Castle Doctrine Law: Nevada

Nevada is a state with forthright castle doctrine statutes on their books.

If you are attacked in your home or any other domicile, permanent, semi-permanent or temporary in Nevada, you may defend yourself, your family and any other legal occupant in the dwelling with force up to and including lethal force in case someone tries to enter unlawfully and forcibly or intends to harm any occupant.

flag of Nevada

Only in specific circumstances is the occupant of a dwelling not afforded this protection under the law in defense of home and family.

Self-defense is a matter that entails grave consequences for both failure and rash or improper action, and you’ll be facing a harrowing experience if you should get it wrong.

Luckily we will give you all the facts that you need to know regarding Nevada’s castle doctrine laws, and have also included the Nevada state statutes at the end of the article so that you may review the relevant laws yourself.

Fast Facts

  • Nevada castle doctrine law allows occupants of a residence or dwelling to use lethal force in defense against a person who is in the process of unlawfully and forcibly entering the structure, or who has already unlawfully and forcibly entered the structure.
  • The standards of castle doctrine do not apply in certain, specific circumstances, namely when the intruder has a legal claim to the property, is a legal occupant or is attempting to remove a child whom they have legal custody or guardianship over.
  • Under such circumstances as detailed above, defenders are presumed to be reasonably in fear of great bodily injury or death, and may act accordingly.

Overview of Castle Doctrine Law in Nevada

It does not get much simpler than Nevada’s castle doctrine laws.

Anyone who occupies a residence or a dwelling, with a dwelling being any place that is intended for housing people at night, and can include a hotel room, motel or other temporary lodging, may use lethal force against anyone who is forcibly and unlawfully entering said residence or dwelling, or who has already entered accordingly, with the intent to commit a felony or use violence against anyone within the dwelling.

The State of Nevada presumes any defender in such a situation has a genuine, reasonable fear of great bodily injury or death and may respond to it with an appropriate level of force.

Accordingly, lethal force may be used under the circumstances against an intruder who is trying to commit any felony within the occupied structure, such as kidnapping, sexual assault, etc.

There is not much more to it than that. The law is affirmatively on the side of the defender in Nevada should any unlawful and forcible entry into an occupied structure be attempted.

However, should an intruder be able to enter by stealth through an open door or unlocked door, similarly a window or some other aperture, then the use of lethal force by the defender or occupants may not be lawful at the instant without an apparent and reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury.

I would remind readers that instances of unlawful but non-forced or surreptitious entry have and do occur for a number of reasons. “Forcible” and “unlawful” is the essential qualifier under Nevada’s castle doctrine.

Restrictions

There are some significant restrictions regarding Nevada’s castle doctrine that defenders will need to know about.

Namely, someone cannot use force and lethal force in particular against anyone who is attempting entry into a structure that has a legal right to the property or occupancy of it, or whosoever does so for the purpose of attempting to remove someone from a structure when that person no longer has or had a legal claim to the property in question or occupancy of it.

For instance, if you are a tenant or some other renter of a property and are being evicted or are legally de-barred from accessing the property and are remaining their illegally (squatting), you could not shoot or harm the owner of the property or the landlord if they made entry to verify its status, even if you are trying to prevent that entry due your occupancy.

In a similar vein, you cannot claim castle doctrine in defense against anyone who is attempting to enter a property to remove a minor under their custody of whom they have legal guardianship over, or in any case, the removal of said minor by that person.

Also, obviously, you cannot claim castle doctrine in defense against any law enforcement officer or other badged official who is executing their duties.

Assessment

We are happy to report that Nevada is another state with superb castle doctrine laws on the books for the protection of its citizens.

Any legal owners or occupants of a dwelling or residence may use force in defense, including lethal force, against any unlawful, forcible attempt to gain access to the dwelling, or in case the unlawful entry has already occurred. Few exceptions are on the books, but they are entirely reasonable.

Relevant Nevada Castle Doctrine Statutes

NRS 193.014 – “Dwelling house” defined.

Dwelling house” includes every building or structure which has been usually occupied by a person lodging therein at night, and whenever it is so constructed as to consist of two or more parts or rooms occupied or intended to be occupied, whether permanently or temporarily, by different tenants separately by usually lodging therein at night, or for any other separate purpose, each part shall be deemed a separate dwelling house of the tenant occupying it.

NRS 193.0145 – “Enter” defined.

Enter,” when constituting an element or part of a crime, includes the entrance of the offender, or the insertion of any part of the body of the offender, or of any instrument or weapon held in the offender’s hand and used or intended to be used to threaten or intimidate a person, or to detach or remove property.

NRS 200.275 – Justifiable infliction or threat of bodily injury not punishable.

In addition to any other circumstances recognized as justification at common law, the infliction or threat of bodily injury is justifiable, and does not constitute mayhem, battery or assault, if done under circumstances which would justify homicide.

NRS 200.010 – “Murder” defined.

Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being:

1. With malice aforethought, either express or implied;

2. Caused by a controlled substance which was sold, given, traded or otherwise made available to a person in violation of chapter 453 of NRS; or

3. Caused by a violation of NRS 453.3325.

The unlawful killing may be effected by any of the various means by which death may be occasioned.

NRS 200.020 – Malice: Express and implied defined.

1. Express malice is that deliberate intention unlawfully to take away the life of a fellow creature, which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof.

2. Malice shall be implied when no considerable provocation appears, or when all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart.

NRS 200.120 – “Justifiable homicide” defined; no duty to retreat under certain circumstances.

1. Justifiable homicide is the killing of a human being in necessary self-defense, or in defense of an occupied habitation, an occupied motor vehicle or a person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors to commit a crime of violence, or against any person or persons who manifestly intend and endeavor, in a violent, riotous, tumultuous or surreptitious manner, to enter the occupied habitation or occupied motor vehicle, of another for the purpose of assaulting or offering personal violence to any person dwelling or being therein.

2. A person is not required to retreat before using deadly force as provided in subsection 1 if the person:

(a) Is not the original aggressor;

(b) Has a right to be present at the location where deadly force is used; and

(c) Is not actively engaged in conduct in furtherance of criminal activity at the time deadly force is used.

3. As used in this section:

(a) “Crime of violence” means any felony for which there is a substantial risk that force or violence may be used against the person or property of another in the commission of the felony.

(b) “Motor vehicle” means every vehicle which is self-propelled.

NRS 200.130 – Bare fear insufficient to justify killing; reasonable fear required; rebuttable presumption under certain circumstances.

1. A bare fear of any of the offenses mentioned in NRS 200.120, to prevent which the homicide is alleged to have been committed, is not sufficient to justify the killing. It must appear that the circumstances were sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person and that the person killing really acted under the influence of those fears and not in a spirit of revenge.

2. There is a rebuttable presumption that the circumstances were sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person and that the person killing really acted under the influence of those fears and not in a spirit of revenge if the person killing:

(a) Knew or reasonably believed that the person who was killed was entering unlawfully and with force, or attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the occupied habitation or occupied motor vehicle, of another;

(b) Knew or reasonably believed that the person who was killed was committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence; and

(c) Did not provoke the person who was killed.

3. As used in this section:

(a) “Crime of violence” means any felony for which there is a substantial risk that force or violence may be used against the person or property of another in the commission of the felony.

(b) “Motor vehicle” means every vehicle which is self-propelled.

NRS 200.150 – Justifiable or excusable homicide.

All other instances which stand upon the same footing of reason and justice as those enumerated shall be considered justifiable or excusable homicide.

NRS 200.160 – Additional cases of justifiable homicide.

Homicide is also justifiable when committed:

1. In the lawful defense of the slayer, or his or her spouse, parent, child, brother or sister, or of any other person in his or her presence or company, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design on the part of the person slain to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to any such person, and there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished; or

2. In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his or her presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode in which the slayer is.

NRS 200.170 – Burden of proving circumstances of mitigation or justifiable or excusable homicide.

The killing of the deceased named in the indictment or information by the defendant being proved, the burden of proving circumstances of mitigation, or that justify or excuse the homicide, will devolve on the accused, unless the proof on the part of the prosecution sufficiently manifests that the crime committed only amounts to manslaughter, or that the accused was justified, or excused in committing the homicide.

NRS 200.190 – Justifiable or excusable homicide not punishable.

The homicide appearing to be justifiable or excusable, the person indicted shall, upon trial, be fully acquitted and discharged.

NRS 200.200 – Killing in self-defense.

If a person kills another in self-defense, it must appear that:

1. The danger was so urgent and pressing that, in order to save the person’s own life, or to prevent the person from receiving great bodily harm, the killing of the other was absolutely necessary; and

2. The person killed was the assailant, or that the slayer had really, and in good faith, endeavored to decline any further struggle before the mortal blow was given.

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