People issued traffic tickets in Las Vegas face not only fines and potentially jail but also higher car insurance rates and possible license suspensions in Nevada. Traffic convictions may be used against the drivers in future civil lawsuits. And if defendants ignore or forget to address their traffic citations, a bench warrant will issue for their arrest.
People cited for traffic violations in Nevada are strongly encouraged to retain a Las Vegas traffic ticket lawyer skilled in getting traffic charges dismissed or reduced to "non-moving violations" carrying no demerit points. And in most cases, defendants with legal representation never have to appear in court, which is extremely beneficial for people with day jobs or who live out of state.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about Las Vegas traffic tickets laws including fighting charges, driver's license issues, record seals, and immigration consequences in Nevada:
- 1. Are traffic tickets a crime in Las Vegas, NV?
- 2. Do traffic tickets show up on my record in Las Vegas, NV?
- 3. How do traffic tickets affect my insurance in Las Vegas, NV?
- 4. How do I fight traffic tickets in Las Vegas, NV?
- 5. Do traffic tickets put demerit points on my license in Las Vegas, NV?
- 6. Can traffic tickets affect my immigration status in Las Vegas, NV?
- 7. How do traffic tickets affect my commercial driver's license in Las Vegas, NV?
For more detailed information, see our Nevada traffic violation A-Z index.
Yes. Unlike California which treats traffic tickets as "infractions," Nevada prosecutes even the most minor traffic violations as misdemeanors. There are three main types of Nevada traffic tickets:
- parking violations,
- non-moving violations, and
- moving violations
1.1. Parking violations
Parking violations in Nevada are the most minor traffic violations. 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.
1.2. Non-moving violations
Non-moving traffic violations in Nevada comprise offenses that do not have to do with the quality of the person's driving; instead, they concern whether the driver is legally allowed to drive. Common 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 484D.495; NRS 484B.157)
Prosecutors usually agree to resolve these charges in exchange for a fine and/or community service. The judge has the discretion to impose up to six (6) months in jail, but it is exceedingly rare for courts to punish non-moving violations with incarceration.
1.3. Moving violations
Like it sounds, moving violations in Nevada encompass a driver's unlawful actions while the vehicle is in motion. These include such offenses as the following:
- speeding in Nevada (NRS 484B.600 - NRS 484B.633)
- speeding in a work zone (NRS 484B.130)
- speeding in a school zone (NRS 484.363)
- driving too slowly (NRS 484B.623, NRS 484B.627 & NRS 484B.630; AB 334 (2017))
- making illegal U-turns in Nevada (NRS 484B.403)
- running a red light in Nevada (NRS 484B.300)
- running a stop sign in Nevada (NRS 484B.257)
- violating carpool rules (NRS 484B.323)
- reckless driving in Nevada (NRS 484B.653)
- hit & run in Nevada (NRS 484E.010 - NRS 484E.030)
- improper turn (NRS 484B.400)
- driving on the wrong side of the road in Nevada (NRS 484B.200)
- removing highway barriers (NRS 484B.327)
- tailgating (NRS 484B.127)
- texting while driving (NRS 484B.165)
- failure to exercise due care towards a pedestrian (NRS 484B.280)
- failure to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk (NRS 484B.283)
- failure to yield to emergency vehicles (NRS 484B.607)
- failure to yield to tow trucks (NRS 484B.607)
- failure to yield to a cyclist (NRS 484B.270)
- failing to stop at a school crossing guard's direction (NRS 484B.350)
Most moving violations can be reduced or dismissed if the defendant pays a fine and/or completes traffic school. The maximum punishment...which is rarely imposed... is six (6) months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
All moving violations also carry Nevada DMV demerit point penalties. But if a Las Vegas traffic ticket lawyer succeeds in getting the charge dismissed or reduced to a non-moving violation, there should be no demerit point consequences. Scroll down to question 4 for more information.
1.4. Traffic citation process
When drivers are cited for a traffic violation in Nevada, the officer will give them a court date to appear before the judge and pay the fine. If they do not show up to court...or if they do not hire an attorney to appear on their behalf...the judge will issue a Nevada bench warrant for their arrest. It is very important that defendants hire a Las Vegas traffic ticket lawyer to handle the matter to avoid getting a bench warrant. But if defendants do pick up a warrant, an attorney can usually have the warrant removed in as little as a few days.
Note that when cops pull over drivers, cops are required to arrest them and take them before the magistrate if: (1) the driver refuses to sign or accept a copy of the traffic citation; or (2) the cop has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that the driver will disregard a notice to appear in court. (NRS 484A.720)
Yes. Every traffic citation and conviction automatically go on the driver's criminal record and show up on background checks. However, most of these records can be sealed eventually...
The vast majority of misdemeanor traffic violations (such as speeding) can be sealed one (1) year after the case ends. However, misdemeanor DUI convictions have a seven (7) year waiting period. And felony reckless driving convictions have a five (5) year waiting period.
Note that defendants can commence the record seal process right away for traffic charges that get dismissed (meaning there is no conviction). The record seal procedure can be very complicated and takes several weeks, so it is recommended that defendants retain an attorney to handle the process.
Getting convicted of a moving violation (such as speeding) usually increases the person's car insurance premium rates. Foreseeably, the more traffic tickets a driver picks up, the higher the premiums will go.
Insurance rate hikes are a big reason why traffic defendants are advised to hire a Las Vegas traffic ticket attorney to try to get the charge reduced to a non-moving violation, which usually has zero auto insurance consequences.
Firstly, it is highly recommended that people cited for a traffic violation hire an attorney to defend them. Prosecutors are much more willing to dismiss the case or at least to reduce the charge if the defendant is represented by counsel. And people who hire an attorney to handle their traffic matter usually do not have to appear in court, which is a huge convenience for out-of-state defendants and defendants who work during the day.
Just as in any criminal case, prosecutors have the burden to prove a defendant guilty of a traffic offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant's attorney would investigate the manner in an effort to find surveillance video, photographs and eye-witnesses that can demonstrate the defendant's innocence. Ultimately, the Las Vegas traffic ticket attorney would argue that the state's case is too weak to sustain a conviction should the case go to trial.
In practice, most traffic cases never reach trial. Prosecutors are usually willing to offer defense attorneys favorable plea deals without having to engage in heavy litigation.
Moving violations carry demerit points, but parking tickets and non-moving violations do not. To see the Nevada DMV's official demerit point schedule, click here.
The majority of moving violations have a demerit point value of one to eight. If a person ever pleads guilty to or gets convicted of a Nevada traffic violation, the DMV will add the corresponding points to his/her driving record. If the driver ever amasses twelve (12) or more points within a year time frame, the DMV will suspend the person's license for six (6) months.
Demerit points stay on a person's Nevada driver's license for only one (1) year before they are automatically erased. License-holders can also remove three (3) demerit points on their own by completing a traffic safety course as long as the course is not part of a plea deal with the court.
Note that the more serious traffic offenses such as DUI carry no demerit points because their penalties instead call for the person's license to be suspended or revoked altogether.
Usually, no. Legal aliens convicted of a traffic violation will probably not face deportation from the U.S. This is because most traffic violations are not considered deportable offenses, aggravated felonies, or crimes involving moral turpitude. Note that illegal aliens are susceptible to deportation at any time.
However, immigration law is changing all the time and is often very subjective. All non-citizens accused of a traffic offense are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney skilled in both immigration and criminal defense law to discuss how to safeguard their resident status. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.
The Nevada DMV treats commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) the same as non-commercial driver's licenses. Therefore, the DMV adds the same amount of demerit points to a person's CDL and regular license. It is irrelevant whether the CDL-holder was operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the alleged traffic violation. Note that CDL-holders have to notify their employer about the traffic ticket within thirty (30) days of getting the citation.
Traffic ticket? Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...
If you have been cited for a traffic violation, call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys for a FREE consultation at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). We will fight to get the charge dismissed or reduced to a non-moving violation that carries no demerit points and with no insurance consequences.
To learn about California traffic offenses, go to our page on California traffic offenses.