What Is the Difference Between Theft and Larceny in Nevada?
Theft and larceny offenses often cause confusion. Theft is a broad category of crimes against property under Nevada laws. Larceny is a particular type of theft. To make things even more confusing, there are multiple categories of larceny. This article explains the difference between theft and larceny, as well as the difference in the types of larceny offenses.
Actions that Constitute Larceny and Theft in Nevada
Theft and larceny are both part of Chapter 205 in the Nevada criminal statutes. The chapter includes other offenses as well, such as burglary, forgery, extortion, and receiving stolen goods. NRS 205.0821 contains a detailed definition of theft, which includes ten different categories of conduct that constitute theft, if knowingly committed without lawful authority. Examples of the categories include:
- Controlling property of another person with the intention of depriving the owner of their property
- Using services or property of another person for unauthorized purposes, or converting entrusted property to an unauthorized use
- Obtaining property or services by a material misrepresentation, with the intention of depriving the owner of the services or property
- Controlling property of another person knowing or having reason to know that the property was stolen
- Taking, concealing, destroying, or disposing of property in which another person has a security interest, with the intent to defraud the person
- Drawing or passing a check for services or property knowing that it will not be paid
- Obtaining gasoline, fuel, or automotive products without paying or agreeing to pay for them
Nevada statutes define two types of larceny: grand larceny (NRS 205.220) and petit larceny (NRS 205.240). Grand larceny includes:
- Intentionally stealing, taking and carrying away, or leading or driving away property valued at $1,200 or more owned by another person, including 1) personal goods or property; 2) Bedding, furniture, or other property in a lodging used by the person; 3) Real property
- Using a card or other device for automatic withdrawals or transfers in a financial institution to obtain money, knowing the person is not entitled to the money
- Intentionally stealing, taking and carrying away, or driving or enticing away livestock or domesticated animals or birds valued at over $1,200 owned by another person
- With the intent to defraud, stealing, appropriating, or preventing identification of livestock or domesticated animals or birds, under conditions described in the law
- Stealing a firearm (NRS Sec. 205.226) or motor vehicle (NRS 205.228)
The law defines petit larceny as including stealing, taking and carrying away, or leading or driving away personal or real property, lodging furnishings, or domesticated animals or birds valued at less than $1,200.
Classification and Penalties for Theft and Larceny Offenses
A Nevada theft and larceny offense can be a felony or misdemeanor. Generally, an offense is a misdemeanor if the value of the goods, services, or property is less than $1,200. The potential penalty for a misdemeanor is up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000.
When the value of property or services is $1,200 or more, or the item is a firearm or motor vehicle, the offense is a felony. The felony category and penalty are based on the value of the property or services involvedL
- Category D felony: Property or services valued at $1,200 more but less than $5,000; penalties include one to four years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
- Category C felony: Property or services valued at $5,000 or more but less than $25,000 or first offense motor vehicle theft; penalties include one to five years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Category B felonies for theft and larceny offenses include three levels:
- Property or services valued at $25,000 or more but less than $100,000 or the property is a firearm, penalties include one to ten years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
- Repeat offense within five years of stealing a motor vehicle; penalties include one to six years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
- Property or services valued at $100,000 or more; penalties include one to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
For a conviction of any level of theft and larceny offense, the defendant must pay restitution to the victim, in addition to the other penalties. Restitution is different from a fine, as it reimburses the victim for the value of the property.
Importance of Having a Lawyer
Theft and larceny offenses are complicated charges, regardless of the specific offense a defendant faces. The laws have specific elements that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. To analyze the circumstances of the case and apply the specific laws, assistance from an experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is crucial. If you are charged with theft or larceny — or even if you are under investigation for theft or larceny — you should reach out to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you face any type of theft or larceny charge, Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten is here to help. His extensive investigative and trial background and experience enable him to provide an aggressive defense to any Nevada criminal charge, regardless of the offense.
The Gersten Law Firm assists clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, and elsewhere in Clark County. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.