Nevada NRS § 205.270 prohibits larceny from a person. This is defined as
- intentionally stealing property from the person of another
- without that person’s consent
- and without using force or threats.
Larceny from a person is a category C felony, punishable by one to five years in Nevada State Prison, restitution to the victim, and a possible fine of up to $10,000. Unlike robbery, larceny from a person is stealing without violence or threat of force.
NRS 205.270 states that:
1. A person who, under circumstances not amounting to robbery, with the intent to steal or appropriate to his or her own use, takes property from the person of another, without the other person’s consent, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
2. In addition to any other penalty, the court shall order the person to pay restitution.
3. The court shall not grant probation to or suspend the sentence of any person convicted of violating subsection 1 if the person from whom the property was taken has any infirmity caused by age or other physical condition.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What does larceny from the person mean?
- 2. Can you go to jail for larceny from a person?
- 3. How do I fight NRS 205.270 charges?
- 4. Can I get my Nevada criminal record sealed?
1. What does larceny from the person mean?
Larceny from a person is the legal term for pick-pocketing. Unlike robbery (NRS 200.380), pick-pocketing is stealing personal property from another person without:
- violence, or
- fear of injury
Pick-pocketing typically occurs without the victim being aware that he/she is being stolen from. Victims usually do not realize what happened until later when they find their money or property is missing.1
An example of larceny from a person is the thief slipping his hand in a woman’s purse and taking her phone without the owner’s consent or knowledge.
2. Can you go to jail for larceny from a person?
As a category C felony, the crime of larceny from a person carries one to five years in Nevada State Prison (not county jail). But the judge can grant probation unless the victim had an infirmity (such as being in a wheelchair or being intellectually disabled).
Defendants convicted of pick-pocketing also have to pay back the victim the value of the property stolen. And in addition to the restitution payment, the judge can impose a criminal fine of up to $10,000.
If a defendant is initially charged with robbery, the prosecutor may offer a plea bargain where the defendant pleads guilty to larceny from a person. This is a decent plea deal to accept because robbery carries two to fifteen years in prison, which is harsher than the sentence for larceny from a person.2
3. How do I fight NRS 205.270 charges?
The best defense always turns on the specific facts of each case. Eight potential defenses to Nevada criminal charges of larceny from a person include:
- The defendant owned the property that he/she took.
- The defendant did not take any property from anyone.
- The defendant had the person’s consent to take the property.
- The defendant had no intent to steal or appropriate the person’s property or cash for his/her own use.
- The defendant was falsely accused by the alleged victim or someone else.
- The defendant was misidentified, such as during a line-up at the police department.
- Law enforcement found the allegedly stolen property through an illegal search or seizure.
- The defendant was entrapped by police officers.3
Depending on the case, the district attorney may agree to reduce the pick-pocketing charge down to petit larceny (NRS 205.240), also called petty theft or petty larceny. Only a misdemeanor, a petit larceny offense is typically charged in shoplifting cases where the defendant steals items worth less than $1,200.
Common evidence in property crime cases includes eyewitness testimony, video surveillance footage, and the alleged stolen property itself. As with every criminal case under Nevada state law, prosecutors have the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
4. Can I get my Nevada criminal record sealed?
Yes. Nevada convictions for larceny from a person can be sealed from the defendant’s criminal record five years after the case has ended.
If the charge gets reduced to petit larceny, the record seal waiting time is only one year after the case ends.
And if the charge gets totally dismissed, then the defendant can petition for a record seal immediately.4
For additional help…
Arrested on a larceny charge? Contact our Las Vegas theft lawyers for legal advice on Nevada larceny law. Our criminal defense lawyers practice throughout Clark County (including Henderson) and the state of Nevada. Our practice areas range from DUI, traffic tickets, and domestic violence to theft, violent crimes, and drug crimes. And our criminal law attorneys appear in both justice and district courts.
See our articles on related theft crimes, including retail theft, embezzlement (NRS 205.300), grand larceny of a motor vehicle (NRS 205.228), the crime of grand larceny / grand theft (NRS 205.220), obtaining property by false pretenses (NRS 205.380), and vending machine theft (NRS 205.2707) – now repealed.
- Nevada Revised Statute 205.270; NRS 200.380. See also Ibarra v. State, (2018) 426 P.3d 16, 134 Nev. Adv. Rep. 70. Young v. State (2003) 139 Nev. Adv. Op. 20.
- Same. Prior to July 1, 2020, the penalties turned on the market value of the property. Larceny from a person amounting to less than $3,500 was a category C felony. Otherwise, larceny from a person was a category B felony carrying one to 10 years and up to $10,000 in fines. Nevada AB 236 (2019).
- See also Miller v. State, (2005) 121 Nev. 92, 110 P.3d 53, 121 Nev. Adv. Rep. 10.
- NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.