violent crimes include arson, assault, battery, kidnapping, homicide, manslaughter, and robbery.


Arson involves willfully and maliciously setting fire to property. First-degree arson is burning buildings or occupied vehicles. Second-degree arson is burning abandoned structures. Third-degree arson is burning unoccupied vehicles or vegetation. Fourth-degree arson is burning anything else not included in those categories.

Many arson cases involve defendants burning their own property to collect insurance.

The penalties for arson include jail time and a fine:

  • 1st-degree: Two to 15 years and up to $15,000
  • 2nd-degree: One to 10 years and up to $10,000
  • 3rd-degree: One to four years and up to $5,000
  • 4th-degree: One to four years and up to $5,000 (and a possible additional $5,000 fine)

Defendants may also be ordered to pay restitution.

Potential defense strategies in arson charges include:

  • The incident was an accident (meaning, the offense lacked intent)
  • The fire was a natural disaster
  • The defendant has been falsely accused


Homicide, or murder, is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice. First-degree murder includes:

  • Premeditated killing
  • Felony murder down while the suspect is committing another felony, such as a robbery

Second-degree murder is unintentional killing in which the suspect acted so recklessly that death was a foreseeable consequence. The maximum penalty for first-degree murder is life in prison or the death penalty.

Possible defense strategies in defense cases include:

  • The defendant killed in self-defense
  • The killing was an accident, or unintentional
  • The defendant was mentally insane
  • The defendant’s confession was coerced
  • Law enforcement performed an illegal search
  • The defendant was misidentified as the killer


In Nevada, first-degree kidnapping is a crime that involves taking an adult or child for ransom or with the intent to commit harm, such as:

  • Extortion
  • Sexual assault
  • Robbery
  • Murder
  • Battery with substantial bodily harm

Kidnapping a minor child is considered first-degree kidnapping. Second-degree kidnapping includes all other acts of taking someone without lawful authority.

First-degree kidnapping is a category A felony that carries a prison term of 15 years, 40 years, or life.

If the victim sustained substantial bodily harm, the sentence may be one of the following:

  • Life in prison without the possibility of parole
  • Life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years
  • 40 years in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years

If the victim did not sustain substantial bodily harm, first-degree kidnapping is punishable by 15 years or life in prison with eligibility for parole after five years.

Probation is not an option for first-degree kidnapping if the defendant used a deadly weapon.


Robbery is a crime that involves stealing property from another individual through the use of violence, force, or fear of injury. Robbery and attempted robbery are category B felonies punishable by two to 15 years in prison. The use of a deadly weapon (armed robbery) can double the sentence.

Possible defense strategies in robbery cases include:

  • The defendant was misidentified
  • The defendant didn’t use force or threats
  • The defendant didn’t take or try to take anything

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