What's the difference between petit and grand larceny in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jan 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Petit larceny in Nevada is stealing less than $650 worth of property. Grand larceny (a.k.a. grand theft) in Nevada is stealing $650 or more worth of property.

Definition of larceny in Nevada (NRS 205.220; NRS 205.240)

Larceny (a.k.a. theft) in Nevada is when someone intentionally steals, takes and carries away, leads away or drives away the property of another without legal authority or without the owner's consent. Shoplifting is typically prosecuted as larceny.

The only difference between petit theft and grand theft is the amount of stolen property involved. Stealing less than $650 worth of property is prosecuted as petit larceny (also called petty larceny). Stealing $650 or more in property is grand larceny.

Penalties for larceny in Nevada

Petit larceny (stealing less than $650 worth of property) is a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
  • up to six (6) months in jail

Plus, the court may order the defendant pay restitution to the owner of the property.

Jail is rare for a first-time petit theft conviction. In many cases, prosecutors are willing to dismiss a first-time petit larceny charge as long as the defendant pays full restitution and the fine and attends petit larceny school, which is an online class warning against shoplifting.

Meanwhile, the penalties for grand larceny turn on the value of the property stolen. If the value is at least $650 but less than $3,500, then grand larceny is prosecuted as a category C felony, carrying:

  • one to five (1 - 5) years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • possibly up to $10,000 in fines, and
  • restitution payments to the property owner

Finally, stealing $3,500 or more is prosecuted as a category B felony, carrying:

  • one to ten (1 - 10) years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • possibly up to $10,000 in fines, and
  • restitution payments to the property owner

Grand theft may be considered a crime involving moral turpitude and an aggravated felony. Therefore, non-citizens arrested for grand larceny should seek legal counsel right away to try to get the charge dismissed or altered to a non-removable offense.

Defenses to larceny in Nevada

Common defense strategies in Nevada larceny cases include the following:

  1. The defendant owned the property and therefore could not steal it;
  2. The defendant had no intent to steal (example: absent-mindedly walking out of a store and forgetting to pay); or
  3. The police search was unlawful, and any evidence the police found from the unlawful search should be disregarded

Note that it is not a defense to larceny allegations that the suspect was stopped before he/she left the premises with the stolen goods.

Sealing larceny cases in Nevada

The waiting period to seal a theft case from a defendant's criminal record depends on whether the case was for petit or grand theft and the final disposition of the case:

Potential results of a larceny case in Nevada Waiting-time for criminal record seal

Dismissal or acquittal (no conviction)

No wait-time

Petit larceny conviction

1 year after case closes

Reduction of a grand larceny charge to a gross misdemeanor (such as possession of burglary tools)

2 years after case closes

Grand larceny conviction (no reduction or dismissal)

5 years after case closes

Even petit theft convictions can dissuade potential employers from hiring otherwise qualified candidates from a job. Therefore, it is important that anyone with a larceny case on their records get them sealed as soon as possible. The process takes several months, but an attorney can take care of all of the paperwork.

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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