Nevada Receiving Stolen Goods Laws

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 What Is Theft?

Theft is the taking of property from another person without their consent and with the intent to deprive them of the property permanently. The definition includes several types of crimes, such as larceny, burglary, pretenses, and embezzlement. In Nevada, anyone who receives property that was obtained through a theft crime can be arrested for receiving stolen goods.

If the accused is to be convicted of this offense, the prosecutor must prove that they either knew that the property was stolen or that the circumstances were such that any reasonable person would have realized that the property was stolen. Nevada law also defines stolen property as any property taken from its owner through larceny, robbery, theft, burglary, embezzlement, or any other related offenses that are considered crimes against property.

If the stolen property the accused possessed is valued at less than $250, the accused would be found guilty of a misdemeanor criminal offense. If the property is valued at $250 to less than $2,500, the person may be found guilty of a category C felony. If the property is valued at $2,500 or more, or if the property is a firearm, the accused is charged with a category B felony.

If a person is convicted of a category C felony, they could be sentenced to a minimum of one year of imprisonment and a maximum of 10 years in prison,, and a fine up to $10,000. In addition to these penalties, the person could be ordered to pay restitution, which means repaying the victim from whom the property was stolen.

What Is the Crime of Receiving Stolen Goods in Nevada?

A person is guilty of receiving stolen goods when they obtain the property or prevent the property’s owner from gaining the property back by:

  • Buying, receiving, possessing, or withholding property under one of two circumstances;
  • Either knowing that the property is stolen; or
  • Receiving the property under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to know that the property was stolen.

What Is the Punishment for Receiving Stolen Goods?

The severity of the punishment depends on the value of the stolen property received. Every sentence imposed after the perpetrator is found guilty will include payment of restitution to the victim.

If the property is less than $650, the crime is a misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine.

If the property is valued between $650 and $3,500, then the crime is a Category C felony, which is punishable by the following:

  • 1 to 5 years in prison;
  • A $10,00 fine;
  • Both a fine and time in prison.

Possession of stolen property valued at $3,500 or more or possession of stolen firearms is a Category B felony punishable by the following:

  • 1 to 10 years in prison;
  • A $10,000 fine;
  • A prison sentence and a fine.

Are There Any Defenses to Receiving Stolen Goods?

There are defenses available to a charge of receiving stolen goods. An affirmative defense to a criminal charge is a claim that a set of facts are true. If the jury or judge is persuaded of the truth of the facts beyond a reasonable doubt.

So, for example, the alibi defense is available in all criminal cases. The accused can claim that they have been misidentified as the perpetrator of a crime and that they were far away from the scene when the crime was committed. They may have been spending time with another person.

The other person would appear in court and testify at the trial that, in fact, the accused was with them at the time the crime was committed and could not have committed the crime. If the jury believes the alibi witness, they will find the accused not guilty of the crime.

Five possible defenses are as follows:

  • The Property Was Not In Fact Stolen: For a person to be convicted of receiving stolen property, the property that the person possesses must, in fact, have been stolen. Unless the prosecution can show that a thief stole the property and the owner incurred a loss, the accused cannot be guilty of receiving stolen property;
  • The Accused Did Not Know the Property Was Stolen: To be convicted of receiving stolen property, the accused person must have known that the property was stolen. Or, the facts must show that a reasonable person should have known that the property was stolen. For example, if the serial number has been scratched off of an electronic device, a reasonable person would think it was stolen. Or, if someone is selling high-priced goods at an extremely low price, the average person would think it suspicious. They would think that the seller may have stolen the goods.
    • However, if an accused person did not know someone stole the property and there are no facts to show that the transaction was in some way suspicious, this may be a successful defense;
  • The Accused Was Mentally Unaware of What Was Going On: There may be several reasons why the accused was not mentally aware of what was happening. For example, they may have been mentally incapacitated, highly intoxicated, or high on legal or illegal substances when they took possession of the stolen goods. If the accused was not mentally aware of what was going on, they may not have realized that they were buying or taking possession of stolen goods;
  • The Accused Had an Innocent Intent for Receiving the Property: If the person received the stolen goods with an innocent intent, this may serve as a defense. For example, if a person has a friend who has been the victim of theft, and the person sees someone selling the item stolen from the friend, they may meet up with the seller to take possession and return it to the owner. Or a person may know that someone is peddling a stolen item, but the person may intend to turn it in to the police.
    • If the accused had an innocent intent when they took possession of the property, and their actions show that they were taking steps to bring the items to their owner or the police, proof of these facts might be a defense;
  • The Accused Never Had Possession or Control of the Goods: Verbally agreeing to take possession of the stolen property is not the same as having control of or possessing the item. If the accused agreed to buy stolen property or agreed to possess it but never physically had it in their control, then they never received stolen property.

Do I Need the Help of a Lawyer for My Charge of Receiving Stolen Goods?

If you have been charged with receiving stolen goods, you want to consult a Nevada criminal defense attorney for help in getting a positive resolution of your criminal charge. Your lawyer will be able to review the facts of your case and tell you if any defenses are available. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution, and if not, can prepare your best case for trial.

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