Property Crimes

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Property Crimes Lawyer Las Vegas

Property crimes are the most common type of criminal offense in Nevada.  Generally, property crimes can be defined as an incident where an individual’s property is damaged or stolen without the use of physical force or threats.  That can include a wide range of offenses including the following:   

  • Petit larceny
  • Grand larceny
  • Pick-pocketing
  • Taking property from the person of another
  • Possession of stolen property

A conviction for a property crime can lead to serious penalties like jail time, fines, probation, community service, and more.  All of which can harm your career, relationships, and reputation. Further, individuals convicted of a property crime committed with the use of force or threats can expect much harsher penalties.

If you’ve been accused of larceny, robbery, pickpocketing, or similar, it’s in your best interest to consult with a proven property crimes lawyer as soon as possible. Hiring a property crimes lawyer can significantly increase your chances of a favorable outcome in your case.

Contact The Vegas Lawyers (“TVL”) today at (702) 707-7000 for a free initial consultation.  If you’re facing criminal charges, you need a skilled lawyer with a proven track record representing you in court.  Don’t gamble with your future, get TVL. 

Types Of Property Crimes In Nevada

Nevada theft laws regarding crimes against property (NRS Chapter 205) discuss all types of property crime in the state.  Listed below is a brief description of Nevada theft laws that fit the crimes against property definition.

  • Petit Larceny (Petty theft):  Petit larceny in Las Vegas is one of the most commonly committed crimes.  It involves the theft of property (including money, pets, furniture, and other types of personal goods) valued at less than $1,200. According to NRS 205.240 (Nevada shoplifting laws), petit larceny from a person is a misdemeanor crime.
  • Grand Larceny:  Grand larceny mostly involves the theft of property, money, or other valuable item valued at $1,200 or more. Under NRS 205.222, grand larceny can be classified as a Category D felony (less than $5K), Category C felony (more than 5K, but less than $25K), or Category B (More than $25k) felony offense depending on the value of the items stolen.  A conviction can lead to lengthy prison sentences, fines, and ordered restitution payments to the victim.
  • Taking Property From The Person of Another (“pick-pocketing”):  Pickpocketing involves taking property from the person of another (i.e., wallet, purse, cell phone, jewelry) under circumstances not amounting to robbery.  Under NRS 205.270, the property crime punishment for pickpocketing in Las Vegas amounts to a Category C felony.
  • Possession of Stolen Property:  According to NRS 205.275, it’s unlawful to knowingly possess, buy, or withhold stolen property.  Individuals convicted of possessing stolen property face felony charges, potentially resulting in long-term imprisonment, depending on the value of the stolen items.
  • Robbery:  Technically, robbery is considered a “crime against the person” and not a property crime. However, it is closely related. Under NRS 200.380, robbery involves taking personal property from the person of another via the use of force or threats. Robbery is a Category B felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
  • Trespassing:  Under NRS 207.200, trespass can be defined as entering (or staying after being asked to leave) another person’s property (i.e., home, office, land) with intentions to annoy the owner or residents.
  • Malicious Mischief:  Involves entering another’s property to cause damage or destruction to property (not amounting to burglary). The most common forms of malicious mischief include graffiti and vandalizing property. Nevada’s malicious mischief laws and penalties can be found under NRS Chapter 206.
  • Burglary:  According to NRS 205.060, entering a property (i.e., home, apartment, office, vehicle, trailer, etc.) with the intent to steal property, money, or commit other types of felony crimes amounts to burglary.  Burglary is a felony offense that can lead to lengthy prison sentences.
  • Arson:  NRS 205.005 defines arson as intentionally and unlawfully setting fire to a building, structure, or many other types of property. The penalties for arson depend on the degree an individual is charged with (i.e., First, Second, or Third-degree).
  • Graffiti:  Under NRS 206.330, it’s illegal to spray paint or otherwise “tag” someone else’s property without their permission.  Law enforcement can charge an individual with graffiti charges in Las Vegas even if they are only carrying graffiti materials (and intend to vandalize a property).  The penalties for unlawful graffiti in Nevada generally include a misdemeanor charge, a $250 assessment fee, up to $1,000 in fines, mandatory community service, and a potential license suspension.  However, penalties can be harsher (up to a category E felony) depending on the location of the graffiti and how much damage it causes.  A judge can also impose more strict punishments for gang members convicted of graffiti crimes.
  • Littering in Las Vegas:  According to Municipal Code 9.12.180, littering in Las Vegas can lead to a misdemeanor offense, up to six months in jail, and fines up to $500.
  • Throwing lit cigarettes from a moving vehicle:  NRS 475.030 makes it illegal to throw a burning cigarette (or similar) from a moving vehicle. Penalties include up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000.
  • Public Highway littering:  Under NRS 202.185, it is illegal to dump garbage on or near a public highway. Penalties include up to 1 year in jail and $2,000 in fines.
  • Dumping Hazardous Materials:  Under NRS 444.630, it is illegal to dump toxic sewage (i.e., human waste, sludge, etc.) in Nevada. First-time offenders face misdemeanor charges, up to six months in jail, and community service. However, subsequent offenses can incur harsher penalties.

What Is Nevada’s Definition of Petit Larceny?

According to Nevada property crimes law, petit larceny (petty theft) occurs when an individual knowingly steals, carries, drives, or leads away the following types of property valued under $1,200:

  • Personal goods or property
  • Money
  • Bedding  or furniture
  • Domesticated animals
  • Other types of “real property”

A few of the most common forms of petit larceny include shoplifting, “dining and dashing,” replacing price tags, and more.  Petty theft is a misdemeanor offense in Nevada.

What Is Nevada’s Definition Of Burglary?

Under NRS 205.060, Nevada defines burglary as entering a residence, business, vehicle (i.e., car, airplane, bus, etc.) with intentions to commit:

  • Petty or Grand theft
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Obtain assets or property by way of false pretense
  • Any other felony offense

Further, a burglary crime does not require an individual to break into a property.  An individual can be charged with the offense for simply entering a property with the intent to commit one of the crimes mentioned above. The punishment for committing a burglary crime can include felony charges, imprisonment, fines, and restitution payments.

What Is Nevada’s Definition Of Robbery?

According to NRS 205.380, a robbery crime occurs when an individual steals (or attempts to steal) property from another person by way of threat, fear of injury, or physical force.  Generally, the robbery crime punishment includes felony charges and, if convicted, between two to fifteen years in Nevada state prison.

Common examples of robbery include:

  • Threatening to harm another person if they don’t give you their property
  • Holding up a bank teller with a weapon
  • Pushing a person and grabbing their jewelry

It’s important to note that robbery committed with a deadly weapon incurs much harsher penalties than robbery without a weapon. 

What Is Nevada’s Definition Of Pickpocketing?

Under Nevada law, a pickpocketing crime is essentially the same thing as larceny.  A major difference between pickpocketing and robbery is the use of force.  An individual may face pick-pocketing punishment if they intentionally commit larceny from the person (i.e., body) of another without that person’s permission or knowledge.

Further, a person can only be charged with a pick-pocketing crime if they commit the crime without the use of force, threats, or fear of injury.

What Are Some Penalties For Theft In Nevada?

The penalties for property crimes and the penalties for theft in Nevada depend on the nature of the crime, the criminal history of the defendant, and many other factors. Generally, theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the value of the items stolen, the method used to steal the property, and whether weapons or force were used to commit the crime.

Misdemeanor Penalties for Theft (Petit Larceny, Pickpocketing, etc.)

  • Possible jail time up to six months
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Restitution payments (judge’s discretion)

Felony Penalties for Theft (Burglary, Robbery, Grand Larceny, etc.)

  • Minimum of one year in prison, maximum of five years (potentially much more depending on the circumstances)
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Restitution payments to the victim

Vandalism Is A Common Type Of Property Crime In Las Vegas

Otherwise known as “malicious mischief,” vandalism (NRS 206.310) occurs when an individual intentionally destroys or damages another person’s property.  NRS 206.310 broadly covers all acts of vandalism not addressed by other criminal codes.

Common examples of vandalism in Las Vegas include:

  • Chopping trees without permission
  • Tire slashing or key scratching someone else’s car 
  • “Egging” someone’s car or house

Penalties for vandalism which result in less than $25 in damage include a misdemeanor charge and up to $500 in fines.

However, the higher the cost of the property destruction, the greater the penalty.  Individuals who cause more than $5,000 in damages face a category C felony, 1 – 5 years imprisonment, and up to $10,000 in fines.

Criminal Trespassing Is A Form Of Property Crime

Under NRS 207.200, an individual can be charged with criminal trespassing in Nevada if they unlawfully enter the land or building of another person (without permission) to:

  • Vex or annoy the property owner
  • Commit a crime
  • Intentionally go onto or remain on a property after being warned to leave

Criminal trespassing is a misdemeanor offense in Nevada punishable by up to 6 months in jail, probation, and fines up to $1,000. It’s important to note that there are also civil trespassing laws (NRS 41.515).

That means that individuals who trespass in Las Vegas (even in Casinos) can be charged criminally and face civil liabilities.

Property Crimes Involving Fraud

Fraud is the act of intentionally deceiving someone or a company in order to obtain money or other types of benefits.  A few of the most commonly prosecuted types of fraud in Las Vegas include:

●          Identity theft

●          Mortgage fraud

●          Credit card fraud

●          Securities fraud

●          Gaming fraud

●          Casino marker fraud

Arson Is A Serious Property Crime

As mentioned earlier, “willfully and maliciously” setting property ablaze is considered arson (NRS 205.025) in Nevada.  Like the medical designations for burn severity, Nevada arson laws offer four degrees of arson charges – each with different requirements and penalties.

  • First-degree arson: Setting buildings or vehicle with people inside on fire
  • Second-degree arson: Setting a fire in an abandoned building
  • Third-degree arson: Burning empty vehicles or crops
  • Fourth-degree arson: Any type of arson not addressed in the previous categories

Arson penalties in Nevada depend on the degree charged and many other factors. Individuals convicted of Arson in Las Vegas face a felony offense, 1 – 15 years imprisonment, $5,000 – $15,000 in fines, and restitution payments. 

Extortion Can Be Considered A Type Of Property Crime In Nevada 

Extortion (NRS 205.320), otherwise known as “blackmail,” is the act of intentionally threatening bodily injury, property damage, or character defamation to gain monetary benefit or influence.

Individuals charged with extortion in Las Vegas face category B felony charges, 1 – 10 years imprisonment, and up to $10,000 in fines. However, the penalties and charges can vary depending on the type of extortion committed and whether it is a federal offense.

Is Embezzlement A Property Crime In Nevada?

Yes.  Embezzlement is similar to larceny except for one thing. To qualify as “embezzlement,” the defendant must steal money (or other benefits) from another person who entrusted them with the money. 

For example, a cashier stealing money from the cash register of her employer can be charged with embezzlement.  Similarly, a bookkeeper who creates phony invoices can also be charged with embezzlement, including fraud and other charges.   

Embezzling less than $1,200 incurs a misdemeanor charge.  However, individuals who embezzle more than $1,200 face felony charges.

If it is a misdemeanor conviction, penalties include 0 – 180 days in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and restitution payments. Individuals convicted of felony embezzlement face anywhere from 1 – 20 years in prison, fines, and restitution payments.

What Are Some Of The Key Defenses In Nevada To Theft Crimes?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are many property crimes defenses your attorney can mount on your behalf.  Listed below are a few of the most common property crimes defenses used in Nevada:

  • You didn’t intend to steal – If your property crimes lawyer can provide evidence showing that you did not intend to steal or keep the property, it’s much harder for the prosecution to secure a conviction.
  • The theft did not occur – Suppose an individual accuses you of theft, but in reality, they simply misplaced the property or someone else stole it. In that case, an experienced property crimes lawyer can identify the necessary evidence to help exonerate your name.
  • The property was gifted to you – If your property crimes lawyer can produce evidence proving that the property was gifted to you, you owned the property, or you were authorized to use it, they can cast enough doubt on the case to make it nearly impossible for a conviction.

Property Crimes And Immigration Status

First-time offenders of lesser property crimes like petty theft are not as likely to face deportation proceedings as those who commit more serious crimes.  However, any unlawful conduct can lead to deportation or other consequences that can affect a person’s immigration status.

If you’re an immigrant who’s been charged with a property crime in Las Vegas, it’s in your best interest to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney who has in-depth immigration experience.

Contact The Vegas Lawyers If You’re Facing Property Crimes Charges

If you’ve been arrested or charged with theft or some other type of property crime in Las Vegas, it’s in your best interest to work with an experienced property crimes defense lawyer. In most cases, a skilled property crimes attorney gives you the best chance at a favorable outcome, including possible decreased or dismissed charges.


Contact The Vegas Lawyers today at ( 702) 707-7000 for your free initial consultation with a property crimes attorney you can trust.

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