What does home invasion mean?

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What’s a home invasion? Well, that depends on who you ask.

You and I probably see this the same way. When armed criminals brazenly force their way into a house, condo, or apartment, not caring whether somebody is at home or away, with an eye to stealing property or hurting us, you and I tend to call that a “home invasion.” We often think of these thieves as being armed and extremely dangerous. They bust in, through the door, without fear.

To the legal community, the definition of “home invasion” is different and, unfortunately, inconsistent.  U.S. Legal.com defines the term this way: “Home invasion is generally an unauthorized and forceful entry into a dwelling. It is a crime governed by state laws, which vary by state.”

That means some states include weapons as part of the definition. Some don’t. The definition of “weapons” varies, too. Maybe it’s a gun, or maybe it’s a knife, brass knuckles, a club, or  a blackjack. Whatever it is, you and I are very threatened by it.

By the same token, some states designate varying degrees of home invasion and various penalties for it. Michigan, one of the few states with a home invasion statute, differentiates between first degree, second degree, and third degree offenses.

Significantly, many states don’t make “home invasion” a specific crime at all.  Nevada is one of the states that has made home invasion a crime separate from others. The Nevada home invasion statute makes it a crime for someone to “forcibly enter an inhabited dwelling without permission of the owner (or lawful occupant) whether or not a person is present at the time of the entry.”

Wikipedia notes that “home invasion differs from burglary in having a violent intent, specific or general.” Here at Home Invasion News, the Wikipedia definition works for us.

In Australia, the term home invasion is synonymous with “aggravated burglary,” defined as “a crime of theft classified as larceny by force or by threat of force. “The elements of the crime of robbery include the use of force or intimidation and all the elements of the crime of larceny. The penalty for robbery is always more severe than for larceny,” according to the Free Dictionary.

Home invasion is intrusive and it’s violent. For now, it may not be a specific crime in all states, but we believe it should be.

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