Nevada law defines the crime of burglary as the act of entering into any kind of structure – such as a business, home, store, vehicle, or plane – with the specific intent to commit any felony offense, including fraud, theft, battery, or assault.
Contrary to what many people think, it does not matter if the defendant actually commits the crime. They can still be charged for entering the premises with the intent of committing one or more of the aforementioned offenses. In these cases, the prosecutor is not responsible for proving that the act of burglary occurred at the hands of the defendant, but simply that the defendant intended to commit the crime. Their success is irrelevant.
Burglary Laws in Nevada
NRS 205.060 is the Nevada law that defines burglary as described above. The degree of severity changes depending on what felonies are committed while inside the structure or property, as well as whether a deadly weapon is involved.
Nevada law also defines many types of burglary charges, including larceny, attempted burglary, those involving a deadly weapon, and when different kinds of locations are burglarized. Each detail of a burglary case is a chance to expand or increase the severity of the sentencing.
What Are the Penalties for Burglary?
Burglary charges can be classified as Category B, C, D, or E felonies depending on the type of location the person entered. Additional charges such as assault, battery, or other crimes can add to the penalties the accused person will face. The minimum sentence for any burglary charge is two years in prison, though this can vary from case to case. A judge may grant probation instead of jail or prison time for less serious offenders.
#1. Burglary of Private Residences
A “dwelling” typically means a structure that someone lives in and is customarily used for overnight accommodation. This can include houses, apartments, rooms, tents, boats, trailers, railroad cars, and many more. Someone does not have to be present (living in) the dwelling at the time of the burglary, meaning vacation home owners and people who rent out their properties can still be burglarized.
Burglarizing a private residence can result in a Category B felony charge that comes with a one to 10-year sentence in Nevada State prison. Probation may be granted in certain circumstances, such as if this is the first time a person has been charged with burglary.
#2. Burglary of a Business
A business structure is any place where “business activity” is conducted, including educational, industrial, social, and political activities. Penalties for burglarizing a business structure can result in a Category C felony charge that carries 1–5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
#3. Burglary of Any Other Structure
Any building that is not considered a private residence or business carries a Category D felony charge with 1–4 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
#4. Burglary of a Motor Vehicle
A motor vehicle is any device designed to transport a person or goods across land, water, or air. This includes cars, motorcycles, scooters, boats, airplanes, and so on.
The first time someone burglarizes a motor vehicle, it is considered a Category E felony. This charge can result in probation or a suspended sentence, depending on if the person has any prior felony convictions. Subsequent charges are Category D felonies which carry 1–4 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Other Consequences Relating to Burglary in Nevada
Along with the actual act of burglary, additional charges and repercussions can result from this conviction. For instance, if a person uses a weapon to assault or kill someone during the burglary, the sentencing can be more severe. Possessing burglary tools can also add more to a burglary sentence, such as up to 364 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
Sexually-motivated burglaries require registration as a sex offender and result in a lifetime of supervision without the possibility of reducing it until 10 years later or more, per NRS 176.0931.
Can You Be Deported After a Burglary Charge?
Deportation is a possibility for burglary convictions, as the crime is considered an aggravated felony which makes it a deportable offense. Burglary is a serious offense, and your charges must be addressed by a knowledgeable Las Vegas burglary defense attorney as soon as possible.
A Las Vegas burglary defense attorney knows that conviction for this crime can have damaging effects on all areas of your life. If you are a non-citizen in the United States, you are at even greater risk.
Crimes Related to Burglary in Las Vegas
Some crimes are similar to burglary charges but carry their own legal definitions and consequences. For instance, Nevada law separates housebreaking, robbery, and larceny from a person into their own crimes separate from burglary.
#1. Housebreaking Laws
NRS 205.0813 is defined as “squatting,” or the intent to enter an empty building and use it for unlawful residency. This offense is a gross misdemeanor and can result in up to 364 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
#2. Robbery Laws
Robbery is defined as taking someone’s property by using force. A person can be convicted of both robbery and burglary at the same time, depending on the situation – for example, if they are present during the burglary and use force to take someone’s property (i.e., holding them at gunpoint). Robbery is a Category B felony that can result in 2–15 years in prison.
#3. Larceny from a Person Laws
Larceny is the stealing of property from a person without using threats or violence. Pickpocketing is an example of larceny from a person. This crime is a Category C felony that carries the following repercussions:
- Restitution for the property stolen
- 1–5 years in prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
#4. Grand Larceny Laws
According to NRS 205.220, grand larceny is the intentional stealing of property or goods with a value of $1,200 or more. Larceny is a serious crime that is most commonly seen in car theft. Because Nevada does not have any specific laws regarding car theft, it usually falls under the category of grand larceny. This is a Category C felony that carries a one to 5-year sentence and fines up to $10,000.
Grand larceny can have other charges added as well. For instance, if a weapon is used, aggravated robbery charges or assault/battery charges may be added to the original grand larceny charge.
Possible Defenses Against Burglary Charges in Las Vegas
There are different ways to prove that a person is innocent of burglary or have their charges reduced. A Nevada criminal defense lawyer may use the following arguments in a burglary case:
- There was no intent to commit a felony burglary or larceny crime– perhaps if the accused was too intoxicated to have intent, or accidentally entered a residence or vehicle they thought was their own
- The defendant has been falsely accused of the crime– perhaps out of anger or revenge, or because they bear a resemblance or have the same name as the perpetrator
- The police committed misconduct or other illegal acts during the arrest – perhaps a confession was coerced, questions were leading, evidence was planted, or the suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated.
Other Ways a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help With Burglary Charges
Burglary is hardly ever a stand-alone crime and often comes with multiple other charges. A burglary defense attorney from our firm can focus on all aspects of your case to build the strongest possible defense. This may include:
- Analyzing police reports
- Gathering evidence, including photos and video footage
- Speaking to eyewitnesses and arresting officers
- Obtaining necessary legal documents, such as past criminal records
- Researching state law and criminal codes
- Negotiating a plea bargain if necessary to reduce the charges
- Protecting our client’s legal rights
- Advocating for our client at trial
- Drafting and filing a motion to dismiss or suppress
Contact the Criminal Defense Team at Castroverde Law Group
In the face of felony burglary or theft charges, you need knowledgeable defense from a trusted team of criminal attorneys in Las Vegas. If you are accused of committing burglary, do not hesitate to contact De Castroverde Law Group so you can vigorously defend yourself against these allegations.
De Castroverde Law Group has fought for the rights of numerous clients charged with burglary. Our Las Vegas burglary defense attorneys will thoroughly assess the charges and evidence brought against you to create a strong and compelling defense and ensure that you receive a fair trial. Don’t trust your future to an overworked public defender – contact us today!