The basic definition of burglary is the same in California and Nevada: entering a structure or vehicle intending to commit certain crimes once inside. But the two states differ in whether or not they distinguish between residential and commercial burglary.
In Penal Code 459, California burglary law draws a distinction between first degree residential burglary, and second degree commercial burglary. Burglarizing a home can land someone in California Prison for six years, whereas burglarizing a commercial establishment carries only a four-year maximum sentence. Moreover, residential burglary is a strike under California's Three Strikes laws.
Nevada burglary laws , as defined in NRS 205.060, make no distinction between burglarizing a residential or commercial structure. Nor does Nevada burglary law have first and second degree variations. Furthermore, the penalties for burglary of any type are substantially harsher in Nevada. Any burglary conviction in the Silver State carries potentially up to 10 years of Nevada prison time.
Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Michael Becker, who practices in both states, explains that “maximum sentences” for various crimes do tend to be longer in Nevada than California. Nevertheless, he says that judges retain a great deal of discretion to show leniency (or not) depending on all the facts of the particular case. (Also refer to our article, "Five things to know about California burglary charges.")