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Nevada Liquor Laws

What You Should Know About Drinking Alcoholic Beverages in Nevada

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Neon sign exhibit at the Nevada Historical Society, Reno, Nevada, NV

Neon sign exhibit at the Nevada Historical Society, Reno, Nevada.

Photo © Stan White

Nevada Liquor Laws Are Different

New arrivals in Reno will find that Nevada liquor laws are different than where they came from. Most notably, there are no legally mandated closure hours or days for establishments serving alcoholic drinks and there are no days or hours during which a store may not sell liquor. Alcohol can be purchased 24/7 from any licensed Nevada business whenever it is open and wants to be selling drinks and/or packaged liquor. Here the things you should know to steer clear of alcohol trouble in the Reno / Tahoe region.
  1. The legal age for drinking, purchasing, and possessing alcohol in Nevada is 21.

  2. It is illegal for parents or other adults to allow underage drinking or provide minors (under the age of 21) with alcohol.

  3. State law makes public intoxication legal and prohibits any county or city law from making it a public offense. There are exceptions if intoxication is an element in a civil or criminal offense, such as DUI. Being drunk is not a defense or excuse for any criminal act. The Sparks municipal code makes it illegal to provide alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated.

  4. Minors are not permitted to hang out in areas of a business where liquor is sold, served, or given away, unless the under age person is an employee and regulations related to such employment are adhered to. This includes hotels, casinos, and restaurants.

  5. Minors are barred from entering stand-alone saloons, taverns, and bars where the primary business is serving alcohol. IDs required.

  6. It is a misdemeanor to possess or use a fake ID showing the bearer to be 21 or older, not only for buying alcohol and entry into 21+ establishments, but also for any other purpose (like gambling) where proof of age is required. It is a gross misdemeanor to provide fake IDs to people under 21.

  7. The legal DUI limit for all Nevada drivers is .08 blood alcohol concentration or above. If a test shows a person under 21 stopped for suspicion of DUI has a blood alcohol concentration of more than .02 but less than .08, their license or driving permit must be suspended for 90 days.

Liquor At Lake Tahoe

On the California side of Lake Tahoe, alcohol laws are different. The legal age is still 21, but alcohol sales (bars, stores, etc.) are prohibited between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. You get the "Last call" notice from bartenders that doesn't happen in Nevada.

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