Can I Be Arrested for “Dine-and-Dash” in Las Vegas?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Feb 14, 2016 | 0 Comments


Whether it's called “dine-and-dash,” “eat-it-and-beat-it,” or simply walking out the door without paying for food or drinks, if you skip out on a restaurant check or bar tab in Las Vegas, you could be charged and convicted with a crime under Nevada law.

NRS 205.445 makes it unlawful for a person to:

  • obtain food, drinks, or merchandise at any eating house, restaurant, grocery store, market or dairy, without paying therefor, with the intent to defraud the proprietor or manager thereof;
  • obtain credit at an eating house, restaurant, grocery store, market or dairy by the use of any false pretense; or
  • after obtaining credit, food, drinks, or merchandise at an eating house, restaurant, grocery store, market or dairy, to abscond or surreptitiously, or by force, menace or threats, to remove any part of his or her baggage therefrom, without paying for the food, drinks, or merchandise.

In most dine-and-dash or bar tab situations, it is that first section that will come into play. In order for leaving without paying to be a crime, however, it must have been done “with the intent to defraud.”

The following will be taken as prima facie evidence of your “intent to defraud”:

  • proof that the food, drink, or merchandise were obtained by false pretense
  • proof that the person refused or willfully neglected to pay for the food, drink, or merchandise
  • proof that the person gave a bad credit card in payment
  • proof that the person absconded without paying or offering to pay

More than one overserved Las Vegas bar patron has left a watering hole without paying their tab (“absconding without paying or offering to pay”).  But if they left inadvertently or simply forgot to pay, and they ultimately do square themselves with the establishment, they can overcome the prima facie evidence of intent and avoid a conviction under NRS 205.445.

Where the bill or tab for the food, drink, or merchandise is $250 or more, it is a Nevada category D felony. For tabs less than $250, it will be charged as a Nevada misdemeanor.

If you have been charged with dining and dashing or skipping out on a bar tab in Las Vegas, please give one of our skilled Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys a call.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


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