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If I Didn't Steal Anything, How Can I Be Charged With Burglary?

To convict someone of the Felony offense of Burglary, the government must show that the person entered a protected structure with the specific intent to steal or with the intent to commit assault, battery or any felony inside. The State does not have to prove that the personal actually committed the theft, assault, battery or felony. Just that the person entered and, at the time they entered, they intended to commit that offense.

NRS 205.060 defines the offense of Burglary and states:

"A person who, by day or night, enters 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, is guilty of burglary."

It can be difficult for the government to show what a person was thinking when they entered a structure because they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt what was in another person's mind. It can be much more difficult if the accused did not commit that offense once they entered. However, the government may try to prove intent by showing that the person entered with the tools necessary to commit the crime (i.e. - a shoplifter enters with scissors to cut tags, razor to open CD cases, or a bag to secret items out of a store). The State may also try to prove intent by using the accused person's behavior (i.e. - a shoplifter enters, goes straight to the electronics section, selects CD's and places them in their jacket).

In Las Vegas, prosecutors routinely charge a felony Burglary offense, even when the intended offense is a misdemeanor such as domestic violence or shoplifting. A felony Burglary charge can have serious and life-long consequences. Burglary is punishable by up to ten (10) years in prison and up to $10,000.00 fine. If the Burglary is Committed while in Possession of a Firearm, the offense is punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine.

If you or someone you know is charged with Burglary, it is important that you contact a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer right away. Let a criminal defense attorney assist you in analyzing the facts of your case, identifying appropriate defenses and developing an aggressive defense strategy to protect your rights.