When you're charged with a property crime, you'll need a tough, astute Las Vegas criminal defense attorney on your side fighting to defend you. A property crime charge could cost you a lot of money, stress, and time. We at The Law Offices of Martin Hart have extensive knowledge and experience in defending against all Nevada property crime charges. We understand the legal procedures and laws involved, and we'll help you develop a strong defense strategy to fight the charges leveled against you.
An Overview of Property Crimes
Nevada property crimes have become the most common type of offense perpetrated in the state. Property crimes are generally defined as incidents in which an individual's property is destroyed or snatched away without the use of threats or physical force. This can involve a wide variety of crimes, such as petit larceny, grand larceny, pick-pocketing, taking another person's property illegally, and owning stolen goods, to name a few.
If you are found guilty of a property crime, you could face harsh punishments like community service, probation, fines, and jail time, to name a few. All of these factors could jeopardize your relationships, career, and reputation. Furthermore, offenders found guilty of any property crime perpetrated using threat or coercion could face even severe consequences. If you're facing charges of robbery, larceny, pickpocketing, or something similar, you should speak with an experienced property crimes attorney as soon as possible. Engaging a property crimes attorney can greatly raise the odds of getting a positive outcome in your lawsuit.
Types Of Property Crimes
Nevada laws addressing property crimes (NRS 205) include all types of property crimes in the state. Below are the different types of property crimes under Nevada law.
Possession of Stolen Property
NRS 205.275 states that it is illegal to intentionally possess, purchase, or hold onto stolen property. People found guilty of possessing stolen property risk facing felony charges, which could lead to long-term incarceration based on the worth of the stolen property.
This normally involves the theft of money, property, or other valuable items worth $1,200 or more. According to NRS 205.222, this crime can either be classed as a Category D felony crime (less than $5000), Category C felony crime (more than $5000 but less than $25000,) or a Category B felony offense (more than $25000.) A conviction could result in lengthy prison terms, fines, and compensation payments to the complainant.
Vandalism (NRS 206.310), often referred to as "malicious mischief," is the deliberate destruction or damage of another individual's property. These provisions broadly include all vandalism-related acts that are not handled by other penal codes. Vandalism penalties for property damages not more than $25 include a misdemeanor charge and hefty fines of no more than $500.
Vandalism resulting in damages worth not more than $25 carries a misdemeanor conviction and a cash fine of up to $500. However, the penalty rises in proportion to the value of the property destroyed. Defendants who cause damages worth more than five thousand dollars are likely to face a Class C felony, serve 1 to 5 years behind bars, and hefty fines of up to $10,000.
Arson is defined under NRS 205.005 as the intentional and illegal setting of fire to a structure, building, or various other kinds of property. Similar to the medical classifications for burn severity, the state's arson laws include four levels of arson convictions, each with its own set of requirements and consequences.
- 1st Degree Arson—Setting a structure or a vehicle on fire while people are inside
- 2nd Degree Arson—Setting an abandoned structure or building on fire
- 3rd Degree Arson—Setting crops or empty cars on fire
- 4th Degree Arson—Any kind of arson that has not been covered in the other categories
Penalties for arson are determined by the severity of the offense and several other factors. Defendants found guilty of arson risk facing felony charges, prison time of 1 to 15 years, hefty cash fines ranging between $5,000 to $15,000, and compensation payments.
It is unlawful under provisions of NRS 206.330 to spray paint and/or otherwise "tag" another person's property without their consent. Las Vegas law enforcement officers can arrest and charge a defendant with graffiti charges even if they're merely holding graffiti materials (and planning to maliciously damage the property). In Nevada, the consequences for illegal graffiti include a misdemeanor charge, in addition to an assessment fee of $250, cash fines of no more than $1,000, compulsory community service, and the possibility of getting a license suspension. However, punishments could be severe depending on where the graffiti is and how much destruction it causes. The court could also impose harsher penalties on gang members found guilty of graffiti offenses.
Littering in Nevada is considered a misdemeanor crime punishable by serving a jail time of up to 6 months and cash fines of no more than $500, as per Municipal Code 9.12.180. According to NRS 202.185, it is prohibited to leave garbage near or on a public road. Punishment includes serving up to one year in prison and a hefty cash fine of $2,000.
Throwing Burning Cigarettes Out of a Moving Car
It is illegal under NRS 475.030 to throw a lit cigarette or something similar from a moving automobile. Penalties would include serving jail time of up to 6 months and hefty cash fines of no more than $1,000.
Hazardous Waste Disposal
Dumping toxic sewage—including sludge, human waste, and other materials—in Nevada is illegal as per provisions of NRS 444.630. The punishment for first-time offenders includes misdemeanor charges, community service, serving time behind bars for no more than six months, and hefty fines. However, repeat offenses would result in severe punishments.
One of the most common types of Las Vegas offenses is petit larceny. Petit larceny, often known as petty theft, is defined by Nevada law as the intentional act of stealing any of the following items valued at less than $1,200 and being carried, driven, or led away by the offender:
- Personal items or property
- Furniture or bedding
- Domesticated animals
- Other kinds of "real estate"
"Dining and fleeing away," changing price tags, shoplifting, and more are a few of the most popular types of petit theft. In Nevada, petty larceny is classified as a misdemeanor crime.
Robbery, as defined by NRS 205.380, is when someone uses physical intimidation, threats of causing injury, or fear to steal (or try to steal) something from another person. In general, robbery offense penalties involve felony charges and, if sentenced, between 2 and 15 years in prison. Common robbery examples include:
- Robbing a bank teller at gunpoint
- Threatening to hurt someone if they do not hand over their possessions
- Pushing someone and stealing their jewelry
It's worth noting that robbery with a lethal weapon attracts considerably harsher punishments than one without a firearm.
Burglary is defined by NRS 205.060 as entering a business, residence, or vehicle with the intent to perpetrate:
- Acquire property or assets through deception
- Grand or petty theft
- Any other felony offense
Furthermore, a burglary offense does not necessitate an individual breaking into a property. A person could be convicted of the offense even if they merely entered a property intending to commit a crime. Burglary can result in felony accusations, incarceration, fines, and compensation obligations.
A person could be prosecuted with trespassing in Nevada under NRS 207.200 if he or she illegally enters another individual's building or land (without consent) to:
- Entice or irritate the owner of the property
- Commit an offense
- Intentionally enter or stay on a building, residence, or property despite being ordered to leave
Illegal trespassing is classified as a misdemeanor crime punishable by no more than 6 months behind bars, probation, and hefty fines of no more than $1,000. It is also worth noting that there are civil trespassing laws defined under provisions of NRS 41.515. People who are caught trespassing (including casinos) could face criminal charges as well as civil liability.
Pickpocketing is classified as robbery under Nevada law. The major distinction between the two offenses is that force is not used in this case. An individual could suffer pick-pocketing charges if they knowingly steal or take something illegally from someone without their knowledge or permission. Furthermore, an individual could only be convicted of pickpocketing if they perpetrated the offense without using force, making threats, or being afraid of getting hurt.
Fraudulent Property Crimes
Fraud is defined as the intentional deception of another person or company to get funds or other kinds of benefits. Some of the most common types of fraudulent property crime in the state include:
- Identity theft
- Credit card fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Securities fraud
- Casino marker fraud
- Gaming fraud
Extortion, also referred to as "blackmail," is the intentional threat of physical harm, character defamation, or property damage in an attempt to gain financial advantage or influence. Defendants accused of extortion risk facing category B felony charges, with prison time ranging between 1 to 10 years, and hefty fines of no more than $10,000. However, the charges and punishments would vary based on the kind of extortion perpetrated and if it was a federal crime.
Embezzlement is comparable to larceny with one exception. To be charged with "embezzlement," the accused should obtain money illegally or gain other benefits from someone who entrusted him or her with the funds. For instance, a cashier who steals money from his or her manager's cash register could be convicted of embezzlement. Similarly, an accountant who prepares false invoices could be convicted of embezzlement, as well as fraud, and other violations.
Embezzling funds not more than $1,200 is classified as a misdemeanor offense. On the other hand, felony charges could be filed against a defendant if he or she is caught embezzling funds of more than $1,200 in value. Penalties for a misdemeanor charge include serving jail time of 180 days, hefty cash fines of $1,000, as well as restitution obligations. Individuals found guilty of felony embezzlement would face prison terms ranging from one to twenty years, as well as hefty cash fines and restitution obligations.
General Legal Defenses For Property Crimes
There are several legal defenses that your lawyer can raise in your favor, based on the facts of the case. The following are some of the most common defenses for property crimes:
The Alleged Theft Didn't Take Place
Assume someone falsely accuses you of stealing but, in reality, they lost the goods or another person stole the property. In this situation, a competent property crimes attorney can easily detect the required proof to help clear your name.
You Did Not Intend To Steal The Property
It will be far more difficult for the prosecutor to succeed in getting you convicted if your attorney can prove that you had no intention of stealing or keeping the property.
The Property Or Goods Were Given To You By The Owner
If your attorney can present evidence showing that the goods or property were given to you, that you legally owned the items or property, or that you had permission to use the property, they can raise enough doubts about the case to render it all but difficult to find you guilty.
Immigration Status and Property Crimes
First-time property crime offenders, such as petty larceny, are less likely to undergo deportation proceedings than those who perpetrate more serious offenses. However, engaging in illegal activity can result in deportation and/or other penalties that could have an impact on the defendant's immigration status. If you are an immigrant who has been convicted of a Nevada property crime, it is in your best interest to engage a competent criminal defense attorney who has extensive knowledge of immigration law.
Contact a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
Property crime charges can have a serious impact on your criminal record. You will need professional legal counsel to help you reduce or drop these charges. Contact The Law Offices of Martin Hart in Las Vegas at 702-380-4278 to speak with one of our attorneys to see how we can help defend you.