night. 1. The time from sunset to sunrise. 2. Darkness; the time when a person’s face is not discernible. • This definition was used in the common-law definition of certain offenses, such as burglary. [Cases: Burglary 8. C.J.S. Burglary §§ 26, 36.]
“The definition of a burglar, as given by Sir Edward Coke, is, ‘he that by night breaketh and entereth into a mansion-house, with intent to commit a felony.’ … The time must be by night, and not by day; for in the daytime there is no burglary …. As to what is reckoned night, and what day, for this purpose anciently the day was accounted to begin only at sunrising, and to end immediately upon sunset; but the better opinion seems to be, that if there be daylight … enough, begun or left, to discern a man’s face withal, it is no burglary. But this does not extend to moonlight; for then many midnight burglaries would go unpunished: and besides, the malignity of the offence does not so properly arise from its being done in the dark, as at the dead of night when all the creation, except beasts of prey, are at rest; when sleep has disarmed the owner, and rendered his castle defenceless.” 4 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 224 (1769).
3. Thirty minutes after sunset and thirty minutes before sunrise, or a similar definition as set forth by statute, as in a statute requiring specific authorization for night searches. 4. Evening. — Also termed nighttime. Cf. DAY.
[Blacks Law 8th]