Not only is it a crime to steal in Nevada. It is a crime knowingly to receive or possess stolen property even if you did not steal it yourself. A conviction carries hefty penalties and also looks bad on your record.
To learn more about the Nevada crime of possessing or receiving stolen property, just scroll down. Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss the definition, defenses, and possible penalties.
The legal definition of possession of stolen property in Las Vegas, Nevada, is, "A person commits an offense involving stolen property if the person, for his or her own gain or to prevent the owner from again possessing the owner's property, buys, receives, possesses or withholds property:
(a) Knowing that it is stolen property; or (b) Under such circumstances as should have caused a reasonable person to know that it is stolen property."
In short, it is illegal to have property that you know (or should have reasonably known) is stolen. Nevada courts will presume that you knew the property was stolen if you are found with three or more items of the same kind of stolen property and they all have their serial numbers defaced.
Note that a person may be prosecuted for possession of stolen property in Nevada even if the person who did the stealing is never caught or convicted.
Also note that possession of stolen property is a separate crime from the possession of lost property. Read more in our article on the Nevada crime of possession of lost property.
Possession of stolen property in Nevada is an entirely separate crime than larceny. Nevada grand larceny law and Nevada petit (petty) larceny law make it an offense to steal property, such as shoplifting or mugging. In contrast, NRS 205.272 makes it an offense to receive or possess property that is already been stolen by someone else.
Common defenses to Nevada receipt of stolen property charges include the following:
- You did not know the property was stolen: If the prosecution cannot prove that you knew or should have known that the goods were stolen, then no crime occurred.
- You did not possess the property: NRS 205.275 prohibits buying, receiving, possessing or withholding stolen property. So long a the D.A. cannot show that the defendant exercised any control over the property, the case should be dropped.
- Illegal search: Perhaps the police executed an illegal Las Vegas search warrant in order to find the property. Your attorney can file a Nevada motion to suppress evidence explaining to the judge how the police violated your constitutional rights. If the judge grants the motion your case could be dismissed for lack of proof.
The punishment for violating Nevada possession of stolen property law depends on the value of the property:
If the property is less than $650:
Possessing or receiving stolen property amounting to less than $650 is a misdemeanor in Nevada. The sentence includes:
- restitution, and
- up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines
If the property is at least $650 but less than $3,500:
The possession of stolen property from $650 to just under $3,500 is a category C felony in Las Vegas. The sentence would be:
- restitution, and
- one to five years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe $10,000 in fines
If the property is $3,500 or more:
The possession or receipt of stolen property valued at $3,500 or more is a category B felony in Nevada. The sentence is:
- restitution, and
- one to ten years in Nevada State Prison, and
- up to $10,000 in fines
The possession of stolen property under NRS 205.275 may be an aggravated felony and/or a "crime of moral turpitude" in Nevada. Consequently, non-citizens convicted of possession of stolen property may be removed from the United States in addition to facing fines and jail time. So it is important aliens retain legal counsel right away to try to avoid a conviction for this crime.
Charged with a crime? Phone us . . . .
If after reading this you would like to discuss your case for free, call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers will do everything to try to lessen your charges or get your case dismissed.
¿Habla español? Obtener información acerca de la recepción de propiedad robada en Nevada.
Also see our article on the Nevada crime of possession of credit cards without the cardholders' consent.
If you want information about the California crime of possessing stolen property, go to our page on the California crime of possessing stolen property.