June 20, 2022

Understanding Property Crime in Nevada

Understanding Property Crime in Nevada

Nevada law is tough on property crime. If you’re new to the state and/or facing criminal charges involving someone else’s property ‒ you need to know what you’re up against. Keep reading to learn more about Nevada’s property crime laws and their consequences.

First, though, what is a property crime? It typically involves either stolen property or the destruction of property. This can include everything from shoplifting to vandalism to arson — as well as burglary, motor-vehicle theft, and grand larceny. Most of these carry felony charges, jail time, and sizable fines.

When it comes to the burden of proof, it is important to note that, in Nevada, if a prosecutor can prove that you had “burglarious intent,” they can convict you. “Burglarious intent” is exactly what it sounds like ‒ if you’re caught breaking and entering, it is “reasonably” assumed you were doing so with the intent to commit another crime.

Don’t waste time! If you’re facing property crime charges, retain a local defense attorney right away. Contact John F. Marchiano Law in Henderson, Nevada for exceptional legal representation.

Understanding Property Crimes and Common Charges in Nevada

You might be wondering — how are property crimes categorized? Is criminal damage to property always a felony? Also, do past offenses play a role in sentencing? Understanding the definition, scope, and sentencing of common property crimes in Nevada can help answer these questions and more.

The Three Categories of Theft: Larceny, Robbery, and Burglary


First is larceny, which is pretty straightforward. It’s when a person intentionally steals someone else’s property. This could be their personal goods, a motor-vehicle, or even livestock. As you might have guessed, too, the value of the stolen property plays a role in what you’re charged with.

When the stolen property or goods are less than $1,200 in total value, it is “petit larceny.” Shoplifting typically falls under this category. Petit Larceny carries a possible misdemeanor charge, a $1,000 fine, and up to 6 months of jail time.

On the other hand, “grand larceny” involves stolen property or goods valued at more than $1,200. Grand Larceny is an automatic felony, though the classes vary. See the following list for a general overview of grand larceny charges and punishments.

  • Class D felony
    • The stolen property or goods are valued at under $5,000. You could face 1 to 4 years in prison and a possible $5,000 fine.
  • Class C felony
    • The stolen property or goods are valued over $5000 but not more than $25,000. You could face 1 to 5 years in prison and a possible $10,000 fine.
  • Class B felony 
    • The stolen property or goods are valued at over $25,000. This is the most serious grand larceny charge where you could face 1 to 20 years in prison and a possible $15,000 fine.


Next, let’s look at robbery, which is when threats and/or force are used against a victim while committing theft of their property. Note, this is the big difference between robbery and larceny, and the reason why robbery is considered a violent crime in Nevada. 

Yes, this means that robbery is not a property crime. So, why is it included in our list? If someone commits robbery, they’ve committed larceny, which is a property crime. On the other hand, someone who commits larceny may not have committed a robbery. 

Make sure that you were correctly charged, since robbery is categorized as a class B felony and carries with it a minimum 2 year jail sentence.


Finally, let’s talk about burglary, which is the intentional breaking and entering into a structure or dwelling. A structure or dwelling can be everything from an outhouse or vacant building to a residential home or motor-vehicle.

However, burglary can be tricky for the prosecution, since actual theft may or may not be involved. But at the same time, when you illegally enter a place to steal or commit assault, burglary charges apply in both cases. This means you could be charged with a violent crime.

There are four degrees of burglary charges, and the degrees depend on whether you harmed anyone, whether you had a weapon, and the structure or vehicle that was broken into. 

A fourth degree burglary charge is a misdemeanor carrying up to 3 years of jail time. Meanwhile, first, second, and third degree charges are felonies with even more significant penalties.

Motor-Vehicle Theft

Motor-vehicle theft is the intent to steal a vehicle, attempt to transfer the title of a vehicle that isn’t yours, or obtain a stolen vehicle. This “vehicle,” by the law’s definition, is something that transports “any person or property,” usually on the road. So, not on rails or tracks.

If you’re charged with motor-vehicle theft, it is an automatic class C felony. A class C felony can carry a sentence of 1 to 5 years of jail time and a possible $10,000 fine. 

However, if you commit repeat offenses within five years of your first offense, it becomes a class B felony and the sentencing requirements expand to 1 to 6 years of jail time and a possible $5,000 fine.


If you commit property damage, including destruction to signs, structures, land, or animals ‒ this is considered “malicious mischief” or vandalism. Like other property crimes, the value of the property loss and your previous charges play a role in sentencing. However, with vandalism, the extent of the damage is also taken into account.

To get a better idea of what this means, here is a breakdown of graffiti charges, which are the most common vandalism convictions. If the property loss is under $250, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor and up to 6 months of jail time. There may also be a $1,000 fine, community service, and counseling.

However, when the property loss increases to over $250 but less than $5,000, it becomes a gross misdemeanor and carries a possible sentence of up to 1 year in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. 

Over $5,000? You’re looking at a class D or E felony, along with jail time up to 4 years and fines up to $4,000.

Most vandalism charges are misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors. But as shown by the graffiti example, if the property loss value is high enough or you have prior convictions, it can become a felony conviction.


Arson is when you intentionally set a fire to either cause property damage, commit insurance fraud, or even for revenge. Though there are four different degrees of arson, all of them carry a felony charge.

  • Fourth Degree includes attempted arson or the intent to set fire to property.
  • Third Degree includes setting fire to unoccupied property or vegetation, or burning someone else’s personal property valued at $25 or more.

    Both third and fourth degree arson are class D felonies, where you could face up to 4 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Second Degree includes setting fire to abandoned or vacant structures.

    It is a Class B felony carrying 1 to 10 years of jail time and a potential fine of $10,000. Also, even if you are the owner of this property, you can be charged with arson.
  • First Degree includes setting fire to occupied buildings, homes, dwellings, and vehicles.

    This is the most serious arson charge, a Class B felony that carries a possible sentence of 1 to 15 years of jail time, and a possible $15,000 fine. And again, when it comes to arson, it does not matter whether you are the owner or not.

What Should You Do if You’re Charged With a Property Crime?

Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor charge for petty theft or felony conviction for destruction of property, remember your Miranda rights. Namely, to say nothing to the police besides your name,  that you want to exercise your right to speak with your attorney, and remain silent otherwise.

Contact a defense lawyer as soon as possible. You’ll want someone local who has experience in defending similar cases, but also makes you feel comfortable, hears you out, and breaks things down clearly. Still not sure what to look for, read more about what to look for in a criminal defense attorney.

Charged with Property Crime in Henderson, Nevada? Call John F. Marchiano Today To Mount A Stellar Legal Defense

Property crime charges carry serious penalties and lifelong consequences. Many result in felony convictions, jail time, and hefty fines. Moreover, in Nevada, if a prosecutor can prove you intended to rob, vandalize, or set a fire, they can charge you to the full extent of the law.

Do not enter the courtroom alone. Retain the services of John F. Marchiano Law and let our excellent defense team back you up and help you fight your property crime charge. Contact Marchiano Law today here or call us at 702-565-0473.