In Las Vegas alone, there are 503.1 reported vehicle thefts annually [per 100,000 people], according to Areavibes.com. The Sin City is no different from most metropolitan cities in the United States, and crimes like grand theft auto Las Vegas are inevitable despite law enforced security. Unfortunately, people falsely accusing others of theft crimes are as inevitable as people committing felonies.
If you are or know someone who is falsely accused of grand larceny auto in Nevada, this blog can help you. Here’s an explanation by criminal defense lawyer Ross Goodman, Esq. so you could learn a thing or two about grand theft auto in Las Vegas.
What does grand theft auto Las Vegas mean?
The Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 205.228) define grand theft auto Las Vegas—and other cities in the State—as the act of intentionally taking the, carrying away, or driving away with a motor vehicle of another person. Here are the common examples of grand theft auto:
- Stealing someone else’s vehicle by breaking into it, hotwiring the engine, and driving away with the vehicle
- Stealing someone else’s vehicle by threatening the owner to get out and surrender the car
- Driving away with someone else’s vehicle and never returning it to the owner after being entrusted with the vehicle’s keys
- Driving away and never paying for a vehicle you promised to pay for
- Failing to return a car rental
What are grand theft auto charges?
Grand theft auto is considered as a crime against property. There is also a possibility of the grand theft auto charges moving from a category C felony to a category B felony if the vehicle involved in the act has a value of $3,500 or more.
In category C felony, the court shall sentence a person convicted of grand theft auto in Las Vegas to imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 5 years.
If the prosecution proved that the stolen motor vehicle is worth $3,500 or more, the defendant will be convicted of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and by a fine of not more than $10,000.
If there is violence involved in the auto-theft, it is possible that battery and/or assault can be added to the grand theft auto charge. Carjacking, however, is a completely different crime from grand theft auto in Las Vegas.
Are there defenses against grand theft auto charges?
It is possible for innocent people to be falsely accused of grand larceny. Fortunately, there are some legal ways to prove a defendant’s innocence and save him or her from unjust imprisonment and penalties. Possible defenses against grand theft auto in Las Vegas:
- The “stolen” vehicle belonged to the defendant. The defendant and his or her Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer can use title and registration records to prove that the allegedly stolen vehicle is the defendant’s. As it is not illegal for a car owner to enter and drive away with his or her own car, grand theft auto charges cannot apply.
- The defendant unintentionally stole the vehicle by mistakenly believing that he or she has the car owner’s permission to drive the vehicle. The NRS 205.228 states that for someone to be convicted of grand theft auto Las Vegas, the theft should be intentional.
- There was no strong and solid evidence that the defendant stole the vehicle in question. This includes having no witness or CCTV that can prove the defendant took the car away, to prove that the defendant was anywhere near the car on the time it went missing. The car not being found in the defendant’s possession can also be used as proof that the defendant is innocent.
Getting falsely accused with grand theft auto in Las Vegas and anywhere in Nevada is a serious matter. If you do not know the possible defenses you can use to prove your innocence, it is highly recommended that you hire a reliable criminal defense attorney licensed in Nevada.