Nevada makes it a misdemeanor to back up a vehicle in an unsafe manner. The fine in Las Vegas is $205, and the Nevada DMV adds 2 Nevada demerit points to the defendant’s driver’s license. Unsafe backing convictions can be sealed 1 year after the case ends.
NRS 484B.113 violations encompass the following situations:
- backing up around a corner, into a crosswalk or into an intersection,
- backing up without yielding to pedestrians or other cars, or
- backing up when it is unsafe to do so.
However, it may be possible to get the charge reduced or dismissed through the following defenses:
- The defendant broke no law,
- The defendant reasonably responded to an emergency, or
- The defendant was falsely accused
In this article, our Las Vegas traffic ticket attorneys will discuss:
- 1. When is backing up a vehicle illegal in Las Vegas, NV?
- 2. How do I fight the charges?
- 3. What are the penalties in Las Vegas, NV?
- 4. Can I get the charge reduced to a non-moving violation in Las Vegas, NV?
- 5. How many points will go on my NV driver’s license?
- 6. Will my auto insurance rates go up?
- 7. Do I have to do traffic school?
- 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 in Las Vegas, NV?
- 12. Will I get deported?
- 13. Should I fight my ticket or just pay the fine?
- 14. Can I go to trial?
- 15. Do I need an attorney?
- 16. If a driver causes an accident, can I file a lawsuit?
- 17. Related traffic violations in NV
1. When is backing up a vehicle illegal in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Nevada law prohibits driving a car in reverse in three circumstances:
- When the backing up would be unsafe and interfere with traffic;
- 2. When the backing up would cause the vehicle to enter an intersection, go over a crosswalk, or round a street corner; or
- 3. When the backing up would deprive moving traffic and pedestrians of right-of-way.
In short, drivers may not drive in reverse until they yield to everyone else and can execute the backing up safely. Henderson criminal defense attorney Michael Becker gives an example:
Example: Ned is stuck behind a slow-moving car on a one-lane road in downtown Las Vegas. Since there is no one behind him, Ned decides to back up to the previous intersection and turn onto the cross street. A cop sees Ned backing up into the intersection and tickets him for violating NRS 484B.113.
Note that it makes no difference in the above example that Ned did not cause an accident and that there was no other traffic. The simple act of reversing a car into an intersection is sufficient to invite criminal prosecution in Nevada.1
2. How do I fight the charges?
Defense strategies are always fact-specific and unique to the case. Some typical arguments to fight NRS 484B.113 charges on the merits include:
- The backing up did not violate the law,
- Backing up was the only reasonable option, or
- The driver was falsely accused.
2.1. The backing up did not violate the law
Sometimes the police make mistakes and think they see a traffic violation that never occurred: Perhaps the driver backed up very near an intersection or crosswalk but did not actually enter it. Maybe it seemed from the cop’s point-of-view that the driver did not yield to others when in fact the driver did. And sometimes, what is considered safe or unsafe backing is subjective.
A defense attorney in this situation would search for all available evidence, including surveillance video and eyewitness testimony, to dismantle the prosecutor’s case. If the prosecutor cannot prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the charge should not stand.
2.2. Backing up was the only reasonable option
There are emergency circumstances where drivers may have to back up without first assessing safety. Examples could include an approaching carjacker, or a falling tree breach, or road debris. Any reasonable person in those circumstances may have to back up quickly in order to escape danger.
In civil lawsuits, the “sudden emergency doctrine” protects defendants from accident liability if their actions were a reasonable response to an emergency.2 In a criminal suit for unsafe backing, an ethical prosecutor would hopefully recognize the “sudden emergency doctrine” and applaud the driver’s quick thinking by dropping the charges.
2.3. The driver was falsely accused
The roadway is a very contentious place where drivers often accuse each other of bad driving. And in many of those cases, the accused did nothing illegal.
The defense attorney’s job is to gather as much evidence as possible (such as surveillance video, smartphone video, or witnesses) in an effort to discredit the accusations. If the prosecutor sees that the state’s case is too weak to sustain a conviction, the case should be dismissed.
3. What are the penalties for unsafe backing in Las Vegas, Nevada?
The City of Las Vegas fines drivers $205 for unsafe backing.3 But every city and county has different fines. For example, the City of Reno charges $115.4
4. Can I get a charge reduced to a non-moving violation in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Usually yes. Though judges are more likely to grant a charge reduction to defendants with no or few past traffic violations.
If the defendant’s case is particularly strong, the defense attorney may even be successful in getting the charge not merely reduced but dismissed.
5. How many points will go on my Nevada driver’s license?
Improper backing up of a vehicle carries two (2) demerit points.5 The Nevada DMV removes demerit points from driver’s licenses after one full year.
Getting twelve (12) demerit points causes an automatic driver’s license suspension of six months. The only way to contest this suspension is through a DMV administrative hearing, which is similar to a small-scale trial.6
Driving on a suspended license is prosecuted as a misdemeanor with maximum penalties of six (6) months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines. So anyone with a suspended license is advised not to take the wheel and instead hire an attorney to fight the suspension.7
6. Will my auto insurance rates go up?
Yes, moving violation convictions do result in car insurance rate hikes. But if the defense attorney succeeds in getting the charge reduced or dismissed, there should be no premium increases.
7. Do I have to do traffic school?
Judges typically do not require traffic school for unsafe backing, just a fine. However, the prosecutor may agree to reduce or drop the charges if the defendant completes traffic school.8
8. What happens if I ignore my ticket?
After a 30-day grace period, missing a fine payment or a court date results in a bench warrant being issued for the defendant’s arrest. Defendants late on a fine payment can do community service instead, but they will get a bench warrant if they fail to do the service. And paying the fine will not dissolve the bench warrant once it is issued…
The defense attorney would need to file a “motion to quash the warrant” with the court. Then at the court hearing, the defense attorney would need to persuade the judge that the defendant will handle the ticket matter promptly. But if the defendant is ever late with a payment again, the judge will issue another warrant and will not be so quick to quash it.9
9. What will happen to my Nevada commercial driver’s license?
The defendant’s commercial driver’s license will have two (2) points added to it. And the driver is given 30 days to inform his/her employer about the ticket.10
10. What will happen to my out-of-state license?
In depends on the state, so consult with a local lawyer familiar with traffic law. In most cases, the DMV will impose the same penalties that it would if the unsafe backing occurred in that state.
11. When can I seal a conviction for unsafe backing in Nevada?
After one (1) full year has passed since the case ended, the defendant is free to pursue a criminal record seal.11
If the driver’s unsafe backing case was dismissed, then there is no waiting period to pursue a seal.12
12. Will I get deported?
No. The list of deportable offenses does not include small traffic citations like unsafe backing. But out of an abundance of caution, immigrants are advised to seek out legal counsel to make sure their resident status will not get affected. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.
13. Should I fight my citation or just pay the fine?
It usually pays to fight. Chances are, the prosecutor will extend a favorable plea deal without much resistance. And the extra time it takes to challenge a ticket is worth the possible benefits of zero demerit points and no car insurance consequences.
14. Can I go to trial?
A trial for small traffic matters like unsafe backing hardly ever happens, but the defendant is certainly entitled to one. Just note that the defendant can have only a bench trial (where the judge decides the verdict) and not a jury trial.13
15. Do I need a criminal defense attorney for a traffic ticket?
Lawyering up gives defendants three distinct advantages:
- Prosecutors usually give better plea bargains to represented traffic defendants;
- Attorneys know how best to negotiate favorable plea bargains with prosecutors; and
- Defendants with attorneys never have to step foot in a courtroom (in most cases), which saves them having to take off work and travel for court.
15.1. Las Vegas Justice Court “attorney sessions”
Las Vegas Justice Court holds biweekly “attorney sessions” on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These are times reserved for defense attorneys and prosecutors to negotiate deals for tickets issued within Las Vegas’s unincorporated city limits. The benefit of these attorney sessions is that it allows traffic ticket matters to get resolved within days after being issued.
16. If a driver causes an accident by backing up improperly, can I file a lawsuit?
Yes. The accident victim (“plaintiff”) may have a legitimate claim under the Nevada legal doctrine of negligence per se. A defendant can be held liable under negligence per se if:
- the defendant violated a statute (such as NRS 484B.113);
- this violation caused an injury (such as a car accident or pedestrian knockdown); and
- the victim is part of the class of people that the statute is meant to protect (such as fellow drivers or pedestrians).14
Unlike regular negligence cases, “negligence per se” cases allow the court to presume that the defendant’s actions were unreasonable. So all the plaintiff has to prove is that his/her injuries were caused by the defendant’s unreasonable actions.
Most personal injury cases settle without going to trial. Our Las Vegas car accident attorneys would try to negotiate the largest financial settlement possible to cover the defendant’s:
If the defendant refuses to offer a good settlement however, our attorneys will take the matter to trial in pursuit of the largest compensatory damages and punitive damages the court can award. Even if the victim may have contributed to the accident, he/she may still be eligible for substantial money damages. Learn more about our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys.
17. Related traffic violations in Nevada
- speeding in a work zone
- speeding in school zones
- texting and driving
- driving too slowly
- illegal U-turns
- unsafe passing
- passing on the right side
- unsafe turning from private to public road
- failure to signal
- failing to yield when turning left
- turning from the wrong lane
- making an illegal right turn
- driving in a carpool lane
- driving through a safety zone
- running a red light
- failure to dim high beams
- failure to yield to an emergency vehicle
- failure to yield to tow trucks
- failure to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
- disobeying an officer
- no duty of care to bicyclists
- no duty of care to pedestrians
- not obeying school crossing guards
- not wearing a seatbelt
- removing highway barriers
- motorcycle helmet laws
- not using a child car seat
- passing a stopped school bus
Traffic ticket? Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney…
For a free consultation, call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys. We may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed with no traffic school, demerit points, or insurance rate increases.
- NRS 484B.113 Limitations on backing. The driver of a vehicle:1. Shall not back the vehicle unless such movement can be made with reasonable safety and without interfering with other traffic;
2. Shall not back into an intersection, on or over a crosswalk, or around a street corner; and
3. Shall in every case yield the right-of-way to moving traffic and pedestrians.
- See Posas v. Horton, 228 P.3d 457, 126 Nev. 112 (2010)(“[A] sudden emergency occurs when an unexpected condition confronts a party exercising reasonable care.”).
- Las Vegas Municipal Bail Schedule and Sentencing Guidelines; the violation code is 1502.
- Reno Municipal Bail Schedule; the violation code is 6.06.600A(2).
- Nevada DMV Violation Codes; the violation code for Unsafe Backing is 202, and the ACD code is N82.
- NAC 483.500; NAC 483.510; NAC 483.764.
- NRS 484B.560.
- 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 Information Page.
- NAC 483.500; NAC 483.510.
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.255.
- Sixth Amendment.
- Sagebrush Ltd. v. Carson City, 660 P.2d 1013, 1015, 99 Nev. 204, 207, (Nev.,1983).