In Nevada, a felony is any crime that may be punished by time in state prison or the death penalty. Nevada divides felonies into five categories—A to E—with category A felonies being the most serious and category E felonies the least serious. Read on to learn about felony penalties and sentencing in Nevada.
Nevada organizes felonies into five categories according to the seriousness of the crime and the potential punishment. State law spells out the possible range of penalties for each category. However, criminal statutes for individual crimes may prescribe more specific sentences. (Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 193.120, 193.130 (2023).)
Category A felonies are the most serious crimes in Nevada, punishable by death or life in prison. Examples of category A felonies and their penalties include:
(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 193.130, 200.030, 200.320, 200.366, 201.300 (2023).)
The standard sentence for a category B felony is a minimum of one year and a maximum of 20 years in prison. Examples of category B felonies and their penalties include:
(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 200.080, 200.380, 200.471, 205.067, 205.226 (2023).)
Category C felonies carry a prison sentence of one to five years and up to $10,000 in fines. Examples of category C felonies include:
(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 200.485, 200.575, 205.0835, 205.220, 205.228 (2023).)
Category D felonies carry a prison sentence of one to four years and up to $5,000 in fines. Examples of category D felonies include:
(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 200.090, 200.359, 200.770, 200.780, 205.025 (2023).)
Category E felonies in Nevada carry a prison sentence of one to four years and up to a $5,000 fine. However, in most cases, the court must suspend the prison sentence and place the defendant on probation. Probation can include a year in county jail. Examples of category E felonies include:
(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 201.570, 207.245, 453.336, 454.311 (2023).)
A few of Nevada's criminal laws—such as a first offense of elder abuse and attempting to commit certain lower-level felonies—provide punishment as either a felony or a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanor penalties carry up to 364 days of jail time. At the sentencing phase for one of these crimes (often called "wobblers"), the court will decide whether to treat the crime as a gross misdemeanor or a felony.
(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 193.153, 200.5099 (2023).)
Nevada law also provides for additional prison sentences—on top of the sentence for the crime itself—under some circumstances, including when a felony is committed:
The additional sentence must be served consecutively with the original sentence for the felony.
(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 193.161, 193.165, 193.166, 193.167, 193.168 (2023).)
Nevada imposes harsh penalties for habitual felony offenders, which includes those convicted of a third violent felony or any fifth or subsequent felony. For a third violent felony, the defendant faces the punishment for a category A felony—a life sentence or sentence of 25 years. Other habitual felony offenses carry penalties for category A or B felonies, depending on the current and past offenses.
(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 207.010, 207.012, 207.014 (2023).)
When a defendant has been convicted of a felony, the court must choose a minimum and maximum prison term that falls within the range given in the law for that crime. The minimum term can't be more than 40% of the maximum term. The judge can also order the defendant to pay fines, restitution, and court costs.
Probation. In some cases, the judge can defer judgment or suspend the prison sentence and place the defendant on probation or in a specialty court program (such as drug court or veterans' court). These options require the defendant to abide by conditions set by the court and a violation can mean sanctions or being sent to prison.
Parole. Those sent to prison will typically serve their minimum term before becoming eligible for parole consideration (early release). The state provides incentives for inmates to reduce their minimum sentence by completing treatment programs, receiving an educational degree while incarcerated, and obeying prison rules.
(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 176.211, 176A.230, 176A.280, 176A.400, 176A.430, 176A.500, 193.130, 213.120 (2023).)
Prosecutors generally must bring criminal charges within a certain period of time (known as a "statute of limitations") after the alleged crime took place. The default statute of limitations in Nevada for felonies is three years. However, numerous felonies have longer limitation periods, some as long as 20 years. There are no time limits on when murder charges may be filed.
(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 171.080, 171.083, 171.085 (2023).)
Having a felony conviction on your criminal record can have serious, long-term consequences, including making it hard to get a job or housing and being barred under federal law from possessing guns. If you're facing felony charges, it's critical that you speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can defend your rights throughout criminal proceedings and help obtain the best possible outcome—which may include negotiating a favorable plea bargain.