Many states have unique laws. In Nevada, for example, it is a criminal act to pass through a gate and not close it behind you. Yes, you read that correctly. The failure to close a gate can be prosecuted criminally in Nevada.
The law was passed in 1861 and has been on the books for well over 150 years. It’s origin and passage are likely a result of Nevada’s history as a ranching state. Ensuring that an enclosed property remain enclosed can obviously be very important for ranchers.
Access to property, including the granting or restricting of that access is a fundamental right and responsibility of property owners. Property owners have the right to control access to their property. If a property owner installs gates or bars, they are clearly attempting to control access to the property.
If a person leaves a gate open, that makes it possible for people or things to enter or leave the property that are not supposed to. In ranching state like Nevada, leaving a gate open can cause cattle or horses to get lose which can be costly and time consuming to wrangle back. It is also be a landowner’s responsibility to keep unauthorized individuals off of their property if they put up a gate or fence. Leaving a gate open could lead to unauthorized individuals, such as poachers, entering the land as well. For these reasons, Nevada has made it a criminal infraction to pass through gates without closing them.
In Nevada, according to NRS 207.220, “any person who opens or passes through a gate when the gates are placed in fences enclosing fields or fences partially enclosing fields and does not shut or fasten the gate upon leaving is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
As you can see, this is a broad statute, any person who does not shut the gate behind them may be charged. There is no defense for simply forgetting to shut the gate.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.TOP RATED ON:
There are a few major exceptions to this crime:
City dwellers can rest easy knowing this gate enclosure law does not apply in cities and towns. Nevada’s ranchers, however, should be aware of this law and remember to always close gates behind them.
If you have been charged not closing a gate, the State of Nevada must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There are several defenses an attorney can raise to refute the state including:
Not closing a gate is a misdemeanor crime, if convicted a person may face:
When I initially met with Mr. Wooldridge, he took the opportunity to sit and go over my problem with me. He described details in my case which he found disturbing and explained why he I should have him on my side.
If you have been charged with violating NRS 207.220, contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys for a free, confidential consultation. We may be able to persuade the prosecution to reduce the charges or to drop them altogether so your record stays clean.