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Las Vegas Burglary Attorney

Last Modified: December 18, 2023


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Burglary Charges In Las Vegas, NV

In Nevada, burglary is a crime that can bring serious consequences to the accused ― including up to 15 years of imprisonment and thousands in fines. Furthermore, having a felony charge on your record might have long-term ramifications such as difficulty obtaining employment or housing. With so much at stake, you require an experienced Las Vegas burglary attorney if charged with this theft crime in Nevada. The Spartacus Criminal Defense Lawyers will fight relentlessly for justice and do all it can to keep you out of jail if ever confronted with this daunting situation.

With over a decade of experience, our criminal defense lawyer in Clark County will provide you with the expert legal help we would expect for ourselves if faced with a criminal allegation. We service clients collaboratively and effectively utilizing our expertise and knowledge to zealously fight on your behalf in order to clear your name and safeguard your liberty. Are you in need of dependable legal advice? Call our office today for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.

What Is Considered Burglary In Nevada?

If you are accused of burglary, the prosecutor must prove that you unlawfully entered a building or structure with the intent to commit theft or another felony. This differs from robbery because there is no need for the victim to be present during the crime. Burglary does not include violence unlike its counterpart offense: robbery. For a successful prosecution, in this case, all of these criteria must be met:

  1. The suspect broke into and entered a building
  2. The suspect did not have consent
  3. The suspect had the intent to commit a felony or theft

While burglary is still often referred to as “breaking and entering,” the requirement of breaking into the building itself is not necessary, even simply entering it without permission can be described as a form of burglary. The distinction between trespassing and burglary lies in whether or not criminal intent was present when committing such an act – meaning that theft (misdemeanor or felony) had been intended. If you’re facing charges for this offense, teaming up with a Las Vegas burglary lawyer may help reduce potential penalties and protect your rights.

Burglary vs Robbery Charges In Nevada

Where defendant entered hotel with intent to commit a larceny or felony and did commit two robberies while therein, his conviction of burglary and robbery was not double jeopardy since burglary and robbery are separate and distinct offenses and since state law specifically authorizes prosecution for each crime committed during the commission of a burglary, as well as the burglary itself. Jones v. State, 95 Nev. 613, 600 P.2d 247, 1979 Nev. LEXIS 628 (Nev. 1979).

Understanding Burglary Charges in Las Vegas, NV

Despite the common misconception that burglary occurs only after dark, it can be perpetrated at any time of day. Any individual who unlawfully enters someone’s property without permission could face charges related to this criminal offense. Examples of property where burglaries frequently take place include:

  • Home
  • Trailer
  • Vehicle
  • Apartment
  • Barn
  • Boat
  • Tent
  • Building
  • Any other type of property

Types Of Burglary In Nevada

According to NRS § 205.060, burglary involves the unlawful entry into almost any facility and includes but is not limited to:

  • Residential burglary – This occurs when an intruder enters a residence with the purpose to pilfer someone’s money or property or cause physical harm. Home invasion typically affects dwellings such as single-family homes, apartments, townhomes, and condos.
  • Burglary of a business – When an individual carries out a crime such as grand larceny, petit larceny, assault, battery, or some other felony on company property, it is considered burglary.
  • Burglary of a structure – When someone unlawfully infiltrates any structure (other than a house or business) for the purpose of theft, physical harm, or any other crime – this is called breaking and entering.
  • Burglary of a motor vehicle – When someone unlawfully enters a car to take the vehicle, money, and other possessions or even attack somebody in the interior.

205.060. Residential Burglary, Burglary of a Business, Vurglary of a Motor Vehicle and Burglary of a Structure: Definitions; Penalties; Venue.

1. A person who, by day or night, unlawfully enters or unlawfully remains in any:

(a) Dwelling 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, is guilty of residential burglary.
(b) Business structure with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny, assault or battery on any person or any felony is guilty of burglary of a business.
(c) Motor vehicle, or any part thereof, with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny, assault or battery on any person or any felony is guilty of burglary of a motor vehicle.
(d) Structure other than a dwelling, business structure or motor vehicle with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny, assault or battery on any person or any felony is guilty of burglary of a structure.
2. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person convicted of:
(a) Burglary of a motor vehicle:
(1) For the first offense, is guilty of a category E felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
(2) For a second or subsequent offense, is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
(b) Burglary of a structure is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
(c) Burglary of a business is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
(d) Residential burglary 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.
3. If mitigating circumstances exist, a person who is convicted of residential burglary may be released on probation and granted a suspension of sentence if the person has not previously been convicted of residential burglary or another crime involving the unlawful entry or invasion of a dwelling.
4. Whenever any burglary pursuant to this section is committed on a vessel, vehicle, vehicle trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, airplane, glider, boat or railroad car, in motion or in rest, in this State, and it cannot with reasonable certainty be ascertained in what county the crime was committed, the offender may be arrested and tried in any county through which the vessel, vehicle, vehicle trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, airplane, glider, boat or railroad car traveled during the time the burglary was committed.
5. A person convicted of any burglary pursuant to this section who has in his or her possession or gains possession of any firearm or deadly weapon at any time during the commission of the crime, at any time before leaving the dwelling, structure or motor vehicle or upon leaving the dwelling, structure or motor vehicle, 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 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 15 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000. 
6. As used in this section:
(a) “Business structure” means any structure or building, the primary purpose of which 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.
(b) “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
(1) In which any person lives; or
(2) Which is customarily used by a person for overnight accommodations, regardless of whether the person is inside at the time of the offense.
(c) “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 pursuant to this section.
(d) “Unlawfully enters or unlawfully remains” means for a person to enter or remain in a dwelling, structure or motor vehicle or any part thereof, including, without limitation, under false pretenses, when the person is not licensed or privileged to do so. For purposes of this definition, a license or privilege to enter or remain in a part of a dwelling, structure or motor vehicle that is open to the public is not a license or privilege to enter or remain in a part of the dwelling, structure or motor vehicle that is not open to the public.

Penalties For Burglary Charges In Nevada

When confronted with burglary charges in Nevada, it can be alluring to bypass the court proceedings by simply admitting guilt for a more lenient sentence. Even in the most desirable situation, you won’t escape legal repercussions: whether it’s fines or community service. Put yourself in an employer’s shoes and consider what your criminal background will do to future job prospects. Moreover, any interactions with law enforcement could likely take a turn for the worse if your record reveals that you confessed without contesting the charge.

The Nevada law classifies burglary as a Category B felony, for which the punishment is no less than one and not exceeding 10 years of imprisonment with a possible fine up to $10,000. Nevertheless, if there was any deadly weapon involved in the crime then it could be considered an aggravated offense with time behind bars raised from two to 15 years.

Entry and Intent In Burglary Cases

The common law vestige of “breaking” as an element in the crime of burglary no longer need to be shown. McNeeley v. State, 81 Nev. 663, 409 P.2d 135, 1965 Nev. LEXIS 286 (Nev. 1965).

A common-law breaking is not an essential element of the crime of burglary; this section requires only an entry with the intent to commit larceny or other felony. State v. Adams, 94 Nev. 503, 581 P.2d 868, 1978 Nev. LEXIS 599 (Nev. 1978).

Evidence held insufficient. 

Evidence was insufficient to support convictions for burglary and fraudulent use of a credit card because none of the receipts introduced into evidence were from the particular store on the particular date alleged in the complaint; the circumstantial evidence, including other receipts, was sufficient to support convictions relating to other particular transactions, as well as a conviction for using the personal identification of another. Jezdik v. State, 121 Nev. 129, 110 P.3d 1058, 121 Nev. Adv. Rep. 15, 2005 Nev. LEXIS 16 (Nev. 2005).

Insufficient showing of entry. 

An information charging that defendant did wilfully, intentionally, feloniously, and burglariously enter the open portion of a pickup truck with the intent then and there to commit larceny, did not charge the defendant with the commission of the felony of burglary, as holding one’s hand over the open platform body of a truck with intent to commit larceny did not constitute the entry of a vehicle. Smith v. First Judicial Dist. Court, 75 Nev. 526, 347 P.2d 526, 1959 Nev. LEXIS 188 (Nev. 1959).

Sufficient showing of entry. 

Stealing tool box from the bed of a truck, and breaking into a cab and stealing a radio constituted entering. Jimenez v. State, 105 Nev. 337, 775 P.2d 694, 1989 Nev. LEXIS 68 (Nev. 1989).

Evidence that defendant had entered his former girlfriend’s trailer, ransacked the trailer, and taken her social security card and car keys was sufficient to support his burglary conviction. Chappell v. State, 114 Nev. 1403, 972 P.2d 838, 114 Nev. Adv. Rep. 148, 1998 Nev. LEXIS 162 (Nev. 1998), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 853, 120 S. Ct. 318, 145 L. Ed. 2d 114, 1999 U.S. LEXIS 5536 (U.S. 1999).

Whether defendants entered a building with the specific intent to commit larceny once inside was a question for the jury to decide based upon the circumstances connected with the perpetration of the offense. Crane v. State, 88 Nev. 684, 504 P.2d 12, 1972 Nev. LEXIS 559 (Nev. 1972).

As was the defense of intoxication. 

Whether intoxication is so gross as to preclude a capacity to form the specific intent necessary to support a burglary charge is normally a fact issue for the jury to resolve. Tucker v. State, 92 Nev. 486, 553 P.2d 951, 1976 Nev. LEXIS 643 (Nev. 1976).

Under this section consent to entry was not a defense, so long as the defendant was shown to have made the entry with larcenous intent. Thomas v. State, 94 Nev. 605, 584 P.2d 674, 1978 Nev. LEXIS 629 (Nev. 1978).

The authority to enter a building open to the public extends only to those who enter with a purpose consistent with the reason the building is open. A criminal intent formulated after a lawful entry will not satisfy the statute. On the other hand, an entry with intent to commit larceny cannot be said to be within the authority granted customers of a business establishment. Indeed, even if a consensual entry is implied, it is not a defense to a charge of burglary against one who is shown to have made a simple entry with larcenous intent. State v. Adams, 94 Nev. 503, 581 P.2d 868, 1978 Nev. LEXIS 599 (Nev. 1978).

Specific description of intended felony or theft not required. 

Since the primary concern in a burglary indictment is with the unlawful entry, the intended felony or theft need not therein be described with the same specificity that might be required in charging the offense of larceny or another felony; thus, an information which charged the defendants with burglariously entering a building with intent to commit larceny therein was not defective for failing to specify either grand larceny or petit larceny. Bullis v. State, 83 Nev. 175, 426 P.2d 423, 1967 Nev. LEXIS 249 (Nev. 1967).

Charge struck for lack of felonious intent. 

Where defendants were charged with burglary and attempted murder and the state predicated the necessary felonious intent, supporting the burglary charge, on the attempted murder charge, when the attempted murder charge was struck, the burglary charge was fatally defective as drafted and should also have been struck. Sheriff, Clark County v. Hicks, 89 Nev. 78, 506 P.2d 766, 1973 Nev. LEXIS 423 (Nev. 1973).

Entry with loaded firearm. 

Where defendant entered his former workplace to ask for his job back with at least one loaded firearm in his possession, the evidence was sufficient to support a burglary conviction. Thomas v. State, 114 Nev. 1127, 967 P.2d 1111, 114 Nev. Adv. Rep. 122, 1998 Nev. LEXIS 134 (Nev. 1998), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 830, 120 S. Ct. 85, 145 L. Ed. 2d 72, 1999 U.S. LEXIS 5186 (U.S. 1999).

Instruction on burglarious intent proper. 

District court did not abuse its discretion by giving a jury instruction on burglarious intent because the instruction essentially quoted the statute and used permissive rather than mandatory language, and it did not relieve the State of its burden to prove each element of burglary. Olivera v. State, 2016 Nev. App. LEXIS 238 (Nev. Ct. App. May 31, 2016).

Las Vegas Criminal Defense ATTORNEY

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s The Difference Between Breaking & Entering vs. Burglary?

In Nevada, the crime of burglary can be charged even if there was no forced entry into a building or property. This is in contrast to some other states where “breaking and entering” and burglary are used synonymously. While forceful entrance may sometimes be involved in burglarizing a house or premises, it’s not necessarily the case every time. Burglary, or even the attempt of such an act, is one of the most severe theft offenses and is categorized as a Category B felony in Nevada. However, there are various “degrees” that depend on how serious these types of crimes are considered by certain states.

When Can The State Charge Burglary?

The legal definition of Burglary is very broad, meaning the State can charge this serious crime in a myriad of situations including when it takes place inside any business or home. Nevada’s legislature has written laws that explicitly state if someone commits an additional offense while committing burglary, then they will be charged for both crimes – which happens frequently in Nevada as stated in NRS 205.070. For instance, if a person is found driving in a stolen vehicle and arrested with the possession of that car, the State will often charge burglary too. This makes sense since it would require them to have broken into the car to take control of it.

Entering a bank with the intent to cash a forged check often puts the perpetrator at risk of facing two charges – Burglary and Forgery. And this is true even if all they wanted was something as insignificant as some gum from the local grocery store. Simply being present in such premises for criminal reasons can cause individuals, especially those without prior offenses or ill intentions towards others, to be charged with a serious felony that could potentially lead them down the path of lengthy imprisonment.

What Are The Defenses To Burglary Charges In Nevada?

If a person is arrested or accused of burglary in Nevada, the best way to fight for their rights and freedom is by seeking help from an experienced Las Vegas burglary attorney. With knowledge of how to navigate through this serious crime effectively, there are numerous viable defense options available in Las Vegas and across all of Nevada. When it comes to burglary or any other crime for that matter, the prosecutor must prove every essential element of the case before a Defendant can be found guilty. If they are unable to do so, then the person on trial is innocent and cannot be convicted of this offense. In defense cases where all elements have not been met by prosecution evidence, those accused may use this as an argument in order to obtain exoneration from legal liability.

To formulate an effective defense, the defendant and their burglary attorney in Las Vegas must create reasonable doubt in jurors that the State has verified their crime. A proficient criminal defense lawyer can do this by presenting an alibi (proving that person charged was elsewhere when the criminal act occurred), cross-examination and discrediting of Government’s fact witnesses, or challenging any scientific/forensic evidence used as proof by prosecutors.

Can You Be Charged With Burglary If You Own The Property?

District court did not err in granting defendant’s pretrial petition for a writ of habeas corpus and in dismissing the charge against defendant for burglary while in possession of a firearm as he had an absolute right to enter the residence because a person cannot commit burglary of a home when he has an absolute right to enter the home; because, even though he agreed to stay elsewhere during the week, defendant still maintained an absolute right to enter the residence and did not forfeit any possessory right he had in it; and because defendant could not be ejected or prevented from entering the residence, especially since he still retained his keys to the house and entered the house on a weekly basis to stay with his children on weekends. State v. White, 130 Nev. 533, 330 P.3d 482, 130 Nev. Adv. Rep. 56, 2014 Nev. LEXIS 66 (Nev. 2014).

Contact Our Las Vegas Burglary Attorney Today

To avoid the heavy fines and potential jail time involved with burglary charges in Nevada, it is essential to consult a skilled Las Vegas burglary attorney right away. At Spartacus Criminal Defense Lawyers, we diligently examine each case, ensuring our client’s rights are defended without compromise. Now is the time to investigate your available options and ensure you get the best legal representation, regardless of your guilt in a burglary case. If facing serious penalties for burglary charges, do not hesitate to contact our office today for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help you build your defense.

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