Public drunkenness, also referred to as public intoxication, is not a crime in Nevada. But, do not let that fool you into thinking that you can blatantly act drunk in public. The further from the strip in Las Vegas you get, the less tolerance there is for public intoxication, and you could still face unpleasant consequences for engaging in this behavior – including jail time. While Las Vegas public drunkenness is not a crime itself, the intoxication could be considered a crime. For example, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk is a DUI. Also, it is important to realize that Nevada treats alcohol abuse and public drunkenness as a health concern, and they can still find ways to take you into custody regardless of whether or not you are breaking the law.
The Protective Custody Rule
If officers feel that you are too drunk to care for yourself or your drunkenness is harmful to your own safety, they may take you into custody. The officers may take you to an alcohol treatment center, but in most cases they will send you to the local jail for up to 48 hours. While you are not under arrest, the officers can nevertheless use force to take you into custody.
If You Are Arrested for Public Intoxication
If you are arrested for being drunk in public, officers are required to take you to a medical facility first to see if you need treatment. If you are also arrested for a crime along with public drunkenness – such as disturbing the peace – the officer is not required to take you to a medical facility, but can take you straight to jail (as stated in Nev. Rev. Stat. 458.270).
Intoxication of Controlled Substances
While using controlled substances is not against the law, if you are intoxicated or considered intoxicated from a controlled substance in public and do not have a valid prescription, you could be arrested. Even with a valid prescription, officers can take you into custody if they feel you are a threat to yourself or others while under the influence of that controlled substance.
Taken Into Custody? You Need an Attorney
While public intoxication is not a crime, some police officers will try to find related crimes that you can be charged with. Nevada law states clearly that cities, counties, and towns are not allowed to criminalize drinking alcohol or being intoxicated. However, that will not prevent police officers from attempting to charge you with other crimes related to your behavior. Even then, you could be put in jail for being publicly intoxicated, regardless of whether or not you actually broke any laws.
Arrested for Being Drunk in Public? Contact De Castroverde Law Group
If you were taken into custody or arrested for a charge related to being drunk in public, you still have rights. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group for a consultation. Call us today at (702) 222-9999 or fill out an online contact form.