Say you’re driving down the highway when you notice the lights of a police car flashing in your rearview mirror. You look down at your speedometer and see that you’re going around 10 mph over the speed limit. You pull over for the officer and expect to be cited for the traffic offense, but a little while later you find yourself arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle.
How could that happen?
In Nevada, theft is defined as intentionally taking or driving off with personal property owned by someone else. The state defines two types of theft: grand larceny and petit larceny. Grand larceny occurs when the stolen item is valued at $650 or more, and petit larceny is when it’s has a value of less than $650.
Let’s say the car you were driving was registered to your friend. You asked to borrow it a week ago because your vehicle was in the shop getting repaired.
Earlier in the day, before you were pulled over, your friend called you to ask for their car back within the next hour. You told them that you had to be at work in 15 minutes and would return the vehicle to them after your shift. Unfortunately, they got angry with you and complained about the length of time you had the car. Without saying much more, they hung up.
After you got off work, you rushed over to your friend’s house to return their car, and it was while you were heading over there that the police stopped you. It turned out that, in a fit of rage, your friend called the police to report their car stolen. Therefore, you were arrested for grand larceny of a motor vehicle, which is a category B felony charge.
If you are convicted of grand larceny of a motor vehicle, and the prosecutor can prove it was worth $3,500 or more, you could face:
- Between 1 and 10 years in prison
- A $10,000 fine
- An order to pay restitution to the vehicle owner
The Intent Behind the Action
N.R.S. 205.220, the grand larceny law, states that a person commits the offense when they intentionally take or drive off with someone else’s property. In the example given earlier, you believed you were given permission to borrow your friend’s car. It was only after they became upset that you still had it that they reported it as stolen. Because the police were alerted as such, they placed you under arrest.
However, in order for the prosecutor to land a conviction for the grand theft offense, they would have to prove you intentionally took the vehicle from your friend. In this case, it may be possible to raise the defense that you had no intent to steal the car.
Get Aggressive Defense from the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover
If you were charged with a theft crime in Reno, our attorney will fully review your circumstances to build a legal strategy and fight the allegations. Backed by 20 years of experience, we have the knowledge and skills to provide effective counsel throughout your case.
Schedule your free consultation by calling us at (775) 502-1575 or contacting us online.