For some people, cars, trucks, and other vehicles are more than just a means for getting around town. They become status symbols, envied and desired by others. Sometimes, that envy or desire goes too far, triggering criminal behavior, such as committing the crime of “grand theft auto.”
Stealing cars in Nevada, as in all U.S. states, can have severe consequences, including lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines. Has law enforcement accused you of car theft? If so, you need to retain a criminal defense lawyer you can trust. You’ll need one with experience in all forms of criminal law and an understanding of how the system works.
Let De Castroverde Law Group provide you with an effective defense against grand theft auto. Here’s what you need to know about the offense, its consequences, and how your attorney might choose to defend you.
What Is Grand Theft Auto in Nevada?
Under Nevada law, stealing an automobile could result in an official charge of “grand larceny of a motor vehicle,” as defined by Nevada Revised Statute 205.228.
The elements of grand larceny of a motor vehicle are not complicated. Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you “intentionally stole, took and carried away, drove away, or otherwise removed a motor vehicle” owned by another person.
Punishment for Grand Larceny of a Vehicle in Nevada
Depending on the value of the vehicle and the circumstances of the theft, grand larceny of a motor vehicle could result in prison time and a significant fine. Specific sentences will depend mainly on the value of the motor vehicle as interpreted by the court.
Under Nevada law, if a stolen vehicle has a value less than $3,500, the grand larceny charge of a vehicle is a category C felony. Convictions on Class C felonies could draw prison sentences of up to five years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Conversely, if the motor vehicle is worth more than $3,500, the criminal charge becomes a more serious Class B felony. A Class B felony conviction in Nevada calls for a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Courts will consider all of the factors in the case before deciding on a sentence. If you reach that point, an experienced criminal defense attorney will work closely with you to limit any prison term and fines assessed.
What Should You Do if You’re Charged With Grand Theft Auto in Nevada?
The most important advice if you’re charged with grand theft auto in Nevada is to exercise your right to remain silent. In the chaos of an arrest, many people forget this right and end up causing more problems for themselves in connection with their criminal case.
The second most important thing is to retain an experienced defense attorney who will serve as your voice and your defender in a court of law. Because criminal law and procedures are complicated, it’s not worth the risk and strain of defending yourself.
Experienced attorneys will patiently collect the facts and review the law with you as a starting point in developing a credible legal defense. They can also leverage personal relationships with prosecutors to seek reductions in charges.
The attorney team at De Castroverde Law Group has spent decades as experienced criminal defense attorneys, representing clients in Las Vegas, Reno, and across Nevada. We’ll help you understand the case against you and how you can achieve a just outcome. Call us for a consultation.
Grand Theft Auto Defenses in Nevada
The exact defense you pursue will depend on the circumstances of your case. Remember that there’s no single “right” defense. But the attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group, after gaining a complete understanding of the facts and evidence, can help guide you in the right direction.
Some possible defenses include the following:
- Lack of intent: To satisfy a charge of grand larceny of an auto, prosecutors must prove that the defendant intended to take the car and not give it back. If you and your attorney can show the court that your intention was not to remove it from the owner permanently, you create reasonable doubt.
- The owner consented: One way of proactively proving a lack of intent is to present evidence that the car’s owner, overtly or silently, gave their permission to use the vehicle. This may lead to a not-guilty verdict or a dismissal of the charges.
- It was all a misunderstanding: Another legitimate defense is to present evidence that you thought you had permission to take the vehicle. One example of how this could play out is if you thought that the owner abandoned the car in question.
- Authorities induced the theft: You and your attorney may be able to claim that the police entrapped you. Entrapment is a legal theory that holds that, but for the involvement of police in the case, you would not have committed the offense of grand larceny of an automobile.
- Someone made you do it: A defense of coercion or duress would involve presenting evidence that you stole the car under the threat of great bodily harm to you or your family. Claiming coercion may be enough to lead to a not-guilty verdict or to get the charges against you dismissed.
Get Experienced Legal Counsel From De Castroverde Law Group
If law enforcement has charged you with grand larceny of a vehicle, you need the best legal counsel to help you consider your options in court. Trust the attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group to stand with you throughout your case and strongly advocate for your rights.
We’ll take the time to understand the facts, explain the law, and develop a defense. Our team of attorneys is highly experienced in all criminal matters and includes former prosecutors who can help you anticipate what’s next. De Castroverde Law Group also has offices conveniently located in Nevada, Texas, and California. Call us or contact us online for a free consultation.