Nevada law prohibits jaywalking, which is when a pedestrian crosses a street outside of a marked crosswalk. Police typically issue citations for jaywalking that are similar to traffic tickets.
Jaywalking is a misdemeanor that carries a fine. In the City of Las Vegas, the fine is $160.
All defendants are encouraged to retain counsel to try to get the fine lowered and the charge possibly dismissed so their criminal record stays clean.
Potential defenses to NRS 484B.287 charges include demonstrating that:
- The officer was mistaken about the defendant jaywalking,
- The officer misidentified the alleged jaywalker and cited the wrong person, and/or
- An emergency situation justified the defendant’s jaywalking
As long as the prosecutor has insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the charge should be dropped.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. Is jaywalking illegal?
- 2. Can I go to jail?
- 3. How do I fight the charges?
- 4. Can I seal the case?
- 5. Will I get deported?
- 6. Related offenses
- 7. Can I sue?
1. What is jaywalking, and is it illegal in Nevada?
The legal definition of jaywalking in Nevada is crossing the street outside of a marked crosswalk or otherwise crossing the road illegally. Jaywalking is illegal in Nevada.1
In Las Vegas, jaywalking tends to be more rigorously enforced on the Strip and Downtown because of the heavy traffic. Police typically issue citations for jaywalking. But alleged jaywalkers may get arrested in the following circumstances:
- The police officer runs the suspect’s name and sees he/she has an outstanding warrant,
- The suspect is a habitual jaywalker or a repeat offender,
- The suspect resists the police officer when receiving the citation,
- The suspect is on probation, or
- The alleged jaywalking may have caused a serious car accident
Many intersections now have cameras mounted on the traffic lights, so there may be photographic evidence of people’s alleged jaywalking.
2. What are the penalties for jaywalking in Nevada?
Because jaywalking is such a minor offense, it may actually serve as an ideal plea bargain if the defendant is facing more serious charges. Sometimes the D.A. may be willing to lower charges of shoplifting or trespass down to jaywalking.
3. What are the defenses to Nevada jaywalking charges?
Most people who are cited for jaywalking in Nevada choose to pay the fine without disputing the charge. But there are various defenses to explore if the defendant wishes to fight the case:
- The defendant did cross at a crosswalk, and the police officer mistakenly thought the defendant was outside of the crosswalk;
- The police officer cited the wrong person after misidentifying the alleged jaywalker; and/or
- There was an emergency situation such as a tree falling or an out-of-control vehicle, and the defendant jaywalked in order to avoid an accident
Typical evidence might include eyewitnesses, surveillance video, or even photographs of the road that indicate the crosswalks were not clearly marked.
4. Can I seal my Nevada jaywalking case?
Usually, yes. A jaywalking conviction may be sealed one (1) year after the case ends.4 And if the case gets dismissed (meaning that there was no conviction), then there is no waiting period to begin the Nevada record seal process.5
5. Can I be deported for jaywalking?
No. As a low level misdemeanor, jaywalking is not a deportable crime in Nevada.
However, illegal aliens who get caught jaywalking are vulnerable to being arrested, turned over to ICE, and deported. It makes no difference if the charge is ultimately dismissed. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.
6. Related offenses
Most jaywalking incidents in Nevada are harmless, but in serious situations alleged jaywalkers may face charges of “reckless endangerment” or even “involuntary manslaughter.”
6.1. Reckless endangerment (NRS 202.595)
The Nevada crime of reckless endangerment is when someone acts in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of other people or property. So if a police officer believes that the defendant was deliberately jaywalking in a careless way that could hurt someone else, he/she may face a reckless endangerment arrest.
- up to $2,000 in fines, and/or
- up to 364 days in jail
Otherwise, it is charged as a category C felony, carrying:
- 1 -- 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- up to $10,000 in fines (at the judge’s discretion)
6.2. Involuntary manslaughter (NRS 200.070)
The Nevada crime of involuntary manslaughter is unintentional homicide during the commission of an unlawful act. So if a police officer believes a person’s alleged jaywalking caused an oncoming car to get in a fatal accident, the person may face arrest for involuntary manslaughter.
In Nevada, involuntary manslaughter is charged as a category D felony. The punishment includes:
- 1 -- 4 years in prison, and
- up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge’s discretion)
7. Bringing a personal lawsuit in Nevada jaywalking cases
People who have been injured in an accident allegedly caused by jaywalking may sue the alleged jaywalker under the legal doctrine of negligence per se. A defendant can be found liable under negligence per se if:
- the defendant violated a statute (such as a traffic law);
- this violation caused an injury (such as an automobile collision); and
- the victim is part of the class of people that the statute is meant to protect (such as fellow drivers, passengers, and pedestrians).
In a negligence per se lawsuit, the court can presume that the defendant breached his/her duty of care to the plaintiff. All the plaintiff has to show is that the defendant’s breach caused the accident and injuries.
Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney…
If you have been cited for jaywalking or are facing criminal charges for any other offense in Nevada, please call our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers for a free phone meeting. For cases in California, please see our page on California jaywalking laws -- Vehicle Code 21955 VC.
- NRS 484B.287 When pedestrian must yield right-of-way to vehicle; when crossing at crosswalk is required; crossing diagonally; additional penalty if violation occurs in pedestrian safety zone. 1. Except as provided in NRS 484B.290:
(a) Every pedestrian crossing a highway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the highway.
(b) Any pedestrian crossing a highway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the highway.
(c) Between adjacent intersections at which official traffic-control devices are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
(d) A pedestrian shall not cross an intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices.
(e) When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic-control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.
2. A person who violates any provision of this section may be subject to the additional penalty set forth in NRS 484B.135.
LVMC 14.36.030 -- Crossing at other than crosswalks.
(a) Pedestrian to Yield. Every pedestrian crossing at a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(b) Tunnel or Overpass. Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(c) Between Intersections. Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
Clark County Code 11.30.060 -- Crossing outside crosswalk.
(A) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(B) Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(C) The foregoing rules in this Section shall have no application under the conditions stated in Section 11.30.070 when pedestrians are prohibited from crossing at certain designated places.
- Las Vegas Vehicle Code 1201 “Ped crossing not in crosswalk-Jaywalk.”
- Reno Municipal Court Bail Schedule 6.06.365C “Pedestrian Cross in Crosswalk.”
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.255.
- See Fennell v. Miller, 94 Nev. 528 (1978) (“A pedestrian crossing a highway at any point other than an intersection or a marked crosswalk has a statutory duty to yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the highway…1. A pedestrian with such a duty has a corresponding duty to ‘look in the direction or directions of anticipated danger, and to continue to be alert to safeguard against injury.’ Gibb v. Cleave, 55 P.2d 938, 939 (Cal.App. 1936), quoting Lavin v. Fereria, 52 P.2d 518 (Cal.App. 1935).”); Turnbow v. Wasden, 608 F. Supp. 237 (1985) (“Nevada law does not require the driver of a vehicle to anticipate that a pedestrian will be walking in the middle of a highway with no marked crosswalk within miles, any more than a driver should anticipate that a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction would suddenly cross over to his lane of traffic.”).