Nevada Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences

Learn about the sentencing rules in Nevada for misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors.

By , Legal Editor
Updated October 10, 2023

In Nevada, as in most states, crimes that carry potential penalties of less than a year in county jail and a fine are considered misdemeanors. More serious crimes are classified as felonies. Read on to learn about misdemeanor classifications, penalties, and sentencing options in Nevada.

How Nevada Classifies Misdemeanor Offenses

Nevada divides misdemeanors into two categories—gross misdemeanors and misdemeanors—with different maximum penalties for each type. Most criminal statutes specifically say whether the crime is a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or a category of felony in Nevada. However, if a law that prohibits some action doesn't provide any penalty for violating the law, a violation of that law will be considered a misdemeanor. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 193.170 (2023).)

What Are the Penalties for Misdemeanors in Nevada?

The least serious crimes in Nevada—which the state simply calls misdemeanors—are punishable by incarceration in county jail for up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. However, instead of all or part of that penalty, anyone convicted of a misdemeanor may instead be sentenced to probation with a requirement to perform up to 200 hours of community service.

In addition to the maximum punishment for misdemeanors, some criminal statutes require a minimum sentence and additional penalties. For instance, anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery in Nevada (for a first offense within seven years) must serve at least two days in jail, perform 48 to 120 hours of community service, pay a $200 to $1,000 fine, and participate in weekly counseling sessions.

Some other crimes that are punished as misdemeanors include:

  • theft of less than $1,200 (the sentence must also include an order to pay restitution to the victim)
  • reckless driving
  • using a fake ID to buy alcohol, and
  • simple assault or battery.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 176.087, 193.150, 200.481, 200.485, 205.0835, 205.460, 484B.653 (2023).)

What Are the Penalties for Gross Misdemeanors in Nevada?

Gross misdemeanors are punishable by incarceration in county jail for up to 364 days and a fine of no more than $2,000. If the crime was committed on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity, a convicted defendant must serve a jail sentence of at least 15 days.

Some crimes that are misdemeanors for a first offense—such as stalking and harassment—are treated as gross misdemeanors for a second offense (when the defendant had a previous conviction for the same crime).

Examples of other crimes that are classified as gross misdemeanors:

  • aiming a gun at someone or firing a gun in a place where someone could be hurt
  • assault or battery against certain groups of victims—including officers, health care providers, school employees, and transit operators
  • false imprisonment without the use of a deadly weapon
  • statutory rape (which Nevada calls "statutory sexual seduction"), and
  • making false statements to get a credit or debit card.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 193.140, 193.1605, 200.368, 200.460, 200.471, 200.481, 200.571, 200.575, 202.290, 205.680 (2023).)

What Is a Wobbler Offense in Nevada?

A few of Nevada's criminal laws—such as a first offense of elder abuse and attempting to commit certain lower-level felonies—provide for punishment as either a gross misdemeanor or a felony. During sentencing for one of these crimes (often referred to as "wobblers"), it's up to the court to decide whether to treat the crime as a gross misdemeanor or a felony.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 193.330, 200.5099 (2023).)

Getting Legal Help

If you're facing criminal charges, it's important that you speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can explain how the law applies to your situation, protect your rights throughout the criminal proceedings, and help you get the best outcome possible. In some cases, that might involve negotiating a favorable plea bargain—which may include an agreement to have the court apply a gross misdemeanor sentence for a wobbler.

And if you've already served a sentence for a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor, a criminal defense attorney can help you through the process of applying to have your criminal record sealed in Nevada.

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