Nevada tailgating penalties in Las Vegas include a $305 fine and four (4) driver’s license demerit points in Nevada. 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 may 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 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.
- 1. Is tailgating illegal in Nevada?
- 2. How do I fight the charges?
- 3. What are the penalties for tailgating in Las Vegas, Nevada?
- 4. Can I get a charge reduced to a non-moving violation?
- 5. How many points will tailgating put on my driver’s license?
- 6. Will tailgating cause my auto insurance rates to go up?
- 7. Do I have to do traffic school?
- 8. What happens if I ignore my ticket?
- 9. Will tailgating affect my commercial driver’s license?
- 10. What will happen to my out-of-state license?
- 11. When can I seal a conviction?
- 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?
If you have been injured by a tailgating vehicle, you may be entitled to monetary damages. Contact our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys to learn more.
1. Is tailgating illegal in Nevada?
Yes. Tailgating is against Nevada law because following a car too closely increases the 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 (encompasses most trucks): Vehicles 80 inches or more in width are required to leave at least 500 feet of space between them 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
(NRS 484B.127 does not apply to vehicles using driver-assistive platooning technology.)
2. How do I fight the charges?
Most Nevada tailgating charges can be reduced to a non-moving violation or a dismissal without having to engage in heavy litigation. 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
There is usually not much evidence other than the police report in tailgating cases. As long as the D.A. has insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the charge may be dropped.
3. What are the penalties for tailgating in Las Vegas, Nevada?
It depends on the Nevada city or county, but in the city of Las Vegas tailgating carries a $305 fine. If the tailgating occurred in a work zone, the court can double the fine. Learn more about Nevada work zone penalties.
Tailgating is a misdemeanor. 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
4. Can I get a charge reduced to a non-moving violation?
Barring extenuating circumstances, Nevada judges are usually open to lessening traffic tickets to non-moving violations.
5. How many points will tailgating put on my driver’s license?
Four (4) demerit points are the Nevada DMV‘s penalty for tailgating. Demerit points last on the person’s driver’s license for one (1) year and then disappear.
A driver faces a six (6) month license suspension if his/her license ever gets twelve (12) or more demerit points. People charged with tailgating are encouraged to fight the ticket in an 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
6. Will tailgating cause my auto insurance rates to go up?
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.
7. Do I have to do traffic school?
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 charge being lessened to a non-moving violation. Non-moving violations are preferable to tailgating tickets because they carry no demerit points.5
8. What happens if I ignore my ticket?
Defendants who miss court or fine payments get a 30-day grace period before the judge will issue a bench warrant. If the defendant misses a payment, the judge may not issue a bench warrant until the defendant is given the option to do community service instead and then fails to do it.
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
9. How will tailgating affect my commercial driver’s license?
Tailgating in Nevada has the same effect on commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) as it does on 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
10. What happens to my out-of-state license?
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.
11. When can I seal a conviction?
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
12. Will I get deported?
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.
13. Should I fight my ticket or just pay the fine?
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.
14. Can I go to trial?
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
15. Do I need an attorney?
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 for a consultation. We’ve gotten thousands of traffic tickets reduced to non-moving violations with minimum fines, no demerit points, and no traffic school. If your ticket is in California please visit our page on Vehicle Code 21703 VC.
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. AB 116 (2021).
- NAC 483.500; NAC 483.510.
- NAC 483.764.
- See, for example, Traffic School Information, North Las Vegas Municipal Court; Las Vegas Justice Court Traffic School.
- NRS 173.155; see, for example, 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.