Arrested while visiting Las Vegas? (Part 2)

Arrested while visiting Las Vegas? (Part 2)

In our previous post, we covered some common causes of arrest for visitors to Las Vegas. We continue that discussion with additional common legal issues that visitors and tourists of Las Vegas could encounter. These are presented to allow visitors to have some knowledge of legal boundaries in a city where boundaries are expanded. Las Vegas is a party town, with lots of fun activities available for adults. We hope you never have to deal with a legal entanglement when coming to Las Vegas, but its best to know the ropes before you come.

Public Intoxication:

Interestingly, Nevada law does not recognize being drunk in public as a crime, and, in fact, state law forbids cities, counties and towns in Nevada from passing ordinances making it so:

the use of alcohol, the status of drunkard and the fact of being found in an intoxicated condition are not public offenses and shall not be so treated in any ordinance or resolution of a county, city or town.” (NRS 458.260).

However, being drunk in public can lead to other behaviors that may represent a crime, such as Disturbing the Peace, Disorderly Conduct, and/or DUI. Additionally, in spite of this rather open attitude toward public intoxication, there are strict Open Container laws in most parts of Clark County, especially when in close proximity to liquor stores.

The Protective Custody Rule may come into play if you are so intoxicated that you cannot function. If you fall asleep drinking at a bar, you may find this rule come into play. This rule can allow officers to take you into custody, (by force if needed) and deliver you to a medical facility or jail for up to 48 hours, to sleep it off. While you are not under arrest, and not charged with a crime, you have still been detained.

Disorderly Conduct/Disturbing the Peace:

Disorderly Conduct or Breach of Peace as it’s commonly known, is usually the outgrowth of a physical altercation, however, police officers have a great deal of discretion in how it is defined at the time of an arrest. In addition to Nevada law, municipalities may also regulate this type of behavior. Nevada statues define breach of the peace as: maliciously and willfully disturbing “the peace or quiet of any neighborhood or person or family by loud or unusual noises, or by tumultuous and offensive conduct, threatening, traducing, quarreling, challenging to fight, or fighting….” (NRS 203.010)

Clark County, defines disorderly conduct as: “participating in a fight, challenging another person to fight, committing a breach of the peace, inciting a disturbance, or interfering with, annoying, accosting or harassing any other person in a way that incites a disturbance.” Police can arrest you for this charge, or you may be given a citation to appear in court for a disorderly conduct charge.

It is a misdemeanor and if convicted can subject you to up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.


Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is treated severely in Nevada. While a first time DUI is a misdemeanor, the penalties are harsh, and will subject you to possible license suspension in your home state. Additionally, police may impound the vehicle you are driving at the time of the stop.

If you are found driving with a Blood/Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of over .08 as determined by either by breath or blood test, you will be charged with DUI. Other substances found in excess of state determined values will subject you to a DUI. Marijuana, MDMA, Cocaine, Morphine, Methamphetamine concentrations found in your system may also trigger a DUI charge, even if you’re not drunk.

First time DUI will result in arrest and from two days to six months in jail. You will likely face fees and fines between $400 to $1,200, and a 90-day suspension of privilege to drive in Nevada. Nevada will report the DUI to your home state and there will be additional penalties imposed by your home state.

If an attorney does not represent you, you will be required to appear at all hearings and court proceedings. The services of a qualified aggressive local attorney will protect your rights during any DUI charges you receive when visiting Las Vegas.

The Defenders can assist if the party in Las Vegas ends badly

The Defenders team have handled cases for visitors to Las Vegas and provide proactive and aggressive criminal representation for you if charged while in Las Vegas. These charges will follow you home and can negatively affect your life and livelihood. What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas if you’ve been charged with a criminal offense while visiting. If the party ended with an arrest while you were visiting Las Vegas, call our office today to discuss your case at (702) 333-3333.

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