NRS 203.060 is the Nevada law that prohibits unlawful assembly. This occurs is when two or more people gather together with the intent to commit a crime even if the crime never gets committed. Prosecuted as a misdemeanor, unlawful assembly carries penalties of up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
NRS 203.060 states that “If two or more persons shall assemble together to do an unlawful act, and separate without doing or advancing toward it, such persons commit an unlawful assembly, and are guilty of a misdemeanor.”
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
1. What is the Nevada crime of “unlawful assembly”?
The legal definition of unlawful assembly in Nevada is people gathering for the purpose of breaking the law but then disassembling without having committed the intended crime.1 An example is protesters congregating at the Las Vegas Mayor’s Office intending to vandalize it but leaving without having done so because they spotted law enforcement officers watching them.
Note that unlawful assembly is slightly different from routing (NRS 203.070). A rout involves two or more people gathering for an unlawful purpose – and then making advances towards breaking the law – but not ultimately doing anything illegal. The protestors in the above example would be guilty of routing if they had taken out their spray cans and poised them over the walls but stopped short of actually defacing the property when they see peace officers coming after them.
Typical evidence that prosecutors may try to admit in these types of cases includes eyewitnesses, surveillance recordings, and email and phone communications of the alleged participants.
2. What penalties does NRS 203.060 carry?
The Nevada crime of unlawful assembly is a misdemeanor. The sentence under state law is:
- Up to 6 months in county jail, and/or
- Up to $1,000 in fines2
If it is the defendant’s first offense, judges are usually open to dismissing the charge as long as the defendant pays a fine or performs community service.
Note that a conviction should not affect the person’s driver’s license or privileges to drive a motor vehicle.
3. What are the best defenses?
Prosecutors rarely press charges for unlawful assembling in Nevada because it is difficult for them to prove that the participants meant to commit a crime. But whenever the D.A. does levy unlawful assembly allegations, a defense attorney may consider using one of the following two defenses:
- No Assembly: The law only applies when two or more people assemble together to commit a crime. If a defense attorney can show that only one person had any such intent, then unlawful assembling charges cannot stand.
- No intent to commit a crime: It is perfectly legal in Nevada and throughout the United States for people to assemble in various public and private places as long as the people do not intend to break the law. So if a defense attorney can make a convincing argument that the defendants assembled for lawful purposes only, then they should not be held liable for unlawful assembly.
4. Is the offense deportable?
No. Immigrant defendants should not be deported for a violation of NRS 203.060 in the state of Nevada.
5. What is the criminal record seal wait time?
Convictions for unlawfully assembling in Nevada are sealable one (1) year after the case closes. And dismissed charges can be sealed right away.3
6. Related offenses
6.1. Disturbing meeting
Disturbing a meeting (NRS 203.090) is disrupting a lawfully assembled gathering, such as a city council meeting or a campaign event. It does not matter whether the gathering is on private property or in a public building / public place. This offense is a misdemeanor punished by up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
6.2. Disturbing a religious meeting
Disturbing a religious meeting (NRS 201.270) is disrupting a religious gathering, such as a church service. It is a misdemeanor punished by up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
6.3. Breach of peace
Breach of the peace (NRS 203.030) is a catch-all offense for crimes against the public peace. Also called disorderly conduct, the commission of breach of peace is a misdemeanor punished by up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Trespassing (NRS 207.200) is refusing to leave a location after having been asked to do so by the owner (or person with authority over the property). It is a misdemeanor punished by up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Las Vegas Municipal Code 10.74.010 makes it a misdemeanor to loiter on private property without permission from the owner or occupant. The penalty is up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
6.6. Being under the influence
Being under the influence of a controlled substance (NRS 453.411) is a crime, even if the person is no longer in possession of the drugs. The penalty is up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
6.7. Public nuisance
It is a public nuisance (NRS 202.470) to do anything that threatens public health or public safety. The penalty is up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
In California? See our article on unlawful assembly (Penal Code 407 & 408 PC).