The law in Nevada defines trespass as going onto some else’s property with the intention of annoying the owner or the occupant of the property. It also defines trespass as willfully going onto another’s property or remaining on someone else’s property after having been asked to leave or not to trespass.
When facing a trespass citation or arrest, it means you have gone on to another’s property without their consent or remained on their property after being asked to leave. The word trespass usually has a person imagining someone jumping over a fence onto property marked ‘stay out,’ or walking onto property marked as ‘no trespassing’; however, in Las Vegas, most trespass arrests occur in casinos. Trespass is charged when a patron refuses to stay away from a particular establishment or refuses to leave one.
Las Vegas Casino Trespass Charges
Security guards in Las Vegas casinos often find themselves having to call the authorities because a customer becomes intoxicated or their behavior become rowdy. When they request a person in this condition to leave the premises, and the person refuses, the guard will have them arrested for trespass.
Even if you feel the guard has made a bad judgment call, or you were not involved in the event the guard accuses you of, if you’ve been asked to leave, you are required by law to leave. A request made from the property owner or a person with authority over the property must be followed. If you do not follow the request, you are then able to be charged with trespass.
Another scenario for trespass with the Las Vegas casinos is when a customer has been asked not to return to an establishment. If you’ve been banned from entering any specific casino, and return to that casino, you are going to be committing trespass. The reason you return to the establishment is not relevant as under NRS 207.200 you are considered in violation of the trespass law.
NRS 207.200 is the Nevada trespass law, and it prohibits the willful going or willful remaining on any land or building after they have been warned by the owner or legal occupant of the property not to trespass.
NRS 207.200 classifies trespassing and is considered a misdemeanor in Nevada and carries a possible six month jail time sentence or up to $1,000 in fines.
If you are staying at the casino and you’ve been asked to leave, you cannot go back in for your belongings without the consent of the owner. If you go back in to retrieve your belongings, you will risk arrest. The best solution is to ask the security guard to escort you back to your room to regain your property.
Scope of the Las Vegas Trespass Ban
Each casino has its rules for how long they place a ban on a customer. Some only put the ban in place for the particular night of an incident and will allow you to return the next morning. Depending on the event that provoked the prohibition, you could be banned permanently.
When a casino places a ban on a person, they do not give a written confirmation or notice of the act. They will alert security orally and have them tell you verbally as they help you out of doors. You will be advised to either 'never return,' or 'don't come back until the specified ban is over.' If the casino you are being asked to leave or stay out of will apply to all their sister properties as well.
How a Casino Trespass Turns into an Arrest
If the security guard in a casino believes you are violating NRS 207.200, they will escort you to a detention room. From this room, one of three things can happen:
The guard can contact the police and request they come and place you under arrest. You are then escorted to the local jail and booked
The guards can contact the police who will issue a citation requiring you to appear in court at an arraignment in Nevada. You will receive formal charges at the arraignment.
The guard can release you after obtaining your name and contact information. The guard then passes the information on to the authorities. From the information provided by the security guard, the District Attorney will decide if trespass charges will be enforced. If these charges are imposed, you will receive a summons in the mail ordering you to appear in court for an arraignment.
Arraignment under Nevada Law is typically your first court appearance during the life of your criminal case. This court appearance is where you will declare your plea after being formally charged with a crime. You will want an attorney to appear at this hearing with you.
When you become a trespassing suspect but behave non-threateningly and cooperate, you might be able to avoid an arrest. You may still receive a summons instead of being arrested or getting a citation, but you could avoid being booked and placed in jail. The summons or citation cannot be ignored. Failing to appear when required will put you in more legal trouble.
When you fail to appear in court according to a summons, you've committed a separate crime which carries a different jail sentence or fine, and a Nevada judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. An attorney can help you when facing trespass charges. With an experienced attorney on your side, you may be able to avoid appearing in court. Call the Law Offices of Martin Hart to help defend you against the trespass charge and learn how you can avoid going to court.
Trespass in Nevada involving Residence or Businesses
The crime of trespass can occur in residences or businesses as well in Nevada. Any time an owner of a property or the legal occupant of a property asks you to stay off their property, and you do not follow their request, you are trespassing. Nevada law will automatically assume you are guilty of trespass if you are found on another’s property which has been fenced or marked with ‘no trespassing’ signs.
Nevada judges could convict persons for trespassing when they are found on another’s private, fenced-in land even if the person was unaware of having trespassed. If you are found on another’s property and the owner asks you to leave, the police typically will not arrest you as long as you quickly leave the area.
Penalties for Trespassing in Nevada
Charges for trespassing in Nevada fall under NRS 207.200 and are classified as a misdemeanor. A conviction on a misdemeanor carries a punishment of up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000. In some cases, both penalties will be placed on a conviction. This crime is relatively minor and falls typically under the non-violent action. Las Vegas judges have rarely imposed jail time sentences for these charges if a person is a first-time offender. If you have committed this offense previously and appeared in court, you are a repeat offender, and the judge may apply harsher punishment. You will be more vulnerable to a jail sentence as a repeat offender.
Defense Against Trespass Charges in Nevada
The District Attorney can allow defendants to take what is called a Nevada Submittal to trespass charges. In these cases, the trespass case can be completely dismissed without you having to go to trial if:
You pay the small fine assigned
You are not arrested again for trespassing until the fine is paid
With the Nevada Submittal, there is no conviction, so you can request a record seal as soon as the case is complete.
Record sealing can be completed as soon as a trespass charge is dismissed such as under the Nevada Submittal. If the Nevada Submittal does not apply and you are convicted of trespass in Nevada, you must complete a one year waiting period after the case ends before petitioning the courts to seal their file. Having even a misdemeanor on your record can affect your chances at certain employment opportunities. You will want this record sealed as soon as possible.
The most effective way to defend against NRS 207.200 depends on the circumstances surrounding the charge. Four common defenses used in Nevada for a trespass charge are:
You had the right to be on the property in question
The owner granted you access to the property or gave you consent to be on the property
The ‘no trespassing’ signs were not visible, or you did not see them before entering the property
You were exercising your Constitutional rights to be on the property
The Nevada courts generally do not accept the defense that a defendant did not have an intention to break the law in trespass cases.
A defense against trespass can be that you had the right to be on the property. If you have the right to be another person’s property, you are not committing trespass unless you’ve been told to leave by someone who has a higher authority. Your right to be on a property depends on the property location. Casinos and other public businesses are open to the public unless a person with authority asks someone to leave the premises. Public places are different from a person’s private home where you have to have consent before entering.
Another defense would be if consent were given to be on the property in question. If there was a scheduled event such as a party, you have the right to be there until the owner requests that you leave. Consent is hard to prove in court if there is no written record of it or if you do not have an audio of the invite or permission from the owner. When attempting to use this defense, it is good to have eyewitnesses to the consent.
The state of Nevada makes it necessary to give others notice through visual signs or fences that they are not allowed on to a property. If no visible signs are present stating ‘no trespass,’ or, ‘do not enter’ or another warning that the property should not be entered, trespass charges can be dismissed.
There is no distinction between signs and fences in Nevada. Fenced property is a physical warning that you are not to enter. The charges for trespass could be dismissed; however, if the fence is not completed, needs repairs or a reasonable person would not interpret the fence’s purpose.
Landowners in Nevada who do not want to use fences to mark their property are expected to take other measures to alert people not to trespass on their property. Farmers need to display fluorescent orange painted markers at no less than 1,000-foot intervals, and if not farmland than those same markers needs to be displayed every 200 feet. If your defense attorney can prove the landowner failed to use sufficient ‘no trespass’ signage, the prosecution may drop the charges.
The Constitution guarantees you the right to free speech. There are times the strongest defense against a trespass charge is that you were exercising your Constitutional rights. The main factor in this defense is that you were using your rights on public property. If you were on a street, sidewalk, or another public forum, the defense’s effective strategy to fight a trespass charge is that you were exercising your free speech rights.
What Happens to Non-Nevada Residents Charged with Trespass?
The charge of trespass is considered a minor offense, so defendants are not always required to appear in court themselves as long as they hire counsel to appear for them. It does not matter to the courts if you live in Nevada or not, failure to show up in court or have legal counsel appear for you is considered an additional crime.
You will need to retain a Las Vegas attorney to represent you if your residence is outside of Nevada and you will not be present at the time of your hearing. If you do not appear, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. It is unlikely, you would be extradited back to Nevada for trespass charges, but if you are ever pulled over in the state, you risk being arrested on the spot.
Where Can I Find A Las Vegas Criminal Attorney Near Me?
Facing trespass charges can affect your criminal history record. You need experienced legal representation to help dismiss or seal these charges. Call the Law Offices of Martin Hart 702-380-4278 and discuss your legal options today. Nevada has very specific rules in place regarding the crime of trespass, and you want the Law Offices of Martin Hart on your side to defend your rights.