Reckless driving laws in Las Vegas, Nevada, make it a crime "for a person to drive a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property." Drivers may find themselves charged with this offense for allegedly doing the following:
- driving significantly over the speed limit,
- running red lights,
- hitting medians and shoulders while driving, or
- disregarding an officer's order to stop their car.
An alleged violation of reckless driving laws in Las Vegas is just misdemeanor as long as the incident does not cause death or substantial physical harm. Otherwise, it's considered a felony crime.
Penalties for Reckless Driving (NRS 484B.653)
The punishment for reckless driving in Nevada includes eight (8) demerit points being added to your drivers' license as well as possible fines and incarceration. How much and how long depend on whether the incident caused death or substantial bodily harm:
Misdemeanor Reckless Driving
Misdemeanor reckless driving charges are brought in cases where no death or injury resulted. It carries a punishment of up to six months in jail and/or the following fines:
- for a first offense, $250 to $1,000,
- for a second offense, $1,000 to $1,500, or
- for a third offense, $1,500 to $2,000.
Felony Reckless Driving
A driver may be charged with felony reckless driving in Nevada if prosecutors believe that the driver's alleged recklessness was the "proximate cause" of the death or substantial bodily harm of someone else. It's a category B felony carrying penalties of:
- one to six years in prison, and
- $2,000 to $5,000 in fines.
If a driver suspected of "reckless driving causing death" in Nevada allegedly disregards an officer's order to stop or tries to evade the officer, the driver can be charged with a category B felony of two to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. (NRS 484B.550)
Work Zones & Drag Racing
Reckless driving penalties in Nevada can be as much as doubled if the incident allegedly occurred in a work zone. (NRS 484B.130) And if the charge was for an unauthorized speeding contest on a public highway in Las Vegas, the judge will also impose community service and license suspension of six months to two years and may order that the car be impounded.
Defenses to Reckless Driving
The legal definition of reckless driving in Las Vegas is very subjective, so a defense attorney would try to get the case dismissed by arguing that the person's driving did not rise to the level of recklessness. Since these incidents often have no witnesses, a Nevada prosecutor may simply lack sufficient evidence to prove this charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
In felony cases of driving recklessly in Las Vegas, a defense attorney would attempt to get the charges dismissed by showing the following:
- the driver was not acting recklessly, and/or
- any reckless driving that may have occurred was not the cause of the death or injury.
By meticulously investigating the evidence and conducting accident reconstruction, a defense attorney may be able to cast enough doubt on the prosecutors' case to persuade them to throw out the felony charges. Or if the attorney can show that the person's driving wasn't "reckless" but rather "negligent," the prosecutor may then agree to reduce the charges to "vehicular manslaughter" which is only a misdemeanor in Nevada.
Reckless Driving as a plea to DUI
If you're arrested for driving under the influence in Las Vegas and the prosecutors refuse to dismiss the case, your attorney may be able to persuade them to reduce the DUI charge down to reckless driving. You may still have to complete standard Nevada DUI penalties (such as a victim impact panel and DUI School), but the benefits of pleading to reckless driving are twofold:
- Once you complete the sentence, your criminal record will show only a Nevada reckless driving charge and not a DUI. Potential employers in Las Vegas are a lot less likely to disqualify you for driving recklessly than for DUI, which has a greater social stigma.
- Plea bargaining a DUI charge down to reckless driving will not count as a prior DUI conviction if you're ever arrested in the future for driving under the influence. So as long as your first drunk driving case gets pled down, your second drunk driving case will be charged as only your first and you'll escape the harsh Nevada DUI penalties of having subsequent convictions.
The main drawback to pleading to reckless driving in Nevada is that it adds 8 demerit points to your drivers license. Pleading to a DUI may cause your license to be suspended for several months in Las Vegas, but afterwards you have no demerit points.
For more on how to reduce a DUI to reckless driving in Nevada, see our article on how to reduce a DUI to reckless driving in Nevada.
Call us for help . . . .
Have you been arrested for reckless driving in Nevada? Then call our Las Vegas DUI defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation on how we can try to get your charges reduced or dismissed. And if you're an immigrant or non-citizen, our primary goal will be to try to keep your resident status intact.