In Nevada, if a person breaks into a structure or vehicle to commit a crime, they could be charged with burglary. If they're stopped before actually getting to the place they plan to unlawfully enter, and specific items are found on them, they could be prosecuted for possessing burglary tools.
Nevada’s Burglary Law
Let’s say Priscilla was walking down the street, looked into the open window of someone’s home, and saw a brand new 72” television on the wall. She decided that she wanted that TV, so she made plans to break in and take it.
Needing gear for her planned offense, she went to her local hardware store and picked up some items to pick a lock. She also bought gloves and a ski mask to protect her identity if an investigation ensued after she took the TV.
A couple of weeks later, Priscilla headed back to the street where she saw the TV, waited until the occupants were gone, and let herself in. She started to take the television off the mount when she heard someone enter. Turning around, she saw that the police were behind her. Apparently, the house she broke into had an alarm system, and law enforcement was notified of an unauthorized entry.
Priscilla was arrested and charged with burglary. Under NRS 205.060, this offense is defined as entering into a building or vehicle with the intent to commit another crime while there. In Priscilla’s case, she was charged with the offense because she was planning on taking the $1,500 TV, which is grand larceny.
Although the above example concerns a theft crime, a person can be charged with burglary even if they weren’t planning on stealing something from the place they entered.
In Nevada, a person violates the law if they enter a structure or vehicle, and they plan on committing any of the following:
To be charged with burglary, the person who entered the structure need not have actually carried out the intended offense. Merely breaking into a place with the intent to commit a crime is enough to bring charges.
Burglary is a category B felony. If Priscilla is convicted of this offense, she could face up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. The penalties increase if the person committing the offense had a deadly weapon on them. Then, receiving a guilty verdict could result in up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Nevada’s Possessing Burglary Tools Law
You might know that burglary is a crime, but did you also know that possessing tools to commit this offense can also get a person in trouble with the law?
Let’s return to our example of Priscilla and her intent to steal a TV. She bought all the tools she needed to carry out her plan, and she was on her way to the house. While she was distracted, she ran a stop sign. Unfortunately for Priscilla, a cop witnessed her mistake.
Officer Dobbs pulled Priscilla over to issue a citation for the traffic violation. When he looked into her vehicle, he saw that she had tools that could be used to break into a house. He arrested her for possession of instruments with burglarious intent.
Under NRS 205.080 a person commits possession of burglary tools when they:
- Make, repair, or possess instruments that can be used to commit a crime; and
- They intended to use the tools to carry out an offense
Burglary instruments could include things such as:
- False keys,
- Pick locks,
- Nippers, or
- Other equipment or machinery that’s typically used to commit an offense
Depending on the specifics of the circumstances, various defenses could be brought up to fight charges. For instance, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant had the tools in their possession to commit a crime. Some people might have what seem to be burglary instruments but have no intention to carry out a criminal offense with them.
Possessing burglary tools is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
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