Under NRS 483.560, Nevada law makes it a misdemeanor to drive a motor vehicle on a highway or public premises when your driver’s license has been canceled, revoked or suspended.
If convicted of driving on a suspended license, you face penalties of
- up to 6 months in jail,
- up to $1000 in fines, and
- an extension of the existing license suspension.
The language of the statute states that:
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, any person who drives a motor vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access at a time when the person’s driver’s license has been cancelled, revoked or suspended is guilty of a misdemeanor.
2. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, if the license of the person was suspended, revoked or restricted because of:
(a) A violation of NRS 484C.110, 484C.120, 484C.210 or 484C.430;
(b) A homicide resulting from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance or resulting from any other conduct prohibited by NRS 484C.110, 484C.130 or 484C.430; or
(c) A violation of a law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct as set forth in paragraph (a) or (b),
the person shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not less than 30 days nor more than 6 months or by serving a term of residential confinement for not less than 60 days nor more than 6 months, and shall be further punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000. A person who is punished pursuant to this subsection may not be granted probation, and a sentence imposed for such a violation may not be suspended. A prosecutor may not dismiss a charge of such a violation in exchange for a plea of guilty, guilty but mentally ill or nolo contendere to a lesser charge or for any other reason, unless the prosecutor believes the charge is not supported by probable cause or cannot be proved at trial. The provisions of this subsection do not apply if the period of revocation has expired but the person has not reinstated the license.
3. A term of imprisonment imposed pursuant to the provisions of this section may be served intermittently at the discretion of the judge or justice of the peace. This discretion must be exercised after considering all the circumstances surrounding the offense, and the family and employment of the person convicted. However, the full term of imprisonment must be served within 6 months after the date of conviction, and any segment of time the person is imprisoned must not consist of less than 24 hours.
4. Jail sentences simultaneously imposed pursuant to this section and NRS 484C.320, 484C.330, 484C.400, 484C.410 or 484C.420 must run consecutively.
5. If the Department receives a record of the conviction or punishment of any person pursuant to this section upon a charge of driving a vehicle while the person’s license was:
(a) Suspended, the Department shall extend the period of the suspension for an additional like period.
(b) Revoked, the Department shall extend the period of ineligibility for a license, permit or privilege to drive for an additional 1 year.
(c) Restricted, the Department shall revoke the restricted license and extend the period of ineligibility for a license, permit or privilege to drive for an additional 1 year.
(d) Suspended or cancelled for an indefinite period, the Department shall suspend the license for an additional 6 months for the first violation and an additional 1 year for each subsequent violation.
6. Suspensions and revocations imposed pursuant to this section must run consecutively.
But it may be possible to overcome NRS 483.560 charges by showing that:
- there was never actually a suspension;
- the DMV failed to notify the defendant; or
- the suspension period had already lapsed
In this article, our Las Vegas DUI defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What are the penalties for driving with a suspended license?
- 2. How do I fight the charges?
- 3. Can I avoid another suspension or revocation?
- 4. Can I get a restricted license?
- 5. How do I reinstate my license?
- 6. What if I live out of state?
- 7. Do license suspensions carry from state to state?
- 8. When can I seal the case?
- 9. Do suspended licenses show up on background checks?
- 10. Will my insurance know if my license is suspended?
The punishment depends on why the license was revoked:
The penalties for driving with a license that was suspended due to driving under the influence / drunk driving include:
- 30 days in jail (or 60 days of home confinement) to 6 months in jail; and
- $500 to $1,000 in fines; and
- 1-year additional license revocation by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles
The judge may not grant probation. But jail can be served intermittently if:
- It gets done within 6 months after the conviction date; and
- No incarceration period lasts less than 24 hours
Common non-DUI charges or issues that may result in a suspended license include:
- Graffiti (NRS 206.330),
- Having 12 or more DMV demerit points on person’s driving record from traffic violations,
- Juvenile delinquency,
- Not following court orders (such as not paying child support), or
- Certain medical conditions
The penalties for driving on a license suspended for non-DUI reasons include:
- Up to $1,000 in fines; and/or
- Up to 6 months of jail time (judges rarely impose jail); and
- A doubling of the original license suspension period
Note that if the defendant had a restricted license, the revocation period will be extended for another year.
Also note that a first-time offense of driving with a license that has been suspended or canceled for an indefinite period carries an additional 6-month license revocation. A subsequent violation carries an additional 1-year period of ineligibility to get a license.
Common defenses to driving on a suspended license are:
- There was never a suspension or revocation,
- The defendant had no notice, and/or
- The suspension period passed
Most of these cases resolve through negotiating with the prosecutor. Otherwise, defendants may request a bench trial in pursuit of a full acquittal of criminal charges.
2.1. There was never a suspension or revocation
The Nevada DMV is a large bureaucratic organization. Therefore, clerical errors are inevitable.
Perhaps the defendant can show that the DMV was mistaken about the suspension status. If there was no driver’s license suspension or revoked license, then the case should be dismissed.
2.2. The defendant had no notice
Notice is required before Nevada driving privileges can be suspended. Adequate notice is typically in the form of a:
- A document that police hand drivers following a DUI arrest; or
- A certified letter mailed from the DMV to the defendant’s last known address
If the defense attorney can show that authorities failed to give the defendant proper notice, then the charges for violating NRS 483.560 should be dismissed.1
2.3. The suspension / revocation period passed
If a defendant drives after his/her suspension or revocation period already ended, then by definition the defendant may not be convicted of violating NRS 483.560. This is true even if he/she neglected to formally reinstate his/her driving privileges. However, the defendant may instead face charges of driving without a license (NRS 483.230).
Nevada defendants facing an additional suspension for driving on a suspended license can request a DMV Hearing. These administrative hearings are like mini-trials:
The defense attorney would contest the suspension. Both sides may present evidence and cross-examine witnesses, including law enforcement officers. And then the judge delivers a decision.
DMV hearings are more difficult to win than criminal trials. This is because the judge requires very little evidence to find fault. However, DMV hearings are still worth pursuing. They are an opportunity to test defense theories for any related criminal cases.
Possibly. Restricted licenses may permit drivers to travel to and from:
- The grocery store, and/or
- Court-ordered child visitation
Call the DMV at 775-684-4364 (Option 2) for eligibility information. And refer to the Nevada DMV restricted license application.
In DUI or DUID cases, defendants may be able to reinstate their licenses early with no restrictions:
Nevada DUI offense
Waiting time to reinstate driving privileges
|DUI 1st||Immediately if the defendant gets an ignition interlock device.|
|DUI 2nd||No early reinstatement is available.|
|DUI 3rd or DUI causing injury or death (NRS 484C.430)||1 year into 3-year revocation.2|
Reinstatement procedures depend on the circumstances of the case. Call the DMV for specific instructions:
|Nevada DMV location||Phone number|
|Las Vegas||(702) 486-4368 |
|Reno/Carson City||(775) 684-4368 |
|Rural Nevada |
|(877) 368-7828 |
Some applicants must retake the driving skills test. This is typical after a one-year or longer suspension.3
See our related article, How do I reinstate a revoked license in Nevada?
An NRS 483.560 violation is just a misdemeanor. Therefore, local Nevada attorneys can usually appear in court on the defendants’ behalf. Out-of-state defendants should not have to come back in state. An exception is if the case goes to trial, which is rare.
Most state DMVs communicate with each other. And they often honor each other’s suspension laws. Therefore, drivers charged in Nevada may face a suspension in their home state. And vice versa.
Non-Nevada residents should consult with counsel in their home state about local DMV consequences.
A Nevada conviction for violating NRS 483.560 is sealable. But defendants must wait one year after the case ends.
Though if the charge gets dismissed, then there is no waiting period. Defendants can file the paperwork immediately.4
No. This is because suspended Nevada driver’s licenses are administrative, not criminal matters. But if a person gets cited for driving on a suspended license, then that criminal case will show up on future background checks.
Insurance companies can always check whether a person’s license is suspended by pulling his/her motor vehicle report. Having a suspended license should not affect the person’s ability to get or keep insurance.
Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney…
Charged with violating NRS 483.560 in Nevada? Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys are here. Call our law office for a consultation. Our criminal defense lawyers serve clients in
- Clark County (including Henderson),
- Washoe County, and
- throughout the state of Nevada.
See our article on the difference between revoked and suspended driving privileges.
Arrested in California? See our article on Vehicle Code 14601 VC.
Arrested in Colorado? See our article on CRS 42-2-138.
- See NRS 483.560; Zamarripa v. First Judicial Dist. Court, 103 Nev. 638, 747 P.2d 1386 (1987).
- NRS 483.360.
- License suspensions & revocations, Nevada DMV.
- NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.