Is it Legal to Hitchhike in Nevada?

It is debatable as to whether or not hitchhiking is legal in Nevada. In fact, the questionability of the issue even applies if you are not standing on the side of a highway or road trying to catch a ride. Specifically, walking on Nevada’s interstate highways is legal, but only if there are no sidewalks nearby that can be used to walk and if the person is walking in the direction that is facing traffic. Because Nevada law enforcement has the authority to interpret the law, it is not suggested that anyone hold his or her thumb out and try to hitchhike in front of vehicles that may belong to police or state troopers. These law enforcement officials may arrest you or issue a citation, based on their interpretation of state law.

Soliciting a Ride

Under Nevada Revised Statutes 484B.297, individuals are prohibited from soliciting a ride or soliciting any business from any driver or occupant of a vehicle. Unless the individual has obtained a permit issued under state law, he or she also may not solicit any contribution from a passenger or driver of the vehicle. Notably, pedestrians that are walking along the highway, where no sidewalk is available, must walk on the left side of the highway and walk facing approaching traffic.

A Highway Defined

Under Nevada law, a highway includes the entire width between the boundary lines of every roadway that is dedicated to a public authority. The highway must be open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicle traffic whether or not it is actually maintained by the public authority. As a result of this definition of a highway, a law enforcement officer can interpret solicitation of a ride within the boundary lines of any highway, even if you are 10 feet off of the side of the actual road. Reports from the public on social media have noted individuals receiving citations for hitchhiking while standing on the dirt off of the side of the road. Pedestrians are typically allowed on most major four lane highways.

Las Vegas Law

Las Vegas prohibits solicitation from the roadway. This prohibition applies to soliciting a ride, soliciting employment, or soliciting business from the occupant of any vehicle. Las Vegas also defines what roadway means. The city ordinance notes that a roadway includes the portion of a street that is ordinarily used, or improved or designed, for vehicular travel. It is important to understand the language used when discussing hitchhiking or solicitation so that you can determine whether or not you are breaking the law.

Hire a Nevada Attorney

Simply put, both Nevada state law and the city law in Las Vegas do not expressly outright ban hitchhiking. That being said, the ways in which the laws are written by both of these governmental authorities give local and state law enforcement the discretion to interpret hitchhiking as a violation of these laws. In fact, many people have been ticketed along the highways throughout the state of Nevada for hitchhiking.

If you or someone you know has questions about Nevada’s hitchhiking laws or has any other legal questions that need to be answered, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Parry & Pfau today. These skilled lawyers have years of experience representing clients across the state of Nevada. They can explain your rights and obligations under all applicable laws pertaining to your case. Click here today to speak to an attorney.

(image courtesy of Jacob Ufkes)