You’ve had a great day exploring Las Vegas, enjoying all the city has to offer. You get back to your hotel room and get ready for bed. As you are getting out of the shower, you hear a noise inside your room. There is an intruder in your hotel room! You peek out the bathroom door and see an armed man rifling through your belongings.

What do you do?

Unfortunately, this scenario plays out more often than it should, leaving law-abiding citizens with the difficult decision to defend themselves, sometimes with deadly force.

But do they have that right? What does the law say? Can you defend yourself if you are in a hotel room? You have to look at Nevada’s Castle Doctrine to determine that.

Do Nevada's Self-Defense Laws Apply to Hotel and Motel Rooms?

The Castle Doctrine in Nevada

Nevada’s Castle Doctrine is a legal standard that designates any place that a person is legally occupying as a place that they can defend, with force if necessary,  should they be threatened by an intruder. The occupant does not have to wait for the intruder to provoke them by striking them, making verbal threats, or aiming a gun at them. This works with the state’s self-defense laws and applies to residents, visitors, and to a certain degree, even convicted felons.

The force applied to the intruder must be reasonable, although deadly force is acceptable in the right circumstances. In Nevada, you have no duty to retreat if you are faced with an intruder. You can stand your ground and fight to protect yourself.

What is the Nevada Law on Self-Defense and the Castle Doctrine?

Nevada Revised Statute 200.120 makes self-defense legal, even if it means killing someone. There is no duty to retreat, even if there is a way for the person to escape. They can legally remain in the dwelling or vehicle and defend their property if they:

  • Are not the one who started the altercation
  • Have a legal right to be at that location where the deadly force is used
  • Are not actively committing a crime at the time the deadly force is used
  • Are in reasonable fear of imminent substantial bodily injury, harm, or death

If these self-defense criteria are met, then the deadly force used to stop the intruder can be considered self-defense.

Can You Defend Yourself in a Hotel Room?

The short answer is, yes. The Castle Doctrine does apply to hotel rooms so you can defend yourself. In fact, it applies to any place that is occupied by you, including:

  • Home (whether you rent or own)
  • Tent (camping)
  • Apartments
  • Travel Trailers or fifth wheels
  • Mobile homes
  • AirBNBs
  • Condominiums
  • Car or truck or any self-propelled vehicle, including motorcycles
  • Hotel rooms

It doesn’t matter if you rent or own, or if you are a guest, as long as you are in that place legally. It is important to know that the house, hotel room, or car must be occupied by someone (at least 1 person) and it does not have to be the homeowner. A house guest has as much of a right to protect themselves and the home from an intruder as the homeowner does.

It is important to emphasize that the hotel room must be occupied at the time of the intrusion. If you are in the hallway, approaching your room and you see someone trying to break into your empty room, you cannot use deadly force to stop them.

Can the Castle Doctrine be Used as a Defense to a Murder Charge?

A person who killed an intruder in their hotel room and was charged with murder can be acquitted under Nevada’s self-defense laws and the Castle Doctrine as long as the hotel room or vehicle was occupied and the person had a reasonable fear of death or bodily injury at the hands of the intruder.

Your defense attorney will work with you to build your self-defense case. They will listen to your side of the story and gather any evidence that can be used, such as eyewitnesses, security video footage, recordings, and physical evidence.  They will present this evidence at your trial, although the prosecution may choose to drop the case before it even goes to court if they see compelling evidence in your favor and it is clear you acted in self-defense.




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For Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) related to legal matters, including sex crimes, fraud charges, DUI charges, domestic violence, and non-homicide self-defense, you can visit the official website of the Nevada Legislature or consult legal databases specific to the state. These resources will provide you with the most up-to-date and accurate information on the relevant statutes.

  1. Nevada Legislature Website: You can visit the official website of the Nevada Legislature at The website usually has an easy-to-navigate interface where you can search for specific NRS codes related to different legal categories.
  2. Legal Databases: Online legal databases such as Nevada Legal Forms or Justia may also provide access to the latest Nevada Revised Statutes.
  3. Legal Professionals: If you have specific legal questions or need assistance with legal codes, consulting with a legal professional, such as an attorney practicing in Nevada, is always a good idea.