Littering in Nevada is typically a misdemeanor offense that gets punished only by fines. That said, judges also have the discretion to impose jail and community service.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
1. What are Nevada’s littering laws?
It is illegal in Nevada to deposit garbage on public or private property. Property owners are required to store their rubbish in designated receptacles to be regularly collected.1
Example: Kyle has a housewarming party at his Henderson house, and guests leave used plates and cups out on his front lawn. That night neighbors complain to law enforcement, who drive by to cite Kyle for littering.
Here, it does not matter that Kyle planned to clean up the next day. As a property owner, Kyle has the legal responsibility to keep the premises clear of rubbish.
You could also face charges for a public nuisance if the garbage compromises others’ safety, health, or comfort.2
Example: While Max is fixing his car at his North Las Vegas home, he leaves discarded motor vehicle parts on the lawn. Wind blows them onto neighbors’ lawns, and parents are afraid their kids will hurt themselves on the parts.
Here, a peace officer would probably cite Max for a nuisance rather than merely littering because the construction materials pose a hazard to public health.
2. What are the defenses?
Based on our experience fighting littering charges, our criminal defense lawyers could argue that:
- You were not the one who littered, and the police mistakenly identified you as the culprit;
- Someone else falsely accused you of littering; or
- Nothing you did rose to the level of littering.
We can often get these citations dismissed in exchange for you paying a small fine.
3. What are the penalties?
General littering laws are legislated not by state statutes but rather by individual city or county ordinances. However, they are all nearly identical and impose generally the same penalties.
For example, the Las Vegas Municipal Code makes littering a misdemeanor carrying a sentence of:
- $50 to $500 dollars, and/or
- 30 days to 6 months in jail.3
Some state laws prohibit specific types of littering:
Nevada littering crime
|Depositing dirt, rubbish, or dead animals on or within 1,000 feet of a public highway||Misdemeanor: |
|Throwing burning cigarettes, cigars, ash, or other fire-causing material from a moving vehicle||Misdemeanor: |
|Depositing offals of dead animals into any lake, creek or river||Gross misdemeanor |
|Illegal dumping of hazardous waste such as: ||Each conviction carries 10 hours of community service including cleaning of the dump site. The court may also impose civil penalties. |
A first offense in two years is a misdemeanor, carrying up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000.
A second offense in two years is a gross misdemeanor, carrying 14 to 364 days in jail and up to $2,000.
A third/subsequent offense in two years is a gross misdemeanor, carrying 364 days in jail and up to $2,000.7
See our related article on going to the bathroom in public.
Cited for littering garbage or hazardous materials? Contact our Las Vegas, NV and Reno law firm for legal advice. We practice throughout the state of Nevada, including Clark County, Washoe County, and Carson City.
Learn more at the Nevada Department of Environment Protection, Solid Waste Management and the Southern Nevada Health District.
For cases in California, please see our page on Penal Code 374.3 PC.