At Las Vegas nightclubs, people are most commonly arrested for using or selling cocaine, ecstasy, GHB/Rohypnol, heroin, LSD, marijuana, methamphetamine, or other “party drugs.” Other actions that lead to nightclub arrests include groping or sexually assaulting the dancers or other patrons, exposing yourself, carrying prohibited weapons, fist-fighting with each other or security, or otherwise breaching the peace by being disruptive.
Here are four key things to know about getting arrested at a Las Vegas nightclub/gentlemen’s club:
- Despite their alcohol-fueled, consequence-free atmosphere, security guards routinely perform citizens’ arrests on patrons in the main room, restrooms or back rooms.
- Following a citizen’s arrest, security can detain you until police come to formally arrest you.
- Typical defenses to nightclub-related criminal charges are that you were entrapped, were falsely accused, or acted in self-defense.
- If criminal charges ensue, it may be possible to get them reduced or dismissed without you having to come back to Nevada for court at all.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What happens if I am arrested in a Las Vegas nightclub?
- 2. What are the worst-case and best-case scenarios?
- 3. How can I fight the charges?
- 4. Do I need an attorney?
- Further reading
1. What happens if I am arrested in a Las Vegas nightclub?
If nightclub security suspects you of illegal activity, they will take you aside and detain you until the police arrive. Depending on the nightclub’s location, law enforcement officers will then book you at the Clark County Detention Center or Las Vegas City Jail.
The most important thing to remember if you are being detained or arrested at a nightclub is to remain silent. Do not say anything to security or police because anything you say will be used against you.1
2. What are the worst-case and best-case scenarios?
It depends on the specific offense:
|Las Vegas nightclub offense||Nevada penalties
|Drug possession||Depending on the amount involved, courts may grant a deferral of judgment, meaning the court will dismiss the whole felony case if you complete various sentencing terms such as rehab or Drug Court.2|
|Drug selling or trafficking||Selling narcotics is always a felony carrying up to 5 years in prison, though the D.A. may agree to probation for a first-time offense. Trafficking carries a possible life sentence since it involves large quantities of drugs.3|
|Battery||This can range from a misdemeanor carrying a fine to a felony carrying prison depending on whether anyone was seriously hurt and if weapons were involved.4|
|Sexual assault||Rape is a category A felony carrying a potential life sentence, plus sex offender registration.5|
|Soliciting prostitution||This is a misdemeanor carrying up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Though a first-time offense may be dismissed if you pay a fine and take an online class.6|
|Open or gross lewdness||A first offense is a gross misdemeanor carrying up to 364 days in jail and/or $2,000 plus sex offender registration. The D.A. may agree to probation.7|
|Indecent exposure||Like open or gross lewdness, a first offense of indecent exposure is a gross misdemeanor carrying up to 364 days in jail and/or $2,000 plus sex offender registration. You may be able to get probation instead of prison.8|
|Carrying concealed weapons without a permit||This is a category C felony carrying up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. For a first-time offense, the D.A. may agree to probation.9|
|Disorderly conduct||This is a catch-all misdemeanor carrying up to 6 months in jail and/or $1,000. The D.A. may agree to dismiss the case in exchange for a fine.10|
3. How do I fight the charges?
There are various possible defenses to Las Vegas nightclub-related criminal charges. Depending on the case, you can argue that:
- You were acting in self-defense, and you were not the initial aggressor.
- The police entrapped you, which means they pressured you into committing a crime that you were not predisposed to.
- The incident was an accident, and you had no criminal intent.
- You did not know the drugs were there, and perhaps someone else planted them on you.
- The accuser consented to your sexual advances.
- The evidence is unreliable, such as grainy surveillance video or testimony by intoxicated patrons.
Another potential defense is that the police committed misconduct in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches and searches and government intrusions into your privacy.
In these cases, we can ask the judge to suppress (disregard) any evidence that the police unlawfully discovered through an illegal search or coerced confession. This may force the D.A. to drop the whole case for lack of proof.
4. Do I need an attorney?
If you are facing criminal charges stemming from a Las Vegas nightclub arrest, you would benefit from a Nevada criminal defense attorney for three reasons:
- Once you hire local counsel, you usually never have to come back to Las Vegas for court.
- Prosecutors are much more likely to offer good plea deals to you if you have private counsel fighting for you.
- Having an experienced attorney with access to the best investigators and expert witnesses maximizes the odds of getting a full dismissal or acquittal at trial.
Furthermore, our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers will do everything to manage your case so that it gets resolved as quickly and discreetly as possible.
See our related articles on:
- Many Las Vegas casinos have nightclubs on the premises that feature DJs and dancing until the early morning hours. Nightclubs typically serve alcohol and present exotic dancers, so only patrons ages 21 and older are allowed beyond the velvet ropes. A few notable Las Vegas clubs include:
Blue Martini (Town Square)
Cheri Rooftop (Paris)
Drai’s (The Cromwell)
Drop Bar (Green Valley Ranch)
Heart Bar (Planet Hollywood)
Foundation Room (Mandalay Bay)
Gilley’s (Treasure Island)
Marquee (The Cosmopolitan)
Vanity (Hard Rock Hotel)
VooDoo Lounge (Rio)
Zouk (Resorts World)
- NRS 453.336.
- NRS 453.321. NRS 453.3385.
- NRS 200.481. See also Barone v. State (1993) (defendant shot a nightclub bounder).
- NRS 200.366.
- NRS 201.354. See also Gordon v. Eighth Judicial District Court (Nev. 1996) 913 P.2d 240.
- NRS 201.210.
- NRS 201.220.
- NRS 202.350.
- NRS 202.030.