Nevada "Home Invasion" Laws (NRS 205.067)
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

Definition

The Nevada crime of invasion of the home is when someone forcibly enters an inhabited dwelling without permission of the lawful occupant or owner. It makes no difference whether there are people physically present in the dwelling at the time of the alleged intrusion.

Unlike the Nevada crime of burglary, home invasion requires that the defendant "break and enter." 

Penalties

Home invasion is prosecuted as a category B felony in Nevada. The sentence includes:

But if the defendant possessed a firearm or deadly weapon at any point during the alleged invasion, the punishment is increased to:

  • 2 - 15 years in prison, and
  • up to $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Depending on the case, it may be possible to plea bargain an invasion of the home charge down to trespass or a full dismissal.

Defenses

Possible defenses to NRS 205.067 charges are:

  1. The defendant had permission to enter,
  2. The defendant did not forcibly enter the premises,
  3. The dwelling was not inhabited, and/or
  4. The structure was not a dwelling

If the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, the case may be thrown out.

In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:

home invasion in Nevada
Forcibly entering an inhabited dwelling without permission violates NRS 205.067.

1. What is the legal definition of "invasion of the home" in Nevada?

The Nevada crime of invasion of the home has four elements:

  1. The defendant forcibly enters the structure;
  2. The structure is a dwelling;
  3. The dwelling is inhabited (note that it does not need to be permanently and continually inhabited);
  4. The defendant has no permission from the homeowner or lawful occupant to enter the premises.1

Note that the residents do not need to be present in order for an intrusion to qualify as an invasion of the home. Henderson criminal defense attorney Michael Becker provides an example:  

Example: Greg decides to play a prank on his friend Marvin. Greg uses a crowbar to force open a window to Marvin's Las Vegas house while Marvin is away at work. Then Greg plants a stink bomb and leaves. Greg repairs the window before he goes. A neighbor sees Greg breaking in and calls the police, who arrest Greg for home invasion.

Even though Greg repaired the window, Greg could be convicted of home invasion in Nevada because:

  • The house was a dwelling because Marvin lived there,
  • Greg forcibly entered the house by breaking the window,
  • The house was currently inhabited by Marvin even though Marvin was away at the time, and
  • Greg had no permission from Marvin to enter the home

Note that breaking into a business or an abandoned property does not qualify as a home invasion because those properties are not "inhabited dwellings."2

1.1. Home Invasion vs. Burglary

burglary

Home invasion and burglary are separate crimes in Nevada with completely different definitions and penalties:

The Nevada crime of burglary is the entry into a home, business, or structure with the intent to commit either a felony, larceny, obtaining money by false pretenses, assault or battery inside.

Unlike invasion of the home, burglary may occur in any building or vehicle whether it is inhabited or not. Furthermore, someone may be convicted of burglary even if there was no forcible entry. Finally, people are not guilty of burglary unless they intended to commit a crime inside the structure when they entered it.3

1.2. Home Invasion vs. Robbery

Home invasion is also very different from the Nevada crime of robbery. Robbery is the unlawful taking of personal property from the person of another (or in their presence) against their will and by force or fear of injury.

Unlike invasion of the home, robbery requires that a victim be present and that something gets stolen. So if someone breaks into a home while no one is there and steals a stereo, that person may be guilty of home invasion but not robbery because no one was there. (Certainly, that person could also be prosecuted for larceny for taking the stereo.)4

2. What are the Nevada penalties for home invasion?

Invasion of the home is prosecuted as a category B felony in Nevada. The punishment includes:

home invasion in Nevada
  • One to ten (1 - 10) years in prison, and
  • up to $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)5

But if the defendant possessed a gun or lethal weapon at any time during the alleged home invasion, the sentence is increased to:

  • Two to fifteen (2 - 15) years in prison, and
  • up to $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)6

Note that a judge may not grant probation to a defendant convicted of invasion of the home in Nevada if that defendant has previously been convicted of home invasion or of burglary.7

2.1. Plea bargains

Depending on the case, it may be possible to persuade the prosecutor to reduce an NRS 205.067 charge down to trespass. As only a misdemeanor, trespass carries:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines8

3. What are the defenses to Nevada charges of home invasion?

NRS 205.067 is a very specific offense that applies in narrow circumstances. Therefore, it lends itself to very particular defenses such as:

  1. The defendant had permission to enter,
  2. There was no forcible entry,
  3. The dwelling was uninhabited, and/or
  4. The structure was not a dwelling

Note that it is not a defense that nobody was present in the dwelling at the time of the alleged entry.

3.1. The defendant had permission to enter

A defendant is not liable for violating NRS 205.067 if he/she was authorized to enter the home by the owner or lawful occupant.

home invasion in Nevada

Example: Anna invites her neighbor Margaret to her Las Vegas home as a peace offering after quarreling about Anna's barking dog. Once Margaret arrives however, she says she will not leave unless Anna promises to get rid of her dog. Anna says no, and Margaret refuses to leave her home. Anna calls the police, who arrest Margaret for trespass for refusing to leave Anna's property.

Since Margaret had Anna's permission to enter Anna's home, the police do not have grounds to arrest Margaret for invasion of the home. It makes no difference that Margaret may have intended to stay on the premises when she entered Anna's property.

3.2. There was no forcible entry

Home invasion charges require that the defendant break and enter. Entering a dwelling with no "act of physical force resulting in damage to the structure" does not qualify as an NRS 205.067 violation, even if the person enters without permission.

Example: Margaret is angry at her neighbor Anna because she lets her dog bark. So Margaret enters through Anna's back door, which she keeps unlocked, and leaves a nasty letter on Anna's fridge threatening her with legal action if she does not quiet her dog. When Anna later finds the note, she calls the police. The police then arrest Margaret for trespassing on Anna's property.

Margaret could have faced invasion of the home charges if she broke into a locked door or broke into a locked window in order to enter Anna's home. But since she did not forcibly enter her way into Anna's home, Margaret should not be prosecuted under NRS 205.067.

3.3. The dwelling was uninhabited

Home invasion charges attach only when the dwelling is currently being lived in. A home in which no one lives cannot be a site for home invasion.

home invasion in Nevada

Example: Anna moves out of her house and puts it on the market. Her former neighbor Margaret is resentful of Anna for all the years Anna let her dog bark. So Margaret breaks into Anna's back door and leaves her a nasty letter spelling out what a terrible neighbor Anna was. Anna sees Margaret breaking in through a hidden camera she installed and calls the police. The police then arrest Margaret for trespass and malicious mischief for breaking the back door.

Margaret is not criminally liable for home invasion because Anna's home was currently uninhabited. If Anna still lived there but was merely away at work or on vacation, then Margaret could be criminally liable for home invasion.

3.4. The structure was not a dwelling

NRS 205.067 charges are applicable only to spaces where people live. Breaking into a storage unit or office building does not qualify as home invasion.

Example: Margaret wants to get back at her neighbor Anna for letting her dog bark. So Margaret breaks into Anna's shed in the backyard and leaves a muzzle with a nasty note. Anna calls the police, who arrest Margaret for trespass and for malicious mischief for breaking into the shed.

Since the shed was not a dwelling, Margaret should not face charges for home invasion for forcibly entering the shed.

4. Can I seal a Nevada conviction of home invasion?

A defendant should be eligible to get a Nevada home invasion conviction sealed once five (5) years pass after the case ends. But if the charges get lessened to a misdemeanor or dropped, a record seal should be available much earlier:

Nevada "Invasion of the Home" Conviction

Waiting period to get a record seal

Home Invasion (category B felony)

5 years after the case ends

Trespass (misdemeanor)

1 year after the case ends9

Dismissed charges (no conviction)

Immediately10

5. Can I be deported for home invasion?

The law is currently unclear. But if the defendant had a firearm, the court is more likely to classify "invasion of the home" as an aggravated felony--a class of deportable offenses.11

it is important that aliens facing criminal charges hire representation right away. An attorney can try to negotiate with prosecutors to change the charges to non-removable offenses. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.

6. Related offenses

6.1. Nevada Squatting laws (NRS 205.0817)

The key element of the Nevada crime of unlawful occupancy ("squatting") is the defendant has knowledge that he/she has no permission to take up residence. Even if the defendant had permission to enter, he/she can be arrested as a squatter if he/she then lives in the dwelling without permission.

Unlawful occupancy is a Nevada gross misdemeanor, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • a fine of up to $2,000.12

6.2. Nevada Housebreaking laws (NRS 205.0813)

home invasion in Nevada

The Nevada crime of housebreaking has three elements:

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

A first housebreaking offense is a gross misdemeanor, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • a fine of up to $2,000.13

6.3. Nevada Unlawful Reentry laws (NRS 205.082)

Like it sounds, the Nevada crime of unlawful reentry is reentering real property the defendant has previously occupied without the permission of the lawful owner.

Unlawful reentry is a gross misdemeanor, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • a fine of up to $2,000.14

Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...

If you have been accused of invasion of the home under NRS 205.067, phone 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation. Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers may be able to negotiate with prosecutors in order to get the charges lowered or dismissed. And if necessary we are ready to fight for your rights at trial.


Legal References

  1. NRS 205.067 Invasion of the home: Definition; penalties; venue.

          1. A person who, by day or night, forcibly enters an inhabited dwelling without permission of the owner, resident or lawful occupant, whether or not a person is present at the time of the entry, is guilty of invasion of the home.

          2. A person convicted of invasion of the home is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000. A person who is convicted of invasion of the home and who has previously been convicted of burglary or invasion of the home must not be released on probation or granted a suspension of sentence.

          3. Whenever an invasion of the home is committed on a vessel, vehicle, vehicle trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, airplane, glider, boat or railroad car, in motion or in rest, in this State, and it cannot with reasonable certainty be ascertained in what county the crime was committed, the offender may be arrested and tried in any county through which the conveyance, vessel, boat, vehicle, house trailer, travel trailer, motor home or railroad car traveled during the time the invasion was committed.

          4. A person convicted of invasion of the home who has in his or her possession or gains possession of any firearm or deadly weapon at any time during the commission of the crime, at any time before leaving the structure or upon leaving the structure, is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 15 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.

          5. As used in this section:

          (a) “Forcibly enters” means the entry of an inhabited dwelling involving any act of physical force resulting in damage to the structure.

          (b) “Inhabited dwelling” means any structure, building, house, room, apartment, tenement, tent, conveyance, vessel, boat, vehicle, house trailer, travel trailer, motor home or railroad car in which the owner or other lawful occupant resides.

    Dunham v. State, 134 Nev. Advance Opinion 198 (Sep 6, 2018)("We must determine whether the word "resides" as used in the definition of "inhabited dwelling" in Nevada's home invasion statute, NRS 205.067(5)(b), requires the "owner or other lawful occupant" to dwell permanently or continuously. We conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing Dunham's proffered instruction defining "resides" because an owner need not permanently or continuously dwell in a house for the house to be an inhabited dwelling.").

  2. Id.
  3. NRS 205.060; see Rodriguez v. State, 117 Nev. 800, 32 P.3d 773 (2001)("[C]onsidering the specific facts of this case, the aggravators of home invasion and burglary are duplicative and cannot be used as separate aggravating circumstances; accordingly, we conclude that the aggravating circumstance of home invasion is invalid.").
  4. NRS 200.380.
  5. NRS 205.067.
  6. NRS 193.165.
  7. NRS 205.067.
  8. NRS 207.200.
  9. NRS 179.245.
  10. NRS 179.255.
  11. 8 USC § 1227; note that the U.S. Supreme Court in Sessions v. Dimaya, No. 15–1498 (2018) invalidated the law that required mandatory deportation for "crimes of violence."
  12. NRS 205.0817.
  13. NRS 205.0813.
  14. NRS 205.082.

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