NRS 205.240: Understanding Petit Larceny in Nevada—Definition, Penalties, and Defenses
Petit larceny, also known as petty theft, is a criminal offense in Nevada that involves the intentional stealing of someone else’s property valued at less than $1,200. This type of crime falls under the umbrella of theft crimes.
While it may seem like a minor crime, a conviction can have severe consequences, including fines, jail time, and a lasting impact on your personal and professional life. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of petit larceny in Nevada, including its definition, examples, penalties, common defenses, how it differs from grand larceny, record sealing, related crimes, and the importance of hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
If you or someone you know is facing petit larceny charges, it is critical that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to guide you through the legal process and protect your rights. The Defenders is a criminal defense law firm based in Las Vegas with extensive experience handling petit larceny charges. We offer free consultations to review your case and help you develop the best strategy for success. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.
Definition of Petit Larceny in Nevada
According to Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 205.240, petit larceny is defined as:
- Intentionally stealing, taking and carrying away, leading away, or driving away someone else’s property without their consent, and
- The value of the property is less than $1,200.
Petit larceny is a misdemeanor in Nevada, with penalties that can include jail time, fines, and restitution.
Types of Petit Larceny
Petit larceny can involve various types of property, including personal goods, bedding, or furniture, real property converted into personal property by severing it from another person’s real property, and domesticated animals or birds.
Some common examples of petit larceny include:
- Shoplifting items from a store
- Stealing items from a hotel room
- Taking someone else’s domesticated animals, such as their dog
This criminal activity has surged lately and poses a risk to those working in the retail sector.
Penalties for Petit Larceny in Nevada
As a misdemeanor crime, petit larceny carries the following penalties under Nevada law:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Restitution for any losses suffered by the victim
First-time offenders may be eligible for alternative sentencing options, such as an online class and a reduced fine, instead of jail time.
Common Defenses for Petit Larceny
There are several possible defenses against petty theft charges, depending on the circumstances of the case. Some of the most common defenses include:
Lack of Intent
Petit larceny is a crime of intent, meaning that the accused must have intended to steal the property in question.
If the defendant can demonstrate that they did not have the requisite intent to commit the crime, they may be able to avoid a conviction.
For example, if a defendant can prove that they took another person’s property by mistake, such as when mistakenly grabbing the wrong jacket at the store, they may be able to avoid being convicted of petit larceny.
If the defendant can show that they did not actually take the property in question, they may have a valid defense against petit larceny charges.
Mistake or Error
If the defendant can prove that they took the property by mistake or error, rather than with the intention to steal, they may be able to avoid a conviction for petit larceny.
A common example is when a person goes into a convenience store to buy some snacks after gassing up. After picking some chips, the defendant saw her kids fighting in the car, rushed out and forget to pay for the chips.
In this situation, the defendant did not intend to steal but rather made a mistake due to an emergency. This could be used as a valid defense against petit larceny charges.
Ownership of the Property
If the defendant can show that they owned the property in question, they cannot be convicted of stealing it. This defense may be applicable in cases involving shared property or disputes over ownership.
Petit Larceny vs. Grand Larceny
The main difference between petit and grand larceny in Nevada lies in the value of the property involved. If the stolen property is valued at $1,200 or more, the crime is considered grand larceny, which is a more serious felony offense.
Grand larceny carries more severe penalties, including longer prison sentences and higher fines.
Record Sealing for Petit Larceny Convictions
In Nevada, individuals with a petit larceny conviction on their criminal record may be eligible to have their record sealed one year after the completion of their sentence.
Record sealing can help mitigate the impact of a criminal conviction on employment prospects and personal reputation.
There are several related crimes to petit larceny in Nevada, including:
Grand larceny is the more serious version of petit larceny. It is defined as the intentional stealing of property valued at $1,200 or more.
Receiving Stolen Property
Buying, receiving, or possession of stolen property is the unlawful possession of property that has been obtained illegally.
Grand Theft Auto
Grand theft auto is the intentional taking of a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. This crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Robbery is the use of force or fear to take someone else’s property. Robbery is considered a violent crime and carries harsher punishments than petit larceny.
Burglary is the unlawful entering of an inhabited structure with the intent to commit a crime. This can include petit larceny or grand larceny, depending on the value of the property taken.
Facing Petit Larceny Charges? The Defenders Can Help
If you have been charged with petit larceny in Nevada, it is crucial to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A skilled attorney, like those at The Defenders, can help you build a strong defense, negotiate a plea bargain, or even get the charges dismissed altogether.
At The Defenders, we understand the serious nature of criminal charges and are dedicated to protecting your rights and freedoms.
- Will aggressively put in all efforts to get the penalties lowered.
- Can help you achieve fair settlements or plea deals.
- Can protect you from the prosecution.
- Can examine the evidence better than you.
- Will fight for your rights to help keep your criminal history clean.
We are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about the legal process or your specific circumstances. We understand that facing criminal charges can be overwhelming and we will do everything we can to ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is petit larceny in Nevada?
Petit larceny is the intentional taking of property valued at less than $1,200 from another person without their consent. This is considered a misdemeanor crime under Nevada law and carries penalties such as up to 6 months in jail, fines of up to $1000, and restitution for any losses suffered by the victim.
What is the difference between petit larceny and grand larceny?
The main difference between petit and grand larceny in Nevada lies in the value of the property involved. If the stolen property is valued at $1,200 or more, the crime is considered grand larceny, which is considered a felony offense. Grand larceny carries more severe penalties, including longer prison sentences and higher fines. However, if the stolen property is valued at less than $1,200, the crime is classified as petit larceny and is punished as a misdemeanor offense. Sealing of records is possible for both types of convictions. However, for cases related to grand larceny, the waiting period is longer and is at least 5 years after the case is concluded, as opposed to just one year for petit larceny.
What if the value of the stolen property is incorrectly estimated?
If the value of the stolen property is overestimated, resulting in an incorrect charge of petit larceny, your attorney can challenge the valuation and potentially have the charges reduced or dismissed.
Can I get deported for a petit larceny conviction?
While petit larceny is considered a crime involving moral turpitude, which can lead to deportation, a single conviction may not result in removal proceedings for non-citizens. However, immigration laws are complex and constantly changing, so it is essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney if you are facing petit larceny charges as a non-citizen.
Can a petit larceny charge be reduced to a lesser offense?
In some cases, a skilled defense attorney may be able to negotiate a reduction of charges to a lesser offense, such as trespassing or disorderly conduct. This can help minimize the potential penalties and the impact on your criminal record.
Can I be charged with petit larceny for taking something by mistake?
Yes, you can still be charged with petit larceny if you take something by mistake. However, if you can prove that you took it in error and not with the intention to steal, you may be able to avoid a conviction. You should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you’ve been charged in order to evaluate your options and determine the best course of action for your case.