Many people associate pick-pocketing with simple acts like taking a wallet out of another person's pocket as they walk in the streets. Unfortunately, Nevada law does not treat pick-pocketing as a minor offense. If you take property from another person without their knowledge, you will be arrested and charged with a felony under NRS 205.270.
Depending on the value of the property you take, a conviction for pick-pocketing will attract a prison sentence of up to ten years. Additionally, you could suffer personal and professional consequences for having a felony conviction on your record.
The legal process of fighting a pick-pocketing charge is complicated and overwhelming. Therefore, hiring and retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical. At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we have the knowledge and experience needed to fight your charges and secure a favorable outcome in your case. If you or your loved one faces a pick-pocketing charge in Las Vegas, NV, you will need our expert guidance.
Understanding NRS 205.270
Nevada law defines pick-pocketing as the crime you commit when you take property from another person without their knowledge. Pick-pocketing is one of the major problems law enforcement officers have when dealing with large crowds. Las Vegas is a tourist site, so crowding is normal.
Although most people assume it is a petty crime, pick-pocketing is considered a felony in Nevada. When you face an arrest and charges for pick-pocketing, understanding the law, potential penalties, and how you can defend yourself are critical.
Sentencing and Punishment for Pick-pocketing in Nevada
Pick-pocketing is charged as a felony, and the consequences of your conviction depend on the value of the property involved. If the property you took from the alleged victim is worth $3500 or less, you will be charged with a category C felony. A conviction, in this case, is punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years and fines that do not exceed $10,000.
If the property involved in the pick-pocketing crime is worth more than $3,500, the prosecution will file your charge as a class B felony. A conviction for pick-pocketing under this category attracts a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a fine of up to $10,000.
In addition to the fines you pay after your conviction for pick-pocketing, the law mandates that you pay victim restitution. In Nevada, victim restitution is the amount of money paid to the victim of a theft crime to reimburse them for the losses arising from the crime.
Most defendants facing criminal charges hope to escape prison by negotiating a probation sentence. When a person is sent to probation, they serve part of their sentence doing community service. Unfortunately, a conviction for pick-pocketing does not qualify for probation. Therefore, you must serve your entire sentence.
How does pick-pocketing Differ from Robbery?
Compared to robbery, pick-pocketing is a less serious theft crime. Robbery involves taking something from another person without their knowledge. On the other hand, robbery is using force, violence, or threats to take away property belonging to another individual. Under this statute, force and violence can be used to take and retain the property or overcome the victim's will.
You can be charged with robbery regardless of whether the force caused slight or severe injury. Because of the use of violence or threats, robbery is a serious offense. Under Nevada law, robbery is charged as a class B felony. A conviction for this offense carries a prison sentence of two to fifteen years.
The circumstances of your case and your criminal history are significant factors during sentencing under NRS 205.270. You risk facing a harsher penalty if you use a deadly weapon like a firearm or explosives to commit a crime. Another factor that could affect the severity of your sentence is the effect of your crime on the alleged victim.
Petty Larceny as a Plea Deal for Pick-pocketing in Nevada
Every person facing criminal charges in Nevada has a right to a trial. A plea deal is an agreement between the defense attorney and the prosecutor before trial. Entering a plea deal can quickly resolve the case without a trial. Unlike in other states, pick-pocketing is a serious felony that attracts a lengthy prison sentence in Nevada.
You can avoid a conviction under N.R.S. 205.270 by entering a plea deal for petty theft. You accept liability and guilt for petty theft when entering a plea deal. In this case, you will plead guilty or no contest to the alternative offense. Entering a plea bargain will keep you out of jail and save you time during the trial.
Under NRS 205.240, you commit the crime of petit larceny when you intentionally steal another person's property valued at less than $1200. Mainly, petty theft charges arise from the following situations:
- Stealing from a hotel where you stayed.
- Taking another person's domesticated animal without their consent.
- Stealing goods from a store.
When prosecuting petty theft, the court will rely on the current market value of the alleged item to determine the nature of your charge. Unlike pick-pocketing, petit larceny is charged as a misdemeanor. When you accept a plea for this offense, you will serve a six-month jail sentence and pay fines that do not exceed $1,000.
In addition to fines and incarceration, the court may order that you pay the alleged victim of your acts for their losses. If you are an immigrant in the United States, entering a petit larceny plea deal protects you from severe immigration consequences like deportation.
Before you enter a plea deal, you must understand the following disadvantages of pleading guilty to a lesser charge:
You waive your right to a trial. When you negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution, you cannot fight the petit larceny charge. Therefore, you should only enter the plea deal if the prosecutor's case against you is strong and the possibility of beating the charges is low.
You cannot reverse the deal. If you decide to enter a plea deal, the prosecutor requires you to sign a document that cannot be reversed. Therefore, even when you find new evidence in your pick-pocketing case, you cannot change your mind about the plea.
The judge can refuse to accept the plea. Plea deals are negotiated with the prosecutor or the district attorney. However, the judge must accept the agreement before you proceed to the sentencing phase. If the judge does not accept the plea, you could face a harsher punishment.
Defense Against Pick-pocketing Charges
In addition to prison time and fines, a conviction for pick-pocketing will have worse consequences for your life. After a guilty verdict, the conviction will enter your criminal record, where it will remain until you seal it. Criminal convictions are public records in Nevada. Therefore, they can be accessed by any person who performs background checks on you.
When potential employers find the conviction, they can use it to deny you a job opportunity. Getting admission to a good university or college with a theft conviction can be challenging. For this reason, you must be aggressive in fighting your NRS 205.270 charges. With the guidance of a knowledgeable lawyer, you can present the following defenses to your case:
Unlike robbery or burglary, evidence of violence, threats, or injury is not necessary to secure a conviction for pick-pocketing. Therefore, the prosecution could rely on witness and victim testimony to convict you of the offense. Therefore, it is not uncommon to be the victim of false accusations.
Due to the nature and potential consequences of the crime, a person fueled by jealousy or anger may accuse you falsely so you can be convicted and punished. A skilled lawyer can use different interrogative tactics to uncover false accusations and help you avoid a conviction under this statute.
You Owned the Property
When you own something, you do not need permission from another person to take it back. Therefore, you can argue that you owe the property you are accused of taking. If the court is convinced that you owe the property, you will not be convicted for the offense.
Consent from the Owner
Nevada law defines pick-pocketing as taking something from someone else without the owner's consent or knowledge. If someone gives you consent to take something from them, they know you are taking it. Unfortunately, some people could deny that they consented to your taking the item, which could land you in legal trouble.
Your lawyer can help you prove that you had consent or reasonably believed the item was given to you.
Police use every trick in the book to get an accused person to admit to committing a crime. A confession is considered coerced if the officers used threats or violence to make you admit to taking the property against your will. A coerced confession cannot be admissible in court.
Unlawful search and seizure
When police officers receive a tip that you stole something from another person, they may be tempted to storm into your home or vehicle in search of the item. A search without a valid search warrant from the court is considered illegal. If you are a victim of an illegal search and seizure, you can petition the court to dismiss evidence collected in the illegal search.
Sealing your N.R.S 205.270 Record
The consequences of your arrest and conviction can significantly impact your life after you have served your prison sentence. Therefore, you will need to explore the legal measures to eliminate the disability of the conviction. In Nevada, sealing a criminal record is a legal procedure where your conviction and arrest are removed from the system and cannot be accessed by others.
You may be eligible to seal your pick-pocketing conviction under the following circumstances:
- You serve your full sentence. Pick-pocketing is a felony that will land you in state prison after a conviction. Therefore, you can only seal the record after you have completed your prison sentence and other supervised sentences like probation or parole.
- Avoid other convictions during the waiting period. Between your release from a sentence and sealing your record, you must not have been arrested or convicted for another offense. However, minor traffic violations are exempt from this requirement.
Sealing your record will take up to four months, and you must follow this procedure:
- Obtain a certified copy of your criminal record from the Department of Public Safety. The C.H.R. is the only record that must be attached to your record-sealing petition. However, you may need local records for the conviction you want to seal. This will help you determine your eligibility before you begin the process.
- Determine your waiting period depending on the category under which your conviction falls. The time for your filing will start to run after you complete your sentence.
- File the petition. You can file a petition to seal all your convictions from the district court, where they have jurisdiction over your charges.
- Notify the prosecution. After filing your petition in court, you must notify the prosecution by sending them a copy. In this notice, you must indicate why you deserve to have the record sealed.
The court will schedule a record-sealing hearing if the prosecutor does not support the motion to seal your record. At this hearing, the prosecuting attorney will argue why sealing your record is not in the best interests of justice. A judge makes the final decision on sealing your record.
If the court grants your petition, you must send a copy of the ruling to all the agencies that impose collateral consequences on you.
Find a Competent Theft Crime Defense Lawyer
You commit the crime of pick-pocketing when you take another person's property under circumstances that do not amount to robbery. This means you do not use threats, force, or violence to accomplish the act. If the prosecution can prove that you took property from someone without their knowledge, you will be arrested and charged under NRS 205-270.
The consequences of a conviction for pick-pocketing go beyond prison time. A felony conviction goes on your record and can have severe collateral consequences. If you face charges for pick-pocketing, you do not have to sit and wait for a conviction. A skilled criminal lawyer can help you fight the charges for dismissal, acquittal, or a reduced sentence.
Fighting a felony charge is complicated. Therefore, your choice of legal representation is critical. At the Law Offices of Martin Hart, we offer expert legal guidance and representation to all our clients battling pick-pocketing charges in Las Vegas, NV. Call us at 702-380-4278 today.