NRS 207.200 - Nevada Trespass Laws
(Explained by Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys)



NRS 207.200
is the Nevada trespass law that prohibits people from "willfully going or remaining upon any land or in any building after having been warned by the owner or occupant not to trespass."

Most Las Vegas trespass cases involve casino patrons who allegedly refuse the security officers' orders to leave the premises.

NRS 207.200 classifies trespass as a misdemeanor in Nevada carrying a penalty of:

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

But Clark County prosecutors are often willing to dismiss the charge completely if the defendant pays a fine. Common defense strategies to Nevada trespass charges include demonstrating that:

  • The defendant had the right to be there;
  • The defendant had the consent of the landowner to be there;
  • The landowner did not give sufficient notice via signage and fences to stay off the property; and
  • The defendant was exercising First Amendment rights.

In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss the following topics related to Nevada trespass laws:

sign
In practice, most trespassing cases have nothing to do with jumping fences and ignoring "no trespassing" signs. Instead, most trespass cases stem from people refusing to leave a Nevada casino.

1. The legal definition of trespass in Nevada (NRS 207.200)

NRS 207.200 defines "trespass" in Nevada as either:

  1. Going onto another persons' property with the intent to annoy the owner or occupant or to commit a crime there,1 or
  2. Willfully going on or remaining on another person's property after having been warned by the owner or occupant not to trespass.2

In short, a person faces a trespass citation or arrest by going -- or remaining on -- other people's land without their consent.

The word "trespass" brings to mind intruders climbing over fences or "breaking and entering" in defiance of NO TRESPASSING signs. However, most Las Vegas trespass arrests occur in casinos when people merely refuse to leave, or refuse to stay away.

1.1. Las Vegas casino trespass arrests

women in front of casino
People who are ordered to leave a casino face Nevada trespass charges for refusing to go.

The typical trespass arrest happens after a casino security guard asks a rowdy or intoxicated patron to leave, and the patron refuses. Henderson criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse provides an illustration:

Example: Jose attempts to break up a fistfight at the Hard Rock Hotel's Circle Bar. Security arrives on the scene and presumes Jose is the one making trouble. The guard tells Jose to leave the premises. But Jose stays where he is and tries to explain the situation.

The guard grabs Jose and takes him to a detaining room. Soon an officer from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department comes to arrest Jose and book him at the Clark County Detention Center for not leaving the premises when asked to.

In the above example, it makes no difference that the Hard Rock Hotel is a public place or that the security guard was mistaken about Jose participating in the fistfight. After a property owner (or a person with authority over the property) asks someone there to leave, he/she must comply or risk NRS 207.200 charges.3.

Another common trespass scenario concerns patrons who return to casinos from which they have already been banned ("trespassed"). Henderson criminal defense lawyer Michael Becker gives an example:

Example: Security at Green Valley Ranch escorts Libby out for being too loud and orders her to stay away until the following day. Libby goes back inside just to retrieve her prescription meds from her hotel room. Upon seeing her back inside the casino, security calls the police to book Libby at the Henderson Jail for trespass.

It is irrelevant that Libby in the above example needed her medicine or that she intended to leave the hotel as soon as she retrieved her medicine. The mere act of going back onto property grounds after having been ordered to stay away violates NRS 207.200.

Consequently, many Las Vegas patrons with hotel rooms face a catch-22 when they are ordered to leave: They can either stay out and be deprived of their belongings, or go back inside and risk arrest. The best thing people can do in this situation is to kindly ask the security guard to escort them to their room so they can gather their things.

1.1.1. Length and scope of casino trespass bans

roulette wheel
Some people are temporarily "trespassed" (banned) from Nevada casinos, while others are permanently "trespassed."

Every casino has its own policies for how long a ban of a particular patron lasts. For instance, Mandalay Bay might allow a trespassed person back the following morning once he/she sobers up. Meanwhile, Harrah's Reno may institute a permanent blacklist.

Note that many people who are banished from casinos never receive written confirmation or notice. Instead, security orally advises them while they are being thrown out that they are no longer welcome. Also, note that this ban usually extends to all the casino's sister properties. Laughlin criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse illustrates this concept:

Example: Penny gets kicked out of the Mirage for allegedly soliciting prostitution in Nevada under NRS 201.354, and she gets flagged as "banned" at all MGM Mirage properties. So next month when Penny attends a job fair at the MGM, she risks security recognizing her name and getting arrested for trespass.

In practice, the Clark County District Attorney rarely press trespass charges stemming from bans that are more than one-year-old. So if Penny in the above example went to the MGM five years following the Mirage incident and got arrested for trespass, there is a good chance prosecutors would dismiss her case.

Anyone who has been ordered to leave a Nevada casino is advised to retain legal counsel to investigate how long the ban is in place for and if it can be lifted. Even people who are permanently trespassed from a casino may be able to apply for "reinstatement" after six months or so.

police car flashing lights
Some Nevada trespass suspects never get arrested and instead receives a summons in the mail.

1.1.2. How casino trespass arrests play out

If a casino security guard in Nevada suspects a person of violating NRS 207.200, security will take the person to a detention room. At that point, either one of three things will occur:

  1. Security contacts the police, who will then arrest and book the person at the local jail; or
  2. Security contacts the police, who will then issue the person a citation with instructions to appear in court at an arraignment in Nevada (where charges are formally brought); or
  3. Security releases the person after getting his/her name and contact information, which security will then pass along to law enforcement. If the D.A. decides to press trespass charges, the person will receive a summons in the mail ordering him/her to appear in court for an arraignment.

Trespass suspects who are behaving cooperatively and non-threateningly may be able to avoid an arrest; instead, they may receive a citation or "summons in lieu of arrest" (abbreviated SIL) without having to be booked into jail.4

Note that people who receive a citation or a summons in lieu of an arrest need to be careful not to ignore it. Failing to appear in court in Nevada (NRS 199.335) is a separate crime carrying fines and/or jail, and the judge will issue a Nevada bench warrant for the defendant's arrest.5 But since trespass is such a minor offense, defendants can usually avoid appearing in court as long as they hire an attorney to go for them.

1.2. Other trespass situations in Nevada

The Nevada crime of trespass can also occur on residences and other businesses:

Example: Ivy's ex-boyfriend Ian shows up at her rental house in Mesquite despite her telling him never to set foot there again. If Ivy contacts the police, Ian would probably be arrested and booked at the Mesquite Jail for committing trespass (and perhaps the Nevada crime of stalking under NRS 200.575 as well) for going on Ivy's property in defiance of her orders never to come back.

As a tenant, Ivy in the above example can lawfully order Ian to stay away from her house. It makes no difference that Ivy does not actually own the home.6

Note that Nevada law automatically presumes people are guilty of trespass if they are found on someone else's private property which is fenced in or marked with "no trespassing signs."7

Example: Dirk is hiking by the perimeter of Red Rock Canyon and sees a picket fence. He jumps over the fence and resumes his hike. But since Nevada law deems being on fenced-in land as "prima facie" (plain and clear) evidence of trespass, Dirk can be liable for trespass even if he honestly did not realize he was on private property.

Therefore, Nevada judges may convict people of trespass for being on private, fenced-in land even if they had no knowledge they were trespassing. But if a landowner sees trespassers and verbally admonishes them to leave, the police will typically not arrest them as long as they leave quickly.

handcuffs
Trespass is a misdemeanor in Nevada.

2. Penalties for trespass in Nevada

Trespass under NRS 207.200 is a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying a punishment of:

  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to a $1,000 fine8

Since trespass is relatively minor and non-violent, Las Vegas judges rarely impose jail time for first-time offenders. Repeat-trespass offenders are more vulnerable to incarceration.

2.1. Trespass dismissals

The Clark County District Attorney may allow defendants to take a Nevada submittal to trespass: This means that the trespass case will be completely dismissed without a trial once the defendant:

  • pays a small fine, and
  • avoids further arrests ("stays out of trouble") until the fine is fully paid

And since there is no conviction, the defendant is free to pursue a record seal as soon as the case ends. (Scroll down to section 5 for more information about record seals.)

gavel
Nevada judges dismiss many first-time trespass charges if the defendant pays a fine and avoids further arrests.

2.2. Pleading down to trespass

Because trespass is such a low-level offense, criminal defense attorneys frequently try to get more serious charges reduced to trespass as part of a Nevada plea bargain.

For example, the D.A. may agree to change a prostitution charge to trespass. By pleading to trespass, the defendant avoids trial and escapes the social stigma of having a prostitution conviction show up on his/her criminal record.

3. Fighting trespass charges in Nevada

The most effective way to fight NRS 207.200 allegations turns on the unique circumstances of the case. Four common defenses to Nevada trespass charges include showing that:

  1. The defendant had the right to be on the property;
  2. The defendant was on the property at the owner's consent;
  3. The "No Trespassing" signs were not displayed properly; or
  4. The defendant was exercising his/her Constitutional rights

Note that it is generally not a defense that the defendant had no intention to break the law.9

3.1. The defendant had the right to be on the property

People who have the right to be on another's property are not committing trespass unless someone with a greater right to the property orders them to leave.

Example: Vikash and Troy get into a bar fight at the Venetian. Troy yells at Vikash to leave, but Vikash insists on staying. Troy performs a "citizen's arrest" on Vikash for trespass and calls the police.

When the police arrive, they decline to arrest Vikash for trespass. Troy possesses no authority over who is allowed on the Venetian's property. Consequently, Vikash's right to be at the Venetian serves as an effective defense against Nevada trespass charges. 

A person's right to be somewhere turns on the location itself. Businesses such as casinos or shopping malls are usually open to the general public unless a person is specifically asked to leave. This is unlike private homes, where a person generally needs prior consent of the owner or occupant before he/she can legally be there as a guest.

3.2. The defendant had consent to be on the property

Trespass charges should not stand if the owner or occupant of the premises consented to the defendant being there. So if someone is invited to a party or event, he/she may stay until the owner or occupant requests him/her to leave.

handshake
Consent is a defense to Nevada trespass charges.

Example: UNLV sends out exclusive party invitations to all its alumni including Kate by mistake, who never actually attended the school. At the party, one of the other guests sees Kate and calls the police to arrest her for trespass because the event is meant only for alumni.

Kate did not commit trespass in Las Vegas because she was specifically invited and therefore had consent to be at the party. She could only be convicted for trespass at UNLV if a campus officer or someone else with authority actually told Kate to leave the party and she refused.

Proving consent can be challenging if there is no written or audio record of it. So defense attorneys would try to find other evidence such as eyewitnesses.

3.3. "No Trespassing" signs were improperly placed

Nevada landowners are required to give others sufficient notice via signs and/or fences that they are not allowed on their property. Trespass charges may be dismissed if the landowner fails to adhere to these guidelines.

3.3.1. Fences

Nevada law draws no distinction between fences and "no trespassing" signs. But it may be possible to have trespass charges dismissed if the evidence shows that the fence was unfinished, in disrepair, or if a reasonable person would not realize the fence's purpose.

sign
Improperly-posted signage may be an effective defense to Nevada trespass charges.

3.3.2. Other markers

Nevada landowners who choose to forgo fences are expected to take other measures to provide sufficient notice for others not to trespass:

  • Farmland owners are required to display fluorescent orange paint markers at intervals of no less than 1,000 feet.
  • Non-farmland owners are required to post such markers every 200 feet.10

If a defense attorney can show that landowners failed to supply sufficient "no trespass" signage, the prosecutor may be willing to drop the Nevada trespass charges.

3.4. The defendant was exercising Constitutional rights

In some cases, the strongest defense to NRS 207.200 charges is the right to free speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.11 However, free speech factors in only when the property at issue is a public forum such as a street or sidewalk.12:

Example: Lee and Leah are on the public sidewalk outside a Green Valley abortion clinic waving pro-life signs. Then Leah goes inside the abortion clinic in order to wave her sign there. Leah refuses to leave when the employees there ask her to, so the police come and arrest both Lee and Leah for trespass.

The D.A. will probably drop the trespass charges against Lee since protesting on public areas such as the street falls within his exercise of free speech. But this Constitutional defense probably would not be helpful in Leah's case because her protest encroached on the private space of the abortion clinic, and then she insisted on staying even when she was asked to leave.

Whenever someone exercises free speech and assembly in a public area, constitutional defenses may serve as an effective strategy for fighting trespass charges.

4. Defending non-Nevada residents charged with trespass

courtroom
In most Nevada trespass cases, out-of-state defendants never need to appear in court as long as they have private counsel representing them.

Since trespass is so minor, defendants are usually not required to appear personally in court as long as they hire counsel to appear for them. It makes no difference if the defendant lives in Nevada or not. Learn more at our page on help for out-of-town visitors with Las Vegas criminal cases.

As discussed above in section 1, not showing up to court -- or not hiring counsel to show up instead -- is a crime. In addition, the judge will issue a bench warrant for no-shows. Therefore, out-of-state defendants are encouraged to retain a Las Vegas trespass lawyer as soon as possible to handle their local criminal matters.

Note that people with outstanding bench warrants risk getting arrested if they ever get pulled over in Nevada and have their name run by the police. But if people with outstanding bench warrants leave Nevada, it is very unlikely that they would be extradited back to Nevada for such a minor crime like trespass.

5. Sealing criminal records for trespass in Nevada

People convicted of trespass in Nevada must wait one (1) year after the case ends to petition the court to seal their record.13 But if a trespass charge gets dismissed, the defendant can pursue a record seal right away.14

Although violating NRS 207.200 is only a misdemeanor in Nevada, having a criminal record can still turn off potential employers. Therefore, anyone with a trespass case on their record is advised to get it sealed as soon as possible. Learn more about sealing criminal records in Nevada.

6. How trespass affects immigration status

An NRS 207.200 violation usually does not threaten an alien's resident status in the United States.15 Therefore, visa- or green card-holders who get convicted of trespass in Nevada should not fear deportation.

However, immigration law is constantly changing. Therefore, immigrants who have been charged with trespass should still consult with experienced counsel to discuss their case. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.

7. History of Nevada trespass laws

Going onto or remaining on another's property without consent has been illegal since Nevada became a state in 1864; however, many early trespass cases involved mining claims instead of casinos.16

The most recent changes that the Nevada Legislature has made to NRS 207.200 are the following:

  • In 2005, AB 190 affirmed that the Nevada crime of peering (NRS 200.603) can potentially carry stiffer sentences than trespass.
  • In 2007, AB 80 redefined what constitutes adequate fencing and posting to give the public sufficient notice that they are trespassing.
  • In 2009, AB 286 clarified that invited guests can still get convicted of trespass if they remain on the property after being asked to leave.

8. Related offenses

8.1. Burglary (NRS 205.060)

burglary sign
Trespass is not a lesser-included offense of burglary in Nevada.

The Nevada crime of burglary (NRS 205.060) is entering any structure or vehicle with the intent to commit a theft, battery or a felony inside. Burglary is a category B felony in Nevada, carrying:

  • one to ten years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • up to a $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Note that the prison sentence becomes two-to-fifteen years if the defendant had a deadly weapon.

Also note that trespass is not a "lesser-included" offense of burglary. This means that a burglary conviction does not automatically mean a trespass occurred.17.

8.2. Home invasion (NRS 205.067)

The Nevada crime of home invasion (NRS 205.067) is defined as the forcible entry into an inhabited dwelling without permission. As opposed to trespass, home invasion applies only to residences and requires a "breaking in."

Home invasion is a category B felony in Nevada, carrying:

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

8.3. Unlawful reentry (NRS 205.082)

The Nevada crime of unlawful reentry (NRS 205.082) occurs when people reenter property they previously occupied without the owner's permission. People typically face unlawful reentry charges when they go onto property that they had been evicted from.

Unlawful reentry is a Nevada gross misdemeanor, carrying:

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

9. California trespass laws

California's trespass laws are more detailed than Nevada's. Penal Code 602 PC spells out more than 30 specific prohibitions, such as cutting down another person's trees. Presumably, these prohibited acts are also illegal under NRS 207.200 but are not explicitly stated.

The primary distinction between California's and Nevada's criminal trespass laws is the penalty they carry. Whereas Nevada law classifies trespass as a misdemeanor, California law allows trespass to be charged as an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony depending on the situation:

In California, simply venturing onto another person's private property qualifies as an infraction and carries a small fine. But if a person threatens to injure someone else and then goes onto his/her land in order to carry out the threat, that person would face charges for "aggravated" criminal trespass and up to three years in California State Prison.

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Charged with trespass under NRS 207.200 in Nevada? For a free consultation on how the charges may be dismissed without a trial, phone our Las Vegas trespass attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) now.

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Our lawyers fight criminal allegations throughout Clark County, Washoe County and Nye County, including Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, Pahrump, Moapa, Laughlin and Reno, Nevada.

In California? See our article on California trespass laws | 602 PC.

In Colorado? See our article on Colorado trespass laws | 18-4-502 - 504 C.R.S..


Legal References

  1. This form of trespass is difficult for police to enforce because of the challenges of prove intent to annoy or vex. Dan Jennings, "Law Still Holds True: Thou Shalt Not Trespass," Las Vegas Sun (Feb 11, 2009).
  2. NRS 207.200 Unlawful trespass upon land; warning against trespassing.

          1. Unless a greater penalty is provided pursuant to NRS 200.603, any person who, under circumstances not amounting to a burglary:

          (a) Goes upon the land or into any building of another with intent to vex or annoy the owner or occupant thereof, or to commit any unlawful act; or

          (b) Willfully goes or remains upon any land or in any building after having been warned by the owner or occupant thereof not to trespass,

    --> is guilty of a misdemeanor. The meaning of this subsection is not limited by subsections 2 and 4.

          2. A sufficient warning against trespassing, within the meaning of this section, is given by any of the following methods:

          (a) If the land is used for agricultural purposes or for herding or grazing livestock, by painting with fluorescent orange paint:

                 (1) Not less than 50 square inches of the exterior portion of a structure or natural object or the top 12 inches of the exterior portion of a post, whether made of wood, metal or other material, at:

                       (I) Intervals of such a distance as is necessary to ensure that at least one such structure, natural object or post would be within the direct line of sight of a person standing next to another such structure, natural object or post, but at intervals of not more than 1,000 feet; and

                       (II) Each corner of the land, upon or near the boundary; and

                 (2) Each side of all gates, cattle guards and openings that are designed to allow human ingress to the area;

          (b) If the land is not used in the manner specified in paragraph (a), by painting with fluorescent orange paint not less than 50 square inches of the exterior portion of a structure or natural object or the top 12 inches of the exterior portion of a post, whether made of wood, metal or other material, at:

                 (1) Intervals of such a distance as is necessary to ensure that at least one such structure, natural object or post would be within the direct line of sight of a person standing next to another such structure, natural object or post, but at intervals of not more than 200 feet; and

                 (2) Each corner of the land, upon or near the boundary;

          (c) Fencing the area; or

          (d) By the owner or occupant of the land or building making an oral or written demand to any guest to vacate the land or building.

          3. It is prima facie evidence of trespass for any person to be found on private or public property which is posted or fenced as provided in subsection 2 without lawful business with the owner or occupant of the property.

          4. An entryman on land under the laws of the United States is an owner within the meaning of this section.

          5. As used in this section:

          (a) “Fence” means a barrier sufficient to indicate an intent to restrict the area to human ingress, including, but not limited to, a wall, hedge or chain link or wire mesh fence. The term does not include a barrier made of barbed wire.

          (b) “Guest” means any person entertained or to whom hospitality is extended, including, but not limited to, any person who stays overnight. The term does not include a tenant as defined in NRS 118A.170.
  3. Scott v. Justice's Court of Tahoe Township., 84 Nev. 9, 11-12, 435 P.2d 747, 748 - 749 (1967) ("The statute separates the words ‘go' and ‘remain upon' with the disjunctive conjunction ‘or.' A fair construction of the statute is that either act may be punishable. Thus the complaint's charge of ‘remaining' is within the statute...We are dealing in this case with premises to which the public was invited, thus a revocation of the general invitation would seem necessary before one could be considered a trespasser. Cases have held that such an invitation may be revoked for good cause and the violator prosecuted.").
  4. NRS 173.185.
  5. NRS 199.335.
  6. Nevada AGO 23 (3-17-1955).
  7. NRS 207.200(3).
  8. NRS 193.150; see, e.g., Associated Press, "Woman guilty of trespass in Clinton shoe-throwing incident," Las Vegas Sun (Sept. 25, 2014).
  9. Arguably, hotel patrons have a Constitutionally-protected property interest in their room that limits management's right to exclude them. Furthermore, it seems only fair that casinos should be mandated to provide patrons written notice of precisely where and how long they are exiled from the premises. These arguments are not full defenses but may help a Nevada trespass defense.
  10. NRS 207.200(2).
  11. First Amendment, U.S. Constitution ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."). See also Wright v. Incline Village General Imp. Dist., 597 F.Supp.2d 1191 (D.Nev., 2009).
  12. Ark. Educ. Tv Comm'n v. Forbes, 523 U.S. 666, 118 S. Ct. 1633 (1998).
  13. NRS 179.245.
  14. NRS 179.255.
  15. 8 U.S.C. § 1227.
  16. Criminal Practice Act of 1911, § 500.
  17. Smith v. State, 120 Nev. 944, 946-947, 102 P.3d 569, 571 (2004) ("In Barton v. State, this court expressly adopted the elements test set forth in Blockburger "for the determination of whether lesser-included offense instructions are required." (117 Nev. 686, 694, 30 P.3d 1103, 1108 (2001).) "The test is met when all of the elements of the lesser offense are included in the elements of the greater offense." (Id. at 690, 30 P.3d at 1106; see also Lisby v. State, 82 Nev. 183, 414 P.2d 592 (1966).) In other words, under a strict application of Blockburger, an offense is lesser included only where the defendant in committing the greater offense has also committed the lesser offense. Applying the elements test to this case, we conclude that trespass is not a lesser-included offense of burglary. NRS 207.200(1)(a) provides that a person is guilty of trespass where "under circumstances not amounting to a burglary ... [the person g]oes ... into any building of another with intent to vex or annoy the owner or occupant thereof, or to commit any unlawful act." The elements of the crime of trespass are defined in a manner that excludes acts that constitute burglary. Therefore, under the plain language of NRS 207.200(1)(a), the elements of trespass are not an entirely included subset of burglary because, by definition, trespass cannot be committed when entry into a building is accompanied by a burglarious intent. Because the offenses of burglary and trespass each require "proof of a fact which the other does not," trespass is not a lesser-included offense of burglary under the Blockburger test.").

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