It’s a felony in Nevada to forge a pricing label or sales receipt with the intention to defraud a retailer. Penalties include high fines and even prison. However, a skilled Las Vegas defense lawyer may be able to secure the defendant probation or even a full dismissal of the charges.
This article explains the Nevada crime of altering or forging pricing labels. Scroll down to learn the law, potential punishments, and common defense strategies.
The legal definition of “unauthorized altering of sales receipts” in Las Vegas, Nevada, mandates that “a person shall not, with the intent to cheat or defraud a retailer, possess, make, alter, forge or counterfeit any sales receipt or inventory pricing label.”
In other words, it’s illegal to make or otherwise change a pricing label or sales receipt for the purpose of defrauding the seller. Note that this law applies to both written and electronic labels used by retailers to identify, inventory or price products.
Typical scenarios that would violate NRS 205.965 in Las Vegas include:
- Buying a store item after writing a less expensive price on the price tag
- Hacking into a store’s computer system to alter inventory prices (note that the hacking is a separate crime carrying felony penalties)
- Creating a fake sales receipt in order to try to get money returned
Defenses to a charge of altering or forging a sales receipt or pricing label in Nevada depend on the specific circumstances of the case. Some general strategies a Las Vegas defense lawyer may employ include the following:
- No intent to defraud. A conviction under NRS 205.965 cannot stand unless the defendant acted with intent to defraud a retailer. If a defense attorney can show that the incident was an accident or misunderstanding, the case should be dismissed.
- False allegations. Sometimes innocent people get wrongly accused by others out of anger or revenge. As long as the defense attorney can show that the prosecution lacks enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant should not be liable.
- Unlawful police conduct: If the police may have executed an illegal search in order to find evidence of falsified pricing labels, the defense attorney may file a Nevada motion to suppress petitioning the judge to throw out the evidence. If the judge grants the Nevada motion to suppress, the D.A. may drop the case for lack of proof.
The Las Vegas offense of altering a pricing label or sales receipt is normally prosecuted as a category E felony in Nevada, which carries probation and a suspended sentence. (But if the defendant has two or more prior felony convictions, the court may impose one to four years in Nevada State Prison and up to $5,000 in fines.)
If the defendant is accused of possessing fifteen (15) or more fraudulent sales receipts or inventory pricing labels, the D.A. may instead bring charges for a category D felony in Nevada. The sentence for a category D felony in Nevada is:
- 1 – 4 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $5,000 in fines