Exceeding the speed limit in Las Vegas by 30mph or more is a “moving violation” misdemeanor that carries fines as well as Nevada demerit points. Otherwise, speeding is a civil infraction carrying civil penalties and demerit points. And the fine or civil penalty doubles if the incident occurred in a work zone, school zone, or pedestrian safety zone. But it is often possible to get speeding tickets dismissed or reduced to “non-moving violations” with no DMV or insurance penalties.
People who ignore their speeding tickets may get a bench warrant issued for their arrest and may be taken into custody at any time. And it takes a full year following a speeding conviction to get a record seal.
The attorneys of Las Vegas Defense Group have gotten hundreds of speeding tickets reduced or dismissed with no traffic safety course or demerit points. Call our law firm for a consultation to discuss how we can put our decades of combined experience at work for you.
In this article our Las Vegas traffic ticket attorneys will discuss:
- 1. What are the speeding laws in Nevada?
- 2. How do I fight the charges?
- 3. What are the penalties for speeding in Las Vegas, Nevada?
- 4. Can I get a speeding ticket reduced?
- 5. How many points will speeding put 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. Related traffic violations
1. What are the speeding laws in Nevada?
Nevada mandates four common-sense speed laws. It is illegal to drive:
- at an unreasonable speed considering the traffic, weather, and highway conditions;
- at a speed that could cause injury, death, or property damage;
- at a speed greater than a posted speed limit; and
- in any event, a speed of greater than 80 miles per hour.
In summary, it is illegal to drive faster than the posted speed limit. And the speed limit will never be more than 80mph. Regardless of the posted speed limit, drivers are expected to slow down if there is heavy traffic, inclement weather (such as a rain or snow), or hazardous road conditions (such as big puddles or debris). Finally, drivers are also required to slow down when necessary to prevent physical harm or property damage.
Las Vegas Metro and the Nevada Highway Patrol are on especially high alert to bust drivers going above the speed limit in school zones and work zones. Note that people who speed significantly over the limit may face the more serious charge of reckless driving.
Also, note that many traffic lights in Las Vegas are now mounted with surveillance cameras and speed sensors. So even if a driver is speeding safely on an empty road, he/she will likely receive a traffic ticket summons in the mail containing photographic evidence of the speeding.1
1.1. Can I speed in rural areas in Nevada?
Driving too fast in rural areas is not legal in Nevada. But in some situations, speeding in a rural area is prosecuted as a non-moving violation instead of a moving violation. And non-moving violations carry a much lower civil penalty. See question 3 for more information.2
2. How do I fight the charges?
The best defense strategies for fighting a speeding ticket on the merits depend on the facts of the case. The defense attorney would investigate and analyze the situation from every angle. Some common defenses to a traffic citation for speeding include:
- The police made a mistake;
- There was an emergency; or
- The driver was falsely accused
2.1. The police made a mistake
Perhaps the police officer’s speed radar malfunctioned. Or perhaps the cop believed that the speed limit was lower than it actually was. Either way, it is statistically improbable that every one of the hundreds of speeding tickets law enforcement issue every day is accurate.
A defense attorney would conduct a thorough investigation of all the technology that the police relied on…such as the radar gun…to see whether any of these instruments were defective. The attorney would also map the road the defendant was driving on to compare the speed limit signs (if any) to the the speed the defendant was accused of exceeding.
Speeding 30mph or more over the limit is a criminal offense, so the prosecution has the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The charge must be dismissed if the defense attorney raises any reasonable doubt that the defendant exceeded the speed limit.
Speeding less than 30mph over the limit is a civil infraction, and the prosecution has the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant committed the violation. This is a lower bar than in criminal cases.
2.2. There was an emergency
In the same way pedestrians run from an emergency, drivers speed from an emergency. There are several crisis situations that might justify burning rubber, such as:
- a nearby tornado or dust devil
- a reckless driver on the road threatening other drivers’ safety
- rushing to a hospital (if calling an ambulance was not feasible)
- a medical episode that causes the driver to lose control, such as an epileptic fit or diabetic seizure
Note that in personal injury lawsuits (which are civil, not criminal) speeding drivers cannot be held liable for causing an accident if the speeding was a reasonable response to an emergency situation. The legal name for the principle is the “sudden emergency doctrine.”3 So if a defense attorney can make a compelling argument that the defendant’s speeding was reasonable under the circumstances because of a “sudden emergency,” an ethical District Attorney may very well drop the case.
2.3. The driver was falsely accused
Sometimes police issue tickets to get back at a loudmouth driver even when the motorist committed no violation. Or maybe a cop is issuing bogus tickets in order to meet the unspoken quota of traffic tickets each cop is expected to issue each month.
In these situations, a defense attorney would try to compile any available video (surveillance, dashcam, or smartphone) as well as any eyewitness testimony in an effort to show that the defendant never sped. If the prosecutor’s evidence is too weak to sustain a conviction, the charge should be dropped.
Note that it is rarely necessary to extensively litigate a speeding ticket charge in order to get a charge reduction or dismissal. Most prosecutors are willing to lessen the charge without much negotiation as long as the driver does not have a criminal history.
3. What are the penalties for speeding in Las Vegas, Nevada?
The City of Las Vegas typically levies a fine for speeding.4 Outside of Las Vegas, the fines for exceeding the speed limit varies throughout Nevada from county to county and city to city. The maximum fine is capped at $20 per mile per hour over the limit.5
As a misdemeanor, exceeding the speed limit by 30mph or more theoretically carries up to $1,000 in fines and/or up to six (6) months in jail. However, it is exceedingly rare for a judge to impose incarceration for a speeding violation. Speeding less than 30mph over the limit is a civil infraction, which carries a civil penalty and no jail.
Also, defendants face a civil penalty of up to $1,000 if they caused property damage or injuries.6
3.1. Speeding in a work zone, school zone, or pedestrian safety zone
Speeding fines get automatically doubled if the incident allegedly occurred in a work zone, school zone, or a pedestrian safety zone. Therefore, a typical speeding ticket carrying a $205 fine would double to $410 if the incident occurred in one of these protected zones.
Work zones are construction areas. School zones are areas near schools and colleges that get a lot of foot traffic. Pedestrian safety zones are areas for the exclusive use of pedestrians. These zones are typically demarcated by three signs:
- A sign located before the beginning of the zone indicating increased penalties for traffic violations;
- A sign marking the beginning of the zone; and
- A sign marking the end of the zone
Note that speeding in a work, school zone, or safety zone is not a separate offense from speeding. Instead, it is an “enhanced” penalty for the underlying speeding charge. This is why the punishment for speeding through these zones is a doubling of the underlying speeding fine instead of two separate fines.7
Learn more about Nevada work zone penalties.
3.2. Penalties for speeding in rural areas
Driving too fast in Nevada is normally a moving violation that carries demerit points. But driving slightly over the speed limit in rural areas during daylight hours is a non-moving violation carrying only a small civil penalty and no demerit points. Specifically, speeding is a non-moving violation in the following circumstances:
Posted speed limit (in rural area during daylight hours)
Driver’s maximum speed
|60 mph||70 mph (10 mph over the speed limit)|
|65 mph||75 mph (10 mph over the speed limit)|
|70 mph||75 mph (5 mph over the speed limit)|
|75 mph||80 mph (5 mph over the speed limit)|
|80 mph||85 mph (5 mph over the speed limit)|
Note that the above exception does not apply to Clark County and Washoe County when:
- The road is in an urban area, or
- The road is adjacent to an urban area, and the posted speed limit is meant to be strictly observed.8
4. Can I get a speeding ticket reduced?
Usually, yes. In the vast majority of cases, Nevada traffic judges are amenable to lessening a speeding charge to a non-moving violation or possibly dismissing it. However, defendants who have a long history of traffic offenses may have a tougher time persuading a prosecutor to cut a deal.
5. How many points will speeding put on my driver’s license?
The number of demerit points the Nevada DMV will put on a person’s license for speeding turns on how fast he/she was going:
Nevada speeding violation/offense
Nevada DMV demerit points
|1 – 10 mph above the posted speed limit||1 point|
|11 – 20 mph above the posted speed limit||2 points|
|21 – 30 mph above the posted speed limit||3 points|
|31 – 40 mph above the posted speed limit||4 points|
|41 or more mph above the posted speed limit||5 points|
(Note that people charged with reckless driving will have eight (8) demerit points added to their license.)9
A demerit point stays on a person’s driver’s license for a 12-month period. If a driver’s license accrues twelve (12) or more demerit points, the DMV will suspend the driver’s license for six (6) months.10
The demerit point system is one reason why people charged with speeding are encouraged to hire an attorney to try to get the charge reduced: Non-moving violations carry no demerit points. But if someone does have his/her license suspended, it may be possible to contest the suspension in a DMV Hearing, which is similar to a trial. Drivers with suspended licenses are encouraged to hire an attorney to request the DMV hearing and represent them at the proceeding.11
While a person’s license is suspended in Nevada, he/she should try never to get behind the wheel because the consequences can be harsh. Driving on 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.12
See our related article, How long do points stay on your license in Nevada?
6. Will this increase my auto insurance rates?
Yes. It may not happen right away, but insurance companies almost always hike up insurance rates whenever the insured picks up a speeding ticket or other moving violation. Predictably, the more traffic tickets the person has, the higher the premiums will be.
Insurance is a major reason why it is worth it to try to get a speeding ticket lessened to a non-moving violation, which usually has no effect on insurance premiums.
7. Do I have to do traffic school?
It depends on the case. Judges are more likely to order mandatory traffic school when the defendant’s alleged speeding was very high, such as forty-one (41) miles over the speed limit. But in many cases, a defendant can avoid traffic school just by paying a fine or civil penalty, depending on the case.
Note that many speeding ticket defendants choose to do traffic school as a way to get a charge reduction. Completing Level 1 Nevada Traffic school within five (5) days of entering a guilty plea to speeding will usually cause the speeding violation to be lessened to a non-moving violation. Non-moving violations are much better to have than speeding tickets because they carry zero demerit points and do not look as bad on the person’s criminal record.13
8. What happens if I ignore my ticket?
People who miss court or fine deadlines get a 30-day grace period before the the court will issue a bench warrant. And if the person fails to pay the fine, the judge may not issue a bench warrant until this happens: The person is given the opportunity to do community service in lieu of the payment, and the person then fails to do the community service.
When a person has a bench warrant, he/she can be arrested at any time and held in jail (possibly with no bail) pending the resolution of the speeding ticket case…
It is highly unlikely police will go out and hunt down people with bench warrants for skipping out on a traffic ticket. But if a person with a bench warrant ever gets pulled over, the cop will run his/her name and certainly take him/her into custody. So people accused of speeding should always take care of the ticket in order to avoid getting a warrant.
If a speeding ticket defendant does get a bench warrant, the defendant should hire an attorney to try to recall (“quash”) the warrant. This involves filing a “motion to quash” with the court and having a court hearing. Barring extenuating circumstances, the attorney should be able to show up at the hearing without the defendant having to appear.
Note that the Nevada DMV may suspend a person’s driver’s license if he/she misses out on a court appearance. When this happens, the defendant’s attorney would ask the judge to issue an “FTA clearance.” The defendant can then take this clearance to the DMV to reinstate the license.14
9. How will speeding affect my commercial driver’s license?
The DMV will add the same number of demerit points to the persons’ commercial driver’s license (CDL) as it did to the person’s regular driver’s license…
So if someone was found to have sped 10 miles over the limit, the DMV will add one (1) point to the person’s driver’s license and one (1) point to the person’s CDL. It does not matter if the person was driving a non-commercial vehicle at the time of the speeding.
Note that CDL-holders are obligated to notify their employer about getting a speeding ticket within thirty (30) days of the citation.15
9.1. CDL Suspension
It is a “serious offense” under federal law for a CDL-holder to drive a commercial automobile at 15 miles per hour or faster beyond the speed limit. Committing two (2) “serious offenses” within a three (3) year period results in a 60-day CDL suspension. A third offense results in a 120 day CDL suspension.16
10. What happens to my out-of-state license?
The defendant’s home-state DMV will most likely treat the defendant as if he/she was ticketed for speeding in the home state. Every state has its own demerit point policies. So out-of-state speeding ticket defendants should consult with an attorney in their home state to discuss demerit point consequences.
11. When can I seal a speeding conviction?
People convicted of driving too fast have to wait one (1) year after the case is closed before they can petition the court to seal the speeding record. (Note there is also a one (1) year statute of limitations to seal non-moving violations.)17
But if the judge completely dismisses the speeding charge or the judge acquits the defendant at trial, then Nevada imposes no waiting period before the defendant can commence the record seal process. In short, there is no waiting period when there is no conviction.18
12. Will I get deported for speeding?
No, driving too fast is not a deportable crime. But out of an abundance of caution, non-citizen defendants cited with a Nevada traffic ticket should always seek out an attorney experienced in both criminal defense and immigration law. The attorney will know how best to proceed to safeguard the immigrants’ resident status.
13. Should I fight my speeding citation or just pay the fine?
It is highly recommended that traffic defendants try to get their speeding tickets reduced to a non-moving violation or dismissed outright. An attorney can help them do this. If successful, no demerit points will be added to the defendant’s driver’s license, the defendant’s criminal record remains clear of any moving violations, and the defendant’s car insurance premiums will not increase.
14. Can I go to trial for exceeding the speed limit?
Speeding ticket defendants who wish to go to trial may request a bench trial but not a jury trial. A bench trial is the same as a jury trial except that there is no jury, and the judge is the one who delivers the verdict.
Note that speeding ticket trials hardly ever happen in Nevada. In most traffic cases, the defense and prosecution negotiate a resolution to the defendant’s benefit.19
15. Do I need an attorney?
It is never required to hire an attorney for a speeding ticket, but it is highly recommended for the following reasons:
- In practice, prosecutors give better deals to defendants with attorneys than to defendants without legal representation;
- Defense attorneys are skilled in negotiating and litigating ticket cases to get the charges reduced or dismissed; and
- Defendants who hire attorneys to handle their traffic tickets never have to come to court (in the vast majority of cases). This is particularly advantageous for tourists and other out-of-town defendants as well as anyone who has day jobs and cannot easily take off work.
And if the defense attorney succeeds in getting the speeding ticket dismissed, the attorney will be in the ideal position to immediately pursue getting the record sealed.
15.1. Las Vegas Justice Court “attorney sessions”
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Las Vegas Justice Court holds “attorney sessions” where prosecutors and defense attorneys can negotiate en masse traffic tickets issued within the unincorporated areas of Las Vegas (which includes most of the Strip). Therefore when someone with a speeding ticket retains a lawyer in Las Vegas, the lawyer should able to deal the ticket within the week by going to an attorney session.
16. If a driver causes an accident by speeding, can I file a lawsuit?
Yes. The victim (“plaintiff”) in a car accident can bring a lawsuit against the speeding driver (“defendant”) under the Nevada legal doctrine of negligence per se. A defendant is liable under negligence per se if:
- the defendant violated a statute (such as NRS 484B.600);
- 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 other drivers or pedestrians sharing the road).20
As opposed to negligence cases, “negligence per se” cases let courts presume that the defendant was behaving unreasonably. Therefore, all the plaintiff has to demonstrate is that his/her injuries were caused by the defendant’s unreasonable behavior.
Certainly, the vast majority of personal injury cases settle without a trial. Our Las Vegas car accident attorneys would fight for the biggest financial settlement possible to cover the defendant’s:
But if the case does go to trial, our attorneys would try to convince the court that the plaintiff deserves the largest compensatory damages and punitive damages available. Note that defendants who may have contributed to the accident can still be eligible for large monetary damages. Learn more about our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys.
17. Related traffic violations
- texting and driving
- driving too slowly
- illegal U-turns
- unsafe passing
- passing on the right side
- failure to signal
- turning from the wrong lane
- driving in carpool lane
- driving through a safety zone
- running a red light
- failure to yield to an emergency vehicle
- failure to yield to tow trucks
- failure to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
- failure to dim high beams
- 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
Speeding ticket? Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney…
Were you pulled over for exceeding the speed limit in Nevada? For a consultation, call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys. If your case is in California, please see our article on Vehicle Code 22350 – California’s basic speeding law by our California traffic ticket lawyers.
We will fight to get your ticket dismissed or reduced to a non-moving violation with the smallest fines, zero demerit points, and no traffic school.
In California? Learn about Vehicle Code 22350 VC.
In Colorado? Learn about CRS 42-4-1101.
NRS 484B.600 Basic rule; additional penalties for violation committed in work zone or pedestrian safety zone or if driver is proximate cause of collision with pedestrian or person riding bicycle.
1. It is unlawful for any person to drive or operate a vehicle of any kind or character at:
(a) A rate of speed greater than is reasonable or proper, having due regard for the traffic, surface and width of the highway, the weather and other highway conditions.
(b) Such a rate of speed as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person.
(c) A rate of speed greater than that posted by a public authority for the particular portion of highway being traversed.
(d) In any event, a rate of speed greater than 80 miles per hour.
2. If, while violating any provision of subsection 1, the driver of a motor vehicle is the proximate cause of a collision with a pedestrian or a person riding a bicycle, the driver is subject to the additional penalty set forth in subsection 4 of NRS 484B.653.
Nevada DMV Violation Codes; the Nevada DMV refers to speeding as Speeding, Violation Code 240 or ACD Code S94.
- NRS 484B.617.
- 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 number is 1000.
- Reno Municipal Bail Schedule; the violation codes are 6.06.280(3), 6.06.280(3).1, and 6.06.280(3).2.
- NRS 193.150; Speeding is prosecuted as a misdemeanor, not an infraction. See Police Log Dec. 19, 2017, Elko Daily Free Press (December 20, 2017).
- NRS 484B.600; NRS 484B.130; NRS 484B.135; NRS 484B.363.
- NRS 484B.617.
- Nevada DMV Violation Codes; the violation code for Speeding 1 To 10 MPH Over The Posted Speed Limit is 100, and the ACD code is S51; the violation code for Speeding 11 To 20 MPH Over The Posted Speed Limit is 200, and the ACD code is S61; the violation code for Speeding 21 To 30 MPH Over The Posted Speed Limit is 300, and the ACD code is S71; the violation code for Speeding 31 To 40 MPH Over The Posted Speed Limit is 400, and the ACD code is S81; the violation code for Speeding at least 41 MPH Over The Posted Speed Limit is 500, and the ACD code is S91; the violation code for Reckless Driving is 831, and the ACD code is M84.
- NAC 483.500; NAC 483.510.
- NAC 483.764.
- NRS 484B.560.
- 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.
- Sagebrush Ltd. v. Carson City, 660 P.2d 1013, 1015, 99 Nev. 204, 207, (Nev.,1983).