Traffic tickets in Las Vegas may seem like minor matters, but a conviction can raise your insurance rates, cause your license to be suspended or revoked, and even be used against you in a civil lawsuit. And if you ignore or forget to address a Nevada traffic violation, a warrant will issue for your arrest.
In this article, our Las Vegas traffic ticket attorneys explain what you need to know about how the court system works.
Do I need a lawyer for Nevada traffic tickets?
It is highly recommended that you hire a local traffic ticket lawyer because prosecutors are much more willing to throw out your case or at least reduce your citation to something minor if you are represented by counsel. If you go it alone and simply plead guilty and pay the fine, the consequences can be very serious:
- A traffic conviction for a moving violation in Nevada will often raise your insurance rates.
- A traffic conviction for a moving violation in Las Vegas will usually add demerit points to your license. Your license may be suspended if you accrue twelve or more demerit points. And if you are a commercial driver, your commercial driver's license (CDL) may be suspended or revoked which would then devastate your ability to earn a living.
- If you have a traffic ticket stemming from a car accident with another party, pleading guilty to the citation may then be used against you in a civil lawsuit to prove that you acted negligently.
If you hire a good lawyer to take care of your Las Vegas traffic violation, you will not have to miss work to go to court. And it is possible your original citation will be dismissed or reduced to a minor non-moving violation that carries no Nevada DMV demerit points, license suspensions or long-term consequences.
What kinds of traffic tickets are there in Nevada?
There are three main types of Nevada traffic tickets. They are for:
- parking violations,
- non-moving violations, and
- moving violations
Most parking violations in Nevada are minor infractions. People often pick up these citations by allegedly doing the following:
- parking in a handicapped space in a Nevada (NRS 484B.467)
- parking in a metered space in Nevada without paying (NRS 484B.523)
- parking within 20 feet of a fire hydrant (NRS 484B.450)
Parking violations in Las Vegas usually carry no demerit points, and these cases often can be closed or dismissed in exchange for a fine.
Non-moving traffic violations in Nevada comprise offenses that do not have to do with the quality of your driving but, instead, whether you are legally allowed to drive. Common Las Vegas non-moving violations include:
- driving on a suspended license in Nevada (NRS 483.560)
- driving without a valid license in Nevada (NRS 480.230)
- driving with no proof of insurance in Nevada (NRS 485.185)
- driving with no proof of registration in Nevada (NRS 482.205)
- seat belt & child restraint violations in Nevada (NRS 484.641)
Most non-moving violations are misdemeanors in Nevada that prosecutors will agree to resolve for a fine and/or community service. However, convictions for misdemeanors in Nevada can potentially carry up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Like it sounds, moving violations in Nevada encompass a driver's illegal actions while the vehicle is in motion. These include such offenses as the following:
- speeding in Nevada (NRS 484B.600 - NRS 484B.633)
- making illegal U-turns in Nevada (NRS 484B.403)
- running a red light or stop sign in Nevada (NRS 484B.300)
- reckless driving in Nevada (NRS 484B.653)
- hit & run in Nevada (NRS 484E.010 - NRS 484E.030)
- driving on the wrong side of the road in Nevada (NRS 484B.200)
Most moving violations can be taken care of by paying only a fine. But because they are technically misdemeanors in Nevada, they carry maximum punishments of up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines that the judge may impose if you ignore the ticket or refuse to pay the fine.
Misdemeanor traffic violations also add Nevada DMV demerit points on your license. But an attorney can often get these tickets dismissed or reduced to a non-moving violation that carries lesser fines and no demerit points.
How does the Nevada Demerit Point System work?
The majority of Las Vegas moving violations have a demerit point value of one to eight. If you ever plead guilty to or get convicted of a Nevada traffic violation, the corresponding points will be added to your driving record. If you ever amass twelve or more points within a twelve-month timeframe, the Nevada DMV will suspend your license for six months.
Number of demerit points per violation
Most moving violations in Las Vegas carry demerit points. For example, the Nevada DMV adds one demerit point for each ten miles per hour over the speed limit that someone is allegedly driving. To see the official Nevada DMV point schedule, click here.
Most parking and non-moving violations have no demerit points. And the more serious traffic offenses such as Nevada DUI carry no demerit points either because their penalties instead call for the person's license to be suspended or revoked altogether.
Demerit points are not permanent
Although your past Nevada traffic convictions remain on your driving record and may cause your insurance rates to be increased, the actual demerit points you accrued for those convictions stay on your license for only one year before they are automatically erased. You can also remove three demerit points on your own by completing a traffic safety course as long as the course is not part of a plea deal with the court.
Read more about Nevada demerit points and traffic school at our informational article about the Nevada demerit point system.
If I ignore my Nevada traffic ticket, will I get a warrant?
Yes. When you are cited for a traffic violation in Nevada, the officer will give you a court date to appear before the judge and pay the fine. If you do not hire an attorney to appear on your behalf and you miss your court date, the judge will issue a Nevada bench warrant for your arrest.
it is very important that you hire a Las Vegas traffic ticket lawyer to handle your matter to avoid getting a bench warrant. But if you do get one, your attorney can usually have the warrant removed in as little as one day.
Read our informational article on how to quash Nevada bench warrants.
Do I have to go to court on a Nevada traffic ticket?
Not if you hire a lawyer to go for you. When you are cited for a Las Vegas traffic violation, the cop will assign you a court date on your citation slip. Once you hire an attorney to take care of the ticket, he/she will then appear for you in court on or before that date.
May I go to trial on a Nevada traffic ticket?
If you wish. Your attorney can call witnesses and present evidence just like in any other trial to try to show that you did not commit a Las Vegas traffic violation. But if your attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to have your ticket reduced to a minor non-moving violation, it is recommended you accept the offer instead of risking a guilty verdict at trial and having Nevada DMV demerit points
What if I pick up a traffic ticket in Nevada but I live in another state?
The best thing to do is to hire local Nevada counsel to handle your ticket. Las Vegas courts tend to be more willing to reduce traffic citations to parking or non-moving violations when you are represented by a lawyer. And once you have retained a lawyer, you will not have to come back to Nevada to resolve the case.
If you get a traffic ticket in Las Vegas and do not do anything about it, you risk having a warrant issued for your arrest in Nevada. And a conviction for a traffic violation here may cause Nevada DMV demerit points to be added to your out-of-state driver's license depending on your home state's laws.
What if I reside in Nevada and I pick up a traffic ticket in another state?
It is highly recommended that you hire a traffic ticket attorney in that state to attempt to get it thrown out or reduced to something more minor. Even though a traffic conviction in another state will not cause demerit points to be added to your Nevada license, it will become part of your driving record here.
To learn about California traffic offenses, go to our page on California traffic offenses.