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Is Public Intoxication Illegal in Reno?

If you’re not from Nevada originally, you’re probably used to strict liquor laws. Bars in your home state probably have a state-mandated “closing time” and some stores might not even sell beer or hard liquor. You may have to go to an actual liquor store to buy a bottle of Merlot or Jack Daniels.

While the legal drinking age in Nevada is 21 and it’s against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs just like other states, most of Nevada’s other liquor laws differ from the rest of the country. Visitors in Reno may discover that Nevada’s alcohol-related laws are a lot more relaxed than most states.

Most notably, beer, wine and liquor can all be purchased at Nevada grocery stores. Liquor can be sold 24 hours a day, seven days a week by licensed establishments, and bars do not have to close by any specified time. They can be open all night.

What About Public Intoxication?

Many if not most states have laws outlawing public intoxication, but that’s not the case in Nevada. Under NRS 458.260, the act of public intoxication or being a “drunkard” is not a public offense and cannot be treated as such by any ordinance of a town, city, or county.

The above means that throughout Nevada, state law prohibits any city or county ordinances making public intoxication a public offense. However, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol – DUI is still highly frowned upon.

What you need to know about Nevada’s alcohol laws:

  1. Driving under the influence (DUI) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% is against the law; however, someone can still be convicted of DUI with a lower BAC.
  2. Minors cannot be in the area where liquor is sold, including casinos, bars, and hotels.
  3. Minors cannot enter bars and taverns where liquor is sold.
  4. It’s illegal for a minor to present a fake ID.
  5. It’s illegal for adults, including parents, to provide minors (under the age of 21) with alcohol.

Are you facing DUI or alcohol-related charges in Reno? If so, contact us at (775) 502-1575 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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