Nevada "Unlawful Hotel Key Use" Laws (NRS 205.900)
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

In a city like Las Vegas built on hotels, police expect some hotel keys will fall into the wrong hands.  And a conviction for unlawfully using a hotel key carries not only high fines and jail time . . . it goes on your record and could turn off employers from hiring you especially in the hotel industry.

Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers have many "not guilty" verdicts to our credit.  Even better, we can usually get charges resolved in our clients' favor without going to trial at all.  To learn about the law, defenses and penalties for the Nevada offense of unlawful use of a hotel key, scroll down:


The legal definition of "unlawful use of a hotel key" in Las Vegas, Nevada, makes it a crime for someone to have unauthorized possession of a hotel key under circumstances which demonstrate the person's intent to commit a crime.

Examples of unlawful use of a hotel key in Nevada may include:

  • a hotel employee secretly taking a key to a vacant room from the front desk in order to do drugs in the room or engage in prostitution there, or
  • swiping someone else's hotel key in order to steal furniture or other hotel property from the room

Prosecutors may bring charges for both the unlawful use of a hotel key as well as any crimes the defendant allegedly committed (or attempted to commit) in the hotel room.  Common offenses include:


There are many possible ways to fight allegations of unlawful use of a hotel key in Las Vegas.  Three typical defenses include:

  • No possession of the key:  You're not liable for unlawful use of a hotel key if you never had possession of the key in the first place.  If your attorney can show that you never wielded control over the key, the charge shouldn't stand.
  • No intent to commit a crime:  You're not guilty of violating NRS 205.900 if you didn't intend to commit any other crime.  As long as the prosecution can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you meant to use the key for illegal purposes, the case should be dismissed.
  • Unlawful police conduct:  If the police executed an illegal search of your body or belongings in order to find the key, your attorney may file a Nevada motion to suppress asking the judge to disregard any and all evidence uncovered from the police's unlawful activities.  If the judge agrees, chances are good the D.A. will throw out the charges for lack of proof.

The Las Vegas crime of unlawful use of a hotel key is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada.  The sentence carries:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

In some cases the D.A. may be willing to lower this crime to something less serious such as the Las Vegas offense of trespass, which is only a misdemeanor in Nevada.  The punishment may include:

    • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
    • up to $1,000 in fines

But it's very rare for a judge to order jail time for trespass unless you have an extensive criminal record.

Accused?  Call our lawyers . . . .

If you've been charged with unlawful use of a hotel key under NRS 205.900, call 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673).  Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers can consult with you for free about us maybe getting the charges reduced or even dismissed.  We're also prepared to take your matter to a jury and fight for your innocence at trial if necessary.

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