Under NRS 483.560, Nevada law makes it a misdemeanor to drive a motor vehicle on a highway or public premises while your driver’s license is canceled, revoked or suspended. A conviction is punishable by
- up to 6 months in jail,
- up to $1000 in fines, and
- an extension of the existing license suspension.
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The punishment depends on why the license was revoked: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),
- Unpaid traffic tickets,
- 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 cancelled 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
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 suspending 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 free 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 in Nevada.
Arrested in California? See our article on driving with suspended driving privileges (14601 VC).
Arrested in Colorado? See our article on driving under restraint (42-2-138 C.R.S.).
- 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.