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How are different types of crimes classified in Nevada? (NRS 193.120)

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jan 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

Nevada law under NRS 193.120 classifies crimes as either misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, or felonies. Nevada felonies, in turn, are subdivided into five categories from E (the least serious) to A (the most serious).

Misdemeanors

NRS 193.120 defines misdemeanors as any crime where the maximum penalty of incarceration is six (6) months in the county jail. In practice, judges rarely impose jail on a first-time offender. Common examples of Nevada misdemeanors include:

  • breaching the peace
  • simple battery
  • trespass
  • public urination
  • petit larceny (stealing less than $650 worth of goods)
  • a first- or second-time DUI (with no major injuries)
  • a first- or second-time battery domestic violence (with no major injuries, strangulation, or deadly weapons)

In addition to up to six months in jail, misdemeanors also carry up to $1,000 in fines plus victim restitution (if applicable). In some cases -- especially when the defendant has a clean criminal record -- it may be possible to persuade the prosecutor to dismiss a misdemeanor charge.

People convicted of a misdemeanor in Nevada generally have to wait a full year after the case closes before they can seek a record seal. But some misdemeanors carry longer wait times. For instance, DUIs and battery domestic violence misdemeanor convictions carry a seven (7) year wait-time. And the following four misdemeanors carry a two (2) year wait-time:

  1. simple battery,
  2. harassment,
  3. stalking, and
  4. violation of a protection order

Gross misdemeanors

NRS 193.120 defines gross misdemeanors as crimes where the maximum penalty of incarceration is 364 days in the county jail (just one day shy of a year). Common examples of Nevada gross misdemeanors include first offenses of open or gross lewdness and indecent exposure.

In addition to up to 364 days in jail, gross misdemeanors also carry up to $2,000 in fines plus victim restitution (if applicable). Defendants with otherwise clean criminal records may be able to reach plea deals where the gross misdemeanor charge gets dismissed or else reduced to a misdemeanor. 

People convicted of a gross misdemeanor in Nevada have to wait two (2) years after the case closes before they can seek a record seal.

Felonies

NRS 193.120 defines felonies as crimes where the minimum penalty of incarceration is one (1) year in Nevada State Prison. There are five different classes of felonies, A through E. A are the most serious felonies, and E are the least serious. It may be possible to plea bargain felony charges down to lesser felonies, misdemeanors, or possibly dismissals.

Category A felonies

Category A felonies include such crimes as murder, rape, and first-degree kidnapping. Murder convictions where the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigation circumstances carry a possible death penalty. Otherwise, the penalties for category A felonies are life in prison with or without the possibility of parole.

Category A felonies typically have a ten (10)-year waiting period after the case closes before defendants can seek a record seal.

Category B felonies

Category B felonies include such crimes as robbery and home invasion. Penalties are:

  • One to twenty (1 - 20) years in prison, and
  • Potentially a fine depending on the offense

Category B felonies typically have a five (5)-year waiting period after the case closes before defendants can seek a record seal.

Category C felonies

Category C felonies include such crimes as violating a protection order and stealing goods valued from $650 to less than $3,500 . Penalties are:

  • One to five (1 - 5) years in prison, and
  • Possibly up to $10,000 in fines

Category C felonies typically have a five (5)-year waiting period after the case closes before defendants can seek a record seal.

Category D felonies

Category D felonies include such crimes as not paying back a casino marker and forgery. Penalties are:

  • One to four (1 - 4) years in prison, and
  • Possibly up to $5,000 in fines

Category D felonies typically have a five (5)-year waiting period after the case closes before defendants can seek a record seal.

Category E felonies

Category E felonies include such crimes as a first or second offense of possessing more than one (1) ounce of marijuana. The penalty is typically probation. But the maximum sentence is:

  • One to four (1 - 4) years in prison, and
  • Possibly up to $5,000 in fines

Category E felonies typically have a two (2)-year waiting period after the case closes before defendants can seek a record seal.

Note that felony crimes of violence and burglary of a residence carry a ten-year record seal waiting period no matter how they are classified. And some convictions may never be sealed, including sex crimes, crimes against children, and felony DUI.


Legal References

NRS 193.120  Classification of crimes.

      1.  A crime is an act or omission forbidden by law and punishable upon conviction by death, imprisonment, fine or other penal discipline.

      2.  Every crime which may be punished by death or by imprisonment in the state prison is a felony.

      3.  Every crime punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 6 months, is a misdemeanor.

      4.  Every other crime is a gross misdemeanor.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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