Have you been accused of a theft crime? If so, you probably have a number of questions about your charges, your rights, and what you can do to give yourself the best possible chance at fighting back. Reno criminal defense attorneys often receive a number of these questions, some of them more often than others. To help you better-understand what lies ahead, let’s take a closer look at some of the most frequently asked questions and offer some generalized answers to help you get the valuable information you’re looking for.
How are Theft Charges Issued?
The severity of your charges will depend on the circumstances of your crime, including how you stole the property in question and how much the property in question was worth. The latter of those two is the most important—the value of the property stolen will determine your baseline charges, while other circumstances could apply as either “aggravating” or “mitigating” factors. This means that someone who commits armed robbery of a jewelry store will unquestionably be in a much more serious situation than someone who stole a video game from the electronics retailer.
Am I Going to Go to Jail?
This is the question we receive arguably the most. Nevada is extremely strict on theft crimes, but that doesn’t always mean you’re going to go to jail for it. If the value of the goods or services you’re accused of stealing is less than $250, you’ll face misdemeanor theft charges, also known as “petit larceny.” While up to six months in jail is a possible penalty, most low-level offenses avoid prison altogether. However, anything over $250 becomes a felony, which almost always means at least a minimal jail sentence, and the higher the value of the property stolen, the longer your jail sentence will be.
What Penalties Can I Face for a Conviction?
As stated previously, the penalties you face will depend on the severity of your crime, and the severity of the crime depends on the value of the property stolen, plus any aggravating or mitigating factors. Misdemeanor theft charges carry maximum penalties of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, and felony charges can go as high as 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Beyond that, there are added penalties in the form of a permanent criminal history, and at all levels the court has the authority to order you to pay restitution to your victim for the value of the property stolen.
I Didn’t Steal the Property, Why Am I Being Charged?
Like every other state in the union, Nevada has laws that prohibit you from receiving and possessing any property that you know to be stolen. Possessing stolen property is charged along the same lines as if you stole the property yourself, which means you could face felony accusations even though you weren’t directly involved with the theft.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
You should absolutely make sure you have a Reno criminal defense attorney on your side to help fight your charges. A skilled advocate can help you review the evidence in your case, properly present your arguments, and then fight to secure your freedom. An attorney can make sure your case is handled properly, that any illegitimate evidence is suppressed, and that you have the best possible chance at reaching the ideal outcome. It’s strongly advised you do not try and face your accusations on your own.
If you need an attorney, reach out to the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover today! Call us at (775) 502-1575 to request a case evaluation.