Theft is a serious crime in the state of Nevada, and even misdemeanor theft charges can carry a serious penalty. Aside from the penalty that the charges carry, though, there are several other long-term consequences that may come into play when a person is convicted of misdemeanor theft in the state of Nevada.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at what constitutes misdemeanor theft, the penalties and long-term consequences that go along with this charge, and what you should do if you have been charged with misdemeanor theft in the state of Nevada.
Misdemeanor Theft Defined
In the state of Nevada, theft is considered to be a misdemeanor crime if the total value of the items that were stolen is less than $250. If more than $250 worth of items are stolen, the crime is considered to be a felony.
Crimes such as shoplifting, pickpocketing, and other forms of theft where the value of the items stolen is typically lower are common crimes that may be charged as misdemeanor theft in the state of Nevada.
The Penalty for Misdemeanor Theft in Nevada
In Nevada, the crime of misdemeanor theft carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, misdemeanor theft is often considered to be what Nevada calls a “crime involving moral turpitude”, meaning that the consequences of being convicted of misdemeanor theft in the state are stiffer and more long-term than what many people realize.
What it Means for a Crime to be a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude
In Nevada, the courts have defined certain crimes to be especially malicious and have created a category for these crimes called “crimes involving moral turpitude” or “crimes of moral turpitude”. In order to be considered a crime of moral turpitude, the crime must be something that the courts consider to be especially malicious, and the person guilty of the crime must have purposefully intended to commit it. A DUI, for example, is not considered to be a crime of moral turpitude in Nevada since intent does not play a role in determining whether someone should be charged with a DUI. However, there are a number of other felonies and misdemeanors that are considered to be crimes of moral turpitude, including:
- Lewdness with a minor under 16
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Carrying a weapon with intent to use
- Many forms of theft and burglary
While not all thefts are considered to be a crime of moral turpitude in Nevada, many forms of theft do fall under this category, including thefts that are charged as a misdemeanor. Being charged with a misdemeanor crime that constitutes a crime of moral turpitude ups the seriousness of the offense and opens up a number of new consequences for the person who has been convicted.
Consequences of Being Convicted of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude
In addition to whatever penalty the crime itself carries, being charged with a crime of moral turpitude carries a number of other consequences as well. Any foreigner who commits a crime of moral turpitude is no longer eligible to receive a United States visa and is no longer eligible to receive a green card. Illegal aliens who commit a crime of moral turpitude may also face deportation if they are found guilty of the crime.
In addition to immigration consequences, crimes of moral turpitude carry stiff consequences for those who are already US citizens as well. Those who are convicted of a crime of moral turpitude in Nevada may find it especially difficult to secure employment after their conviction since employers in Nevada tend to take crimes of moral turpitude more seriously than other charges.
The fact that misdemeanor theft falls under the same umbrella as crimes such as murder and rape means that those who are convicted of this crime may face a lasting stain on their record that never really goes away. In many cases, this in and of itself can end up being an even more serious consequence than whatever formal penalty that the crime carries.
Defending Against Crimes of Moral Turpitude
If a person has been charged with a crime that may be considered a crime of moral turpitude in the state of Nevada, arguing against the crime qualifying as a crime of moral turpitude is just as important as arguing for the innocence of the person convicted. The good news is that the definition of a crime of moral turpitude is still somewhat ambiguous, especially regarding misdemeanor crimes such as theft. This creates the possibility for a number of defenses.
Since intent is required in order for a crime to be considered a crime of moral turpitude, the prosecution must prove that the person purposefully intended to commit the crime before the crime can be classified as a crime of moral turpitude. Since it isn’t possible to accidentally shoplift, though, proving intent is often easy if the prosecution is able to prove guilt.
Nevertheless, creating a defense that prevents a crime from being classified as a crime of moral turpitude is possible, and this is certainly a course of action that you and your legal team should pursue if you have been charged with a crime that may fall under this category.
What to do if You Have Been Charged With a Crime of Moral Turpitude in Nevada
If you have been charged with misdemeanor theft or any other crime that may constitute a crime of moral turpitude, it is important to seek expert legal counsel as soon as possible. Crimes of moral turpitude are considered especially serious in the state of Nevada, and the consequences that these crimes carry can follow you for the rest of your life.
If you would like to learn more about your rights and what can be done to prevent your crime from being charged as a crime of moral turpitude, we invite you to contact us today. Our expert team of criminal defense attorneys will be happy to learn more about your case.