Nevada Theft Crimes Laws

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 What Is Theft?

Theft is a property crime in which the perpetrator steals or intentionally takes something of value that belongs to another person. In Nevada, there are several different kinds of theft crimes. If a person is charged and convicted of certain theft crimes, they can potentially spend as many as 20 years in state prison.

How Is Theft Defined in Nevada?

Nevada law defines any taking of property valued at less than $1200 as petty theft, also known as petit larceny. The crime is generally called “shoplifting” if the property is taken from a retail store. A person convicted of petit larceny may be sentenced to a term of up to 6 months in jail plus payment of a fine of a maximum of $1,000.

The crime is grand larceny if the property taken is between $1200.00 and $4999. In Nevada, it is a category D felony. The punishment is a term of imprisonment of from 1 to 4 years, payment of a fine of a maximum of $5000, and restitution.

If the value of the property taken is from $5,000 to $24,999, the crime is grand larceny. It is a Category C felony, and the punishment is from 1 to 5 years in prison, restitution, and payment of a fine of $10,000.

If the value of the property taken is from $25,000 to less than $100,000, the crime is a Category B felony, and the punishment is a term in state prison of 1 to 10 years, restitution, and payment of a fine of $10,000.

If the value of the property taken is from $100,000 or more, the crime is a Category B felony, and the punishment is a term of imprisonment of from 1 to 20 years, restitution, and payment of a fine of $15,000

How Does a Prosecutor Determine the Value of the Stolen Property?

The value of any stolen property is important because the value determines the crime category and the punishment that can be imposed upon conviction.

Prosecutors may determine whether the value of the stolen property is below or above $1200 in several ways. They may consider such factors as the following:

  • Price tags on shoplifted items,
  • The current market value of an object, or
  • Expert testimony as to an item’s fair market value.

In the end, courts generally assign stolen property its highest reasonable value.

Are There Other Theft Crimes in Nevada?

There are other theft crimes in Nevada as follows:

  • Robbery: The crime of robbery consists of using physical force or verbal threats to steal the property of another person;
  • Possession of or Receiving Stolen Property: To be guilty of this crime, a person must possess the property that has been stolen with the knowledge that it was stolen. Possessing a stolen property is as much a crime as stealing another person’s property;
  • Possession of Lost Property: Finders should not be keepers under Nevada law. A person who finds lost property should take reasonable steps to locate the true owner of lost property. If they do not, they might be guilty of the crime of possession of the lost property;
  • Embezzlement: People who are allowed access to or possess another person’s property because they are in a position of trust can be guilty of embezzlement if they fail to return it to the rightful owner when asked. An example is not returning a rented item, e.g., a piece of machinery or equipment. Another example would be a company employee, such as a bookkeeper who writes a check to themselves, steals the company’s case, or withdraws money from business bank accounts for their own use;
  • Bait-Purse Theft: In Las Vegas, police routinely plant purses and wallets that appear to have been left or lost by their owners in public places, e.g., casinos. If someone grabs one of them, they may be charged with bait-purse theft.

In addition, grand larceny of a motor vehicle is a separate offense in Nevada, punishable.

How Much Time Will I Get for Grand Larceny?

As noted above, grand larceny is defined as taking the property of another with the intent to deprive the owner of it permanently. What makes it “grand” is the property’s value. If it is more than $1200, a person faces a possible sentence of 1 to 20 years in Nevada state prison, depending on the property’s value.

In addition, grand larceny of a motor vehicle is a separate offense in Nevada that is always charged as a felony, even if the vehicle’s value is less than $1200. Grand larceny of a firearm is also always charged as a felony.

Larceny from a person is the crime of pickpocketing, which is stealing money or items from another person without force or threats. Usually, the victim does not even know that their property is being stolen from them. If the property stolen is not actually being carried by a person, then stealing the property is grand larceny.

Are There Any Defenses to Larceny?

There are several possible defenses to a charge of petit or grand larceny. Whether they are available in a given case depends on the facts of each situation. They are as follows:

  • The alleged perpetrator owned the property;
  • The alleged perpetrator did not intend to take the property permanently from the owner;
  • The property was worth less than $1,200;
  • Law enforcement obtained evidence of the crime in the course of an unlawful search and seizure

Of course, as with any crime, the prosecution has the burden of proving the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence presented by the prosecution cannot prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the alleged perpetrator should not be convicted.

Is Burglary Considered a Theft Crime?

Burglary is committed when a person makes an unauthorized entry onto another person’s property. This means that the perpetrator enters the property without the owner’s permission. In addition to entering, the person must intend to commit another felony once on the property. That other felony can be any felony, such as theft, assault, or battery. In other words, the perpetrator must be guilty of intending to commit another felony at the time of unlawfully entering the property of another.

Although a burglar may intend to commit theft or robbery once on the property they have entered, a person may be charged with burglary if they entered the property with intent to commit a non-theft felony. So, burglary is not a theft crime.

What Is Larceny of a Person?

In Nevada, the crime of larceny of a person is taking a person’s property from their person with their knowledge. This crime is also known as “pickpocketing.”

Do I Need the Help of a Lawyer with My Theft Charge?

If you have been charged with any theft crime in Nevada, it is in your best interest to seek the help of a Nevada criminal defense lawyer. The lawyer will review the facts of your case with you and explain possible defenses that may be available.

Your lawyer can represent you in plea negotiations with the prosecution, which may result in a lesser charge, a less harsh sentence, or even getting the charges dropped.


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