Driving in a carpool lane (also referred to as an “HOV” lane) with no other passengers is against Nevada law unless:
- the vehicle is a motorcycle or bus; or
- the vehicle is an emergency vehicle
The typical civil penalty for violating NRS 484B.323 in Las Vegas is $352, and it carries four (4) demerit points on the person’s driver’s license.
In this article, our Las Vegas traffic ticket attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about carpool laws in Clark County and throughout Nevada, including how to fight the charge, possible punishments, record seal wait times, and license suspensions.
Click on a carpool topic below to jump to that section:
- 1. When can I drive in the carpool lane in Nevada?
- 2. How do I fight the charges?
- 3. What are the penalties for driving in the carpool lane in Las Vegas, Nevada?
- 4. Can I get a carpool charge reduced?
- 5. How many points will a carpool charge put on my driver’s license in Nevada?
- 6. Will my auto insurance premiums go up?
- 7. Do I have to do traffic school?
- 8. What happens if I ignore my carpool ticket?
- 9. What will happen to my commercial driver’s license?
- 10. What will happen to my out-of-state license?
- 11. When can I get the case sealed?
- 12. Will I get deported?
- 13. Should I fight the ticket or just pay the civil penalty?
- 14. Can I go to trial for a carpool case?
- 15. Do I need an attorney?
If you have been injured by a vehicle that was driving illegally in a carpool lane, you may be entitled to substantial money damages. Contact our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys to learn more.
1. When can I drive in the carpool lane in Nevada?
Driving in a designated carpool lane is legal in Nevada if:
- the vehicle is transporting more than one (1) person;
- the vehicle is a motorcycle, regardless of the number of passengers;
- the vehicle is a bus, regardless of the number of passengers; or
- the vehicle is an emergency vehicle
Carpool lanes are also called HOV lanes. HOV stands for “high occupancy vehicle.”1
1.1. HOV hours of operation in Las Vegas
HOV hours are 24/7.2
1.2. HOV speed limits in Las Vegas
Unless otherwise indicated, the speed limit on US 95 in Las Vegas is only 65 mph. The Nevada Highway Patrol is on high alert for the many drivers who mistakenly believe HOV lanes have higher speed limits than the rest of the highway.
Note that HOV lanes are different from express lines, like the ones on Interstate 15 south of Sahara Avenue. Express lanes are separated from other traffic by a double white line, and they are meant to segregate motorists traveling long distances and those exiting along the 15.3
2. How do I fight the charges?
Common defenses to carpool violation charges in Nevada are:
- There was more than one (1) person in the vehicle at the time; or
- The driver was not in the carpool lane
Typical evidence in carpool violation cases includes surveillance video, eye-witnesses and GPS records, if they exist. If the prosecution does not have a strong enough case to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the D.A. may agree to drop the charges.
3. What are the penalties for driving in the carpool lane in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Wrongly driving in the carpool lane in Nevada is a civil infraction (not a misdemeanor) carrying at least a $250 civil penalty. In the city of Las Vegas, the fine is $352.4
4. Can I get a carpool charge reduced?
Unless the defendant has a long history of traffic violations, most carpool charges can be lessened to an illegal non-moving violation or non-moving violation. Non-moving violations carry no demerit points.
5. How many points will a carpool charge put on my driver’s license in Nevada?
Driving illegally in an HOV lane in Nevada carries four (4) demerit points. A demerit point remains on a person’s Nevada driver’s license for one (1) year. If a person gets twelve (12) or more demerit points in a year, the Nevada DMV will suspend the license for six (6) months.5
If a person gets his/her driver’s license suspended in Nevada for having twelve (12) or more demerit points, he/she may request a DMV hearing to fight the suspension. But it is recommended they hire an attorney to represent them.6
Note that driving with a suspended license is a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying up to six (6) months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
6. Will my auto insurance premiums go up?
It depends on the insurance company, but probably. That is another reason it is so important to try to get the charge reduced to a non-moving violation.
7. Do I have to do traffic school?
Not usually. In most HOV cases, the court imposes just a civil penalty in exchange for a guilty plea. However, doing traffic school has various pros…
People who do Level 1 Nevada Traffic school within five (5) days of pleading guilty to a carpool violation can often get the charge reduced to non-moving violation. Then the DMV will not tack on any demerit points to their license.7
8. What happens if I ignore my carpool ticket?
Defendants who miss court or civil penalty payments get a 30-day grace period before the judge will issue a bench warrant. And 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.
People with bench warrants risk arrest if they ever get pulled over and the police run a warrant check. Additionally, the Nevada DMV will suspend people’s driver’s licenses if they “fail to appear” (FTA) at court or fail to pay their fines.
Defense attorneys are skilled in asking judges to recall (“quash”) bench warrants and to resume the traffic case. Judges can also issue an “FTA clearance,” which is necessary for the DMV to reinstate a license that has been suspended for missing a court appearance.8
9. What will happen to my commercial driver’s license?
An HOV violation will result in four (4) demerit points being added to the person’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Nevada. If the total number of demerit points on a license reaches twelve (12) in a year period, the DMV will suspend the license for six (6) months.
Note that people with commercial driver’s licenses have to tell their employer about any traffic violations within thirty (30) days of the incident. It makes no difference whether or not they were driving a commercial car at the time.9
10. What will happen to my out-of-state license?
The Nevada DMV usually provides its citation information to other states’ DMV. Consequently, the drivers’ home state DMV can impose their own demerit penalties on them for an HOV violation.
11. When can I get the case sealed?
There is a one (1) year waiting period to seal a carpool violation record in Nevada. Note that the waiting period starts after the case is closed, not when the incident occurred. There is also a one (1) year waiting period to seal a non-moving violation.10
Note that there is no waiting period to get a seal if the carpool charge gets dismissed (which means there is no violation).11
12. Will I get deported?
No. Driving wrongfully in a carpool lane is not a deportable offense. Note that illegal aliens may be removed at any time.
13. Should I fight the ticket or just pay the penalty?
Everyone slapped with a traffic ticket in Nevada is encouraged to fight the case.
14. Can I go to trial for a carpool case?
Traffic ticket trials hardly ever happen because the prosecutor usually agrees to reduce the charges. Still, all defendants have the right to go to trial to contest a traffic citation…
15. Do I need an attorney?
No, but it is highly recommended that traffic defendants hire an attorney. Lawyers usually get better results than defendants who try to negotiate their tickets without legal representation.
Furthermore, defendants who hire attorneys do not have to go to court because the attorney can appear in their place. This way, defendants who work or live out-of-state do not have to change their schedule to make a court appearance.
15.1. Attorney sessions in Las Vegas Justice Court
In Las Vegas Justice Court, prosecutors and defense attorneys negotiate traffic tickets every Tuesday and Thursday. Since these attorney sessions occur so frequently, people who hire an attorney to handle their Las Vegas traffic tickets can usually have the matter resolved within the week if not sooner.
Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney…
Contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys for a consultation. We may be able to get the charge reduced to a non-moving violation or dismissed outright with no demerit points or traffic school. For cases in California, please see our page on Vehicle Code 21655.5 VC.
And if you were injured in a car collision, our Las Vegas car accident attorneys may be able to secure your money for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and perhaps punitive damages. You could still be entitled to a large settlement even if you were partially to blame for the accident.
- NRS 484B.323. The official name for carpool offenses is: Failure to obey traffic sign/disregard traffic control device. The Violation code is 452. The ACD code is M17.
- Nevada Department of Transportation High Occupancy Vehicles/Express Lanes.
- Id.; HOV lane scofflaws keep bugging along by Richard N. Velotta, Las Vegas Review-Journal (January 10, 2016).
- NRS 484B.323; Las Vegas Municipal Code 0518.
- Nevada DMV Violation Codes.
- 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.
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.255.