Nevada Revised Statute 207.030 makes it a misdemeanor to commit vagrancy, which comprises: lewd conduct in public; solicitation of prostitution; pimping or pandering; trying to enter a house to see what is inside; keeping a place for hiding lost/stolen property; loitering in public restrooms for unlawful purposes; and/or lodging somewhere without the owner’s permission.1
The criminal sentence for violating NRS 207.030 turns on the specific act:
|Nevada vagrancy offense||Misdemeanor penalties|
|Engaging in – or offering or agreeing to engage in – lewd or dissolute conduct in a public place or in a place open to the public view; or
Engaging in – or offering or agreeing to engage in – or aiding and abetting – prostitution; or
Being a pimp, panderer or procurer, or living in or about houses of prostitution (such as brothels)
First conviction in three years
Second conviction in three years
Third conviction in three years
|Trying to get into a house just to see what is inside; or
Keeping a place where you conceal lost or stolen property; or
Loitering at a public toilet to engage in or solicit any lewd, lascivious, or unlawful act; or
Lodging in any place 1) without the owner’s permission; or 2) where a notice of default and election to sell has been recorded; or 3) which has been placed on a registry of vacant, abandoned or foreclosed property by a local government
What if I commit more than one act of vagrancy?
If you get convicted of more than one act of vagrancy, then the multiple sentences must be served consecutively (one after the other).2
Example: Ella is convicted on two counts of vagrancy for soliciting prostitution and loitering at a public restroom to engage in prostitution. The judge orders her to five days in jail for each count. Since the sentences must be served consecutively, Ella would need to serve 10 days.
Note that you can also face additional criminal charges in addition to vagrancy depending on what you are arrested for. For example, if you are caught allegedly soliciting prostitution, you could potentially face charges for both vagrancy as well as solicitation.
Can I be forced to work if I am jailed for vagrancy?
Yes. If you are in jail for vagrancy but are physically capable of working, you can be required to work on the county’s buildings, grounds, or public works. Your boss will be either a:
- road supervisor,
- foreman, or
- other overseer or custodian.
While you are working, the sheriff (or their agent) may use reasonable and humane means to prevent you from escaping while you are working. After work, you will be returned to jail.
For every day you work “willingly and faithfully,” you will get two days of jail knocked off your sentence. This means if you work every day, your sentence can be reduced by half.3
Can I beg for money without being arrested?
NRS 207.030 allows local governments to pass ordinances which regulate where, when, and how you may lawfully beg or solicit alms from the public.4 Therefore check your local laws on details about when and where you can lawfully panhandle.
Can I sleep in public without being arrested?
Usually not, though the specific rules vary by locality. In Las Vegas, there is a specific ordinance that makes it a misdemeanor crime to sleep or camp on sidewalks or streets if space is available in a homeless shelter.5
- Nevada Revised Statute 207.030 – Prohibited acts; penalty.
1. It is unlawful to:
(a) Offer or agree to engage in or engage in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view;
(b) Offer or agree to engage in, engage in or aid and abet any act of prostitution;
(c) Be a pimp, panderer or procurer or live in or about houses of prostitution;
(d) Seek admission to a house upon frivolous pretexts for no other apparent motive than to see who may be therein, or to gain an insight of the premises;
(e) Keep a place where lost or stolen property is concealed;
(f) Loiter in or about any toilet open to the public for the purpose of engaging in or soliciting any lewd or lascivious or any unlawful act; or
(g) Lodge in any building, structure or place, whether public or private:
(1) Where a notice of default and election to sell has been recorded, unless the person is the owner, tenant or entitled to the possession or control thereof;
(2) Which has been placed on a registry of vacant, abandoned or foreclosed property by a local government, unless the person is the owner, tenant or entitled to the possession or control thereof; or
(3) Without the permission of the owner or person entitled to the possession or in control thereof.
2. A person who violates a provision of subsection 1 shall be punished:
(a) For the first violation of paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of subsection 1 and for each subsequent violation of the same paragraph occurring more than 3 years after the first violation, for a misdemeanor.
(b) For the second violation of paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of subsection 1 within 3 years after the first violation of the same paragraph, by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than 6 months and by a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $1,000.
(c) For the third or subsequent violation of paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of subsection 1 within 3 years after the first violation of the same paragraph, by imprisonment in the county jail for 6 months and by a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $1,000.
(d) For a violation of any provision of paragraphs (d) to (g), inclusive, of subsection 1, for a misdemeanor.
3. The terms of imprisonment prescribed by subsection 2 must be imposed to run consecutively.
4. A local government may enact an ordinance which regulates the time, place or manner in which a person or group of persons may beg or solicit alms in a public place or place open to the public.
- NRS 207.030.
- NRS 207.040. NRS 207.050. NRS 207.070.
- NRS 207.030. See, for example, Las Vegas Municipal Code 10.44.03.
- Las Vegas Municipal Code 10.86.010.