Theft is one of the most frequently committed crimes and has a wide range of consequences for someone who is convicted. Considering that almost anything can be stolen, there are various classifications for theft crimes in the legal system. The charges a person will receive depend entirely on the nature of the specific theft they are being accused of. Someone can receive felony charges in certain severe situations, and those charges have the potential to be life-altering if a conviction is made.
Defining Theft Through the Law
Theft is a broad term used to describe the many crimes involving a person stealing property that does not belong to them. The legal definition describes theft as intentionally taking property from another person or entity without consent and with the intent to deprive that person of its benefits. Different types of theft crimes include:
- Embezzlement: This charge applies when someone who is given the responsibility of handling money for someone else or for a business takes that money for their own use without permission. Embezzlement is most commonly committed by employees who have access to their employer’s finances.
- Extortion: A person has committed extortion when they take personal items or money from another person by intimidating or threatening them. The threats do not need to be carried out immediately and can include actions such as physical harm, exposing someone’s secrets, accusing someone of a crime they did not commit, and damaging their property.
- Larceny: Larceny is the crime many people think of when they hear the word theft. It involves taking someone’s property with the intent to deprive them of that property permanently. Larceny is a specific crime under the umbrella of theft because it is only applicable in situations involving tangible property, such as jewels or home goods.
- Burglary: Burglary is a serious crime that involves entering someone’s property without permission with the intent to steal things, harm them, or commit another felony crime. Burglary is not limited to private homes and can include entering property such as stores, cars, boats, and other structures.
- Robbery: This charge can be brought upon anyone who takes property from another person by using force such as violence or intimidation. Verbal threats and violent physical contact without a weapon are examples of force that can lead to robbery charges. Robbery is elevated to armed robbery when a weapon is used.
- Deception: A person has committed a theft through deception if they have tricked another person into giving them their personal property. For example, if someone asks to borrow their friend’s bike with the intention of keeping it, it would be classified as “larceny by trick.”
Theft crimes can also be classified based on the value of what was stolen. This method of classification includes petty theft and grand theft.
- Petty theft, also known as petit larceny, occurs when someone steals property valued at less than $1,200. Convictions for this crime in the state of Nevada are misdemeanors.
- Grand theft, also known as grand larceny, occurs when someone steals property valued at more than $1,200. This crime is a felony in the state of Nevada.
Theft as a Felony Charge in Nevada
Theft crimes that are more serious or involve high-value property will be charged as felonies in the state of Nevada. For example, if a theft crime involves stealing a vehicle or a firearm, the crime automatically becomes a felony. Felony charges for theft crimes in Nevada are broken down as follows:
- Class D Felonies: Theft crimes are considered Class D felonies when the value of stolen property exceeds $1,200 but is less than $5,000. The penalties for a Class D felony include a prison sentence between 1 and 4 years long as well as a fine that can be worth as much as $5,000.
- Class C Felonies: Class C felony theft occurs when someone steals property or services that are worth at least $5,000 but no more than $25,000. The penalties for Class C felonies include a prison sentence between 1 and 5 years long as well as a fine that can be worth up to $10,000. It is worth noting that the first offense of stealing a vehicle is also a Class C felony regardless of how much the vehicle was worth at the time it was stolen.
- Class B Felonies: Class B felony theft has different consequences depending on the specific nature of the crime that was committed. If someone steals more than 1 vehicle within a span of 5 years, they can receive a prison sentence between 1 and 6 years long as well as a fine of up to $5,000. If someone steals property worth more than $25,000 but less than $100,000 or if they steal a firearm of any value, they can receive a prison sentence between 1 and 10 years as well as a fine of up to $10,000. If they steal more than $100,000 worth of property, they can receive up to 20 years in prison as well as a fine of $15,000.
Theft Results in Civil Penalties
Someone convicted of a theft charge may face civil penalties in addition to criminal penalties. Civil penalties make the convicted party responsible for paying for the other party’s losses. In Nevada, someone who is convicted for shoplifting may have to pay the owner of the store for the value of what was stolen, damages between $100 and $250, any fees associated with creating the lawsuit, and attorney’s fees within reason.
Nevada law requires anyone convicted of theft to pay restitution to the person the theft was committed against. Restitution is money paid specifically to people crimes are committed against in order to bring them back to the position they were in before the crime took place.
Defending a Theft Crime
A talented and experienced attorney can help someone facing theft charges defend their position in a court of law. The following defense strategies are frequently implemented by attorneys litigating theft cases:
- Lack of intent: If the defense is able to prove that the person accused of theft did not intend to steal the other party’s property or intend to keep it, then that person cannot be convicted.
- It was a gift: Sometimes, people give gifts they decide to revoke later as revenge or due to regret. If it can be proven that the property in question was given to the defendant, they cannot be convicted of theft.
- Authorized use: If someone had a reasonable belief that they were authorized to use and possess the property in question, it can be used as a defense to accusations of theft.
Our Attorney Can Help
The Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover can help anyone who has been accused of theft and is facing criminal charges. The legal process can feel overwhelming but having our experienced legal counsel on your side will help assure you have the best chances of lowering your charges or having them dropped. We will ensure you are aware of your rights and know what to expect when facing the legal system. Reach out for a free consultation today online or at (775) 502-1575.