Falsely identifying, or avoiding identification, as the father of a child is a serious crime in Nevada.
What is the legal definition of Paternity Fraud?
Paternity Fraud is defined in NRS 201.085.
NRS 200.800 – Definition; penalty.
- A person is guilty of paternity fraud if the person:
- Is ordered by a court to submit, or agrees to submit, to a test for genetic identification to determine the paternity of a child and knowingly assists, aids, abets, solicits or conspires with another person to have someone other than himself submit to the test for the purpose of preventing a determination that he is the father of the child;
- Submits to a test for genetic identification to determine the paternity of a child in place of the person who has been ordered to submit, or who has agreed to submit, or who has agreed to submit, to a test for genetic identification to determine the paternity of a child for the purpose of preventing a determination that the person for whom he is taking the test is the father of the child; or
- Knowingly assists, aids, abets, solicits or conspires with another person;
- To commit a violation of paragraph (a) or (b); or
- To render inaccurate the results of a test for genetic identification to determine the paternity of a child.
- A person who violates this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
What exactly is “Paternity Fraud”?
Paternity fraud actually encompasses two different crimes.
- Taking a fraudulent paternity test – In other words, causing false results on a paternity test you are taking; and
- Assisting someone else to take a false paternity test – In other words, helping to cause false results on someone else’s paternity test.
What do you mean by “causing false results”?
The most common way this is usually done is by having someone take the paternity test in your place.
However, any other actions that would cause an inaccurate result on a paternity test are also illegal. Whether altering the sample that is submitted, the results that the sample provides, or altering what the results of the test show, any form of altering the results is illegal.
Please Note: Causing the results of a paternity test to be inaccurate is always illegal, regardless of the outcome of the test. The test may falsely identify the wrong person as a child’s father, or it may falsely show that a child’s biological father is not the father. Either way, affecting the results is a violation of NRS 201.085.
What are the possible penalties?
A violation of NRS 201.085 is a gross misdemeanor, and a conviction will carry:
- Up to 364 days in jail; and/or
- Possible fines up to $2,000.
It is important to note that anyone involved in the false results can be charged under NRS 201.085.
Please Note: NRS 201.085 is a crime of fraud. Consequently, if there are two or more people involved in the fraud, then the prosecutor may be able to charge everyone involved with Conspiracy as well. For a more in-depth explanation of Conspiracy, please click here.
Are there any Defenses?
Yes, of course there are. However, the defenses will depend largely on the specific circumstances and will revolve mostly around whether the prosecutor can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you intentionally attempted to falsify the results of a paternity test. If you can create any doubt as to whether your actions were intentional, then the charges against you should be dropped or dismissed.
What should I do if I’ve been charged with Paternity Fraud?
As with any crime, it is very important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that you can discuss the specific circumstances as well as any defenses that may apply to your case.