Under NRS 484B.650, Nevada law defines aggressive driving as (a) speeding, (b) creating a hazard, and (c) committing other specific driving offenses, all within a one-mile period. A conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by fines, traffic school and possible jail time.
The motorist’s driver’s license will get suspended for a second offense in two years.
The statute reads that:
NRS 484B.650 Acts constituting aggressive driving; penalties; additional penalty for violation committed in work zone.
1. A driver commits an offense of aggressive driving if, during any single, continuous period of driving within the course of 1 mile, the driver does all the following, in any sequence:
(a) Commits one or more acts of speeding in violation of NRS 484B.363 or 484B.600.
(b) Commits two or more of the following acts, in any combination, or commits any of the following acts more than once:
(1) Failing to obey an official traffic-control device in violation of NRS 484B.300.
(2) Overtaking and passing another vehicle upon the right by driving off the paved portion of the highway in violation of NRS 484B.210.
(3) Improper or unsafe driving upon a highway that has marked lanes for traffic in violation of NRS 484B.223.
(4) Following another vehicle too closely in violation of NRS 484B.127.
(5) Failing to yield the right-of-way in violation of any provision of NRS 484B.250 to 484B.267, inclusive.
(c) Creates an immediate hazard, regardless of its duration, to another vehicle or to another person, whether or not the other person is riding in or upon the vehicle of the driver or any other vehicle.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What is aggressive driving in Nevada?
- 2. Can I go to jail under NRS 484B.650?
- 3. Will I lose my license?
- 4. How do I defend against the charges?
- 5. What happens if I ignore the ticket?
- 6. Is the case sealable?
- 7. Can I sue if I was injured by an aggressive driver?
The legal definition of being an aggressive driver is doing the following three things in a single, continuous period of driving within one mile:
- Speeding (NRS 484B.600 & -.363); and
- Creating an immediate hazard to another person or motor vehicle; and
- Committing two of the following five acts, or committing one of the following five acts twice:
1. Passing a vehicle on the right by leaving the paved portion of the highway; and/or
2. Following too closely (NRS 484B.127); and/or
4. Improper or unsafe driving on a highway with marked traffic lanes; and/or
5. Failing to yield before turning left (NRS 484B.253), running a stop sign (NRS 484B.257), unsafe turning from a private way (NRS 484B.260), failing to yield at an intersection, failing to yield at a controlled-access highway, or failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.
In short, this crime is a combination of at least four traffic offenses or civil infractions. Two of them are always exceeding the speed limit and creating an immediate traffic hazard. The remaining two can include one or more instances of failing to yield right-of-way, tailgating, ignoring traffic devices, unsafe driving, or overtaking on the right over an unpaved road.1
Note that being an aggressive driver may cause traffic officers to suspect DUI. At a traffic stop, the driver may be asked to submit to a preliminary breath test and field sobriety tests. Depending on the results, the officer may have probable cause to arrest the driver for being under the influence.
1.1. How reckless driving compares
Reckless driving (NRS 484B.653) encompasses driving in “willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property” or engaging in speed contests. In practice, the same piece of driving may qualify as both aggressive and reckless driving.
Unlike aggressive driving, reckless driving has far fewer elements that prosecutors need to prove. This may be why reckless driving charges are more common than aggressive driver charges.
Since being an aggressive driver is only a misdemeanor, it is more likely that the judge will impose only fines. But courts do have the discretion to order jail. Penalties increase with each successive conviction in the state of Nevada:
Aggressive driving conviction
Penalties in Nevada
|First offense|| |
|Second offense|| |
|Third or subsequent offense|| |
Note that penalties double if there was speeding in a work zone (NRS 484B.130) or in a pedestrian safety zone.
And for the first offense within two years, the court will order the defendant to attend a traffic safety course as an additional penalty.2
Finally, defendants should expect their car insurance premiums to go up.
For a first aggressive driving conviction in two years of being an aggressive driver, the court may suspend the defendant’s driver’s license for up to 30 days. Otherwise, the defendant will receive demerit points. The amount depends on what particular offenses the defendant committed. (Accruing 12 points in year-period results in a 6-month license suspension.)
For a subsequent offense within two years, the court will revoke the defendant’s driving privileges for one year.3
It may be possible to fight charges of being an aggressive driver by making the following arguments:
- The defendant was not the motorist driving the car;
- The defendant was suffering from a medical episode – such as a seizure – at the time of the traffic offenses;
- The police pulled over the wrong driver; or
- The defendant did nothing illegal, and the police officers were mistaken.
Depending on the case, potential evidence would include surveillance video, dashcam video, eyewitnesses, and medical records. Ultimately, the prosecution has the burden to prove guilt should the case go to trial. As long as the defense attorney can raise a reasonable doubt that the defendant did something unlawful, the D.A. may be willing to reduce or dismiss the charge.
People who fail to show up to court or pay their fine will have a bench warrant issued for their arrest after a 30-day grace period.4 Once the judge issues a warrant, the only way to get it recalled (“quashed”) is to file a motion with the court and have a hearing.
Therefore, people facing aggressive driving charges are encouraged to hire an attorney right away to appear in court on their behalf. The attorney may be able to negotiate the charges down to a non-moving violation or a full dismissal.
Yes. Misdemeanor convictions can be sealed from the defendant’s criminal record one year after the case ends. If the charge gets dismissed, then the case can be sealed immediately.5
Yes. Car accident victims (the plaintiffs) can sue aggressive drivers (the defendants) under the legal doctrine of negligence per se. A defendant is liable under negligence per se if:
- The defendant broke the law;
- The plaintiff was meant to be protected by this law; and
- The defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
Most personal injury lawsuits resolve out of court. Las Vegas car accident attorneys pursue the biggest settlement possible to cover the victims’:
- Nevada Revised Statute 484B.650.
- NRS 484A.780
- NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.