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Burglary

Burglary Charges in Las Vegas, Nevada (NRS 205.060)

Burglary defense lawyers in Las vegas, NVBurglary is different from other theft crimes in Nevada because the definition of the crime depends on where it takes place. It is most commonly understood as a “home invasion” but there are other locations where the crime can take place and still result in an arrest for burglary. It is also an intent crime with very specific elements that the state must prove so there is an opportunity for a defense attorney to negotiate to reduce or dismiss the charges entirely.

A burglary conviction can result in a felony on your record, which can make it difficult to get hired and maintain other rights. You should contact a qualified criminal lawyer in Nevada as soon as possible to defend you against burglary charges.

Nevada Laws on Burglary

Nevada laws on burglary are part of Chapter 205 of Title 15. Title 15 is the state’s code setting froth crimes and punishment and Chapter 205 is the part of the penal code dealing with property crimes.  Burglary, therefore, is a property offense.

Burglary has a subsection of Chapter 205, along with home invasion. The statutes in this subsection include Nevada Revised Statute section 205.060 through Nevada Revised Statute section 205.080.  Collectively, the statutes within the burglary section of Nevada law:

  • Define the offense of burglary.
  • Impose penalties for defendants accused of burglary crimes.
  • Provide details on the venue where burglary cases will be heard.
  • Explain when a defendant’s conduct is such that one could reasonably infer burglarious intent.
  • Establish a requirement a defendant must have been committing some type of offense when entering a building, or must have been attempting to commit a crime.
  • Explain what occurs if a defendant uses explosives in the commission of a burglary
  • Make it a crime to possess instruments with intent to commit a burglary or make or repair any device or instrument that is utilized in order to commit a burglary.

Defendants must engage in specific wrongful behave, including entering the types of facilities set forth within the statutes in Chapter 205, in order to engage in a burglary offense.

However, a prosecutor does not have to prove a defendant committed a crime to secure a burglary conviction. Even an attempt to enter a building to commit larceny, grand larceny, assault, battery, a felony, or the use of false pretenses to obtain money can result in a defendant being charged with a burglary offense.

Degrees of Burglary in Las Vegas

In Nevada, a defendant will simply be charged with a burglary offense if he engages in unlawful behavior.  However, for many other types of property crimes, there are different degrees of offenses depending upon the amount of money that was taken.

If a defendant steals, carries away, leads away, or drives away property owned by someone else without consent, that defendant can be charged with larceny.  The different degrees of larceny include:

  • Petit larceny, which is the least serious of the larceny crimes. If a defendant took less than $50, the defendant is typically charged with petit larceny.
  • Grand larceny, which is a more serious offense, and which a defendant can be charged if he takes property valued above $650 or if he takes other property that is entitled to specific protections, such as a motor vehicle.

While there are different degrees of larceny imposing harsher penalties on defendants who take more money, the practice of classifying similar conduct as different degrees of crimes does not specifically apply to defendants accused of burglary. In fact, it does not matter if a defendant takes nothing at all as a part of a burglary – he or she can still be charged for burglary on the basis of the attempt.

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Although there are not different degrees of burglary, defendants can still be faced with different penalties for certain types of offenses, such as burglary involving the use of explosives as a part of the effort to commit the crime. If there are aggravating factors involved in the burglary, defendants face harsher consequences. Repeat offenders also experience more severe punishments, including being ineligible for suspended sentences and having to serve time in jail after most second or subsequent convictions.

Attempted Burglary

Defendants can be charged if they attempt to commit a crime in Nevada. This means attempting to enter a building in order to commit a crime can result in burglary charges even if the attempt is unsuccessful.  

A prosecutor who is pursuing a case against a defendant for an attempt to commit an offense, such as for attempted burglary, will need to prove that the defendant’s actions and conduct clearly show the defendant was trying to break the law and engage in a criminal offense.

In other words, to successfully prosecute a burglar for attempting to commit a crime, even without success, the prosecutor must prove  a defendant was intentionally attempting to commit burglary by breaking and entering with the goal of violating the law once inside of the building.

Legal Definition of Burglary in Las Vegas

A person commits burglary if he or she enters any of the following places:

  • House;
  • Room;
  • Apartment;
  • Shop;
  • Warehouse;
  • Store;
  • Barn;
  • Tent;
  • Vehicle;
  • Semitrailer;
  • Airplane;
  • Boat; or
  • Railroad car

with the intent of committing one of the following crimes:

  • Grand larceny;
  • Petit larceny;
  • Assault or battery;
  • Any felony; or
  • To obtain money by false pretenses.

You may have heard that a burglary can only take place when you break and enter into a home at night for the purpose of committing a felony crime. This is an old-fashioned definition that no longer applies. It is just as important to know what burglary is not as it is to understand what it is.

Burglary is NOT:

You can be arrested for burglary in Nevada even if you did not “break and enter” a space. Still, it is important to know that if you do break and enter a building, the court can assume you did so for the purpose of committing burglary. The burden will be on the defendant to prove otherwise.

You can be charged for burglary in Nevada even if you did not actually commit a crime once you entered the building. The critical element is that you intended commit a crime.

Enhanced penalties for burglaries involving a deadly weapon in Nevada

If a person who commits a burglary is carrying a firearm, even if the firearm is never used, the penalty for burglary is increased to a Category B felony. A Category B felony in Nevada carries 2 to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.

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Sentences for Burglary in Las Vegas, Nevada

The sentence for a burglary conviction in Las Vegas depends on whether the defendant has been convicted of:

  • Burglary;
  • Crimes involving forcible entry; or
  • Crimes involving invasion of a residence

in the past. If a person has been convicted of any of these crimes in the past, whether or not in Nevada, they are not eligible for probation or a suspended jail sentence.

For a first time burglary offense, the sentence is a Category B felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in a Nevada prison and fines up to $10,000.

Defense to Burglary Charges in Nevada

The prosecutor has to prove that you entered the building with the intent to steal something, and insufficient evidence of intent is a defense to burglary charges.

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Burglary is a serious charge that may be brought alongside charges for assault and battery, grand larceny, or petit larceny, if any of those crimes were completed once you entered the building.

In most of those situations, a conviction will result in one or more felonies on your record, jail time, restitution, and possibly fines. Call Nick Wooldridge – a qualified Las Vegas defense lawyer – as soon as you are arrested for burglary for the best chance of reducing the charges or having them dismissed.

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