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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 has broadened considerably as society has 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”.

This means that 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 by breaking a window or a lock and even true if the person was in a business during normal operating hours – for instance, a situation where a person is charged with burglary because he walked into a store during normal business hours and wrote a check for goods knowing that he didn’t have sufficient funds in his account to cover the purchase. Please see our page on Bad Checks for more information about this charge.

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. Please read our page on Home Invasion for more information about that particular offense.

New Nevada legislation that took effect in July of 2020 amended prior burglary laws to provide for 4 different types of burglary that each have different felony categories and corresponding penalties. The difference between each is the type of structure where the burglary occurred. The most serious burglary penalties are reserved for residential burglaries and the least serious is for burglary of vehicles, with all other types falling somewhere in between the two.

Please note that the above-mentioned legislation is not retroactive. Any burglaries that occurred prior to July of 2020 will still be charged as a category B felony, which 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. Only first-time offenders are eligible for probation.

Read below to learn about the specific categories and punishments for burglary, which is based primarily on the type of structure that was burglarized, and in the case of residential burglaries, a person’s prior convictions

TYPE OF STRUCTURE

Residential Burglary

Defined as a person who by day or night unlawfully enters or unlawfully remains in any dwelling with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny, assault or battery, any felony, or to obtain money or property by false pretenses.

“Dwelling” means any structure, building, house, room, apartment, tenement, tent, conveyance, vessel, boat, vehicle, house trailer, travel trailer, motor home or railroad car, including, without limitation, any part thereof that is divided into a separately occupied unit in which any person lives or which is customarily used by a person for overnight accommodations – regardless of whether the person is inside at the time of the offense. NRS 205.060.6(b).

First Offense – Category B Felony: Carries a sentence of a minimum of 1 year and maximum of 10 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine not more than $10,000.00. The charge is probationable. NRS 205.060.2(d)(3).

Second or Greater Offense – Category B Felony: Carries a sentence of a minimum of 1 year and maximum of 10 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine not more than $10,000.00. The charge is non-probationable, meaning that a person convicted of this offense cannot get probation under any circumstances and must serve a prison term. NRS 205.060.2(d)(3).

Burglary of a Motor Vehicle

Defined as a person who by day or night unlawfully enters or unlawfully remains in any motor vehicle with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny, assault or battery, or any felony.

“Motor Vehicle” means any motorized craft or device designed for the transportation of a person or property across land or water or through the air which does not qualify as a dwelling or business structure. NRS 205.060.6(c).

First Offense – Category E Felony: Carries a sentence of a minimum of 1 year and maximum of 4 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine not more than $5,000.00, but with probation being mandatory as versus discretionary. NRS 205.060.2(a)(1).

Second or Greater Offense – Category D Felony: Carries a sentence of a minimum of 1 year and maximum of 4 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine not more than $5,000.00. The charge is probationable. NRS 205.060.2(a)(2).

Burglary of a Business

Defined as a person who by day or night unlawfully enters or unlawfully remains in any business with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny, assault or battery, or any felony.

“Business structure” means any structure or building where the primary purpose is to carry on any lawful effort for a business, including, without limitation, any business with an educational, industrial, benevolent, social or political purpose, regardless of whether the business is operated for profit. NRS 205.060.6(a).

Category C Felony: Carries a sentence of a minimum of 1 year and maximum of 5 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine not more than $10,000.00, but with probation being mandatory as versus discretionary. NRS 205.060.2(c).

Burglary of a Structure

Defined as a person who by day or night unlawfully enters or unlawfully remains in any structure with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny, assault or battery, or any felony.

Category D Felony: Carries a sentence of a minimum of 1 year and maximum of 4 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine not more than $5,000.00. The charge is probationable. NRS 205.060.2(b).

With the exception of a second conviction for residential burglary, burglary is a probationable offense, which means that if a person is convicted of burglary, the sentencing judge has the discretion to give the person an opportunity at probation instead of sending the person to prison. The question of whether a person will sustain a felony conviction or receive probation depends on a number of different factors, so it is very important to involve an experienced criminal defense attorney who can use their experience to help put you in the best position possible.

I have successfully represented many people charged with burglary, in many cases avoiding a felony conviction altogether, and in others, avoiding prison time. If you have been charged with burglary, contact me immediately so that we can discuss your case and all of the possible defenses, strategies, and outcomes.

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