An Explanation and Discussion of Nevada's Burglary Laws
In NRS 205.060, the state of Nevada defines burglary as the entry into any home, business, structure, vehicle, plane or railcar with the intent to do any of the following inside:
- Commit larceny or grand larceny
- Commit assault or battery on any person
- Commit any felony
- Obtain money or property by false pretenses
Mere "Intent" to Commit These Crimes is Sufficient Under Nevada Burglary law
To charge someone with burglary in Las Vegas or throughout Nevada, the prosecutor need not prove that the suspect actually committed any of these crimes inside the structure or vehicle. Merely having the criminal intent to do so--at the time of entry--is sufficient.
For example, suppose a suspect walks into a Las Vegas store intending to steal merchandise. He brings in a bag in which he plans to place items and then leave without paying. However, once inside he becomes frightened, or feels guilty about his plan, and decides not to steal anything.
The suspect can still be charged with burglary under Nevada law-because he intended to commit larceny at the time he entered the structure, even though he never followed through on the actual theft. This assumes, of course, that the prosecutor can prove he had this intent upon entering the store.
* Note that "Larceny" under Nevada Law is the taking of property from another person without that person's consent. If the value of the property taken exceeds $650.00, the offense may be charged as "Grand Larceny" under Nevada Law.
Breaking and Entering is Not Required Under Nevada Burglary law
Under NRS 205.060, breaking and entering is not an element of Nevada's burglary law. A suspect need not engage in any sort of forced entry to be charged in a Las Vegas burglary case. He or she could enter through an open or unlocked door, or even be invited inside. If he or she enters intending to commit one of the crimes listed above, a burglary has taken place.
*Note however that if the suspect does unlawfully break and enter a structure or vehicle, the judge or jury is instructed to infer that the suspect did so with a "burglarious intent." See NRS 205.065.
Penalties for Burglary in Las Vegas Nevada
A person convicted of burglary in Nevada is guilty of a "Category B Felony" and faces punishment of between 1 year and 10 years in Nevada State Prison, plus a fine of up to $10,000. If a gun or other deadly weapon was used, the prison time is 2 to 15 years. If the defendant is a repeat offender, he/she is not eligible for probation.
If you're an alien in Nevada, a burglary conviction may be enough to get you thrown out of the country as well. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your alleged burglary may qualify as an "aggravated felony" or a "crime involving moral turpitude in Nevada," which are grounds for removal from the U.S. Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys may be able to plead down your case to a non-deportable offense or modify your conviction.
Fighting a Las Vegas Burglary Charge
If you've been arrested for or charged with this offense, seek the counsel of a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer with experience fighting Nevada burglary cases. We've handled hundreds of burglary cases, both as prosecutors and defense lawyers. Many problems may exist with the state's evidence, and it may be possible to secure probation, a charge reduction or even a dismissal.
No Distinction Between Residential and Commercial Burglary
California Penal Code 459 draws a distinction between first degree residential burglary and second degree commercial burglary. Burglarizing a home is more serious under California burglary law than burglarizing a business, and the penalties for the former are much stiffer. In NRS 205.060, Nevada burglary law draws no such distinction. Burglary of a home, commercial establishment or vehicle are the same class of crime, and the penalty range is the same for each.