Nevada tailgating penalties in Las Vegas include a $395 fine and four (4) driver's license demerit points. But it is often possible to get traffic charges dismissed or at least reduced to a non-moving violation.
People cited for tailgating must not ignore their ticket or else a Nevada bench warrant will issue for their arrest. Even though traffic tickets seem minor, hiring a defense attorney can be key to a favorable resolution: A good lawyer knows how best to negotiate with prosecutors and to persuade judges to recall bench warrants (if necessary).
In this article our Las Vegas traffic ticket attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about following too closely in Clark County and throughout Nevada, including how to build a defense, possible sentences, demerit points, record seals, and more. Click on a topic below to jump directly to that section:
- 1. Is tailgating illegal in Las Vegas, NV?
- 2. How do I fight charges of tailgating in Las Vegas, NV?
- 3. What are the penalties for tailgating in Las Vegas, NV?
- 4. Can I get a charge for tailgating reduced to a non-moving violation in Las Vegas, NV?
- 5. How many points will tailgating put on my driver's license in NV?
- 6. Will tailgating in NV cause my auto insurance rates to go up?
- 7. Do I have to do traffic school if I get cited for tailgating in NV?
- 8. What happens if I ignore my ticket?
- 9. What will happen to my commercial driver's license in NV?
- 10. What will happen to my out-of-state driver's license?
- 11. When can I seal a conviction for tailgating in Las Vegas, NV?
- 12. Will I get deported for tailgating?
- 13. Should I fight my ticket or just pay the fine?
- 14. Can I go to trial?
- 15. Do I need an attorney?
If you have been injured by a tailgating vehicle, you may be entitled to hefty money damages. Contact our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys to learn more.
1. Is tailgating illegal in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Yes. Tailgating is against Nevada law because following a car too closely increases chances of rear-ending collisions. Drivers are required not to follow another vehicle "more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway." This also applies to caravans and motorcades.
Nevada law has special rules for large vehicles, which encompasses most trucks: Vehicles 80 inches or more in width are required to leave at least 500 feet of space between it and a vehicle it is following that is also 80 inches or more in width. The only exception is if the vehicles are on a highway where there are two (2) or more lanes available for traffic moving in the same direction.1
Most Nevada tailgating charges can be reduced to a non-moving violation or a dismissal without having to engage in heavy litigation. But in circumstances where the prosecutor is being stubborn, it may be possible to fight tailgating charges on the merits by introducing evidence such as:
- surveillance video,
- photographs, and/or
Predictably, there is usually not much evidence other than the police report in tailgating cases. And as long as the D.A. has insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the charge may be dropped.
It depends on the Nevada city or county, but in the city of Las Vegas tailgating carries a $395 fine. And if the tailgating occurred in a work zone, the court can double the fine.
Take note that traffic charges in Nevada are misdemeanors, whereas California considers them "infractions." Nevada judges rarely impose jail for traffic tickets, but the maximum penalty for misdemeanors is $1,000 in fines and/or six (6) months in jail.2
Barring extenuating circumstance, yes. Nevada judges are usually open to lessening traffic tickets to non-moving violations.
Four (4) demerit points is the Nevada DMV's penalty for tailgating. Demerit points last on the person's driver's license for one (1) year and then disappear.
Note that a driver faces a six (6) month license suspension if his/her license ever gets twelve (12) or more demerit points. Consequently, people charged with tailgating are encouraged to fight the ticket in attempt to avoid getting demerit points.3
People with a suspended license can ask for a DMV hearing to contest the suspension. It is like a mini-trial where testimony and evidence can be introduced, so the driver is advised to hire an attorney to handle the DMV case.
Be sure not to drive on a suspended license. Driving with a suspended license is a misdemeanor in Nevada that carries up to six (6) months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.4
Yes, in most cases. That is why retaining legal counsel to try to get the citation reduced to a non-moving violation is so imperative. Non-moving violations usually have little-to-no effect on car insurance.
Traffic school is rarely required, but it has benefits. In many cases, completing Level 1 Nevada Traffic school within five (5) days of pleading guilty to tailgating will result in the tailgating charged being lessened to a non-moving violation. Non-moving violations are preferable to tailgating tickets because they carry no demerit points.5
Even though traffic tickets are the most minor offenses in Nevada, failing to show up to court or pay a fine will result in the person getting a bench warrant. Chances are police will not actively go out and hunt down people with bench warrants for traffic tickets. But if someone with a bench warrant is pulled over in Nevada, the police immediately will arrest him/her.
It is possible to get bench warrants recalled ("quashed"), but people are advised to hire an attorney to handle this process. It requires filing a "motion to quash" with the court asking for a hearing. And for traffic ticket cases, the attorney can usually appear at the hearing without the defendant having to show up.
Another consequence of ignoring a traffic ticket in Nevada is that the DMV may suspend the person's driver's license. A judge would then have to issue an "FTA clearance" that would then permit the DMV to reinstate the defendant's license.6
Tailgating in Nevada has the same effect on commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) as it does regular driver's licenses: It carries a four (4) point demerit penalty. The main difference is that people with CDLs are required to tell their employer about the tailgating citation within thirty (30) days of getting ticketed.7
9.1. CDL Suspension
Following a vehicle too closely is a "serious offense" under federal law. A person's CDL will be suspended for 60 days if he/she commits two (2) serious offenses in three (3) years while driving a commercial vehicle. The suspension increases to 120 days for committing three (3) "serious offenses" in three (3) years.8
Every state's DMV has its own rules for penalizing people for tailgating. Out-of-state drivers accused of tailgating in Nevada are encouraged to seek counsel in their home state with questions about their driver's license. The Nevada DMV shares its ticket information with other states, so it is unlikely out-of-state drivers will escape penalization by their home-state DMV.
People convicted of tailgating in Nevada have to wait at least one (1) year after the case is closed before they can commence the record sealing process in Nevada.9 But if the tailgating charges get dropped completely (so there is no conviction for anything), they can commence the record sealing process right away.10
Following a car too closely is not a deportable crime. That being said, immigration law is very confusing and ever-changing. So all non-citizens facing even the most minor criminal charges are encouraged to seek legal counsel. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.
In nearly every case it is worth mounting a defense. Chances are the court will agree to lessen the charge to a non-moving violation or possibly a dismissal. This way, the defendant gets no demerit points and no conviction for a moving violation on his/her record.
Anyone cited for tailgating in Nevada may demand a bench trial (where the judge determines the verdict) but not a jury trial. But in the majority of tailgating cases, the parties can agree to a negotiation that is in the defendant's best interest.11
Hiring private counsel is highly recommended. The D.A. is more likely to extend a favorable deal to a fellow attorney than to an unrepresented defendant. Defense attorneys have experience in negotiating the best deal possible. And for defendants who live out of state or who have day jobs, hiring an attorney relieves them of having to travel and miss work in order to come to court.
15.1. Las Vegas Justice Court "attorney sessions"
Las Vegas Metro issues hundreds of traffic citations a day. Las Vegas Justice Court holds biweekly "attorney sessions" on Tuesdays and Thursdays, where the state and defense counsel can resolve traffic tickets that were issued in the city's unincorporated city limits. This way, defendants who hire an attorney to handle their traffic ticket can often get the case negotiated within a few days.
Traffic ticket? Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...
Were you pulled over for tailgating in Clark County or elsewhere on Nevada's roadways? Then our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys want to hear from you. Call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consultation. We've gotten thousands of traffic tickets reduced to non-moving violations with minimum fines, no demerit points, and no traffic school.
Were you or a loved one harmed in a tailgating accident in Nevada? Even if you partly caused the collision, our Las Vegas car accident attorneys may be able to recover a sizable financial settlement to pay for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of future earnings. In most cases we can get you money without having to go to trial.
- NRS 484B.127; Nevada DMV Violation Codes; the Nevada DMV refers to tailgating as Following too Closely, Violation Code 410 or ACD Code M34. And Las Vegas Municipal Court refers to this offense as Violation Code 608.
- NRS 484B.127; NRS 484B.130.
- NAC 483.500; NAC 483.510.
- NAC 483.764.
- See, e.g., Traffic School Information, North Las Vegas Municipal Court; Las Vegas Justice Court Traffic School.
- NRS 173.155; see, e.g. motion to place on calendar to quash the warrant at Las Vegas Justice Court; Nevada DMV Suspension.
- NAC 483.500; NAC 483.510.
- 49 CFR §383.51.
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.255.
- Sixth Amendment.