Hotels, restaurants, inns, and motels often provide services first with the expectation that customers will provide payment at the end of the transaction. Unfortunately, when patrons leave hotels or restaurants without settling the bill, this can have major financial consequences for proprietors.
To protect those who run inns, restaurants, motels, and similar establishments, the state of Nevada had made it a crime to defraud individuals operating these businesses. If you engage in fraud, you could face serious criminal charges and in some cases could even be convicted of a felony offense.
LV Criminal Defense can provide you with representation when you have been accused of wrongdoing in connection with defrauding a hotel, inn, restaurant, or motel. Our Vegas defense attorneys know the Nevada laws on this type of fraud and will work with you to develop the right approach to dealing with charges. Give us a call now to find out more.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
Nevada considers the defrauding of proprietors of restaurants, inns, or similar establishments to be a property crime, so the offense is defined in the chapter of the state’s penal code dealing with property offenses: Chapter 205. Different categories of crimes against property are divided up under different subsections of Chapter 205, and defrauding the proprietor of a restaurant, inn, motel, or similar establishment is classified within the category dealing with fraud and false personification offenses.
The relevant chapter that defines criminal conduct related to innkeepers, and restauranteurs is found in Nevada Revised Statue section 205.445. According to the relevant statute, it is illegal for any person to obtain food, merchandise, lodging, or other accommodations at an inn, hotel, trailer park, motor court, boarding house, rooming house, lodging home, furnished apartment or bungalow court, furnished automobile camp, grocery store, restaurant, eating house, market, or dairy unless the defendant pays for the food, merchandise, lodging, or other goods or accommodations.
It is not enough to show that a defendant obtain foodstuffs or other items without paying for them. The prosecutor would also need to show that the defendant acted with intent to defraud the proprietor or manager of the accommodations, foodstuffs, or merchandise.
A defendant could also be charged with a crime under N.R.S. 205.445 for obtaining credit at a hotel, inn, trailer park, boarding house, rooming house, furnished apartment, restaurant, or other facility listed in the statute under false pretenses or for absconding after obtaining credit without paying. Using force, menace, or threats or surreptitiously removing baggage or property from a facility without being can all be considered unlawful behavior.
The penalties will vary depending upon the value of foodstuffs, merchandise, lodging, or other accommodations that a defendant failed to pay for. If the items were worth at least $250, then the defendant could be charged with a Category D felony. In other circumstances, the defendant could be charged with a misdemeanor offense. Regardless of whether a defendant is charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, however, the defendant will be ordered to pay restitution upon conviction.
The statute makes clear that proof that lodging or other accommodations was obtained by false pretenses or that the defendant willfully neglected to pay is prima face evidence that the defendant violated the law and should be punished in accordance with N.R.S. 205.445.
Vegas criminal defense attorneys at LV Criminal Defense can provide help and support as you fight accusations that you defrauded a proprietor of a hotel, inn, restaurant, motel, or similar establishment in violation of N.R.S. 205.445. Contact our firm today to learn about how we can advocate for you.