Nevada Criminal Code – Part I: Felonies

Life, liberty, and property: this phrase in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has become the basis of most criminal laws in the United States. The 5th Amendment states:

“No person…[shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”

This phrase perhaps is rooted in a similar phrase in the Declaration of Independence, where it states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration, which was then edited by a committee of five men and then edited again by the whole congress. Even after these edits, the phrasing in Jefferson’s original draft has largely survived.

With these principles so deeply ingrained in the DNA of the U.S., it should come as no surprise that the criminal code is built around them. Since the U.S. Constitution is the document that underlies of all other laws in the United States, the criminal code in the individual states is largely based on these principles.

So it is, that Nevada’s criminal code, found in NRS Title 15, Crimes and Punishments, we find laws built around these founding principles.

Classification of Criminal Laws

Nevada’s criminal code is contained in NRS Title 15 Chapters 193-207, which classifies crimes into three major divisions: felonies, the most serious crimes; gross misdemeanors, midrange criminal infractions; and misdemeanors, the least serious criminal infractions. Felonies are further classified into five sub-divisions, Category A through Category E felonies.

The following list is not intended to be an exhaustive list but is more designed to show how infractions of the criminal code are categorized by the severity of the punishment. Moreover, typically a defendant is not charged with just one count in most cases and charges may include both felonies and misdemeanors. Each count carries its own punishments and sentences may be served concurrently, or in more serious cases, sequentially, at the discretion of the court or, in some cases, as provided by statute.

Category A Felonies

With the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on deprivation of life and liberty without due process of law, it should come as no surprise the most serious crimes have to do with the taking of life and liberty outside of due process. And it should also be no surprise that these crimes carry the greatest punishments.

Category A felonies include First- and second-degree murder; first-degree kidnapping; using a child in pornography; attempted murder by poison; killing someone in a dual; sexual assault and battery; holding a minor in involuntary servitude.

Punishments associated with Category A felonies are the death penalty, life in state prison without the possibility of parole, and life in state prison with the possibility of parole.

Category B Felonies

Category B felonies include: voluntary manslaughter; second-degree kidnapping; burglary; home invasion; robbery; assault with a deadly weapon; battery with intent to kill; first- and second-degree arson; possession of child pornography; prior felony convictions; prior fraud convictions; treason against the State of Nevada; killing of an unborn child due to injury inflicted upon the mother; car theft of vehicle valued over $3,500.

Punishments for Category B felonies are not less than one year in jail or up to a maximum of 20 years in state prison.

Category C Felonies

Category C felonies include: child trafficking; repeated child abuse; battery with a deadly weapon; third domestic violence conviction or domestic violence that includes strangulation; violating an extended protective order (restraining order); use of internet to distribute pornography of person under 16 year old; practicing medicine or performing surgery without a license; failure to provide support per order of Family Court; pandering and sex trafficking of children; theft; counterfeiting; real estate fraud; bribery; receiving stolen goods; car theft of vehicle valued less than $3,500.

Category C punishments are not less than one-year incarceration up to a maximum of five years in state prison, plus applicable fines up to $10,000 or more as established by statute or determined by a court, and restitution as determined by a court.

Category D Felonies

Category D felonies include: involuntary manslaughter; removing a child from jurisdiction of court contrary to order of Family Court; assault of police officer, doctor, school employee, cab or transit driver while on duty; eavesdropping on a phone call without permission of one or more parties; unlawful dissemination of intimate image or extortion connected to same; third- and fourth-degree arson; issuing fraudulent checks; selling sound recordings without paying royalties; obtaining signature of another by false pretense; defrauding a hospitality operator of goods valued greater than $650; forgery; identity theft; issuing false title; credit card fraud; perjury.

Category D punishments are not less than one-year incarceration up to a maximum of four years in state prison, plus applicable fines up to $5,000 or more as established by statute or determined by a court, and restitution as determined by a court.

Category E Felonies

Category E felonies include: peeping (second or subsequent conviction); false use of trademark; false identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.); altering price tags; child prostitution (first offense); gang recruitment; false bomb threat; directing laser beam at an aircraft causing injury; defacing property or graffiti with damages greater than $5,000; base jumping without license; falsely claiming an emergency to 911 system; food stamp fraud greater than $650.

Category E punishments are not less than one-year incarceration up to a maximum of four years in state prison, plus applicable fines up to $5,000 or more as established by statute or determined by a court, and restitution as determined by a court. However, under Nevada law, unless the defendant is a repeat felon, the incarceration sentence is to be suspended and probation granted under conditions imposed by the court, which may include up to one-year confinement in the county jail. Fines and restitution as determined by the court remain.

The Defenders are here to help

While the foregoing list is not exhaustive, being charged with a felony can be a frightening experience. It requires the skills of an experienced attorney to deal with the intricacies of the laws that are on the books, and to provide a strong defense that will stand up in court to protect you from onerous punishments. If you have been subjected to a felony charge, call us today to discuss your options at (702) 333-3333.

Practice Areas