Nevada Public Intoxication Laws

In the state of Nevada, public intoxication is not a crime. Nevada’s laws treat alcohol abuse as a health problem.However, being intoxicated in public can still result in unpleasant consequences, including time in jail.

For more information on public intoxication laws generally, see Public Intoxication Laws and Penalties.

Although public intoxication itself is not a criminal offense, intoxication can be an element of a crime. For example, a person in Nevada who is intoxicated and operates a motor vehicle can be prosecuted for driving under the influence (DUI).

(Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 458.260, 484C.110.)

Protective Custody

If a person in Nevada is under the influence of alcohol in a public place and unable to care for his or her health and safety, or for the health and safety of others, a police officer must to take the person into custody.

If possible, the officer should take the person to an alcohol treatment center. Otherwise, the officer can take the person to the local jail. The person can be held for up to 48 hours. The person is not under arrest, but in taking the person into custody, the officer can use the same amount of force that an officer can use to make a misdemeanor arrest.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. § 458.270.)

For example, if a person was drunk and acting belligerently towards others, police would be required to take the person to a treatment facility or jail.

Arresting an Intoxicated Person

If a police officer arrests an intoxicated person for a crime, the officer must first take the person to an appropriate medical facility if the person needs treatment. If the person is arrested for a crime for which intoxication is a part of the crime, such as DUI, then the officer is not required to first take the person to a treatment center or medical facility.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. § 458.270.)

Controlled Substances

If an officer arrests or detains (stops) a person for being under the influence of a controlled substance, and the person is unable to care for his or her health and safety, or for the health and safety of others, the officer may take the person to a treatment facility or, if necessary, an emergency medical facility.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. § 458.175.)

Local Ordinances

Under Nevada law, counties, cities, and towns are not permitted to criminalize drinking alcohol, being intoxicated, or being an alcoholic.

(Nev. Rev. Stat. § 458.260.)

Generally, local governments are permitted to regulate the sale and possession of alcohol to certain places, people, and times.

Obtaining Legal Assistance

If you are arrested in Nevada for a crime involving public intoxication, you should contact a local criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system and make certain you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

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