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Las Vegas Theft Defense Lawyer

Defining Theft According to Nevada’s Revised Statute 205.0832

Pursuant to NRS 205.0832.1(a) and (b), a person is guilty of theft if they, without lawful authority, knowingly control, convert or transfer property of another person with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property.

According to NRS 205.0832(c), a person is also guilty of theft if they obtain goods or services from another person by a “material misrepresentation” with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the goods or services. A material misrepresentation is defined as the use of any pretense, promise, representation or statement of a present, past or future fact that is fraudulent and was instrumental in causing the wrongful transfer the property or services.

Additionally, a person is also guilty of theft if they come across lost, mislaid or misdelivered property of another person under circumstances that would have allowed them to at least inquire about the rightful owner of the property, but they instead keep the property without making reasonable efforts to notify the true owner (NRS 205.0832(d)).

Theft is a common crime in Nevada generally and Las Vegas specifically. The seriousness of the charge depends entirely on the amount of the goods or services that are alleged to have been taken.

NEVADA’S DEFINITION OF THEFT

According to NRS 205.0832, a person commits theft when they knowingly:

  1. Control someone else’s property with the intent to deprive that person of the property;
  2. Convert, make an unauthorized transfer of an interest in, or without authorization controls any property of another person, or uses the services or property of another person entrusted to him or her or place in his or her possession for a limited, authorized period of determined or prescribed duration or for a limited use;
  3. Obtains real, personal or intangible property or the services of another person by a material misrepresentation with the intent to deprive that person of the property or services;
  4. Comes into control of lost, mislaid or misdelivered property of another person under circumstances that would have allowed the person to find the true owner, but instead takes the property for his or her own use or that of another person’s use without reasonable efforts to notify the true owner;
  5. Controls property of another person knowing or having reason to know that the property was stolen;
  6. Obtains services, including, without limitation, audio or visual services, or parts products or other items related to such services which the person knows or, in the case of audio or visual services, should have know are available only for compensation without paying or agreeing to pay compensation or diverts the services of another person to his or her own benefit or that of another person without lawful authority to do so;
  7. Takes, destroys, conceals or disposes of property in which another person has a security interest, with intent to defraud that person;
  8. Commits any act that is declared to be theft by a specific statute;
  9. Draws or passes a check, and in exchange obtains property or services, if the person knows that the check will not be paid when presented;
  10. Obtains gasoline or other fuel or automotive products which are available only for compensation, without paying or agreeing to pay compensation.

HOW VALUE IS DETERMINED

Pursuant to NRS 205.0834, the amount involved in a theft is whatever the highest value –by any reasonable standard – of the property or services which are obtained. Additionally, when thefts are committed pursuant to a scheme or continuing course of conduct, whether from one or more persons, the amounts involved can be added together with the total amount used to determine the applicable category and punishment.

THEFT OF LESS THAN $1,200

If the value of the property is less than $1,200, then the person would be charged with a

misdemeanor, which carries a potential sentence of six months in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000 plus administrative assessment fees. (NRS 205.0835.2(a))

THEFT OF MORE THAN $1,200 BUT LESS THAN $5,000

If the value of the property is more than $1,200 but less than $5,000, then the person would be charged with a category D felony, which carries a potential sentence of 1 to 4 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine of up to $5,000 (NRS 205.0835.2(b)). This is a probationable offense.

THEFT OF MORE THAN $5,000 BUT LESS THAN $25,000

If the value of the property is more than $5,000 but less than $25,000, then the person would be charged with a category C felony, which carries a potential sentence of 1 to 5 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine of up to $10,000 (NRS 205.0835.2(c)). This is a probationable offense.

THEFT OF MORE THAN $25,000 BUT LESS THAN $100,000

If the value of the property is more than $25,000 but less than $100,000, then the person would be charged with a category B felony, which carries a potential sentence of 1 to 10 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine of up to $10,000 (NRS 205.0835.2(d)). This is a probationable offense.

THEFT OF MORE THAN $100,000

If the value of the property is more than $100,000, then the person would be charged with a category B felony, which carries a potential sentence of 1 to 20 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections and a fine of up to $15,000 (NRS 205.0835.2(d)). This is a probationable offense.

DEFENSES

One defense to the crime of theft is a lack of intent to deprive the person of their property. If a person lacked that intent, then they can’t be guilty of theft. However, intent can be inferred based on a person’s conduct, so if the person is keeping someone else’s property without that person’s consent, there is a strong likelihood that the person’s intent to deprive could be inferred from their conduct.

Another defense to the charge of theft is that the person who took the property had ownership rights to the property in question – essentially that there is a disagreement about who the true owner of the property actually is. In such instances the case will turn on what sort of documentation or witnesses each person has to support the proposition that they are indeed the true owner of the property in question.

A third defense to the crime of theft is that the person paid value for the item or items in question either by money, trade or services. A situation such as this is similar to the last defense mentioned where the success of the defense will hinge largely on what sort of proof the person has to establish that he or she did in fact pay for the supposedly stolen item or items.

Another defense to a theft charge is that the misrepresentation that was made was not material. An example of this would be a person (we will call him Bob) who hires his neighbor to mow his lawn. Bob and his neighbor agree to a fee of $10 for the service and Bob tells his neighbor that the grass is dry after they have already agreed on the $10 rate despite Bob knowing that the grass has been recently watered. Because the grass is wet, it takes the neighbor 11 minutes instead of 10 minutes to mow the lawn. He is mad at Bob because he had to do an extra minute of work based on Bob’s misrepresentation that the grass would be dry. His neighbor is angry at Bob because he had to do an extra minute of work than he had expected and he had agreed to the $10 fee thinking he would make a dollar per minute, so he feels he should make $11 instead of $10. However, Bob only made the misrepresentation.

One final example of defense to the charge of theft is that reasonable efforts were made on the part of the person finding the lost, mislaid or misdelivered property to notify the true owner. An example of this would be a person (we will call him Bob) who finds a unique tri-metal wedding band inside the bus depot that has the name of John Smith engraved on the inside of the ring. Bob asks everyone at the bus depot whether they have lost a ring. Everyone says no. Bob then runs a classified ad in the local paper under the Lost and Found section where he describes the ring in detail leaving out only the engraved name so that he can verify any person claiming ownership of the ring is actually the true owner. Bob also provides his contact information. He runs the ad for thirty days and doesn’t get a single response, so Bob eventually goes and pawns the ring because he has no use for it. The true owner happens to see his unique wedding band up for sale at the local pawn store and calls police. Bob would not be guilty of theft because he made reasonable efforts to notify the true owner that he had the ring in his possession.

The good news is that even in situations where there aren’t any great defenses to work with, there still exists the possibility of obtaining a favorable outcome. Even the most serious of the theft charges is still a probationable offense, which means that the sentencing judge has the discretion to give the person an opportunity at probation instead of sending the person to prison. Depending on the specific facts of the case, it may also be possible to reduce the charge from a felony in certain instances. The question of whether a person will sustain a felony conviction or receive probation depends on a number of different factors, so it is very important to involve an experienced criminal defense attorney who can use their experience to help put you in the best position possible.

I have successfully represented many people charged with theft and have been able to avoid felony convictions in many instances while also avoiding jail and prison time in most instances. If you have been charged with theft, contact me immediately so that we can discuss your case and all of the possible defenses, strategies and outcomes.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of theft, contact attorney Jennifer Ferris at Ferris Law today. We can be reached online or by calling (702) 710-8882.

Our Recent Victories

Our attorney uses the experience she has with particular crimes, judges, and prosecutors to properly advise clients on realistic outcomes and to best anticipate possible strengths or weaknesses in their case. Having this experience allows us to read through fact patterns and quickly pick out all viable defenses that are most favorable to the client. For these reasons and more, we have achieved many favorable results in a wide range of practice areas.

  • Case Dismissed Battery Domestic Violence
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  • Case dismissed Charged with Battery with Use of a Deadly Weapon Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm
  • Case Dismissed Charged with Malicious Destruction of Private Property
  • Case Dismissed Robbery with a Deadly Weapon
  • Reduced to Misdemeanor Charged with Home Invasion
  • Reduced to Battery Charged with Attempt Murder with a Deadly Weapon
  • Reduced to Misdemeanor Charged with Battery with Use of a Deadly Weapon