NRS 205.275: Buying, Receiving, and Possession of Stolen Property

Robber entering a house while the owner is asleepNRS 205.275, commonly referred to as the “Receipt of Stolen Property” statute, is a Nevada law that makes it illegal for a person to buy, receive, or possess stolen property. Under this statute, an individual can be found guilty of receiving stolen property even if he/she did not “know” that the goods were stolen at the time of purchase, but that any reasonable person should have known.

The penalties for violating NRS 205.275 are harsh and may include jail time (at Clark County Detention Center or other jails) and substantial fines depending on the value of the items in question. In order to avoid being convicted under this statute, individuals should familiarize themselves with NRS 205.275 and potential defenses they could use in court when accused of buying or possessing stolen goods.

If you have been accused of buying, possessing, or receiving stolen property in Nevada, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help advise and guide you on the best course of action. An experienced lawyer may be able to raise a valid defense that could result in a dismissal or reduction of your charges.

At The Defenders, we understand the seriousness of being accused of a crime and are dedicated to providing the best possible defense for you. Contact our Las Vegas office today to speak with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers about your case. We have the knowledge and experience needed to help you fight your charges and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Nevada Law for Possession of Stolen Property

NRS 205.275 is the Nevada statute that makes it illegal for any person to buy, receive, or possess stolen property. The statute reads:

A person commits an offense involving stolen property if the person, for his or her own gain or to prevent the owner from again possessing the owner’s property, buys, receives, possesses or withholds property:

     (a) Knowing that it is stolen property; or

     (b) Under such circumstances as should have caused a reasonable person to know that it is stolen property.

For example, you went over to your friend Mark’s house over the Christmas holidays. You saw that he has a nice computer screen that isn’t being used. Mark, then told you he stole it from his employer and asks if you’d like it. You take the computer screen and keep it for yourself, and you could be charged with receipt of stolen property under NRS 205.275. Even if you didn’t steal it (your friend did) but you willingly took it even though you knew it was stolen, you are in violation of this statute.

Or let’s say you were walking around Las Vegas at night and noticed a van in an alley selling some electronics for a really cheap price. You buy the a nice television without asking any questions. In this case, you could also be found guilty of receiving stolen property under NRS 205.275 since you should have had reasonable suspicion to know the items were stolen when you bought them.

Further Clarification on “Should Have Known”

The statute does not require the accused to “know” that the property was stolen. Instead, it requires that a reasonable person would have known or had reasonable suspicion that the goods were stolen.

As in the example above, NRS 205.275 requires that if the purchaser should have had reasonable suspicion to know that the items were stolen, they are liable for buying or receiving stolen property.

But this can also be used to your advantage.

For example, if you bought a phone from a store in the mall, it is unlikely that a reasonable person would think that the phone was stolen. In this case, you may have a valid defense against being convicted of receipt of stolen property under NRS 205.275.

In subsection 5, the NRS also says that any person is guilty of violating this statute if they are found in possession of three or more items of the same or similar type of goods on which the manufacturer’s serial number/identification number has been removed, altered, or obliterated.

The Defenders Criminal Defense Attorneys - Best of Las Vegas Gold WinnerWhat Constitutes Stolen Property Under NRS 205.275

Under NRS 205.275, stolen property is defined as any item that has been obtained without the consent of the owner and where a reasonable person should have known that it was stolen. Examples of stolen property could include jewelry, electronics, vehicles, firearms, or artwork.

Subsection 7 of this statute states:

As used in this section, “stolen property” means property that has been taken from its owner by larceny, robbery, burglary, embezzlement, theft or any other offense that is a crime against property, whether or not the person who committed the taking is or has been prosecuted or convicted for the offense.

Penalties for Possessing Stolen Goods in Nevada

The penalties for violating this statute depends on the value of the property. Check out the table below with the corresponding criminal offense and penalties.

Value of stolen property Penalties
Less than $1,200
  • Misdemeanor
  • Up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Restitution
$1,200 to less than $5,000
  • Category D felony
  • 1 to 4 years in jail, and/or
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • Restitution
$5,000 to less than $25,000
  • Category C felony
  • 1 to 5 years in jail, and/or
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Restitution
$25,000 to less than $100,000; or

if property is firearm

  • Category B felony
  • 1 to 10 years in jail, and/or
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Restitution
$100,000 or more
  • Category B felony
  • 1 to 20 years in jail, and/or
  • Up to $15,000 in fines
  • Restitution

Defenses to Charges of Possession of Stolen Property

There are a number of defenses that may be available to you if you have been charged with possession of stolen property under NRS 205.275. Some of the most common defenses include:

Lack of Knowledge the Goods Were Stolen

If you can show that you had no reasonable suspicion to know the goods were stolen, then you may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

For example, you bought the item in a legitimate store, but didn’t know the owner of the shop had stolen the item. Since this was a store with proper permits and licenses, you have no reason to believe it was stolen.

The Property Was Not Stolen

This defense is applicable if you can show that the items in question were not stolen but instead lawfully obtained by another means.

For instance, if the goods or a vehicle were rightfully acquired in a legal transaction or simply found by someone and given to you.

Lack of Possession

The NRS covers only situations where you had actual possession of the stolen property. Therefore, if you can prove that you did not have physical control or custody of the stolen goods, then your charge may be reduced or dismissed.

For example, a friend left an item in your house without your knowledge and you never took physical possession of it.

Illegal Search and Seizure

If the police violated your constitutional rights when they searched or seized the stolen property, then you may be able to get your charges dropped.

For example, if the police conducted an illegal search of your home without a warrant and found stolen goods, then this could be grounds for dismissing your charges.

Can I Seal My Criminal Records

Possession of stolen property is a serious offense in Nevada. Thankfully, you may be able to seal the record for this conviction.

Check out the table here to find out how long you have to wait before your records are sealed. This depends on what offense the conviction is.

Charged with a Crime? The Defenders Can Help

If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of stolen property in Nevada, contact the Defenders. Our experienced attorneys are ready to fight for your rights and ensure that justice is served.

We can help build a defense that fits the specifics of your case and may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be arrested for possessing stolen goods?

Yes, you can. Under NRS 205.275, it is illegal to possess stolen goods in Nevada with the knowledge that they are stolen, regardless of whether or not you are the one who stole them. Penalties typically depend on the value of the property.

Can I be charged with possessing stolen property if I didn’t know it was stolen?

Yes. According to Nevada laws, you can be charged with possession of stolen property without any knowledge that the items were obtained illegally – as long as it’s expected that a reasonable person would have been aware. For example, buying electronics at a back of a van parked in a dark alley in the middle of the night would have given any reasonable person reason to believe the goods were stolen.

What is the penalty for possessing stolen property in Nevada?

The penalties for possession of stolen property depend on the value of the property. Generally, misdemeanor charges for less than $1,200 worth of stolen goods carry up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.Stealing property valued above $1,200 can lead to felony charges and significant consequences. If convicted you may face up to 10-20 years of imprisonment alongside fines as high as $15,000. Restitution may also be ordered in certain cases.

What are the defenses to a charge of possession of stolen property?

There are several possible defense strategies that may be available to you in this situation, such as lack of knowledge, lack of possession, and illegal search and seizure.

Is possession of stolen property a felony in Nevada?

It depends. Depending on the value of the property, the offense can range from a misdemeanor to a category B felony.

Is there any way to get my charges reduced or dismissed?

Yes, there are a few legal defenses that may apply and help reduce your charges or have them dismissed entirely. These include lack of knowledge that goods were stolen, lack of possession, showing that the goods were lawfully obtained by another means, and arguing illegal search and seizure.

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