Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer
Defense Lawyer for Theft Charges
According to the latest crime data in Nevada, more than 60,000 criminal theft offenses (larceny, burglary, and motor vehicle theft) occur in the state each year. That’s not including the more than 20,000 instances of identity theft.
Individuals charged with theft face a criminal conviction (misdemeanor or felony), potential jail time, fines, and restitution payments. Theft crimes are frequently brought by the District Attorney’s Office. Having the right lawyer by your side who knows how to handle these types of charges is very important.
If you’ve been charged with theft in Las Vegas, it’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney familiar with theft and theft-related charges. Contact the Vegas Lawyers today at (702) 707-7000 for your free initial consultation.
What Is Theft?
According to NRS 205.0832, individuals who knowingly engage in the following actions – without lawful authority, are guilty of theft. They include, but are not limited to:
- Controlling someone else’s property with the intent to deprive them of it
- Obtaining property or services by way of fraudulent activity or misrepresentation
- Receiving stolen property with the knowledge of its stolen origins
- Neglecting to pay for (or agreeing to pay for) products or services, or illegally diverting them
- Stealing, destroying, hiding, or throwing away another person’s property with fraudulent intent
- Taking gas without paying or agreeing to pay for it
What Is Larceny?
Theft covers a wide array of circumstances (i.e., robbery, burglary, embezzlement, etc.). Larceny is more specific. It specifically covers the theft of physical property. According to NRS 205.220, individuals in Nevada who knowingly engages in the following, are guilty of larceny:
- Taking personal items or property owned by other people
- Using an ATM card (or similar) to withdraw funds fraudulently
- Stealing certain animals (particularly livestock and pets)
- Stealing a car or firearm
Defendants may face misdemeanor or felony larceny charges. Ultimately, it depends on the type of property stolen, its value, and many other factors.
Types Of Theft Charges In Nevada
Nevada theft laws address many types of theft-related crimes. Learn more about the most common theft charges in Las Vegas below. If you have questions related to your case, contact us today and speak with a proven theft lawyer in Las Vegas.
Nevada Identity Theft Laws
It’s illegal to use a false identity to endanger another person or take something valuable that is not yours. Generally, the most common identity theft laws prosecuted in Nevada include, but are not limited to:
- NRS 205.460 – Crimes involving fake IDs
- NRS 205.4605 – Illegally posting or displaying of another person’s social security number without authorization
- NRS 205.463 – Misusing identifying information of another individual (such as a social security number)
- NRS 205.450 – Falsely impersonating another person
Identity theft is illegal in Nevada, even if the victim is not harmed. Depending on the particular circumstances of the case, the prosecution can charge identity theft violations as a misdemeanor or felony offense.
Understanding Petit Larceny In Nevada
According to NRS 205.240, a person is guilty of petit larceny in Nevada if (but not limited to):
- An individual knowingly takes someone else’s property without authorization, and
- The value of the stolen property is less than $1,200
Common examples of petit larceny include shoplifting, stealing items from an “Airbnb,” theft of domesticated animals, etc.
Individuals convicted of petit larceny in Las Vegas face up to six months in jail, $1,000 in fines, potential restitution payments to victims, and a misdemeanor conviction.
What Is Grand Larceny In Nevada?
Grand larceny is a felony in Nevada. NRS 205.220 defines grand larceny as:
- Intentionally taking another person’s property without permission, and
- The value of the stolen property is greater than $1,200
The felony category assigned to grand larceny charges depends on the value of the property the individual is accused of stealing:
- Category D Felony – $1,200 – $4,999.99
- Category C Felony – $5,000 – $24,999.99
- Category B Felony (a) – $25,000 – $99,999.99
- Category B Felony (b) – $100,000 or more
Nevada prosecutors estimate the value of an item by researching receipts, market value, advertised price, and expert testimony. Ultimately, judges determine the value of stolen property by considering the “highest reasonable value” based on the information presented.
Individuals charged with grand larceny in Las Vegas (or anywhere else in Nevada) face 1 – 20 years in prison, restitution payments, and fines from $5,000 – $15,000.
Nevada Pick-Pocketing Laws
Pick-pocketing, legally known as larceny from another person (NRS 205.270), occurs when someone takes property from another person without permission. Pick-pocketing is not as serious as Robbery, but much more consequential than petit larceny.
Pick-pocketers in Nevada face a category C felony conviction. That’s true, even if it’s the first offense. Additionally, individuals accused of pick-pocketing in Las Vegas potentially face harsher consequences depending on the value of the stolen item(s), the physical/mental condition of the victim, and a few more considerations. For example, taking casino chips from another person could qualify as a form of pick-pocketing or, depending upon the value of the chips, even grand larceny.
Nevada Robbery Laws
The difference between pickpocketing and robbery is the use of force or threats. Individuals who unlawfully take property from an individual through force, violence, or threat of harm are guilty of robbery (NRS 200.380).
It’s important to note that “attempting” to rob someone and successfully robbing someone both amount to category B felony charges. The penalties for robbery in Nevada include, but are not limited to:
- 2 – 15 years in prison
- Restitution payments
Individuals who rob or attempt to rob someone else while using a gun (or other deadly weapons) can result in aggravated charges. In that case, defendants face up to 20 years (or more) in prison.
Burglary Laws In Nevada
According to NRS 205.060, an individual who enters a business, residence, vehicle, or the like with an intent to commit battery, assault, larceny, or any other felony offense while inside is guilty of burglary.
The penalties for burglary charges in Las Vegas depend on the type of building (or vehicle) the crime occurs in, if the burglary was committed while possessing a deadly weapon, and more.
Individuals charged with burglary potentially face the following consequences:
- Residential Burglary: Category B felony, between 1 – 10 years in prison
- Business Burglary: Category C felony, between 1 – 5 years imprisonment
- Burglaries in Other Structures: Category D felony, between 1 – 4 years imprisonment
- Vehicular Burglary: Category E felony (for first-time offenders), up to 1-year in prison
Penalties are subject to increase with subsequent offenses.
Possession Of Stolen Property
In addition to theft and larceny charges, NRS 205.275 declares it illegal for an individual to intentionally receive, buy or possess property they know to be stolen (or reasonably should know is stolen). Generally, the courts determine if the defendant knew or should have known the property was stolen by considering if:
- The accused individual is in possession of three or more of the items in question
- The serial numbers (or similar) are scratched off or otherwise defaced
An individual can be convicted of being in possession of stolen property in Nevada even if the person they obtained the stolen property from is never prosecuted. The mere receipt and possession of stolen property is itself a crime.
The punishment for possession of stolen property depends on the worth of the stolen goods. For example, if the value of the stolen property is less than $1,200, the defendant is likely to face misdemeanor charges.
However, when the property value is more significant, it can bring harsher penalties – like up to 20 years in prison and a category B felony conviction. The penalties for possessing stolen goods are essentially the same as the consequences for petit and grand larceny.
Possession Of Lost Property
“Finders keepers” rarely works for children and is never a viable defense for possessing lost property in Nevada. According to NRS 205.0832(d), individuals who “find” or take another person’s property without the purpose or attempt of returning the property face criminal theft charges in Nevada. Those convicted face fines, restitution payments, and potentially worse.
Under NRS 205.300, a person is guilty of embezzlement in Nevada if they steal money or property from a person or business that entrusted them with the property. Common examples of embezzlement include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Forging a check or cashing customer checks without authorization
- Overbilling customers
- Neglecting to return a rental car
- Workplace inventory theft
- Taking payments and then not completing work
Generally, embezzlement is considered a workplace crime. However, it can happen with family, friends, volunteer groups, etc.
Much like similar theft charges in Nevada, the criminal penalties for embezzlement depend on the value of the embezzled goods or money. The higher the value, the harsher the penalties.
Penalties For Theft Charges In Nevada
Individuals charged with theft or theft-related offenses can face misdemeanor or felony charges. The penalties depend on the following factors:
- The type of theft crime committed (i.e., petit theft, grand larceny, robbery, burglary, etc.)
- The value of the items stolen
- Criminal history
- Whether there are “aggravating factors” present
- If the theft occurred with the use of force, the threat of force, or a deadly weapon
- The physical condition of the victim
- The defendant’s relationship with the victim
In some cases, first-time petit theft (or similar) offenders are only charged with misdemeanors. In more serious cases, defendants can expect felony charges.
Potential Defenses To Theft Charges
Aside from the particulars of your case, the success of any theft charge defense in Nevada hinges on the experience and skill of your criminal defense attorney. Some of the most common defenses used against theft charges in Las Vegas include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Lack of Intent: In many cases, individuals accused of theft did not actually intend to steal anything. While they might be guilty of a mistake, they may not be guilty of a crime if the intent is not present. For example, after consuming 5 beers while at the blackjack table, John mistakenly picks up another player’s chips. This would not constitute a crime since John did not intend to steal casino chips.
- No Theft Happened: Sometimes, accusers are mistaken about property ownership rights or seek to ruin a person’s reputation by claiming theft (when there is no evidence). Without sufficient evidence of theft or the attempt at theft, the prosecution’s case is weak.
- Illegal Search & Seizure: If Las Vegas law enforcement officials uncover stolen property through illegal search tactics (i.e., without probable cause), a judge may not allow the evidence to be used as justification for a theft conviction.
- Mistaken Identity: The defendant is not who law enforcement or the victim believes them to be and did not commit any crime.
- Gifted Property: In some cases, people give property and then claim theft when they want it back, or the relationship sours. If the defendant reasonably believes that the property was a gift (and can provide evidence to back up their claim), it can be difficult for the prosecution to prove otherwise.
Just because you’re charged with theft doesn’t mean that your case will end with a conviction. Contact the Vegas Lawyers to discuss the details of your case today.
Can I Get Deported If Convicted Of Theft In Nevada?
Non-citizen immigrants can be deported for many types of crimes. While lesser charges like petit theft are not as likely to lead to deportation, it’s still possible.
Non-citizen immigrants who commit crimes like grand larceny, burglary, or any types of aggravated theft-related charges are most at risk for deportation.
If you’re charged with theft in Nevada while on an immigrant visa, it’s in your best interest to consult with a proven immigration lawyer skilled in deportation defense.
Can I Seal My Criminal Record?
Most crimes in Nevada are eligible for a criminal record seal. How long it takes to become eligible depends on the crime, the outcome of the case, and many other factors.
Charged With A Theft Crime In Las Vegas? Contact Us Today
Are you facing theft charges in Las Vegas? If so, you need a highly experienced and proven Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer who understands what it takes to win.
Don’t take a gamble with your choice of lawyer. Your liberty depends upon making the right choice. The penalties for theft crimes are serious. Make the right choice in getting the best lawyer possible for your situation.
Our highly skilled team of legal professionals will help you get the least amount of penalties possible under the circumstances. We know how to win in the courtroom. At The Vegas Lawyers, criminal defense is all that we do! Contact us through this website or give us a call at (702) 707-7000 for your free initial consultation today.