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Explaining Nevada's Auto Theft Laws

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Explaining Nevada's Auto Theft Laws


Nevada defines auto theft as the intentional taking of another’s vehicle without their permission. Anyone who knowingly purchases or possesses a stolen vehicle can also be charged with this crime. Even if the intention was to only borrow the car for a short amount of time, the state can charge you with an auto theft crime.

Nevada's law defines auto theft as a crime against the vehicle’s owner, not necessarily against the vehicle itself.

Penalties for Committing Auto Theft in Nevada

The state charges auto theft as a considered felony offense. Conviction can result in up to 10 years in prison and fines as high as $10,000.

Additionally, if you use a deadly weapon during the commission of the crime, your sentence could be even longer.

The Difference Between Grand and Petty Auto Theft in Nevada

Grand and petty auto theft are two different crimes in Nevada, and understanding the difference between them can be crucial.

Grand auto theft refers to unlawfully taking a vehicle that is worth more than $3,500. Petty auto theft involves vehicles that are worth less than $3,500.

Defenses Against Auto Theft Allegations

If you have been accused of auto theft, here are some defenses that you can discuss with your attorney.

Lack of Intent

To make a successful case, the prosecution must prove that you intended to steal the vehicle. You may be able to counter this claim by explaining that you didn’t mean to take the car. For instance, you may have believed you had permission from the owner.

Mistaken Identity

If you were wrongly accused of stealing a vehicle, you can use a mistaken identity defense. You may be able to prove that you were not the person who committed the crime.


If the alleged victim gave you permission to take the vehicle, you cannot be convicted of auto theft. Statements from the owner will go a long way toward proving this.


If you believed that the vehicle belonged to you, you cannot be convicted of auto theft. You may be able to prove that your car is the same make, model, and color, and you made a simple mistake.

Police Misconduct

If the police obtained evidence against you through illegal means, such as an unlawful search and seizure, that evidence may be inadmissible in court.

Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover can help you fight your car theft allegations in court. If you are facing these charges, contact our office today for a free consultation. You can reach us online or call us at (775) 502-1575

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