NRS 207.171 – Penalties Associated with Using False, Deceptive, or Misleading Advertising

Under Nevada State Law, specifically NRS 207.171, it is a crime to for an individual or company to spread false or misleading advertising.

The crime of false, deceptive or misleading advertising occurs when a person or organization publishes or distributes, either directly or indirectly, a statement that is or that they know to be false, with the intent and induce or entice a person to take part in a transaction. This law applies to both land and personal property.

The language of this statute is very broad and extends to false advertising that is distributed through any medium including traditional mediums like television ads, radio ads, and mailings as well as more uncommon mediums like door-to-door sales, emails, proclamations, or public outcries.

The statute does not require actual deception in order for a crime have occurred. The statute extends to any statement that “has a tendency” to mislead the public. In short, the statement needs to have been intentionally false for a crime to have occurred, but no one in the general public needs to have been actually deceived by the statement for the crime to have occurred.

The key provisions of this statute are:

  • The statement must be an intentionally false.
  • The statement must be one that a reasonable person or entity writing the statement could have ascertained that statement was false with reasonable effort.
  • It must be part of a scheme to entice a person to partake in a transaction whether it be selling, purchasing, lease, or acquire any interest in the property.

Exceptions to NRS 207.171

The following are excluded from False or Deceptive advertising:

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  • Radio or television stations
  • Newspapers, magazines, and other entities that disseminate and distribute advertising for third parties

These exceptions ensure that only those that actually produce the false and misleading advertising are held liable, not the entities that run third party ads as part of their business practices.

Defenses to a False, Deceptive, or Misleading Advertising charge under NRS 207.170

If you or a loved one have been charged with violating NRS 2-7/170 in Nevada, it is important to remember that the burden is proof is upon the State of Nevada to prove that you have committed the crime. Most crimes have defenses that can be raised to refute the state’s argument. An experienced attorney may raise the following defenses against a charge of false advertising charge:

  • Intent to sell. In order for a crime to occur, the false advertising must have been done with an intent to sell something or coerce someone into a transaction. If there is not intent to use the false advertising to sell or induce a transaction, then no crime has occurred.
  • It is required that, for example, a price be intentionally misstated to entice a person to conduct the transaction. If the price printed or disseminated was a good faith mistake, no crime has occurred. The classic example of this is when an advertisement states something is selling for $10.00 when it is actually selling for $100.00. This is not an intentional misstatement but a basic typo and therefore not false advertising.
  • The alleged false statement must have been one that a person could have ascertained was false with reasonable effort. Therefore, if it is impossible to show the statement was false, that may be a valid defense against the charge.

Charged with Violating NRS 207.171? Speak to a Las Vegas Defense Lawyer Now

If you have been charged with using false, deceptive or misleading advertising in Nevada, contact our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers today to schedule a free, confidential case review. We may be able to persuade the prosecution to reduce the charges or to drop them altogether so your record stays clean.