Shoplifting Offenses and Penalties in Las Vegas
Shoplifting falls under the broad category of theft in Nevada statutes, but the state does not have a specific offense called shoplifting. Instead, intentional theft from a retail business is typically charged as a larceny offense. If the value of the property is less than $1,200, the charge is petit larceny, which is a misdemeanor. If the property is worth $1,200 or more, the charge is grand larceny, a felony. Penalties and consequences for a conviction of either type of larceny can be significant.
Nevada Shoplifting Charges
Shoplifting (retail theft) involves intentionally stealing or taking and carrying away store property without paying for the merchandise. In most cases, shoplifting is charged as the theft offense of larceny. A shoplifting charge can be either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the property that is taken.
If the value of the property is less than $1,200, the offense charged for shoplifting is petit larceny (also called petty larceny) under NRS 205.240, which is a misdemeanor. Potential penalties include up to six months in county jail and a fine up to $1,000, plus restitution (reimbursement for the value of the property).
For property valued at $1,200 or more, shoplifting results in a charge of grand larceny under NRS 205.220, which is a felony. The category of felony and potential penalties for grand larceny depend on the value of the property taken:
- Property valued between $1,200 and $4,999: Grand larceny is a category D felony, with potential penalties of one to four years in state prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and restitution.
- Property valued between $5,000 and $24,999: Grand larceny is a category C felony, with potential penalties of one to five years in state prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and restitution.
- Property valued between $25,000 and $99,999: Grand larceny is a category B felony, with potential penalties of one to ten years in state prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and restitution.
- Property valued at $100,000 or more: Grand larceny is a category B felony, with potential penalties of one to 20 years in state prison, a fine of up to $15,000, and restitution.
In some circumstances, shoplifting charges also may include robbery or burglary, depending on whether the theft involved force (robbery) and the intentions of the person who allegedly took the merchandise when they entered the business (burglary). Needless to say, a shoplifting case that involves other charges in addition to petit or grand larceny is even more serious.
Finally, organized retail theft, which generally includes a series of thefts involving an association of three or more people, is a category B felony that is prosecuted under different statutory provisions, found at NRS 205.08345 and NRS 205.0835. The charges and penalties differ from those for petit larceny and grand larceny. The penalties are based on the aggregate value of property involved in the thefts.
Defending Against Shoplifting Charges
Any theft or larceny charge is a serious offense that can have consequences far beyond the significant criminal penalties. A conviction (which includes a guilty plea) can affect a person’s ability to get any employment that involves handling money or merchandise, as well as other important aspects of life.
Even if you face a first offense larceny charge for shoplifting, getting legal representation is strongly recommended. A criminal defense lawyer can defend against larceny charges with a strategy based on the specific facts of the case. An aggressive defense may result in a plea bargain to a lesser charge with lighter penalties, and — in some cases — even dismissal of the charges.
If you face any type of shoplifting or theft charge, it is essential to talk with a lawyer before you decide how to proceed. The Nevada criminal justice system provides opportunities to minimize the negative impact of a criminal charge. But getting help from a knowledgeable attorney is the best way to take advantage of those opportunities.
Shopkeeper’s Privilege in Nevada
Even though shoplifting is not defined as a specific offense in Nevada, the term does appear in state laws relating to the rights of shop owners with regard to potential shoplifting activities, which include the ability to legally detain a person suspected of shoplifting (NRS 597.850). Related statutory provisions (NRS 597.860 and NRS 597.870) impose civil liability on adults who steal merchandise by shoplifting (or damage property) and on the parent or guardian of a minor who shoplifts or damages a merchant’s property.
Under the law, the shopkeeper’s privilege exists only if a shop owner displays a specific notice in a conspicuous place, advising patrons of the owner’s rights. Everyone should be aware of the legal rights of Nevada shop owners regarding situations that may involve shoplifting. However, it is important to remember that a person who is detained by a shop owner does not lose any of their inherent constitutional rights, and should exercise those rights the same as they would in any situation involving a potential arrest.
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.