Is "housebreaking" different from "squatting" in Nevada law?

Posted by Unknown | Dec 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

Yes. In 2015, the Nevada Legislature created the new crime of "housebreaking." "Housebreaking” under Nevada law is entering a vacant dwelling for the purpose of unlawful residency (“squatting”). The elements of housebreaking under NRS 205.0813 are:

  1. the suspect forcibly enters an uninhabited or vacant dwelling, and
  2. the suspect knows (or has reason to believe) that such entry is without the permission of the owner or an authorized representative, and
  3. the suspect has the intent to take up residence or provide a residency to another.

Examples of dwellings are houses, hotel rooms, dorms, houseboats, motor homes, and guesthouses. A person can still be convicted of housebreaking even if he/she does not end up squatting there. This is very similar to the Nevada crime of home invasion. Both crimes require forced entry. The difference is that with home invasion cases are not usually concerned with the perpetrator taking up residence in the dwelling. 

A first housebreaking conviction is a gross misdemeanor carrying up to 364 days in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,000. A second or subsequent housebreaking offense is a category D felony carrying 1-4 years in Nevada State Prison, and maybe a fine of up to $5,000. And if the defendant has three or more housebreaking convictions, the court must sentence him/her to prison.

Common housebreaking defenses include that the building does not qualify as a dwelling, there was no forcible entry, there was no intent to squat, or the suspect reasonably believed he/she had permission to enter. For more information, see our article, "Is squatting a crime in Nevada?"



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