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If You Are Arrested While Visiting Las Vegas

Jan 30, 2017Blog, Legal Tips

It’s the nightmare you suffer before traveling; falling prey to misconception and finding yourself behind bars in an unfamiliar city. This nightmare usually takes place in a foreign country with a language barrier and unfamiliar cultural customs.

Misconceptions, misunderstandings, and legal trouble can happen anywhere, even within your own country. Each state has specific laws, regulations, and even cultural customs to abide by within their borders.

Las Vegas, home to the liveliest nightlife in the country, is also one of the most misunderstood traveling destinations in the country. Due to its sinister and lascivious reputation as Sin City, it is often seen as a free-for-all for unruly behavior.

As a tourist traveling through, you should know what is allowed, what to avoid, and, most importantly, what to do if you are arrested while visiting Las Vegas.

Avoiding Arrest: Common Charges & Cultural Misunderstandings

In order to avoid an arrest during a vacation to Sin City, it’s important to understand the distinction between what is legal and what is thought to be legal.

  • Common Charges in Las Vegas

While there are standard misdemeanor and felony charges, the city of Vegas sees a range of common charges due to the specialized environment that is offered.

One of the most common charges is a DUI or Driving Under the Influence. The best way to avoid DUI’s is to rely on taxis, walking, or public transportation. Simply put, don’t get behind the wheel. Also, keep in mind that “influence” is not specific to alcoholic inebriation. If you are found to be under the influence of any recreational drug or narcotic, you will be arrested.

With that said, possession and/or use of narcotics is illegal in the state of Nevada.

Per the Shouse Law Group, “possessing drugs, narcotics or controlled substances without a prescription is a felony in Nevada. Even if the narcotics are for personal use and you do not intend to sell them, a possession conviction in Las Vegas could result in prison and hefty fines.”

A gray area is found when it comes to marijuana possession, which has been newly legalized in the state of Nevada. The Shouse Law Group offers some general information on marijuana possession and use in Nevada, yet, as laws and regulations are fine-tuned, it’s best to simply steer clear of any drug use.

  • Cultural Misunderstandings

Las Vegas offers vacationers many extra curricular ways to let loose. The list includes hundreds of bars, various entertainment shows, gambling establishments at every corner, as well as more risqué options such as strip bars and brothels. Due to the nature of the city, many travelers unfamiliar with the laws find themselves in compromising situations due to ignorance.

A major misconception about Las Vegas is the legality of prostitution. While prostitution is legal in Nevada, it is strictly regulated via permits and has to be confined to registered brothels and is only allowed in eight counties. Street corner solicitations or a visit to an illegal brothel will land you with a misdemeanor charge.

Per the NOLO’s Criminal Defense Lawyer website, Nevada prostitution and solicitation are defined as “engaging in sexual conduct for a fee. Sexual conduct includes sexual intercourse, oral-genital contact, or any touching of the genitalia or other intimate parts of a person in order to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of either person. (Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 201.295.)”

Along those lines, even though the city is marketed as “sin city”, Nevada has strict gross or open lewdness laws.

Joel M. Mann, a Las Vegas specific attorney, explains, “an allegation for lewd acts is a serious charge in Nevada. Under the Nevada Revised Statute 201.210, open or gross lewdness is an act that involves exposing one’s private parts and engaging in sexual activity either in public or in any context that would reasonably offend another person. Getting convicted of an open or gross lewdness has serious legal consequences in addition to the social stigma of being labeled as some sort of sexual deviant.”

The Arrest

  • What’s Involved in an Arrest?

An arrest in Nevada is the same as an arrest anywhere in the country.

“Following an arrest the police may search the person’s body for drugs, weapons or other crime-related paraphernalia. The police must also read the arrestee his/her Miranda Rights before they can question him/her about the alleged crime. Eventually the police will take the arrestee to jail for booking. The arrestee will then have to take a mug shot, give fingerprints, and submit to a more thorough search. The arrestee then waits in a holding cell pending the judge setting bail.” – Shouse Law Group

  • Can the Defendant Return Home?

It is important to remember to avoid the “flight instinct” that may arise. Once you have been arrested and posted bail, it’s incredibly beneficial to see the legal process through to the end.

Per Law Info’s Legal Resource Library,

“The criminal process often requires the defendant to appear in court multiple times. It is important to know that you cannot simply return to your home state and ignore the charges from the other state. The states and territories of the United States are required by the U.S. Constitution to render suspects on the request of another state. This is commonly referred to as extradition.”

Reliable Bail

With that said, if you are arrested the first item on the agenda is getting out. Oftentimes, the best option is to contact a bail bondsman to secure the funding for release.

Bail is simply a down payment promising the court that a defendant will return in order to be tried in the judicial system. Upon the resolution of the case, no matter if the defendant is found guilty or not, they will receive the money back.

Per the Shouse Law Group, “in most cases the court accepts bail in cash or by bond. Bondsmen typically charge a 15% fee of the total bail amount which will not be returned to the defendant when the court ultimately gives back (“exonerates”) the bond.”

For a more detailed article on bail procedures, feel free to visit the Shouse Law Group article Bail Information and Procedures for Jails in Las Vegas.


8-Ball Bail Bonds is a fully licensed and insured bail bonds agency located in Las Vegas, Nevada. They offer 24-7 service for clients in need of assistance in stressful and oftentimes overwhelming situations. By tailoring services with each client’s individual needs, the highly knowledgeable and educated staff at 8-Ball Bail Bonds is able to provide exemplary and specialized customer service. For more information or to speak with a representative directly, especially if you are arrested while visiting Las Vegas, feel free to contact us.