The streets and highways of Las Vegas can be crowded and frustrating. If you're stuck in traffic, or another driver has done something to annoy or anger you, you could succumb to “road rage.” But if you do let your emotions get the best of you, your actions and words could lead to your arrest and conviction for any number of Nevada crimes.
While there is no “legal” definition of “road rage,” Webster's defines it as “a motorist's uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist's irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior.”
In extreme instances, the “aggressive or violent behavior” involved in Las Vegas road rage incidents have led to deaths and murder charges. Short of a Nevada homicide, though, there are four other common criminal charges that are frequently brought in road rage cases:
- Reckless driving. Using your vehicle to express your anger by driving in a reckless manner can get you charged with reckless driving under NRS 484B.653, makes it a crime to “drive a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
A driver convicted under this statute can face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, with increased fines for subsequent reckless driving convictions. However, if the reckless driving leads to the death or substantial bodily harm to another person, it is a category B felony that can result upon conviction in a sentence of 1-6 years in Nevada State Prison and fines of between $2,000 and $5,000.
- Aggressive driving. Similar to reckless driving is the crime of “aggressive driving.” While the penalties are the same as for reckless driving, Nevada's aggressive driving law, NRS 484B.650, lists specific acts that constitute a violation, including speeding, following too closely, and dangerous lane changes, as well as a catch-all provision that makes it an offense to drive in a way that “creates an immediate hazard, regardless of its duration, to another vehicle or to another person.”
- Assault. If a driver's anger is expressed through a threat or attempt to hurt or use force against another driver or anyone else, intentionally making the other person feel that he/she is about to be physically harmed, they can be charged with assault under NRS 200.471.
Nevada assault committed without a deadly weapon is a misdemeanor that could lead to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. If, however, a Nevada assault is committed with a deadly weapon, it is a category B felony that could result in one to six years behind bars and/or a $5,000 fine
- Battery. If their road rage actually results in the driver hitting or using force against someone else, they could face Nevada battery charges under NRS 200.481. The penalties for a Nevada battery committed without a deadly weapon and with no substantial bodily harm include up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. However, assaults with a deadly weapon or that result in substantial bodily harm are subject to significantly greater penalties.
If you have been involved in a Las Vegas road rage incident and are facing criminal charges as a result, please give our experienced and aggressive Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys a call to discuss your case. (For California law, see our article, "Four Ways Road Rage in Los Angeles Can Get You Arrested.")