Nevada law requires drivers to yield right-of-way before making a left against traffic. So drivers should wait until there is a sufficient break in the oncoming traffic that would allow them to make a left turn without causing any interruption in the flow of oncoming traffic.
Failing to yield while making a left turn against traffic is a misdemeanor in Nevada. The fine penalty in the City of Las Vegas is $305, and the Nevada DMV tacks four (4) demerit points on the defendant’s driver’s license.
Most traffic charges can get reduced to a non-moving violation or possibly dropped through a plea deal.
Typical defense strategies for charges of violating NRS 484B.253 include:
- The defendant yielded,
- There was an emergency situation, or
- Someone falsely accused the defendant
Defendants who ignore or forget about their traffic ticket may have a bench warrant issued for their arrest. So it is important that anyone facing traffic charges seeks legal counsel as soon as possible after the incident.
In this article, our Las Vegas traffic ticket attorneys will discuss:
- 1. Do drivers have to yield when making a left against traffic in Nevada?
- 2. How do I fight the charges?
- 3. What are the penalties in Las Vegas, Nevada?
- 4. Can I get the charge reduced to a non-moving violation?
- 5. How many points will go on my 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?
- 10. What will happen to my out-of-state driver’s 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?
- 16. If a driver causes an accident, can I file a lawsuit?
- 17. Other traffic violations
1. Do drivers have to yield when making a left turn against traffic in Nevada?
Yes. Drivers who wish to make a left against traffic are required to yield until there is a sufficient break in oncoming traffic to turn safely. Certainly, if the intersection has a traffic light that displays a left turn arrow, then the driver may make a left without yielding.1
2. How do I fight the charges?
There are several possible defenses to NRS 484B.253 charges depending on the circumstances. Three common defense strategies include:
- The driver did yield,
- An emergency situation would have made yielding more dangerous, or
- The driver was falsely accused
2.1. The driver did yield
Police officers are fallible, and sometimes they mistakenly cite drivers for a violation they never committed. A defense attorney would investigate the matter and try to find evidence favorable to the defendant, such as:
- surveillance video,
- photographs, and/or
If the defense attorney can raise a reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s guilt, the D.A. may consider dropping the charges.
2.2. An emergency situation would have made yielding more dangerous
Sometimes unexpected emergency situations force drivers to temporarily violate traffic laws in order to avoid causing an accident. For instance, if a driver waiting to make a left sees that the car behind him is about to rear-end him, the driver may be legally justified in turning early as long as the driver is careful not to hit any other cars in the process.
Nevada law relieves people from civil liability when they react reasonably to emergency situations. A good criminal defense attorney may be able to persuade the court that Nevada’s “sudden emergency doctrine” should relieve traffic defendants from criminal liability as well.2
2.3. The driver was falsely accused
Drivers can get very upset after an accident or a close call, and sometimes they falsely accuse each other of committing a traffic violation. Therefore, a defense attorney would try to gather all available evidence favorable to the defendant while discrediting any evidence not favorable to the defendant.
If the case comes down to a question of the accuser’s word against the defendant’s, the prosecutor may be willing to dismiss the case for lack of proof.
Fortunately, most traffic cases never progress to the point of litigation. In the majority of situations, the defense and D.A. can quickly come to an agreement where the traffic charge is reduced to a non-moving violation or dismissed.
3. What are the penalties for failing to yield while turning left at an intersection in Las Vegas, Nevada?
The City of Las Vegas charges $305 for an NRS 484B.253 violation.3 The amount is typically lower in other jurisdictions such as the City of Reno, which charges only $170.4
4. Can I get a traffic charge reduced to a non-moving violation?
Prosecutors are often willing to reduce a charge for “making a left without yielding” to a non-moving violation or possibly a dismissal. But if the defendant has a long history of traffic violations, the prosecutor may be less willing to extend a plea bargain.
5. How many points will go on my driver’s license?
Drivers ticketed for not yielding when making a left face four (4) demerit points on their license. These points remain on their license for a year and then vanish.5
These drivers should be careful not to pick up any more traffic violations: Accumulating twelve (12) or more demerit points will cause their license to be suspended for six (6) months. And the only way to contest this suspension is through a DMV hearing, which can be difficult to win.6
6. Will my auto insurance rates go up?
Defendants convicted of moving violations usually do see an auto insurance premium hike on their next bill. But if the charge gets dismissed or reduced to a non-moving violation, the insurance company will probably not impose a penalty.
7. Do I have to do traffic school?
In most cases, the defendant can forgo traffic school by paying a fine. But sometimes it is worth doing traffic school if the judge will agree to reduce the charge to a non-moving violation.7
In the best case scenario, the defendant’s attorney can convince the D.A. to drop the entire case without having to do traffic school at all.
8. What happens if I ignore my ticket?
The worst thing a traffic defendant can do is ignore a traffic ticket. After a 30-day grace period from missing court or a fine payment, the judge will issue a bench warrant. Defendants late on a payment can do community service instead; but if they fail to complete the service, a warrant will issue.
Then the defendant can be arrested at any time and held without bail pending the next court appearance.
If defendants do pick up a bench warrant, they are advised to hire a criminal defense attorney right away. The attorney can file a “motion to quash the warrant” and appear in court to ask the judge to give the defendant another chance. In most traffic cases, defendants do not have to appear in court for a “motion to quash” as long as their attorney appears.8
9. What will happen to my commercial driver’s license?
The Nevada DMV adds four (4) demerit points to people’s commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) for failing to yield while turning left against traffic.9
10. What will happen to my out-of-state license?
It depends on the individual home state’s DMV regulations. Therefore, out-of-state defendants who pick up a traffic citation in Nevada should speak with an attorney in their home state.
11. When can I seal a conviction?
A Nevada conviction for not yielding before making a left turn can be sealed one (1) year after the case ends (in most cases).10 But when the charge gets dismissed, there is no waiting period — the defendant can petition for a record seal immediately.11
12. Will I get deported?
Legal aliens do not have to worry about getting deported for violating NRS 484B.253. But in light of the current political climate, all non-citizens are strongly urged to talk to a lawyer whenever they are facing criminal charges to discuss the latest laws.
13. Should I fight my citation or just pay the fine?
Considering that most prosecutors are willing to extend a good plea deal, defendants are encouraged to fight the case. If all goes well, the defendant will get no new demerit points or car insurance hikes.
14. Can I go to trial?
Yes. In the rare case that a traffic matter does not settle, defendants always have the option to request a bench trial (where the judge decides the verdict).12
15. Do I need a criminal defense attorney for a traffic ticket?
It always helps. The unfair truth is that prosecutors are likelier to offer a good plea deal to represented defendants. Attorneys are usually better negotiators that non-attorney defendants. And defendants never have to personally make a court appearance as long as they have an attorney (in most cases).
16. If a driver causes an accident by failing to yield while turning left, can I file a lawsuit?
Absolutely. Drivers, passengers, or pedestrians injured in a collision may be able to sue the alleged perpetrator for negligence per se, which has three “elements.”
- the defendant violated a statute (i.e. NRS 484B.253);
- this violation was the cause of an injury (such as a car accident and pedestrian knockdown); and
- the victim is a member of the class of people that the statute is supposed to protect (such as others sharing the road).13
Unlike typical negligence cases, “negligence per se” cases permit the court to presume that the defendant acted wrongly. So the plaintiff’s attorney’s job is to demonstrate how the defendant’s negligent actions resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries.
Our Las Vegas car accident attorneys aggressively negotiate for the largest settlement possible to cover victims’:
And if necessary, our attorneys will take the matter all the way to trial in an effort to win the most compensatory damages and punitive damages the court can grant. Note that victims may still be eligible for damages even if they contributed to the accident. Learn more about our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys.
17. Other traffic violations
17.1. Driving too slowly (NRS 484B.623, 484B.627 & 484B.630)
Driving too slowly in a left lane is a misdemeanor carrying $50 for a first offense and two (2) demerit points. The fine increases with each successive offense.14
17.2. Running a red light (NRS 484B.300)
Running a red light is a misdemeanor in Nevada carrying four (4) demerit points. The fine in the City of Las Vegas is $305.15
17.3. Failing to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk (NRS 484B.283)
Failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks is a misdemeanor as long as there is no accident. The fine in the City of Las Vegas is $305, and the DMV tacks on four (4) demerit points.16
Traffic ticket? Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney…
To talk, call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys. We may be able to reduce or dismiss your charges so you endure no traffic school, demerit points penalties, or insurance rate increases.
Cited in California? Contact our Los Angeles traffic attorneys.
Cited in Colorado? Contact our Denver traffic attorneys.
- NRS 484B.253 Vehicle turning left. The driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard, but such driver, having so yielded and having given a signal when and as required, may make such left turn and the drivers of all other vehicles approaching the intersection from the opposite direction shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle making the left turn. Nevada DMV Violation Codes: The Nevada DMV refers to an NRS 484B.253 violation as “FTY Row when Turning”, Violation Code 423, ACD Code N31.
- 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 & Sentencing Guidelines; the violation code for “Vehicle Turning Left at Intersection” is 701.
- Reno Municipal Bail Schedule; the violation code for “Right of Way, Left Turn at Intersection” is 6.06.165A.
- Nevada DMV Violation Codes.
- 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 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).
- Las Vegas Municipal Bail Schedule & Sentencing Guidelines; Nevada DMV Violation Codes.