This seems like an easy question to answer on the surface, but it is tricky to answer. However, we can expertly provide you with a credible one. Nevada Revised Statutes 205.274 states in part, that “any person who by themselves or with other persons willfully breaks, injures, tampers with or removes any part or parts of any vehicle for the purpose of injuring, defacing or destroying such vehicle, or temporarily or permanently preventing its useful operation, or for any purpose against the will or without the consent of the owner of such vehicle, or who shall in any manner willfully or maliciously interfere with or prevent the running or operation of such vehicle, shall be guilty of a public offense proportionate to the value of the loss resulting therefrom.”
That is quite a mouthful, but in reality, it is saying that if you purposefully do something to a vehicle that is not yours causing some sort of damage, no matter how small, you are guilty of a crime.
In essence, what this means is that a person who commits the above describe offense is not only responsible monetarily to the owner of the vehicle, but you could go to prison. It actually depends on the value of the loss. If the damage is $5000 dollars or more, you are guilty of category C felony, as provided in NRS 193.130, which means prison time and/or a fine. If the damage is $250 to $5000 dollars you are guilty of a gross misdemeanor which can, in some case, mean jail time and/or a fine. This is known as a “wobbler.”
A wobbler is a crime that can be considered a felony or a misdemeanor. It is up to the judge. It will depend on your criminal history, whether you show remorse and other things like your contributions to the community. If the damage is $25 or more, but less than $250, you are guilty of a misdemeanor. If the damage is less than $25 dollars, you will be assessed a $500 dollar fine.
The maximum prison sentence for the category C felony is five years and a fine of up to $10.000. The max jail sentence for the gross misdemeanor is six months. The maximum fine is $1,000. These are serious penalties. The felony will negatively affect you for the rest of your life.
However, Las Vegas law allows a judge to not only lower the felony to a misdemeanor, but to also impose a lower prison time or jail time, and lower the fines, or both. In some cases, charges and fines may be lowered or dismissed under a plea bargain arranged through your attorney and the District Attorney. This is why it is extremely important to hire a qualified and experienced attorney who gets the best results for you. Our firm has extensive experience in doing just that.
Other Important Facts
Can you be charged with this crime if you tamper with a vehicle or climb on it or otherwise damage it during an emergency without the owner’s consent? The simple answer is no. However, if you climb on a car and play with the windshield wipers or other parts in mischief, you can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.
If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with tampering with a motor vehicle in Las Vegas, call us now. We have decades of experience successfully defending against these types of crime.