What Is Illegal Reentry? What to Know

If you were ever legally evicted or removed from a home or apartment, you were likely notified that you could not return to the premises. What happens if you return anyway after being ordered to leave? You might be arrested and charged with “unlawful reentry.” To help you better understand, The Vegas Lawyers explain what constitutes illegal reentry and what penalties you face if convicted of unlawful reentry in Nevada.

Illegal reentry - The Vegas Lawyers in Nevada

What Are the Elements of Unlawful Reentry in Nevada?

Illegal reentry, referred to officially as “unlawful reentry,” is governed by Nevada Revised Statute 205.082, which requires two elements to be met for a conviction:

  1. An owner of real property has recovered possession of the property from the person pursuant to NRS 40.412 or 40.414 and
  2. Without the authority of the court or permission of the owner, the person reenters the property.

What Are Some Scenarios That Might Lead to Allegations of Illegal Reentry?

Allegations of illegal reentry most often occur after an individual has been evicted or following removal for “squatting.” For example, imagine that you were legally evicted from your apartment by your landlord for violating a provision of your lease. The court order required you to vacate the premises by June 1st. On June 2nd, you realize you left some important documents in the closet of the apartment, so you return to get them. You could be arrested and charged with unlawful reentry.

Another common example involves “squatters.” A squatter is someone who lives in or occupies a piece of property without a legal claim to the property. If you were squatting on a property and the owner came in and removed you, changed the locks, and posted the required notice pursuant to NRS 40.412, you could be charged with illegal reentry if you returned to the property.

How Is Illegal Reentry Different from Burglary or Trespassing?

If unlawful reentry sounds similar to burglary and trespassing to you, it is because they are similar offenses – with important differences.

The primary difference between unlawful reentry and burglary is that the criminal offense of burglary requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant had the intent to commit a crime while on the premises. Illegal reentry, however, does not involve any malicious intent beyond unlawful reentry.

Trespass, in Nevada, can occur under two different circumstances. The first is when an individual enters into someone else’s property with the intent to “vex or annoy the owner or occupant thereof or to commit any unlawful act.” Trespassing can also be alleged if you willfully go or remain upon any land or in any building “after having been warned by the owner or occupant thereof not to trespass.”

What Are the Potential Penalties for Unlawful Reentry in Nevada?

Unlawful reentry is charged as a gross misdemeanor in Nevada. If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to 364 days in jail and/or be ordered to pay a fine of up to $2,000.

What Are Some Defenses to Allegations of Illegal Reentry?

If you are facing allegations of unlawful reentry in Las Vegas it is imperative that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss defense strategies that might work given the facts and circumstances of your case. Some common defenses include:

  • The property owner gave you permission to return to the property.
  • The property owner failed to legally evict you or repossess the property.
  • You never reentered the property.
  • Your rights were violated and, therefore, evidence should be excluded.

What Should I Do If I Was Arrested and Charged with Illegal Reentry in Las Vegas?

If you were arrested and charged with unlawful reentry in Las Vegas, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney at The Vegas Lawyers as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and defenses. Call us at 702-707-7000 or contact us online.