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 $1,200 worth of property is prosecuted as petit larceny (also called petty larceny). Stealing $1,200 or more in property is grand larceny.
Penalties for larceny in Nevada
Petit larceny (stealing less than $1,200 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.
|Value of stolen property||Grand larceny punishment|
|$1,200 to less than $5,000||category D felony|
|$5,000 to less than $25,000||category C felony|
|$25,000 to less than $100,000||category B felony|
|$100,000 or more||category B felony|
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:
- The defendant owned the property and therefore could not steal it;
- The defendant had no intent to steal (example: absent-mindedly walking out of a store and forgetting to pay); or
- 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.