Whether you’re a resident of Las Vegas or just visiting, you need to know Nevada’s open container laws. Open container laws say where you can lawfully have an open container of alcohol. Here’s what you need to know about Nevada open container laws from our team of Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys:
Las Vegas Area Open Container Laws at a Glance
- The Strip: YES plastic, paper, and aluminum containers only; NO glass
- Downtown Las Vegas: YES plastic, paper, and aluminum containers only; NO glass; alcohol must be purchased from a licensed vendor
- Freemont Street Experience: YES, but NO glass or aluminum
- Private-use vehicles: NO
- Limousines and party busses: YES
- Clark County parks: YES, but NO parking lots, roads, playgrounds, pools, youth events; NO glass containers
Nevada Open Container Laws
Open container laws in Nevada come from a combination of state and local laws. Nevada Revised Statute 484B.150 creates laws that apply throughout the state of Nevada. However, local governments can create additional restrictions on open containers. Many cities, including the City of Las Vegas, have their own laws that apply in addition to state laws. Many local governments restrict open containers by creating laws that apply to pedestrians.
What Is an Open Container?
An open container is a packaging of alcohol with a broken seal. Once a container is open, you can access the alcohol without having to break any seals. When you open a container, you break the seal so that you have access to the alcohol.
Examples of open containers include:
- A can of beer with the top popped
- Uncorked wine
- A glass bottle of beer with the cap off
- Pouring shots from a bottle of hard alcohol
- Alcohol poured into a water bottle or flask
What Are the Open Container Laws in Nevada?
The open container laws in Nevada are found in Nevada law 484B.150. The law makes it illegal to drive a vehicle with an open container. It’s also unlawful to have an open container anywhere in the passenger area of a vehicle. There are exceptions for limousines and party busses.
What Are the Open Container Laws in Las Vegas?
The City of Las Vegas prohibits drinking from an open container within 1,000 feet of a church, school, hospital, homeless shelter, or management center. In all other places, you may drink only from plastic, paper, or aluminum. Also, the alcohol you consume must come from a licensed vendor. Las Vegas municipal law 10.76.10 is the Las Vegas open container law. The prohibitions in the state of Nevada also apply. But remember, the Las Vegas Strip is outside of the City of Las Vegas, so different rules apply on the Strip.
What Are the Open Container Laws on the Las Vegas Strip?
On the Las Vegas Strip, you may possess and drink alcohol from an open container that is plastic, paper or aluminum. You may not have an open container that is made of glass. The Las Vegas Strip is part of Clark County so Clark County open container laws and the State of Nevada open container laws apply.
What Are the Penalties for an Open Container in Nevada?
In Nevada, an open container is a misdemeanor. You may face jail time, fines, and other penalties. Realistically, unless you have a long criminal history, your penalty will be a fine. However, you should still take the case seriously because an open container charge puts a criminal conviction on your record.
What Are the Defenses to Open Container?
There are a few common defenses to open container:
- I wasn’t in possession of the alcohol. It wasn’t on my person or in the passenger compartment of my vehicle.
- The drink wasn’t alcohol.
- It wasn’t an open container. The seal wasn’t broken.
How Do I Defend Against Charges of an Open Container?
Remember, it’s up to the police to prove the elements of the charges against you. You’re not guilty of open container simply because you’re out in public after having a few drinks. Sometimes the police make inaccurate assumptions about a drink being alcoholic. It’s up to the police to prove that the open container is alcohol. If the police cut corners in their investigation and don’t have the evidence to prove the case, you may be able to win a reduction of the charges or a complete dismissal of your case.
What Are the Penalties for an Open Container in Nevada?
Possible penalties for an open container in Nevada include the following:
- Monetary fine
- Two points on your license if you’re the one driving
- Jail (uncommon, but possible)
You also have the stigma of having a criminal conviction. Your conviction may impact your employment, volunteer opportunities, and even your immigration status.
Do Open Container Laws Prohibit You From Drinking in Your Own Yard?
No, open container laws don’t prohibit you from drinking in your own yard. Open container laws only apply in public places. As soon as you step onto the sidewalk or a public road, you may be in violation of the law. However, as long as you stay on your own property, open container laws don’t apply. You’re free to enjoy a beer or a glass of wine on your front porch, on your apartment balcony or in the yard.
Criminal Defense Lawyers in Las Vegas
Are you charged with having an open container? Are you wondering what to do? The legal team at Half Price Lawyers can help. Any criminal charge is worth taking seriously. There are things that you can do to reduce the consequences of an open container charge or even win an outright dismissal of the allegations against you.
Our team of licensed criminal law attorneys provides aggressive, professional legal representation to individuals facing charges of an open container in Las Vegas. We can help you take steps to respond appropriately to the charges against you. Call us today for a free, no-obligation conversation with a member of our legal team.