TRESPASS NOT AMOUNTING TO BURGLARY
Trespassing is a common charge in Las Vegas. If you were accused of committing a crime in a casino, or even if you didn't commit a crime, but security thought you were too drunk, you may have been "trespassed" from that establishment and any other casinos owned by the same company. If you go back to that casino after being asked to leave, you may find yourself charged with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor crime under NRS 207.200. Read below about how criminal trespass is defined under Nevada law, and what it means once you have been "trespassed" from a property.
WHAT IS CRIMINAL TRESPASS?
Under NRS 207.200, a person can be found guilty of a criminal trespass upon land under three distinct legal theories. This means that there are three ways for the prosecution to prove a trespass.
First, pursuant to NRS 207.200(1)(a), a person commits a trespass when he goes onto another person's property "with intent to vex or annoy the owner or occupant" That is, if the prosecutor can prove that a person went onto another person's property with the specific goal of vexing or annoying the property owner, then the person can be convicted of a criminal trespass. Similar to any charge where intent is at issue, the prosecutor would have to show the defendant's "intent to vex or annoy" through presenting circumstantial evidence. This would typically be proven by explaining that the defendant had an antagonistic relationship with the property owner, or by showing that the defendant's actions when on the property were, in fact, vexing or annoying.
Second, also under NRS 207.200(1)(a), a person commits a criminal trespass when he goes onto another person's property to "commit any unlawful act." Typically, this theory is used if a person goes onto someone else's property to solicit prostitution, use illegal drugs, or commit some other minor offense. However, keep in mind, if the "unlawful act" is a felony or a theft, then the person would be guilty not of a mere trespass, but a
burglary, which is a more serious offense.
Third, under NRS 207.200(1)(b), a person commits criminal trespass if he goes onto someone else's property "after having been warned by the owner or occupant… not to trespass." In other words, if a property owner clearly tells you not to enter onto his property, and you willfully go onto that person's property anyway, then you are guilty of criminal trespass. This is where the idea of being "trespassed" becomes relevant. When a property owner informs you that he wants you off his property, you have been trespassed and can't return to the property without committing a criminal trespass. In Las Vegas casinos, this happens frequently. If a person has too much to drink, is suspected of committing a crime, or otherwise causes problems, then casino security will record that person's identity, and actually give the person a letter indicating that he is banned from casino property and all other properties around town owned by the same company. If the person returns to the casino, he can be arrested for trespassing. Under NRS 207.200(2), a "warning" against trespassing can be given by posting a "no trespassing" sign, fencing in a certain area of the land, or giving an oral or written demand to leave the property.
DEFENDING CRIMINAL TRESPASS CHARGES
Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum of 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Under NRS 207.210, it is also a misdemeanor to destroy a "no trespassing" sign. Trespassing charges can be brought in Las Vegas Justice Court or Las Vegas Municipal Court.
If you have been charged with criminal trespass, and you want to resolve your case as easily as possible, you should contact a criminal defense attorney. I have helped many people charged with trespassing. Typically, if you retain me as your criminal defense lawyer on your trespassing case, I can resolve your case quickly and without you having to return to court. Call me now for a free consultation.
By Michael Pandullo