Las Vegas "Pool Party" Arrests
Explained by Nevada Criminal Defense Attorneys

Las Vegas is world-famous to tourists for its elaborate swimming pools and adult-only pool parties. But these pools are also the site of many arrests that may result in time at Nevada State Prison. Five of the most common pool party crimes that patrons are busted for are:

  1. Nevada Drug offenses
  2. The Nevada offense of Battery
  3. The Nevada offense of Indecent Exposure
  4. The Nevada offense of Open or Gross Lewdness
  5. The Nevada offense of Breaching the Peace

Sometimes party-goers get inebriated and do not make the best decisions. Other patrons are completely law-abiding but get wrongly arrested by over-zealous security officers. Often these pool areas are under video surveillance, which may serve as evidence in Las Vegas pool crime cases.

In this article our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss the definition, defenses, and penalties for Nevada pool party crimes. Scroll down to learn more. (And for information about Nevada nightclub crimes, go to our article on Nevada nightclub crimes.)

Pool Party Arrests in Las Vegas

Every major Las Vegas casino as well as some gentlemen's clubs have at pool. Many are open to all ages during the day but become adult-only hotspots at night. Select venues have restricted pool areas meant only for patrons ages 21 and older because alcohol is served. Some of the more popular Las Vegas pools include:

As with bars and nightclubs, Las Vegas pools are hotbeds for alleged criminal activity. The nature of adult pools lends itself to such behaviors as drug use or drug deals, physical altercations, indecent exposure, lewdness, and breaching the peace. Note that drunk in public in Nevada is not a crime except on federal land.

Drug arrests at Las Vegas pool parties

It is common for pool party patrons not only to drink but also to use illegal drugs such as pot, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and methamphetamine. Consequently, many narcotics sales take place at pool parties as well. Casino security guards are always on the lookout for illegal drug activity.1

Depending on the circumstances, three common defenses to Nevada charges involving controlled substances are the following:

  1. The defendant had no idea the drugs were there. Perhaps the drugs belonged to another pool patron close by, or another pool patron planted the drugs among the defendant's things.
  2. The police entrapped the defendant to sell drugs when the defendant was not predisposed to do so. (Learn more in our article on Nevada entrapment laws.)
  3. The police performed an illegal search in Nevada to find the drugs, and the defendant is therefore eligible to have any evidence found from the illegal search thrown out.

Penalties for Nevada drug crimes depend on whether the charge was for simple possession, possession for sell, or selling:

Note that Nevada has different penalties for possessing or selling marijuana. Learn more about Nevada marijuana laws.

Battery arrests at Las Vegas pool parties

It is not uncommon for fights to break out at Las Vegas pool parties, where people are often drinking and short-tempered from the hot temperatures. People who engage in fist-fights at pool parties are vulnerable to prosecution for battery, which is defined as intentionally touching someone else in an unlawful or unwanted way.2 North Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse gives an example.

Example: Max is at the Wet Republic (MGM Grand) with his girlfriend, Sue. Max sees another guy, Adam, making eyes at Sue. Incensed, Max runs up to Adam and punches him. Adam punches back, and it turns into a full-on brawl. The security guard thought he saw Adam throw the first punch, and he detains Adam until the police arrive. Adam gets booked at the Clark County Detention Center for battery.

Adam's defense attorney in the above example would claim that Adam acted in accordance with self-defense in Nevada. The defense attorney would try to get witnesses to testify that Max started the fight and would try to find hotel surveillance video showing the altercation. If the defense attorney persuades the D.A. that Adam was just acting in self-defense, the D.A. can drop the battery charges against him and instead bring battery charges against Max.

Three other possible defenses to Nevada battery charges are:

  1. The physical touching was only an accident, and the defendant never meant to have contact with the victim.
  2. The "victim" consented to the battery, thereby making the physical contact lawful.
  3. The defendant was falsely accused of battery, perhaps out of anger, jealously, or a misunderstanding.

The punishment for battery turns on whether the defendant used a deadly weapon and whether the victim sustained serious injuries. Battery that involves no deadly weapon or substantial bodily harm is a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines.

Meanwhile, battery that involves no deadly weapon but that results in substantial bodily harm in Nevada is a category C felony carrying:

  • 1 to 5 years in prison, and
  • maybe $10,000 in fines

Furthermore, battery that involves a deadly weapon but no substantial bodily harm is a category B felony in Nevada, carrying:

  • 2 to 10 years in prison, and
  • maybe $10,000 in fines

Finally, battery that involves a deadly weapon and substantial bodily harm in Nevada is a category B felony, carrying:

  • 2 to 15 years in prison, and
  • maybe $10,000 in fines

Learn more in our article on Nevada penalties for battery. Note that for a first-time offense of misdemeanor battery, the prosecutor may be willing to reduce the charge to disorderly conduct or even to dismiss it in exchange for a fine and an anger management class.

Indecent Exposure arrests at Las Vegas pool parties

Nevada prohibits people from making "any open and indecent or obscene exposure of his/her person, or of another person."3 North Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Michael Becker illustrates how indecent exposure may happen at a Las Vegas pool party:

Example: Jill goes swimming at the The Pond at Green Valley Ranch. Afterwards, she retreats into her cabana and changes out of her swimsuit into her day clothes without first closing the cabana door. If caught, Jill could be booked at the Henderson Detention Center for indecent exposure for getting naked in a public place where others can see in.

In the above example, it does not matter whether anyone else actually saw Jill naked. She can still be convicted for indecent exposure in Nevada merely for exposing herself in a place where others could see her, such as through the open cabana flap.

Other examples of indecent exposure include flashers, exhibitionists, or someone pulling off the clothes of someone else in public. Note that there are some Las Vegas pools where women may legally go topless, at least during certain designated times.  These pools include:

Patrons should check with management about the pool rules prior to going topless. Some pools have rules where women may go without bikini tops as long as they wear pasties or even body paint.

The best defenses to Nevada indecent exposure charges depend on the facts of the case. In many cases, the prosecution simply has insufficient evidence to prove the charge. Unless there is video footage of the alleged event that is admissible as evidence, prosecutors often have nothing to go on except witness testimony.

The sentence for an indecent exposure conviction depends on whether the defendant has any prior convictions of indecent exposure. A first-offense of indecent exposure is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

A subsequent offense of indecent exposure is a category D felony in Nevada, carrying:

  • 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe up to $5,000 in fines

Note that people convicted of indecent exposure may also be required to register as sex offenders in Nevada.

Open or gross lewdness arrests at Las Vegas pool parties

Open or gross lewdness is a broad crime that is defined by either of the following actions:

  • nonconsensual sex acts not amounting to rape (no penetration); or
  • sex acts done in public (or in private where others can see)

Three examples of open or gross lewdness at a Las Vegas pool party include:

  1. A couple having sex in their cabana, which other patrons can see into.
  2. Groping a female patron over her bikini top against her will.
  3. A person grabbing another patron and rubbing his/her groin against the other person's thigh without his/her consent.

As with indecent exposure charges, the best defenses to open or gross lewdness charges depend on the circumstances of the case. If there is no surveillance video of the incident, the D.A. may be left with insufficient proof to sustain a conviction.

Also similar to indecent exposure charges, the punishment for open or gross lewdness turns on whether the defendant has a previous conviction. A first-offense of open or gross lewdness is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

A subsequent offense of open or gross lewdness is a category D felony, carrying:

  • 1 to 4 years in prison, and
  • maybe $5,000 in fines

Note that a defendant convicted of open or gross lewdness may also be required to register as a sex offender.4

Disorderly conduct arrests at Las Vegas pool parties

Disorderly conduct...also called "breach of peace"...is a catch-all offense that comprises any deliberate noisy or disruptive behavior.5 Three examples of breaching the peace at a Las Vegas pool party includes:

  1. Challenging another pool patron to a fight for taking his lounge chair.
  2. Incessantly screaming at a server for bringing the wrong drink.
  3. Lying drunk in front of the steps to the pool, thereby blocking other patrons from moving freely in and out of the water.

The main defense to Nevada breach of peace charges is that the defendant did not intentionally engage in disorderly conduct. Honest accidents that result in disruptive situations are not criminal.

Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

Note that judges typically impose only fines and no jail for breach of peace convictions. And for first-time offenses, prosecutors may be willing to dismiss the charge completely in exchange for a fine.

Arrested? Call an attorney...

If you are facing charges stemming from a "pool party arrest" in Nevada, contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation. We may be able to achieve a charge reduction or dismissal through negotiating with the prosecutor.

Legal References:

1NRS 453.336 Unlawful possession not for purpose of sale: Prohibition; penalties; exception.

1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 5, a person shall not knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance, unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a prescription or order of a physician, physician assistant licensed pursuant to chapter 630 or 633 of NRS, dentist, podiatric physician, optometrist, advanced practice registered nurse or veterinarian while acting in the course of his or her professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by the provisions of NRS 453.005 to 453.552, inclusive.

2. Except as otherwise provided in subsections 3 and 4 and in NRS 453.3363, and unless a greater penalty is provided in NRS 212.160, 453.3385, 453.339 or 453.3395, a person who violates this section shall be punished:

(a) For the first or second offense, if the controlled substance is listed in schedule I, II, III or IV, for a category E felony as provided in NRS 193.130.

(b) For a third or subsequent offense, if the controlled substance is listed in schedule I, II, III or IV, or if the offender has previously been convicted two or more times in the aggregate of any violation of the law of the United States or of any state, territory or district relating to a controlled substance, for a category D felony as provided in NRS 193.130, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $20,000.

(c) For the first offense, if the controlled substance is listed in schedule V, for a category E felony as provided in NRS 193.130.

(d) For a second or subsequent offense, if the controlled substance is listed in schedule V, for a category D felony as provided in NRS 193.130.

3. Unless a greater penalty is provided in NRS 212.160, 453.337 or 453.3385, a person who is convicted of the possession of flunitrazepam or gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or any substance for which flunitrazepam or gamma-hydroxybutyrate is an immediate precursor, is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years.       4. Unless a greater penalty is provided pursuant to NRS 212.160, a person who is convicted of the possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana:

(a) For the first offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be:

(1) Punished by a fine of not more than $600; or

(2) Examined by an approved facility for the treatment of abuse of drugs to determine whether the person is a drug addict and is likely to be rehabilitated through treatment and, if the examination reveals that the person is a drug addict and is likely to be rehabilitated through treatment, assigned to a program of treatment and rehabilitation pursuant to NRS 453.580.

(b) For the second offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be:

(1) Punished by a fine of not more than $1,000; or

(2) Assigned to a program of treatment and rehabilitation pursuant to NRS 453.580.

(c) For the third offense, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.140.

(d) For a fourth or subsequent offense, is guilty of a category E felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

5. It is not a violation of this section if a person possesses a trace amount of a controlled substance and that trace amount is in or on a hypodermic device obtained from a sterile hypodermic device program pursuant to NRS 439.985 to 439.994, inclusive.

NRS 453.337 Unlawful possession for sale of flunitrazepam, gamma-hydroxybutyrate and schedule I or II substances; penalties.

1. Except as otherwise authorized by the provisions of NRS 453.011 to 453.552, inclusive, it is unlawful for a person to possess for the purpose of sale flunitrazepam, gamma-hydroxybutyrate, any substance for which flunitrazepam or gamma-hydroxybutyrate is an immediate precursor or any controlled substance classified in schedule I or II.

2. Unless a greater penalty is provided in NRS 453.3385, 453.339 or 453.3395, a person who violates this section shall be punished:

(a) For the first offense, for a category D felony as provided in NRS 193.130.

(b) For a second offense, or if, in the case of a first conviction of violating this section, the offender has previously been convicted of a felony under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act or of an offense under the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district which, if committed in this State, would amount to a felony under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, for a category C felony as provided in NRS 193.130.

(c) For a third or subsequent offense, or if the offender has previously been convicted two or more times of a felony under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act or of any offense under the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district which, if committed in this State, would amount to a felony under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 3 years and a maximum term of not more than 15 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $20,000 for each offense.

3. The court shall not grant probation to or suspend the sentence of a person convicted of violating this section and punishable pursuant to paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection 2.

NRS 453.338 Unlawful possession for sale of substances classified in schedule III, IV or V; penalties.

1. Except as authorized by the provisions of NRS 453.011 to 453.552, inclusive, it is unlawful for a person to possess for the purpose of sale any controlled substance classified in schedule III, IV or V.

2. A person who violates this section shall be punished:

(a) For the first and second offense, for a category D felony as provided in NRS 193.130, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.

(b) For a third or subsequent offense, or if the offender has been previously convicted two or more times of a felony under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act or of any offense under the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district which, if committed in this State, would amount to a felony under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, for a category C felony as provided in NRS 193.130.

3. The court shall not grant probation to or suspend the sentence of a person convicted of violating this section and punishable under paragraph (b) of subsection 2.

6. As used in this section:

(a) “Controlled substance” includes flunitrazepam, gamma-hydroxybutyrate and each substance for which flunitrazepam or gamma-hydroxybutyrate is an immediate precursor.

(b) “Sterile hypodermic device program” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 439.943.

NRS 453.321 Offer, attempt or commission of unauthorized act relating to controlled or counterfeit substance unlawful; penalties; prohibition against probation or suspension of sentence for certain repeat offenders.

1. Except as authorized by the provisions of NRS 453.011 to 453.552, inclusive, it is unlawful for a person to:

(a) Import, transport, sell, exchange, barter, supply, prescribe, dispense, give away or administer a controlled or counterfeit substance;

(b) Manufacture or compound a counterfeit substance; or

(c) Offer or attempt to do any act set forth in paragraph (a) or (b).

2. Unless a greater penalty is provided in NRS 453.333 or 453.334, if a person violates subsection 1 and the controlled substance is classified in schedule I or II, the person is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished:

(a) For the first offense, by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $20,000.

(b) For a second offense, or if, in the case of a first conviction under this subsection, the offender has previously been convicted of an offense under this section or of any offense under the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district which, if committed in this State, would amount to an offense under this section, by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $20,000.

(c) For a third or subsequent offense, or if the offender has previously been convicted two or more times under this section or of any offense under the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district which, if committed in this State, would amount to an offense under this section, by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 3 years and a maximum term of not more than 15 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $20,000 for each offense.

3. The court shall not grant probation to or suspend the sentence of a person convicted under subsection 2 and punishable pursuant to paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection 2.

4. Unless a greater penalty is provided in NRS 453.333 or 453.334, if a person violates subsection 1, and the controlled substance is classified in schedule III, IV or V, the person shall be punished:

(a) For the first offense, for a category C felony as provided in NRS 193.130.

(b) For a second offense, or if, in the case of a first conviction of violating this subsection, the offender has previously been convicted of violating this section or of any offense under the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district which, if committed in this State, would amount to a violation of this section, for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $15,000.

(c) For a third or subsequent offense, or if the offender has previously been convicted two or more times of violating this section or of any offense under the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district which, if committed in this State, would amount to a violation of this section, for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 3 years and a maximum term of not more than 15 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $20,000 for each offense.

5. The court shall not grant probation to or suspend the sentence of a person convicted under subsection 4 and punishable pursuant to paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection 4.

2NRS 200.400 Definition; penalties.

1. As used in this section:

(a) “Battery” means any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.

(b) “Strangulation” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 200.481.

2. A person who is convicted of battery with the intent to commit mayhem, robbery or grand larceny is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.

3. A person who is convicted of battery with the intent to kill is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 20 years.

4. A person who is convicted of battery with the intent to commit sexual assault shall be punished:

(a) If the crime results in substantial bodily harm to the victim or is committed by strangulation, for a category A felony by imprisonment in the state prison:

(1) For life without the possibility of parole; or

(2) For life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 10 years has been served,

-> as determined by the verdict of the jury, or the judgment of the court if there is no jury.

(b) If the crime does not result in substantial bodily harm to the victim and the victim is 16 years of age or older, for a category A felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of life with the possibility of parole.

(c) If the crime does not result in substantial bodily harm to the victim and the victim is a child under the age of 16, for a category A felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 5 years and a maximum term of life with the possibility of parole.

-> In addition to any other penalty, a person convicted pursuant to this subsection may be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.

3NRS 201.220 Indecent or obscene exposure; penalty.

1. A person who makes any open and indecent or obscene exposure of his or her person, or of the person of another, is guilty:

(a) For the first offense, of a gross misdemeanor.

(b) For any subsequent offense, of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

2. For the purposes of this section, the breast feeding of a child by the mother of the child does not constitute an act of open and indecent or obscene exposure of her body.

4NRS 201.210 Open or gross lewdness; penalty.

1. A person who commits any act of open or gross lewdness is guilty:

(a) For the first offense, of a gross misdemeanor.

(b) For any subsequent offense, of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

2. For the purposes of this section, the breast feeding of a child by the mother of the child does not constitute an act of open or gross lewdness.

5NRS 203.010 Breach of peace.

Every person who shall maliciously and willfully disturb the peace or quiet of any neighborhood or person or family by loud or unusual noises, or by tumultuous and offensive conduct, threatening, traducing, quarreling, challenging to fight, or fighting, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

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