One of the many confusing aspects of criminal law is distinguishing criminal behaviors that appear to be similar to one another. Understanding the differences between crimes is essential to understanding the relevant consequences, and legal punishments that a party might be subjected to. A common misconception is the distinction between theft and embezzlement. Although both acts involve the taking of another’s property, there is a more distinct difference to account for.

Theft

Theft is the willful controlling or converting of another’s personal property with the specific intent to deprive that person of the property. Many states, including Nevada, classify specific types of theft offenses by the dollar amount attributed to the property that was taken.

Grand theft is when the value of the property taken is more than $950. Any other theft that is not grand theft is petty theft. Petty theft would be property taken under $950. Other specific types of theft can be found in the Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 205 – Crimes Against Property.

Theft is classified into two broad classifications, misdemeanors or felonies. Each class has it’s own set of corresponding punishments including fines, jail time or a combination of both.

Misdemeanor theft

In order for a theft to be considered a misdemeanor, the property stolen must be valued at less than $250. Anyone who is convicted of misdemeanor theft could face up to six months of confinement in the county jail, a fine not to exceed $1,000, community service, or a combination of these punishments.

 

Felony theft

In order for a theft to be considered a Class C felony, the property stolen must be valued at more than $250 but less than $2,500. Anyone who is convicted of Class C felony theft could face a minimum of one year to a maximum of five years confinement in state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

A Class B felony, would include stolen property that is valued at more than $2,500. Anyone who is convicted of Class B felony theft could face a minimum of one year to a maximum of ten years confinement in state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement, can be viewed as a subtype of theft. Generally, embezzlement involves an employee or an authorized representative of a company who moves money or property that belongs to an employer to their own personal account. The funds are then used for personal benefit without the consent or knowledge of the employer. The main distinction between theft and embezzlement is that the person taking the property is authorized to handle it in embezzlement cases, which is generally not the case with theft. Generally, most instances of embezzlement is considered theft, but not all theft is considered embezzlement.

Similar to theft, embezzlement can be divided into to misdemeanor and felony classes, and is punished according to the value of the property stolen. If the property stolen is worth up to $650, a misdemeanor embezzlement conviction can result in a maximum of one year in county jail, a $1000 fine and restitution.

If the property stolen is valued at more than $650 but less than $3,500, penalties include a fine not to exceed $10,000, a minimum of one year in state prison up to a maximum of five years in state prison, or both. If the property stolen is valued at more than $3,500, penalties include a fine not to exceed $10,000, a minimum of one year in state prison up to a maximum of ten years in state prison, or both.

Ensuring you know the outcome of your case is important to us. If you or someone you know has been arrested for theft or embezzlement, contacting a law firm is your best bet to find out your options. Contact The Pariente Law Firm to help you review your case today!

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