Each year, stores lose millions of dollars in revenue due to shoplifting. This loss is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices at the register. To mitigate their losses, Nevada businesses are on high alert for shoplifting and employ all kinds of anti-theft tactics.
Law enforcement takes this crime very seriously. The crime of shoplifting in Nevada is set out in NRS 205.220 and NRS 205.240. This crime is committed when someone steals or carries away store merchandise.
Depending on what has been stolen, the penalties for a shoplifting charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. If the items stolen are less than $650 in value it is a misdemeanor offense, and if it is over $650 in value it is considered a felony.
If you have been accused of shoplifting, keep in mind the following:
- Remain Silent
Being accused of something can incite anger in the calmest of people. If you did indeed take an item, fear could cause you to confess. Either way, it is always wise to remain as silent as possible. Be polite and provide a minimum of information. Remember that anything you say can be used against you later.
- You Can Be Charged Even If You Didn't Take Anything
State laws vary, but often you can be charged without actually taking anything. A good example of this is if you changed prices, distracted a store manager for someone else, or acted as a lookout.
- Understand “Shopkeeper's Privilege”
If you are suspected of shoplifting, you can be legally detained by store personnel until police arrive. It is important to be aware however that they must have probable cause to believe you have shoplifted, and they may only use reasonable force to detain you.
- Mistakes Do Happen
It is not uncommon for a person to leave a store and accidentally not pay for something (lack of intent). Or perhaps a store cashier thought they saw something. If you made an honest mistake, apologize and offer to pay, or return the item.
- Get Legal Assistance
Nevada shoplifting charges can have serious consequences. An experienced lawyer can help determine what defenses may apply, and explore your legal options. Nevada prosecutors have the discretion for instance, to reduce the charges or the sentence if the defendant enters a guilty plea. Or your lawyer may negotiate a plea deal if the prosecutor is confident that there is a small risk of the re-offending.