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Las Vegas Burglary Attorney

Charged with Burglary? call Ferris Law at (702) 710-8882 today

Historically the crime of burglary was limited to breaking and entering into a person’s home at nighttime with the intent to commit any felony or larceny, but the definition for burglary broadened considerably as society progressed and the current definition now includes a multitude of different circumstances.

How is burglary defined in Nevada?

NRS 205.060 currently defines burglary as the entry — either by day or night — into any “house, room, apartment, tenement, shop, warehouse, store, mill, barn, stable, outhouse or other building, tent, vessel, vehicle, vehicle trailer, semitrailer or house trailer, airplane, glider, boat or railroad car, with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny, assault or battery on any person or any felony, or to obtain money or property by false pretenses.”

Put more simply, a person is guilty of burglary if he enters into any of the structures listed above with the intent to commit any type felony or with the intent to commit theft, assault or battery even though these are only misdemeanor offenses. Notice that there is no requirement that the offense occur at night or that there be any amount of “breaking”.

Dissimilarly, the felony offense of home invasion does require a forcible entry and does require that the structure be a person’s inhabited dwelling. Because of the similar nature of the two crimes, a charge for burglary and for home invasion will often arise from the same conduct.

So for the charge of burglary, a person walking through an open door would satisfy the element of “entry” and his actions would qualify as a burglary so long as he had the intent to commit any felony or any one of the misdemeanor offenses of larceny, assault or battery when he walked through that door. This is true despite the fact that the person did not force his way into the structure.

Is shoplifting considered burglary?

Under Nevada’s prior definition of burglary, misdemeanor thefts done in commercial businesses during business hours (generally referred to as shoplifting) could be charged as felonies so long as the prosecution could prove that the shoplifter entered the store with the intent to steal something. This meant, for example, that a homeless person who walked into convenience store with the intent to steal food and then walked out with a hotdog they didn’t pay could be arrested for burglary. Thankfully the definition for burglary was revised in 2013 to provide an exception for this type of shoplifting situation. Now a shoplifter can only be charged with burglary if he has been convicted of petit larceny two or more times within the past 7 years or if he has a felony conviction on his record. Note, however, that this exception is only for commercial establishments and only during business hours.

Penalties for Burglary in Nevada

New Nevada legislation that was passed in July of 2019 will again be amending the definition of burglary to provide for 4 different types of burglary that each have different penalties. The difference between each is location where the burglary occurred. The most serious burglary offense will be reserved for residential burglaries and the least serious will be for burglaries of motor vehicles.

However, until this legislation takes effect in July of 2020, all burglaries that fit the definition listed above will continue to be charged as a category B felony that is punishable by 1 to 10 years in a Nevada prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. Under Nevada’s sentencing structure, this means that the maximum a person convicted of burglary may be sentenced to is 10 years in prison, with minimum parole eligibility after 4 years.

Burglary is generally a probationable offense, which means that if a person is convicted of burglary, his sentencing judge has the discretion to give the person an opportunity at probation instead of sending him to prison. There is, however, an exception to this general rule. If the person has a prior conviction for burglary, then the judge cannot grant probation and must sentence the defendant to prison.

Jennifer Ferris has successfully represented many people charged with burglary. If you have been charged with burglary, call our firm at (702) 710-8882 immediately, so that we can discuss your case and all of the possible defenses, strategies and outcomes.

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