If you have been arrested on charges of theft in Las Vegas or anywhere throughout the state of Nevada, you are potentially facing severe consequences upon a conviction. Nevada theft crimes are punished more severely than in many other states, and besides the fines and jail time, the creation of a permanent criminal record can affect your ability to find a good job and live a "normal" life for many years to come.
There are a great variety of theft crimes, including both misdemeanor and felony offenses and ranging from stealing items of "petty" value to stealing cars, real estate (by fraud), or thousands of dollars in cash. The amount stolen, the nature of the object stolen, and the manner in which the theft allegedly took place all influence the punishment that will be threatened.
But even in the smallest matters, it is well worthwhile to secure the services of a skilled, Nevada criminal defense attorney. Keeping a conviction off your record is sometimes more important even than avoiding the sentencing elements.
At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we have long experience and deep expertise in defending against charges of all Nevada theft crimes. We understand the law and the court processes involved, and we will know how to build a solid defense for your case.
To learn more or for a free legal consultation, contact us 24/7 by calling 702-380-4278.
Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Section 205.240 covers "petit larceny," which in other states is often referred to as "petty theft." In Nevada, the intentional taking of the property of another with intent to deprive the owner of his/her property, when the property is valued under $650, is classified as petit larceny.
Petit larceny can range from shoplifting to taking small items from a hotel room to stealing a parked bike. Note that if one enters a building with intent to steal, that is burglary, a crime punished more severely than larceny. And it is also possible to be charged with both burglary and larceny if you enter a building and succeed at stealing an item.
Petit Larceny is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in county jail. However, for first-time offenses, restitution and completion of "Petit Larceny School" can often get the charges dismissed in a plea deal.
Possible defense strategies include:
- Lack of knowledge. If you did not know, nor could you reasonably be expected to have known, that the property was stolen, you are innocent. Perhaps, you purchased the stolen property from another person without realizing it was stolen.
- Lack of intent. In order to be convicted of petit larceny, you must have had an intention to steal. If you accidentally leave a store with unpaid for goods due to forgetfulness, it is not larceny.
- Right of ownership. It may be that the property in question was actually yours, or at least, you genuinely and reasonably supposed it to be yours.
NRS Section 205.220 covers "grand larceny," which is the wrongful taking of another person's property that is valued at or above $650.
Typically, grand larceny (also called "grand theft") involves such acts as stealing cash from an ATM, shoplifting of high-price-tag items, taking furniture from a hotel room, or stealing cattle, horses, or other farm animals.
When the stolen property was valued between $650 and $3,500, grand larceny is a Class C Felony in Nevada, punishable by full restitution, a fine of up to $10,000, and 1 to 5 years in state prison.
When the property is valued at or above $3,500, grand larceny is a Class B Felony, punishable by full restitution, a $10,000 fine, and 1 to 10 years in state prison.
Note that "shoplifting" is not a specific legal category and is punished as either petit or grand larceny depending on the value of the goods stolen.
The defenses against grand larceny are the same as those used against petit larceny, except that the additional argument that the stolen property was actually worth less than $650 can be used (thus reducing the charge to petit larceny, a misdemeanor instead of a felony).
NRS Section 205.060 is the Nevada statute against burglary, which is defined as entering a building or vehicle with an intention to steal an object on the inside. Note that you need not have succeeded at the theft to be guilty of burglary, though the additional charge or petit or grand larceny can only be added in the case of an actual theft.
Burglary is a Class B Felony in Nevada, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and 1 to 10 years in state prison. If the defendant used a "deadly weapon" during the burglary, the sentence is 2 to 15 years in state prison.
Note that you need not be guilty of "breaking and entering" to commit burglary. Even if you had permission to enter the building, it is burglary if you entered it with an intent to steal once inside. And there is no distinction between commercial and residential burglary in Nevada, as in some other states.
Defense strategies against the crime of burglary include:
- Lack of intent. There was no intent to steal, or at least not before entering the building. Thus, it is not burglary, even if a theft ultimately occurred.
- Falsely accused. It may be you were accused of burglary out of spite or malice or, more likely, due to a misidentification of the true burglar.
NRS Section 200.380 covers the crime of robbery, which is defined as theft by means of force or threat.
A firearm or other weapon is often used, but need not be for it to count as robbery. The threat need not have been verbalized, and the theft need not have involved physically taking hold of cash or property. Such elements may be typical of burglaries, but the essential definition is simply stealing by means of force or fear.
Robbery is classed as a violent crime in Nevada and punished quite severely. You can get 2 to 15 years in state prison for one count of burglary, and twice that if you used a deadly weapon.
Defense strategies include:
- Mistaken identity: Given that burglars usually disguise themselves and operate under cover of darkness, it is very easy for the wrong person to be accused of a burglary.
- Lack of intent: There was not intention to wrongfully take the property of another.
- Lack of force/threats: No physical force or threats were used to induce the owner to surrender his/her property.
Larceny From a Person
NRS Section 205.270 addresses the crime of "larceny from a person," which is usually referred to as "pick pocketing." Since no force or threats against a person were involved, it is not robbery, even though a wallet or other items was stolen directly off someone's person.
If the value of the stolen property is less than $3,500, larceny from a person is a Class C Felony, punishable by 1 to 5 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
If the value of property stolen was greater than $3,500, it is a Class B Felony, punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison.
It is often possible to plea bargain a larceny from a person charge down to petit larceny or to get a robbery charge reduced to larceny from a person. And probation in place of jail time may be obtainable as well.
- No property was actually taken. No witnesses or evidence can prove that it did.
- You had permission to take the property.
- The taking of the property was accidental. There was no intent to steal.
- The property actually belonged to you.
Grand Larceny of a Motor Vehicle or Firearm
When grand larceny involves stealing specific types of property, a vehicle or a firearm, the penalty can be greater.
Under NRS 200.228, grand larceny of a motor vehicle is punishable as a Class C Felony when the car is valued at less than $3,500; but a Class B Felony when of greater value.
Note that "car jacking," taking a car by force or threat, is punished even more severely. Grand larceny of a motor vehicle would be taking a car that was unattended or that was entrusted to your care.
NRS 205.226 assigns steeper punishments to grand larceny if it be of a firearm, regardless of whether the firearm was valuable or even functional.
Grand larceny of a firearm is a Class B Felony and results in losing your right to own a firearm in Nevada, besides the usual punishments of a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in state prison.
At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we understand how to defend against grand larceny of a motor vehicle or a firearm. The defenses are essentially the same as for other forms of larceny, though the stakes are higher.
Other Nevada Theft Crimes
There are many other theft crimes you could be charged with in Nevada, and we cannot possibly list them all and explore them all in detail here. But here are some of the other major categories:
- Possession of stolen property, NRS 200.275. This involves your knowing that the property was stolen or a situation where you should have known.
- Possession of lost property, NRS 205.0832d. This involves not making reasonable efforts to find the owner and restore the property to him/her, but simply keeping it.
- Possession of a stolen vehicle, NRS 200.273. This statute mainly applies to those who knowingly buy a stolen car. It can also apply if you buy a care without a title or that should have raised your suspicions that it was stolen.
- Bait purse theft, NRS 205.0832d. This statute also applies to the taking of purses or wallets left in malls or casinos as "bait" to catch would-be thieves.
- Embezzlement, NRS 205.300. When you take property for yourself or use it in a way that does not have the owner's best interests in mind, after he/she entrusted that property to your care, it is embezzlement. This can apply to a valet parking worker taking a car out for a "pleasure cruise" as much as to taking money entrusted to you.
The full spectrum of Nevada theft crimes is indeed staggering, the definitions, potential sentencing elements, and defense strategies varying according to the type of property stolen, the value of the property stolen, and the means by which it was stolen.
At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we have comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of Nevada theft crimes law. We also have hands on experience in successfully handling all types of theft crime defense cases.
Don't try to "go it alone" or entrust your case to a lawyer inexperienced in this practice area. Your best chances of gaining a dismissal, acquittal, or at least a reduced charge or sentence are by using the services of an experienced theft crimes defense attorney.
Contact Us Today For Help
At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we stand ready to come to your assistance at a moment's notice with top-tier theft crimes defense. Martin Hart has helped numerous other clients facing theft crime charges in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada to win a favorable outcome to their case. He understands how to build the best possible defense in each situation, and he will fight tenaciously in your best interests from day one.
For a free consultation on the details of your case, call Martin Hart 24/7/365 at 702-380-4278 or fill out the online contact form.