Las Vegas "Pool Party" Arrests


Las Vegas adult-only pool parties are hotbeds for arrests by overzealous bouncers and police. Five offenses that patrons are commonly charged with are:

  1. Drug possession (NRS 453.336)
  2. Battery (NRS 200.481)
  3. Indecent exposure (NRS 201.220)
  4. Open or gross lewdness (NRS 201.210)
  5. Breach of peace (NRS 203.010)

Public intoxication is not a crime in Nevada except on federal land.

In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about Nevada pool party arrests.

women in bikinis
Pool parties are the site of many arrests and citations for drug-, sex-, and violent offenses.

1. Are staff allowed to detain and search me at a Vegas pool party?

Pool party staff and casino security guards are not police officers. Therefore, they are not required to abide by the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. But staff are not allowed to violate people's civil rights, either.

Even though staff are not police, they can make a citizen's arrest if:

  • They witness the suspect committing a misdemeanor; or
  • They reasonably believe the suspect committed a felony

The staff must use no more force than necessary to arrest and detain the suspect until Las Vegas Metro Police arrive. If the staff believe the suspect is dangerous, they could probably search the suspect and seize any weapons.

If the staff overstep their bounds, the suspect can file civil and/or criminal charges against them. The suspect could even sue the establishment as well.

2. What crimes are people commonly arrested for at pool parties?

2.1. Drug possession (NRS 453.336)

Some pool party patrons let loose not only by drinking but also by using controlled substances. Security is on constant lookout for narcotics, such as cocaine, ecstasy, and methamphetamine.

A first-time drug possession conviction is a category E felony. It carries:

A first-time offense is often probationable. But if the drug was marijuana, a first-time offense is usually a misdemeanor. This carries a $600 fine.

2.2. Battery (NRS 200.481)

It is not uncommon for fistfights to break out at pool parties. People are inebriated and short-tempered from the hot temperatures.

As long as there are no weapons or substantial bodily harm, battery is just a misdemeanor. The penalty is:

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

Otherwise, battery is prosecuted as a felony.

fist
Pool party patrons who get into physical altercations risk battery charges.

2.3. Indecent Exposure (NRS 201.220)

Nevada law prohibits people from exposing their -- or other people's -- genitalia or anus. Examples include flashers, exhibitionists, or pulling off the clothes of someone else in public.

According to the Nevada Supreme Court, NRS 201.220 does not prohibit going topless. But some venues require bikini tops. 

A first-time conviction of indecent exposure is a gross misdemeanor, carrying:

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

Defendants are also required to register as sex offenders.

2.4. Open or gross lewdness (NRS 201.210)

Open or gross lewdness is a broad crime. It comprises either of the following actions:

  • Nonconsensual sex acts not amounting to rape: An example is groping another patron against their will.
  • Sex acts done in public: An example is a couple having sex in their cabana, which other patrons can see into.

A first-time conviction is a gross misdemeanor, carrying:

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

Defendants are also required to register as sex offenders.

2.5. Breaching the peace (NRS 203.010)

Also called disorderly conduct, breach of peace is a catch-all offense. It comprises any deliberate noisy or disruptive behavior. Examples include:

  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, blocking other patrons from moving freely.

Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor, carrying:

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

3. Where do police take people who have been arrested?

It depends on the alleged crime.

For trespass or disorderly conduct, the police probably will not take the suspects anywhere. They will likely just issue a citation with a fine. Then the suspects will be ordered to vacate the premises.

But for drug-, sex-, or violent crimes, the suspects are transported to the Clark County Detention Center for booking. In most cases, they can be released on bail.

4. What are common defenses?

The best way to fight criminal charges turns on the specific offense:

Las Vegas pool party crimes

Common defenses

Drug possession

Battery

Indecent exposure

  • The police arrested the wrong person (misidentification)
  • The exposure was accidental
  • No exposure occurred

Open or gross lewdness

  • The police arrested the wrong person (misidentification)
  • The defendant was falsely accused
  • Any touching that occurred does not qualify as lewdness

Disorderly conduct

  • The incident was an accident
  • The defendant was falsely accused

Prosecutors often rely on surveillance video as evidence. But the video may be grainy and unclear -- especially at night.

Furthermore, eyewitnesses frequently have conflicting memories of what happened. This is especially true if they were drinking.

The prosecution bears the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they cannot meet this burden, the charge may be dismissed.

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5. Do I need a lawyer?

Anyone charged with a crime is advised to hire private counsel. The stakes are too high.

Not only do defendants risk incarceration and high fines. A criminal record could cause them to lose their job. And future employers may disqualify them right away.

A skilled lawyer knows to scrutinize the state's case for weaknesses and holes. And prosecutors are more likely to dismiss or reduce charges if the defendant has a skilled attorney.

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 will fight for the best resolution possible in your case.

Also see our article on nightclub crimes.

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