What is the difference between Larceny & Theft?
One of Nevada’s most frequently charged crimes involves stealing: when someone takes property or services that do not belong to them without permission or paying for them. Depending on the context, you may hear this referred to in the law as theft and larceny. And you might wonder: Do these terms mean the same thing?
In Nevada, the simple answer is yes. However, dig more deeply into the specifics of larceny vs. theft in Nevada, and you will see some significant differences.
According to the FBI, theft/larceny makes up three out of every four property crimes in the United States. It is also the most prevalent property crime in Nevada, as police investigated more than 43,000 instances of it in 2021.
Understanding the differences between theft and larceny in Nevada is important if the authorities question you.
How Does Nevada Define Theft and Larceny?
To most people, theft and larceny are interchangeable terms that describe the act of taking someone’s property without their permission and with the intent of never giving it back. Some states have criminal statutes relating to theft, some to larceny, and some to both.
Nevada criminalizes both theft and larceny. Here is how the Nevada Revised Statutes define each term:
Definition of Larceny
The charge of grand larceny in Nevada describes specific kinds of theft. The charge will be filed if you intentionally steal or take away from another person:
- Personal goods or property with a value greater than $1,200.
- Bedding and furniture with a value greater than $1,200.
- A firearm or vehicle.
- Livestock, domesticated animals, or domestic birds.
- Money that has been withdrawn from an account using someone else’s ATM card.
The grand larceny charge also applies when someone alters the branding or ownership markings of trained animals or domestic birds.
Definition of Theft
By contrast, theft is defined broadly as the act of controlling property belonging to someone else to prevent the rightful owner from using that property. This charge applies when someone:
- Passes a check as payment, knowing that the money is not available ahead of time
- Obtains gasoline or another type of fuel without paying for it or intending to pay for it.
- Uses property or services entrusted to them without the approval of the owner.
- Gets control of property or the benefits of services through misrepresentation or another unauthorized act.
- Finds or is given property but fails to take steps to identify the actual owner.
- Takes destroys, conceals, or disposes of another person’s property to defraud the person.
Consequences of Theft
Theft can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the goods or services involved in a particular case. According to the Nevada Revised Statutes, the crime of theft is:
- A misdemeanor: if the value of the property or services is less than $1,200. Misdemeanors in Nevada carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- A Class D felony: if the value of the items in a case is more than $1,200 but less than $5,000. Penalties for Class D felonies include prison time of one to four years and a $5,000 fine.
- A Class C felony: if the items are valued at more than $5,000 but less than $25,000. Class C felonies can draw prison sentences of one to five years and a maximum $10,000 fine.
- A Class B felony: if the theft involves items of more than $25,000 but less than $100,000. Class B felonies carry a prison sentence of between one and ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
- A Class B felony: if the theft involves items of more than $100,000. This theft charge can result in a prison sentence of between one and 20 years and a maximum fine of $15,000.
If convicted of theft, you may also be ordered to pay restitution for the value of the items you have taken.
Consequences of Larceny
The punishments for grand larceny are also based on the dollar value of the items or services involved in the case. If the grand larceny involves items valued at:
- Less than $5,000: the case is charged as a Class D felony and carries a punishment of one to four years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
- Between $5,000 and $25,000: the case is charged as a Class C felony and carries a punishment of one to five years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
- Between $25,000 and $100,000: the case is considered a Class B felony with penalties of one to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
- More than $100,000: the case is also a Class B felony, with a potential punishment of one to 20 years and a maximum fine of $15,000.
As with theft, you may also be ordered to pay restitution. If the stolen items were sold, the court could also order the sale proceeds be forfeited.
Criminal Defense Experience at De Castroverde Law Group
Suppose you have an indication that you are under suspicion of theft or grand larceny. In that case, you should get legal counsel right away from the criminal defense attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group. Our team has experience in all aspects of criminal law, including property crimes such as theft and larceny as well as violent crimes such as assault, battery, or murder. We also handle cases arising from incidents in casinos, such as casino arrests and casino markers.
Our team includes several former prosecutors who can provide insight into the way the government puts together a case to help advise you on building a robust defense. De Castroverde Law Group also has extensive experience in immigration and personal injury law.
Call us or contact us online today for a consultation. We will look closely at the facts and evidence in your case and recommend the best way of finding a resolution.