Nevada’s “castle defense” laws (the laws that tell you how you can defend your home if there is an intruder) have just changed. Properly understanding the Nevada castle defense law can be critical if you are faced with an unwanted intruder. In the video below, attorney Zach Parry explains what recently changed in the law and when you have the right to defend your home.
Here is the transcript of the video above:
Hi, I’m Zach Parry. We’re going to talking a little bit today about recent changes the legislature made to Nevada’s castle defense laws. Now, castle defense law, most states have one in one form or another, tells a homeowner under what circumstance they are justified in using lethal force against an intruder to defend their home, castle defense.
Nevada, prior to these legislative changes that became effective this year, just recently,
Nevada had a castle defense law already. The castle defense law basically said that in the circumstance where there is a home invader, you are justified in using lethal force if this home invader is committing a felony.
A surprise felony, like burglary. So, the question one would ask oneself, how do you know if someone breaking into your home intends to commit burglary? Well, the burglary statute answers that question. And it says, if someone breaks into your home, there’s a presumption that they are intending to commit a felony. In other words, if someone breaks in your home, you’re okay using lethal force. It took a couple different statutes to say that but that is the way the castle defense laws used to be.
With a new changes, they really aren’t that different. In some aspects the legislature narrowed the law. In others it brought in the law. For example, now instead of requiring or allowing lethal defense with a surprise felony, it is now required to be a violent felony. But, because the presumption is when they break into your house the intent to burglar you, that hasn’t really changed much. Whether it requires a surprise or a violent felony, they are both presumed anyway.
Another change that was made is that now instead of just breaking into any habitation, it has to be occupied habitation. So it narrowed the focus of law a little bit. Though again, the practical effect that is minimal because when are you going to be using lethal force when you aren’t there? Never.
In another aspect the law was broadened. Now the law not only applies to habitations but motor vehicles. And that’s probably the most significant change to the law. In that now, if you are defending yourself from a criminal trying to steal your vehicle or while you are occupying your vehicle, you are now justified in using using lethal force just like you would if you were in your home.
And, the statute also created a rebuttable presumption that the homeowner was justified. There is certain criteria set forth to establish when the homeowner meets this qualification. But, in most cases they’re going to be in it. So, the most significant change to Nevada’s castle defense laws is that now it applies to motor vehicles in addition just being in your home. So, stay safe.