There are Some Strange Laws … in Nevada

crazy nevada laws
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I lived in Las Vegas (okay, Henderson right next door) for a few years when I worked at Lionel Sawyer, a big law firm. I did a lot of legal research at the firm, but not once did any of these strange laws every pop up in my projects.

These laws are still on the books in Las Vegas, Reno, or in the state statutes, so be aware.



May is “Prehistoric Camel Awareness Month”

In New Jersey, May is Kindness Awareness Month. So, do people run around asking each other, “Did you know that kindness is a good thing?”


May in Nevada is much more down-to-earth, like way down. Like excavation down deep. It’s Archeological Awareness and Historic Preservation Month. The governor calls upon state and local officers, private nonprofit groups and foundations, schools, businesses, and other public and private entities (okay, everybody) to help preserve “the irreplaceable historic, archeological and cultural resources of this State…”


Dram Shop Experts

NRS § 236.075 specifically names Tule Springs in southern Nevada as an area “well known in the scientific community as one of the best Pleistocene paleontologic sites in the western United States” Well, I didn’t know. Tule Springs has fossil remains of several extinct animals, including ground sloths, mammoths, prehistoric horses, and American camels. Camels?

And for all the paleontologists feeling a bit envious of those grimy archeologists… Not to worry. Paleontological Awareness Month is a month earlier in April [NRS § 236.085].

The Age of Consent in Sin City? It Depends on Whether You’re Human, a Cat, or a Dog

For dogs and cats, an adult is any animal over four months old [City of Las Vegas Municipal Code §§ 7.04.130 (cat) and 7.04.220 (dog)].

If you’re reading this, you’re either a really smart cat or human. Dogs, of course, cannot read. If you’re human, know that NRS § 200.364 stipulates that 16 is the age of consent to have sex in the state. However, Nevada has what is called “a Romeo and Juliet exception.” In Nevada, if you’re 18 years old, the law doesn’t make it illegal to have sex with a juvenile provided he or she isn’t four years younger than you [Getting creepy].


Computer Forensics

The “Romeo and Juliet exception” is taken from the great English jurist Bill Shakespeare and his story of young lovers, Romeo and Juliet. The caveat is designed to prevent serious criminal charges to be brought against teenagers who engage in consensual sex with others close to their own age.

As Bill said, “Don’t waste your love on somebody who doesn’t value it.”

No Cussin’ in Vegas, Please

City of Las Vegas Municipal Code § 10.40.030 says “[t]he use of profane, vile or obscene language or words upon the public streets, alleys, or highway of the City is prohibited.”

I doubt the LVMPD (Las Vegas Metro Police Department) is devoting many resources to enforcing this ordinance. Although, an NBC drama about a rag-tag group of undercover cops searching for cursers and swearers and bringing them to justice by washing their mouths out with soap might be entertaining.

“Watch The Damn Squad on Wednesdays at 8PM this fall on NBC.”

Perhaps Potty Mouth Patrol?

Maybe LVMPD Blue?

Leave Your Skateboard and Shopping Cart at Home When Visiting Fremont Street

The Fremont Street Mall is loads of fun in the evening with its carnival-like atmosphere and spectacular light show. However, City of Las Vegas Municipal Code § 11.68.100 prohibits the use of “unicycles, bicycles and other types of cycles, skateboards, roller skates, in-line skates, hula hoops larger than four feet in diameter, and shopping carts.”

Note that your 3½-foot hula hoop is permissible, just not anything more than four feet in diameter. Not like you could hula a hoop that big anyway. Seriously.

Speed Traps in Reno Likely for Horse-Drawn Carriages

Thinking about a drag race on Friday night with your stagecoach, buckboard, buggy, or droshky (a Russian or Polish carriage) in Reno? No can do.

Reno Municipal Code § 6.06.360(e) states that horses must be driven at a walk at all times unless clearing an intersection, when a trot is authorized. Under no circumstances—none whatsoever—may a horse be driven at a canter or gallop.

A Chair in Virginia Street in Reno is Forbidden

Reno Municipal Code § 8.12.045 says you can’t place or maintain any chair, bench or permanent seat on any street, alley or sidewalk, without first obtaining written permission from the city council. So, ask the city council if its OK prior to plopping down in the middle of Lake Street with your Barcalounger.

No Resting in a Doorway in The Biggest Little City in the World

They’re tough in Reno. I guess they want you standing up and gambling because Reno Municipal Code § 8.12.012(a) prohibits sitting or lying down in the entrance to a building if that entrance is posted with a sign prohibiting such conduct.

The good news is that there’s an exception for a medical emergency. So when you hit the jackpot and faint, you permitted to lie down. Fainting while remaining upright is tough to do.

Just Say “No” to Shopping Carts

Reno is tough in crime. They have a law that cracks down on the illegal possession of a shopping cart. Also, intent to distribute a shopping cart over which a criminal has actual or constructive possession is also prohibited.

Sure, it’s easy to crack a smile, but shopping carts are just a gateway to more significant conveyance vehicles, like hand trucks all the way until we’re talking heavy equipment like backhoe loaders, skid steer loaders, and dozer loaders.

No joke! Reno Municipal Code § 8.10.055(d) makes it unlawful to:

  • Wrongfully remove a shopping cart from the owner’s premises;
  • Wrongfully possess a shopping cart that’s been removed from the owner’s premises;
  • Possess a shopping cart with the serial numbers removed, obliterated or altered with the intent to deprive the owner of its possession either temporarily or permanently;
  • Leave or abandon a shopping cart at a location other than the owner’s premises with the intent to deprive the owner of its possession either temporarily or permanently;
  • Alter, convert, or tamper with a shopping cart; or
  • Remove, obliterate, or a shopping cart’s serial numbers (shopping carts have serial numbers??).

Remember what happens in Nevada, stays in Nevada. Just like those shopping carts.

Kurt Mattson

Kurt R. Mattson is the President of Union Legal Research. His company provides law firms with legal research and pleading drafting, along with blogging and market research.

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