Is Nevada on the bucket list of states you want to visit?
Millions of tourists go to the Silver State for world-class hotels, casinos, and a taste of the wild west. However, like any state in the U.S., Nevada has specific laws that you need to follow. It pays to know about these regulations before you embark on your epic journey.
After all, your bucket list doesn’t include a trip to the slammer, does it? Nevada arrest laws are pretty much as straightforward as any state, but they do have some quirky rules. Avoid getting into a bind and enjoy a stress-free vacation by brushing up on Nevada’s most unique laws.
Alcohol Consumption and Sale
- In Nevada, you can’t get arrested for public intoxication because of a law that prohibits it from being a civil offense. However, you can still get an arrest record in Nevada for disturbing the peace, posing a danger/nuisance to others, and drunk driving.
- The laws are more relaxed in Las Vegas, and tourists can even wander the Strip with a beer or cocktail in hand. The open bottle policy is still allowed, but less tolerated the farther away you get from Vegas. The only place that bans alcohol entirely is Panaca, a Mormon town established in 1864.
- You must be over 21 years old to buy and consume alcohol in Nevada, in line with most of the U.S.
- Nevada has a “Zero Tolerance Law” that prohibits drivers under 21 to have any trace of alcohol in their system.
- Nevada has an open container law, and it is illegal for a passenger or driver to consume an alcoholic beverage in a moving vehicle. If you’re renting a car, consider ditching the idea of a road pop and wait until you get back to the club or hotel.
- The open container law doesn’t apply to passenger vehicles like limos, buses, shuttles, and taxis. Do note that you can only drink alcohol in a passenger vehicle if it’s allowed by the company.
- All licensed bars, stores, hotels, and restaurants in Nevada can sell alcoholic beverages 24/7. Drinking is legal 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.
- Prostitution in Las Vegas has been illegal since 1971 despite rumors to the contrary. It is alive and even thriving in some areas, but still prohibited.
- The state allows Prostitution only in counties with populations under 250,000. Brothels are also strictly regulated and must have a license to operate.
- The state observes the “finders’ keepers” rule when it comes to casino chips. According to the Gaming Control Board, if you find any loose chips lying around, you don’t need to return them to the casino. However, Casinos may have in-house rules when it comes to lost chips.
- Finding loose casino chips is different from “mining” them. Miners seek forgotten chips and tickets on purpose, and this practice is not welcome in Nevada.
Drugs and Controlled Substances
- Don’t believe the hype, Las Vegas is not the Amsterdam of the U.S., and certain drugs are not tolerated. Marijuana is on the list, so think twice about rolling up and lighting up. Don’t listen to the rumors unless you want to get arrested.
- Under Nevada law NRS 453.336, it’s a felony to possess drugs, controlled substances, or narcotics without a prescription. Even if the drugs are for personal use and not for sale, getting caught for possession can result in hefty fines and prison time.
- It’s legal to smoke a cigar or cigarette anywhere inside a casino floor. This rule extends to bars and nightclubs that don’t serve food.
- Smoking is not allowed in restaurants.
- If a nightclub serves food, smoking is only allowed after they serve food.
- Smoking is illegal in all public places.
- It’s legal to get married without a blood test.
- Marriages in Las Vegas are more accessible, with no waiting period whatsoever. If you want Elvis to officiate your bond, you can.
- Same sex-marriages are illegal, with commitment ceremonies usually performed in their stead.
- You must be 18 years of age to marry without consent from a parent or guardian legally.
- Many tourists think that because some of the laws are lax in Nevada, jaywalking is, too. Due to the high number of pedestrian accidents, the state has strict rules on jaywalking.
- The universal rule for jaywalking is simple: don’t cross or walk in the middle of the street. Use only pedestrian crossing lanes at the intersection.
- In Nevada, especially in Las Vegas, this practice is illegal and strictly enforced. If you jaywalk, you’ll get a citation and a possible fine of $350 or more. There goes your casino money!
- Also known as Clark County Code 12.33.010, disorderly conduct is the second most common offense tourists get arrested for Las Vegas.
- Most cases of disorderly conduct are alcohol-related.
- The law states that you can’t participate in or challenge another person to a fight.
- Using indecent, obscene, or profane language in addressing another person is a violation.
- Disturbing the peace and inciting a disturbance both fall under the scope of CCO 12.33.010.
- Harassment or any interference that creates a disturbance is another violation.
Weird Nevada Laws That Still Exist
Nevada has its fair share of old laws that still exist to this day. Violating these laws would technically be illegal, although no one has practiced or enforced them in ages.
Camels are Banned on Highways.
Nevada passed a law that banned people from driving camels on a highway. This law seems like a no-brainer today, but imagine Nevada in the 1800s.
You Can’t Kiss a Woman if You Have a Mustache.
In the town of Eureka, you can’t kiss a woman if you have a mustache. There were many laws on facial hair in the 1800s, but legislators missed overturning this one. Or did they?
When in Reno.
It’s illegal to place a bench or any seat on a curb or street in Reno. It’s also illegal to lie down on the sidewalk. These laws were for addressing the homeless situation several years ago, but are still in effect to this day.