If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident in Nevada, state law requires that you:
- stop at the scene,
- provide your information to the other parties involved, and
- render assistance to anyone else who was injured.
If you flee the scene of the accident, you can be charged with the crime of hit and run.
Misdemeanor Hit and Run
Hit-and-run from an accident that only causes property damage is a misdemeanor, punishable by
- up to 6 months in jail and/or
- $1,000 in fines.
Felony Hit and Run
If someone was injured or killed, then fleeing the scene of an accident becomes a much more serious offense. This is prosecuted as a category B felony with penalties of
- 2 to 20 years in prison and
- $2,000 to $5,000 in fines.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What is considered hit and run in Las Vegas?
- 2. What happens if you leave the scene of an accident in Nevada?
- 3. How do I fight hit and run charges in Las Vegas?
- 4. When can my criminal record be sealed?
- 5. How long after a hit-and-run accident can you be charged in Nevada?
- 6. Can the victim of a hit-and-run file a lawsuit?
1. What is considered hit and run in Las Vegas?
Under Nevada law, hit and run is when you hit another car and drive off without first rendering aid (if necessary) and exchanging vehicle and contact information.
Following a Las Vegas car accident or other car crash in Nevada, you should immediately stop at the scene of the accident. If your vehicle is creating a hazard or blocking traffic, you should move your vehicle to a safe location if possible.
State law then requires you to:
- Provide your name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other driver(s) involved. Upon request, you should also show your driver’s license; and
- Provide your name, address, vehicle registration number, and licenses to any police at the scene; and
- Render aid to any injured people needing medical attention. Examples include carrying them to safety and/or calling an ambulance.1
If you hit unattended property – such as a parked car or a fence – then you must immediately stop and try to find the property owner. Failing that, you must then leave a conspicuous note with
- your name,
- the vehicle’s owner’s name (if you do not own the car), and
- your address.2
1.1. When do I have to notify the police of an accident?
Nevada law enforcement such as the Metro Las Vegas police (LVMPD) must be notified about any car accident that results in either
- bodily injury, or
- property damage of $750 or more.
If the police arrive at the scene of the accident and file an accident report themselves, then you do not have to file a report as well. But if police officers are not present at the crash, then you have 10 days from the date of the accident to submit a Nevada DMV SR-1 accident report.3
If a car accident in Nevada leaves you physically incapable of making a report, you do not have to file one until you regain capacity. If you do not own the car – and you are incapacitated – then the owner is required to file the report within 10 days after becoming aware of the accident.4
- failing to make an accident report if necessary results in a license suspension of up to one year, and
- submitting a false report is a gross misdemeanor, carrying up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines.5
2. What happens if you leave the scene of an accident in Nevada?
2.1. If there is only property damage
Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in only property damage is a misdemeanor in Nevada. The sentence is:
- Up to 6 months in jail, and/or
- Up to $1,000 in fines6
In addition, the DMV adds six demerit points to your driver’s license. If you accrue 12 or more points in a year, the DMV will impose a six-month license suspension.7
2.2. If there are injuries or death
Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury or death is a category B felony in Nevada.
The sentence is:
- 2 to 20 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- $2,000 to $5,000 in fines, and
- A driver’s license revocation
You face separate hit-and-run charges for every person injured or killed in one accident. And the court may not suspend the prison sentence or grant probation.8
3. How do I fight hit and run charges in Las Vegas?
The best defenses to Nevada charges for leaving the scene of an accident depend on the specific facts of the case. Depending on the situation, you may be able to argue that:
- You were not involved in the accident and therefore had no duties to stop;
- You did not know you were involved in an accident;9
- You sufficiently fulfilled all the legal obligations of exchanging information and rendering aid; or
- You were too incapacitated after the accident to stop, exchange information, or render aid.
Typical evidence in hit-and-run accident cases includes
- traffic surveillance video,
- mobile phone videos from people at the scene,
- GPS car data, and
- eyewitness accounts.10
4. When can my criminal record be sealed?
- Felony hit-and-run convictions may be sealed in Nevada five years after the case ends.
- Misdemeanor hit-and-run convictions may be sealed one year after the case ends.
- If the charges get dismissed, then there is no wait before you can petition for a record seal.11
5. How long after a hit-and-run accident can you be charged in Nevada?
Nevada prosecutors have
- one year to bring misdemeanor hit-and-run charges and
- three years to bring felony hit-and-run charges.12
Learn more about criminal statutes of limitations in Nevada.
6. Can the victim of a hit-and-run file a lawsuit?
Yes. Nevada car accident victims may file personal injury lawsuits against the alleged hit-and-run driver. In these cases, victims typically sue the driver (“defendant”) for negligence per se. In order to prevail, the victim (“plaintiff”) would need to prove that:
- There is a statute (the hit-and-run laws) that exists to protect a class of persons;
- The plaintiff was a member of that class (a fellow motorist, car occupant, pedestrian, cyclist, etc.);
- The defendant violated the law or statute (by not stopping at the crash site); and
- The defendant’s violation of the law proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries or damage.13
If successful, the plaintiff’s car accident attorneys may be able to recover financial compensation to cover all the plaintiff’s
- medical expenses,
- lost wages,
- loss of future earnings, and
- pain and suffering.
In some hit-and-run cases, the police department can never locate the car driver who fled the motor vehicle accident. And even if they do, the driver may be an uninsured motorist.
That is why accident lawyers advise everyone to carry uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). As long as the insured was not the one at fault, the UM/UIM car insurance company can pay out any compensatory damages within the policy limits.
- NRS 484E.010; NRS 484E.020; NRS 484E.030. (See the Nevada car accident statutes.)
- NRS 484E.040.
- NRS 484E.050; NRS 484E.060; NRS 484E.070.
- NRS 484E.080.
- NRS 484A.900.
- NAC 483.510; NRS 483.448.
- NRS 484E.010; see also Sabrina Schnur, Fatal hit-and-runs spike in Las Vegas in 2021, Las Vegas Review-Journal (May 7, 2021).
- Clancy v. State, (2013) 129 Nev. 840, 313 P.3d 226, 129 Nev. Adv. Rep. 89.
- See also Smith v. State (2020) 468 P.3d 375; Hodges v. State (2019) 439 P.3d 957.
- NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.
- NRS 171.085. NRS 171.090.
- Barnes v. Delta Lines, Inc, (1983) 99 Nev. 688; Nevada Jury Instructions 4.12.