Nevada "Sodomy" Laws (NRS 201.190 & NRS 201.195)
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

Nevada repealed its anti-sodomy legislation several years ago, but some offshoots of the law still remain for the purpose of preventing public sexual displays and protecting children.  If you're convicted, you face several years in prison, hefty fines, and a sullied criminal record that could keep you from being hired for a job.

Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience in defending clients charged with sex offenses and negotiating favorable resolutions including reduced charges and full dismissals.  Keep reading to learn more about the current state of Nevada's sodomy laws and how we can help your case.

Definition

Formerly in Nevada, the legal definition of "sodomy" referred to almost any sex act involving penetration that was not vaginal intercourse.  This means that before Nevada's sodomy law was repealed in 1993, you technically could've been arrested and imprisoned for engaging in either anal intercourse or oral sex irrespective of your gender.

Currently it is perfectly legal in Nevada for consenting adults to engage in oral sex and anal sex.  Now all that remains of the state's former anti-sodomy legislation are the following laws which are meant to protect public decency and children:

  • It is illegal to perform oral or anal sex in public (NRS 201.190), and
  • It is illegal to solicit a minor to engage in "the infamous crimes against nature," which means "anal intercourse, cunnilingus or fellatio between natural persons of the same sex. Any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the infamous crime against nature." (NRS 201.195)

These laws are strangely narrow because they do not prohibit having vaginal sex in public or soliciting a minor to engage in opposite-sex sexual activity.  However, there are other charges the state may bring such as "open and gross lewdness in Nevada" and "statutory sexual seduction in Clark County" to prosecute those other crimes.

Defenses

As with the Nevada crime of sexual assault, typical defenses for these kinds of charges include false allegations and insufficient evidence.  As long as the prosecution can't prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high standard, then your case should be dismissed.

Penalties

It is a category D felony in Nevada for an adult to have anal or oral sex in public.  The standard sentence under NRS 201.190 includes:

The punishment for soliciting a minor in Nevada to engage in same-sex oral or anal sex ("the infamous crimes against nature" under NRS 201.195) depends on whether the child actually engaged in these acts:

  • If the victim engaged in the sex acts, it's a category A felony in Nevada carrying a life sentence.  The possibility of parole begins after either five years (if the victim was fourteen or older) or ten years (if the victim was less than fourteen).
  • But if the victim did not engage in the sex acts, a first offense is only a gross misdemeanor in Nevada carrying up to $2,000 in fines and/or up to 364 days in jail.  Subsequent offenses however are category A felonies carrying a life sentence with a possibility of parole after five years.
Charged?  Call us . . . .

If after reading this you need more information or would like to talk to us about defending your case, call our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation today.  We may be able to negotiate with the prosecutors to lower your charges or even dismiss them outright so your record stays clean.

In addition, you may also find helpful information in our related articles on Open and Gross Lewdness in Nevada; Statutory Sexual Seduction in Clark County; Nevada Crime of Sexual Assault; and California Sodomy Laws.

  • If you'd like to read about sodomy laws in California, then visit our information page on California sodomy laws.

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