Understanding Las Vegas Open Container Law
In most jurisdictions throughout the country, having an open container with alcohol would be considered a crime. However, like so many things in Las Vegas, what would be considered against the law is actually completely allowed.
For the most part, people are open to drink alcohol in public, with a few exceptions to the rule.
Las Vegas Strip and Open Containers
The Las Vegas Strip is unique in that it is not actually part of Las Vegas city proper. Parts of the Strip stretch across various unincorporated Nevada towns, including Paradise and Winchester, Nevada. This unique aspect of the Strip means that the buildings and casinos that are along the Strip are subject to the laws of Clark County, Nevada, and not the laws of the City of Las Vegas.
However, the downtown Las Vegas has different rules than the Strip when it comes to public drinking and open containers since the downtown area is, in fact, part of Las Vegas city proper.
It is legal to have an open container of alcohol while walking on the Strip so long as the alcohol is not in a glass container. This law was issued in 2014, after the Clark County Board of Commissioners issued a new law that prohibited people from carrying drinks in glass containers while on the Strip.
This prohibition includes both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol that is in an aluminum container or plastic cup is completely fine, so long as the container is not made of glass.
The open container laws also dictate that the person has to be of legal drinking age to be consuming alcohol in the State of Nevada. Therefore, if a minor is out on the streets, drinking alcohol, he or she would be subject to criminal laws regarding minor consumption of alcohol.
The Strip’s open container laws also dictate that the meaning of “on the streets,” means people walking around the sidewalks and other public walkways. If someone is using public transportation or is driving, he or she cannot have an open container of alcohol.
This also means that someone who is getting a ride via an Uber, Lyft, or taxi cannot have an open container with him or her. This prohibition also includes Las Vegas city bus or the Las Vegas Monorail. If someone is in public transportation via a chartered service, such as a limo or party bus, open containers of alcohol are acceptable.
In addition, under Clark County ordinances, the consumption of alcohol is not allowed in any parking lot or on a liquor store’s property.
Public Behavior on the Strip
The fact that someone can have an open container of alcohol does not mean that the normal rules involving behavior in public do not apply.
Anytime someone is on the Strip, the police presence is definitely noticed. The police are there to ensure that no one is behaving as a public nuisance or acting disorderly, both of which can result in an arrest.
What this means is you can drink, but you need to drink responsibly.
Drinking on Fremont Street
Another popular Las Vegas attraction, Fremont Street, comes with its own set of rules with open containers. For someone who purchased a drink at a bar, restaurant or casino on Fremont Street that is in a plastic container, this is acceptable. However, people are not allowed to have an open container where the alcohol was not purchased somewhere within Fremont Street.
Also, drinks in glass containers or aluminum cans are not allowed on Fremont Street.
The purpose of these rules is to get patrons to purchase their drinks at one of the restaurants or bars within Fremont Street.
In the actual city of Las Vegas, open containers of alcohol are not permitted within 1,000 feet of a school, church or hospital. Just as on the Strip, open containers are also not allowed on liquor store property within Las Vegas city.
Be aware of where the alcohol is being consumed and try to use judgment when drinking in a public location. Unless the alcohol is being consumed while someone is walking from casino to casino on the Strip, it may not always be so obvious as to what is allowed and what is not allowed.
Contact Us Today!
If you have been arrested for a DUI while visiting Nevada, it is important you contact the Hill Firm today. We can meet with you to discuss your rights and all potential legal consequences from your arrest. Contact us today at (702) 848-5000 for a free consultation.