Las Vegas’ famous phrase “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” may be catchy, but it can also be misleading. In a city where public drunkenness is acceptable, and gambling is lawful, you can still spend a night (or two) in jail if you’re not careful. Here you’ll find some of the things that could get anyone arrested in Las Vegas.
This seems obvious, but it is a common misconception that prostitution is legal in the city of Las Vegas. Prostitution is not legal within Clark County, where Las Vegas lies. It is only legal in 12 (however, only eight have brothels) of the 16 counties in Nevada, and Pahrump is the closest town to Sin City where you’ll find a legal brothel.
Las Vegas is the place to get wild and crazy, but it is possible to cross the line. If your behavior concerns casino staff enough, you can be asked to leave a property and not return, and this is true for anyone, including celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Frank Sinatra. Violating such a ban constitutes trespassing, which carries both jail time and a fine.
Marijuana is legal to purchase now in Las Vegas, but it comes with some strings attached. You can have it on your person, but it is still illegal to use inside hotel rooms, on public streets, in nightclubs, and on casino floors. Anyone caught smoking or using marijuana in those public spaces is subject to arrest and a $600 fine.
If you come to Las Vegas and give birth, be sure to tell at least one person about it. Should something happen to your baby, and you don’t tell anyone, you can be found guilty of a gross misdemeanor according to NRS 201.150; this applies no matter when the child died, or how.
Pawn shops are all over Las Vegas. However, there are limits on what customers can offer to these establishments. People cannot sell dentures and brass knuckles to a pawn shop, the former of which is specifically outlined in the county ordinance that governs Las Vegas. Dentures are considered medical equipment, and the record-keeping practices required by law prevents pawnbrokers from accepting them.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that anarchy is illegal in Las Vegas, as it is in many other places. Nevada is one of only 13 states to have a criminal anarchy statute on its books. The funny thing about this law is that the title specifies “criminal” anarchy. The definition provided by the statute and the title, however, suggests there is a means of “civil” anarchy.
One of the most popular attractions in Las Vegas is the fountains at the Bellagio. People from all over the world come to see the dancing water display, but some visitors have been known to take it too far. If you’re caught defacing the fountains in any way, such as public urination, swimming, or dumping waste, security and/or police can escort you off the property.
Lap dances are technically illegal in Las Vegas. While that ordinance isn’t heavily enforced, there are strict restrictions imposed on lap dances that aren’t ignored. While dancers can touch their patrons on certain body parts, anything more than that can be construed as illegal fondling, which carries fines between $250 and $1,000.
Pigeons are everywhere in the Las Vegas Valley and are protected by law. NRS 7.32.110 specifically protects pigeons and other animals from being fired upon, despite the bird’s reputation as a public nuisance. Violating the law is considered a misdemeanor; three offenses within a seven-year period is a felony.
You can come to Las Vegas with your pet, but you might have a hard time walking it if you stay on the Strip. Household pets are only allowed on the Strip between 5 a.m. and 12 p.m., an ordinance which came about to discourage panhandlers. There are further restrictions on where pet owners can walk their furry friends as well; violations of the ordinance carry possible jail time and fines.
Las Vegas is the place to come and party, as long as you don’t do it in someone’s (unregistered) home. Laws have banned “party” houses for the most part in Clark County; Las Vegas allows them only under heavy restrictions. Homeowners have to register and obtain special permits with the city to allow gatherings on their property. If you are caught throwing a party in an unregistered house, police can deem you and the homeowner a public nuisance.