Las Vegas Defense Attorney for Theft Charges
Experienced Criminal Defense Law Firm in Clark County, Nevada
Numerous laws in the State of Nevada establish criminal offenses for circumstances that constitute theft. Regardless of the precise nature of the theft charge you face, The Gersten Law Firm will aggressively defend you against the charge.
Las Vegas attorney Joseph Gersten has extensive experience that provides him with a unique background especially important in his criminal defense practice. He holds a Master of Forensic Sciences degree and worked for the Intelligence Division of the U.S. Secret Service, as well as the Office of Criminal Investigations at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He also has substantial trial experience.
Attorney Gersten will put his extensive criminal defense experience and local knowledge to work in assessing the full circumstances surrounding your case, asserting a forceful defense, and exploring all options for resolving the charges. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation.
Misdemeanor and Felony Theft
In addition to many individual laws for specific types of theft crimes, Nevada has a general statutory section for theft offenses. Under that section, theft is classified either as a misdemeanor or felony, based on the dollar amount involved in the theft, as follows:
- Theft of property or services valued at less than six hundred and fifty dollars ($650) is a misdemeanor, punishable of a prison term of up to six (6) months and a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000). (Community service may be an alternative in limited circumstances.)
- Theft of property or services valued at six hundred and fifty dollars ($650) but less than thirty-five hundred dollars ($3500) is a category C felony, punishable by a prison term of one (1) to five (5) years and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
- Theft of property or services valued at more than thirty-five hundred dollars ($3500) is a category B felony, punishable by a prison term of one (1) to ten (10) years and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
- Organized retail theft constitutes a category B felony. Penalties vary according to the aggregated value of the theft.
In addition to prison time and a fine, the court is required to order restitution to the victim(s) of the theft.
The statute for misdemeanor and felony theft enumerates the circumstances in which the offenses apply. A person commits theft under the provision if he or she knowingly:
- Controls another individual’s property, intending to deprive the other person of the property;
- Makes an unauthorized transfer of, uses for an unauthorized purpose, or converts property or services entrusted to the person for a limited term and use;
- Obtains property or services by making a material misrepresentation, intending to deprive the owner of the property or services;
- Finds lost, mislaid, or misdelivered property of another person and does not make reasonable efforts to notify the owner of the property;
- Possesses property knowing or having reason to know that the property is stolen;
- Obtains services or property known to be available only for compensation without paying or agreeing to pay, or diverts the services to his or her own benefit or to the benefit of another person without lawful authority to do so;
- Destroys, hides, or takes property in which another individual holds a security interest, with the intent to defraud the holder of the security interest;
- Writes a check in exchange for property or services, knowing that the check will not be paid by the bank;
- Obtains gasoline or other fuel or automotive products available only for compensation without paying or agreeing to pay;
- Commits any act described in the statute that involves repair of a vehicle, if the person received a written estimate of the cost of repair before the repair was made;
- Commits other acts declared to be theft in a specific law.
The statute specifically states that offense of theft described in this section constitutes a single offense that embraces the separate offenses commonly known as larceny, possessing/receiving stolen property, embezzlement, obtaining property by false pretenses, issuing a check without sufficient money or credit, and other similar offenses.
Grand Larceny and Petit Larceny
In addition to the crime of theft, Nevada laws provide for crimes of grand larceny and petit larceny (also sometimes referred to as petty larceny). There are also specific crimes for grand larceny of a motor vehicle and grand larceny of a firearm.
Grand larceny involves stealing or taking away:
- Personal goods or property owned by another person having a value of more than six hundred and fifty dollars ($650);
- Bedding, furniture, or other property owned by another person that is made available as part of lodging and has a value of more than six hundred and fifty dollars ($650);
- Real property converted into personal property by severing it from real property owned by another person that has a value of more than six hundred and fifty dollars ($650).
Additional grand larceny offenses include:
- Using a card or other device to withdraw or transfer money and obtain money to which the person knows he or she is not entitled;
- Stealing livestock;
- Marking or branding livestock belonging to another person, and other livestock offenses;
- Killing domesticated animals or birds with an aggregate value of $650 or more.
The categories of grand larceny offenses are as follows:
- Grand larceny is a category C felony if property is valued at less than thirty-five hundred dollars ($3500);
- Grand larceny is a category B felony if the value is thirty-five hundred dollars (($3500) or more;
- Grand larceny of a firearm is a category B felony;
- Grand larceny of a motor vehicle is either a category C or category B felony, depending on the value of the motor vehicle.
All grand larceny convictions include orders of restitution.
Petit larceny offenses are similar to those that constitute grand larceny, except that the value of the property is under six hundred and fifty dollars ($650). Petit larceny is a misdemeanor.
In addition to motor vehicle and firearm theft, the most common examples of grand and petit larceny in Las Vegas include:
- Removing furniture, fixtures, or other property from a hotel room or other rental;
- Casino theft;
- ATM theft;
- Jewelry theft.
Other Theft Offenses
In addition to the preceding statutory provisions, Nevada has individual laws that apply to apply to specific situations involving different types of theft. When law enforcement officers are presented with circumstances involving theft, they will charge the offenses most closely related to the specific situation.
Burglary and Robbery
Burglary and robbery are technically not theft offenses. Like theft, burglary is a crime involving property. Burglary involves entering a building or vehicle with intent to steal once inside. Generally, burglary is a category B felony.
Unlike theft offenses, robbery is considered to be a crime against a person, rather than against property. Robbery involves taking another person’s property by use of force or threats. Generally, it is a category B felony.
Impact of a Theft Conviction
Any theft conviction or guilty plea — even for a misdemeanor — will negatively impact your life. A conviction on your public record can affect employment and housing opportunities, loan applications, and many other situations in which your record is reviewed. That makes it extremely important to be represented by a skillful criminal defense attorney anytime you are charged with a theft offense.
At The Gersten Law Firm, we vigorously represent clients facing Las Vegas or Clark County theft charges. We work to get the charges dismissed if at all possible. We know the local justice system and are extremely effective in negotiating with prosecutors to find the best resolution in every case.
Sealing the Record of a Conviction
In addition to defending clients facing theft charges, The Gersten Law Firm assists clients in getting conviction records sealed. For misdemeanor convictions, you can ask the court to seal the record after just a year. For most category B and C felonies, the waiting period is five (5) years. These time limits were significantly reduced in 2017. You can read more about the changes in our article about the shorter waiting periods.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing a theft or other criminal charge in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, Las Vegas attorney Joseph Gersten will discuss and evaluate your case based on his extensive criminal defense experience. Your initial consultation is free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.