If you or someone you know is charged with entering a person’s private residence, you could be facing serious charges that can lead to prison, fines, and a conviction on your record that could make life challenging in the future. Some home invasion charges are complex, but a lawyer can explain them clearly so that a person charged will know what they’re facing and how they might be able to defend themselves.
If you feel you have been falsely accused of a home invasion in Las Vegas, a home invasion defense attorney in Las Vegas from DeCastroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers. We can explain the charges against you and advise you on the best course of action to defend yourself. You can learn more during a free consultation today.
What is the Definition of Home Invasion in Nevada?
NRS § 205.067 defines home invasion as:
“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.”
If you were invited into the home and then got into a dispute with the homeowner, you could not be convicted of a home invasion. The owner willingly and knowingly invited you on the premises.
Nevada Treats Home Invasion Charges Seriously
Many legislators view home invasion as a crime much worse than breaking and entering into public buildings. A “person’s home is their castle,” in the eyes of the law. Private residences are considered to be a place of sanctity and safety for a homeowner.
The laws against home invasion are intended to be harsh. Lawmakers want the possibility of severe legal punishment to dissuade wrongdoers from committing a home invasion. Because the homeowner may react with high emotions and violence, harsh laws will, lawmakers hope, convince criminals not to even try to invade a person’s home.
What Is the Difference Between a Home Invasion and Burglary?
Intruders breaking into private homes are often charged with both home invasion and burglary charges. There are differences between the two crimes:
Home Invasion Defined
Breaking into an occupied private structure. The home invasion charge would still apply even if the house was empty at the time of the crime. In other words, if a family of four left their house and an intruder broke in after, the intruder could be charged with home invasion.
Burglary charges stem from an intruder breaking into a building (not necessarily a home) intending to commit a crime of some variety. These charges are not isolated to private homes.
Can a Person Still Be Charged with Burglary if the Theft was Prevented?
If an intruder breaks into someone’s home intending to take something but is prevented from taking the object, the home invasion and burglary charges would still stand. The crime is committed once the person enters the house.
In another example, if a criminal breaks a window before entering a home and picks up a box of jewelry before being bitten by a dog and running away, the crime will still stand.
Home Invasion in Las Vegas Statutes
NRS § 205.067(2) goes on to say the following about the penalties for committing a personal home invasion:
“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.”
If you have been charged in a Las Vegas home invasion, our Vegas defense attorney can review your legal options and possible next steps during a free consultation.
Possible Punishments for Home Invasion in Las Vegas
Home invasion is not a misdemeanor. Known as a Category “B” felony, persons convicted of this crime face serious penalties. If you committed a home invasion and are found guilty in court, you may have to pay a fine of up to $10,000 and serve a 10-year prison sentence.
Additional penalties occur when an intruder is in possession of a firearm. Possessing a firearm at the time of a home invasion upgrades the crime to a 2-15 Category “B” felony offense. An intruder need not come into a home armed to be charged this the higher crime. If an unarmed intruder sees and picks up a firearm while in the home, they can be charged with firearm possession during a home invasion.
Possible Legal Defenses for Home Invasion
For a person to be convicted of a home invasion in Las Vegas, Nevada, the burden of proof rests on the prosecutors. They must prove three things:
- Did the person enter the home illegally?
- Did the suspect use force to enter the home?
- Was there intent to commit a crime?
Entering the Home Illegally
It is up to the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person entered the home without permission. They must establish that the building entered was not open to the public. If the person being charged had permission to enter the building yet did not leave when asked, they could not be charged with illegal entry.
Use of Force
In Nevada, for a home invasion charge to be valid, the person charged must literally “break into” the home. If the door is unlocked and the intruder simply walks in, they cannot be charged with home invasion. Even without permission, there must be a “breaking in” to be charged with home invasion.
The prosecutor must then also prove the intruder entering the home had the intent to steal something or commit another kind of crime. For instance, if an intruder enters a home not with the intent to steal but to damage or vandalize the home, they could be charged.
This part of the charge deals with intent. The prosecutor must prove the intruder’s state of mind right before and during their entry into the home. If the prosecutor cannot prove the person charged was intent on committing a crime when they entered the building, home invasion charges may be reduced or dismissed.
For example, consider a person entering a home without criminal activity in mind. They then later see prescription drugs on the counter and decide to put them in their pocket. They may be charged with theft but not home invasion. A criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas can explain these details to you.
Our Criminal Defense Attorney Can Review a Las Vegas Home Invasion Case
Home invasion charges are a serious matter in Nevada. If you are facing such charges, contact the team at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers. We have decades of experience defending clients from criminal charges. When you retain our services for your legal defense, we guarantee you will receive:
- Clear communication: We will keep you updated on your case progress and explain everything clearly and succinctly. You can ask us any questions you have, and we will explain all state and federal laws that apply to your case.
- Decades of experience: We have been helping clients for years with all aspects of criminal defense, from filing the necessary paperwork to the investigation to representing our clients in trial.
- Spanish-Speaking Staff: We are one of the first Spanish-speaking law firms in Las Vegas.
We offer a free case consultation where you can learn about your rights and what your legal options are. Reach out to a staff member to learn more.