If you have been cited for speeding, go here to learn how to fight the ticket.
People issued misdemeanor traffic tickets in Las Vegas face not only fines and potentially jail but also higher car insurance rates and possible license suspensions in Nevada. Meanwhile, civil infraction traffic tickets carry civil penalties but no jail.
Traffic convictions may be used against the drivers in future civil lawsuits. Plus, if defendants ignore or forget to address their misdemeanor traffic citations, a bench warrant will issue for their arrest.
People cited for traffic violations in Nevada are strongly encouraged to retain a Las Vegas traffic ticket lawyer skilled in getting traffic charges dismissed or reduced to “non-moving violations” carrying no demerit points. In most cases, defendants with legal representation never have to appear in court, which is extremely beneficial for people with day jobs or who live out of state.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about Las Vegas traffic tickets laws including fighting charges, driver’s license issues, record seals, and immigration consequences in Nevada:
- 1. Are traffic tickets a crime in Las Vegas, Nevada?
- 2. Do traffic tickets show up on my criminal record?
- 3. How do traffic tickets affect my insurance?
- 4. How do I fight a ticket?
- 5. Do traffic tickets put demerit points on my license?
- 6. Can traffic tickets affect my immigration status?
- 7. How do traffic tickets affect my commercial driver’s license?
For more detailed information, see our Nevada traffic violation A-Z index.
Minor traffic violations are treated as civil infractions carrying monetary civil penalties and no jail. More serious traffic violations are prosecuted as misdemeanors, carrying fines and possible jail. There are three main types of Nevada traffic tickets:
- parking violations,
- non-moving violations, and
- moving violations
Note that most traffic violations are not a criminal conviction for the purpose of applying for employment, a professional license, or any educational opportunity.
1.1. Parking violations
Parking violations in Nevada are the most minor traffic violations. People often pick up these citations by allegedly doing the following:
- parking in a handicapped space (NRS 484B.467)
- parking in a metered space in Nevada without paying (NRS 484B.523)
- parking within 20 feet of a fire hydrant (NRS 484B.450)
- parking more than 18 inches from a curb (NRS 484B.457)
Parking violations in Las Vegas usually carry no demerit points, and these cases often can be closed or dismissed in exchange for a civil penalty or fine.
1.2. Non-moving violations
Non-moving traffic violations in Nevada comprise violations that do not have to do with the quality of the person’s driving; instead, they concern whether the driver is legally allowed to drive. Common non-moving violations include:
- driving on a suspended license (NRS 483.560)
- driving without a valid license (NRS 480.230)
- driving with no proof of insurance (NRS 485.185)
- driving with no proof of registration (NRS 482.205)
- stopping, parking, standing in a highway (NRS 484B.440)
- seat belt violations (NRS 484D.495)
- child restraint violations (NRS 484B.157)
- handicap parking (NRS 484.467)
Prosecutors usually agree to resolve these charges in exchange for a payment and/or community service. The judge has the discretion to impose up to six (6) months in jail for misdemeanor charges, but it is exceedingly rare for courts to punish non-moving violations with incarceration.
1.3. Moving violations
Like it sounds, moving violations in Nevada encompass a driver’s unlawful actions while the vehicle is in motion. These include such offenses and civil infractions as the following:
- speeding (NRS 484B.600 – NRS 484B.633);
- aggressive driving (NRS 484B.650)
- driving too slowly (NRS 484B.623, NRS 484B.627 & NRS 484B.630; AB 334 (2017))
- making illegal U-turns (NRS 484B.403)
- running a red light (NRS 484B.300)
- running a stop sign (NRS 484B.257)
- violating carpool rules (NRS 484B.323)
- reckless driving (NRS 484B.653)
- hit & run (NRS 484E.010 – NRS 484E.030)
- improper turn (NRS 484B.400)
- unsafe passing (NRS 484B.203)
- passing on the right side (NRS 484B.207)
- unlawful right turn on red light (NRS 484B.307)
- passing a stopped school bus (NRS 484B.353)
- driving on the wrong side of the road (NRS 484B.200)
- driving through a safety zone (NRS 484B.110)
- removing highway barriers (NRS 484B.327)
- tailgating (NRS 484B.127)
- texting while driving (NRS 484B.165)
- failure to dim high beams (NRS 484D.215)
- failure to use headlights (NRS 484D.100)
- failure to exercise due care towards a pedestrian (NRS 484B.280)
- failure to wear a motorcycle helmet (NRS 486.231)
- failure to signal (NRS 484B.413)
- failure to yield before turning left (NRS 484B.253)
- failure to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk (NRS 484B.283)
- failure to yield to emergency vehicles (NRS 484B.607)
- failure to yield to tow trucks (NRS 484B.607)
- failure to yield to a cyclist (NRS 484B.270)
- failing to stop at a school crossing guard’s direction (NRS 484B.350)
- disobeying an officer (NRS 484B.100)
- unsafe backing (NRS 484B.113)
- unsafe turning from a private roadway (NRS 484B.260)
- double penalty in work zones (NRS 484B.310)
Most moving violations can be reduced or dismissed if the defendant pays a fine or civil penalty and/or completes traffic school. The maximum punishment for misdemeanors – which is rarely imposed – is six (6) months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
All moving violations also carry Nevada DMV demerit point penalties. But if a Las Vegas traffic ticket lawyer succeeds in getting the charge dismissed or reduced to a non-moving violation, there should be no demerit point consequences. Scroll down to question 4 for more information.
1.4. Traffic citation process
When drivers are cited for a misdemeanor traffic violation in Nevada, the officer will give them a court date to appear before the judge and pay the fine. If they do not show up to court – or if they do not hire an attorney to appear on their behalf – the judge will issue a Nevada bench warrant for their arrest. It is very important that defendants hire a Las Vegas traffic ticket lawyer to handle the matter to avoid getting a bench warrant. But if defendants do pick up a warrant, an attorney can usually have the warrant removed in as little as a few days.
Note that when cops pull over drivers, cops are required to arrest them and take them before the magistrate if: (1) the driver refuses to sign or accept a copy of the traffic citation; or (2) the cop has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that the driver will disregard a notice to appear in court. (NRS 484A.720)
For civil infractions, people have 90 days to pay the civil penalty or contest the case. Defendants who ignore the ticket will owe collection fees as well.
Civil infractions do not show up on your criminal record. (If you do not pay them however, a civil judgment may show up on your record.)
Misdemeanor traffic convictions can be sealed one (1) year after the case ends. However, misdemeanor DUI convictions have a seven (7) year waiting period. And felony reckless driving convictions have a five (5) year waiting period.
Note that defendants can commence the record seal process right away for traffic charges that get dismissed (meaning there is no conviction). The record seal procedure can be very complicated and takes several weeks, so it is recommended that defendants retain an attorney to handle the process.
Getting convicted of a moving violation usually increases the person’s car insurance premium rates. Foreseeably, the more traffic tickets a driver picks up, the higher the premiums will go.
Insurance rate hikes are a big reason why traffic defendants are advised to hire a Las Vegas traffic ticket attorney to try to get the charge reduced to a non-moving violation, which usually has zero auto insurance consequences.
Firstly, it is highly recommended that people cited for a traffic violation hire an attorney to defend them. Prosecutors are much more willing to dismiss the case or at least to reduce the charge if the defendant is represented by counsel. And people who hire an attorney to handle their traffic matter usually do not have to appear in court, which is a huge convenience for out-of-state defendants and defendants who work during the day.
Just as in any criminal case, prosecutors have the burden to prove a defendant guilty of a misdemeanor traffic offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant’s attorney would investigate the manner in an effort to find surveillance video, photographs and eye-witnesses that can demonstrate the defendant’s innocence. Ultimately, the Las Vegas traffic ticket attorney would argue that the state’s case is too weak to sustain a conviction should the case go to trial.
In civil infraction cases, prosecutors have a much lower burden of proof: By a preponderance of the evidence.
In practice, most traffic cases never reach trial. Prosecutors are usually willing to offer defense attorneys favorable plea deals without having to engage in heavy litigation.
Moving violations carry demerit points, but parking tickets and non-moving violations do not. To see the Nevada DMV’s official demerit point schedule, click here.
The majority of moving violations have a demerit point value of one to eight. If a person ever pleads guilty to or gets convicted of a traffic violation, the DMV will add the corresponding points to his/her driving record. If the driver ever amasses twelve (12) or more points within a year time frame, the DMV will suspend the person’s license for six (6) months.
Demerit points stay on a person’s Nevada driver’s license for only one (1) year before they are automatically erased. License-holders can also remove three (3) demerit points on their own by completing a traffic safety course as long as the course is not part of a plea deal with the court.
Note that the more serious traffic offenses such as DUI carry no demerit points because their penalties instead call for the person’s license to be suspended or revoked altogether.
See our related articles, How long do points stay on your license in Nevada? and Nevada Driving Record – How do I get it and what does it show?
Usually, no. Legal aliens convicted of a traffic violation will probably not face deportation from the U.S. This is because most traffic violations are not considered deportable offenses, aggravated felonies, or crimes involving moral turpitude. Note that illegal aliens are susceptible to deportation at any time.
However, immigration law is changing all the time and is often very subjective. All non-citizens accused of a traffic offense are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney skilled in both immigration and criminal defense law to discuss how to safeguard their resident status.
The Nevada DMV treats commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) the same as non-commercial driver’s licenses. Therefore, the DMV adds the same amount of demerit points to a person’s CDL and regular license. It is irrelevant whether the CDL-holder was operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the alleged traffic violation. Note that CDL-holders have to notify their employer about the traffic ticket within thirty (30) days of getting the citation.
Traffic ticket? Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney…
If you have been cited for a traffic violation, call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys for a consultation. We will fight to get the charge dismissed or reduced to a non-moving violation that carries no demerit points and with no insurance consequences.
Also learn about California traffic offenses.