TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS INFORMATION
Traffic Tickets and Violations in Las Vegas: Introduction
Las Vegas is a large and bustling city. To keep up with the rush and to get across the large expanse of land that the city occupies, many residents choose to drive their own vehicles around town, aiming to avoid the congestion of public transportation while going to destinations via more direct routes. The high amount of traffic within the city means that at least once or twice a day, there will be an incident where a driver will commit a traffic offense, like:
- Driving Under the Influence
- Hit and Run
- Reckless Driving
- Vehicular Manslaughter or Vehicular Homicide
- Driving with a Suspended License
- Common traffic violations like Speeding or Crossing the Red Light
Traffic Tickets in General
There are a large variety of traffic-related violations that can be prosecuted within the State of Nevada. However, there are three general types of traffic tickets that most violations fall into. These types are:
- Parking Violations: common traffic violations that are usually considered minor infractions. Tickets can be handed out if a person is proven to have parked in a handicapped parking space illegally, parked in a metered space without paying, or parked within 20 feet of a fire hydrant and obstructing easy access for firemen in case of an emergency. Since they are relatively minor, they are often resolved by paying the fee without a need to go to court.
- Non-Moving Violations: concerns violations related to the legal capacity of a person to drive. Driving a suspended or non-valid license, driving without a license, and driving without safety restraints like motorized seatbelts are common examples. These offenses are considered misdemeanors, which means that they can equate to a maximum of six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
- Moving Violations: offenses committed while the vehicle is on the road. Anything from speeding to reckless driving and even a U-turn in a restricted area can be considered moving violations. These are considered misdemeanors as well, although the associated moving violation of Hit and Run can escalate to a felony if injuries or death was involved.
The Nevada Demerit System
Aside from equating to prison time and fines, traffic violations that are considered misdemeanors, such as driving without a seatbelt or speeding, also add up points to a demerit system for driving licenses. Typically, a license gets suspended when it receives 12 or more demerit points within a twelve-month period.
- Demerit points only count for misdemeanor cases. Parking cases and some non-moving offenses are considered minor and do not add up to demerits. Serious offences like a hit and run that involves injuries do not count up demerits because they equate to higher penalties. The point ratings include:
- Reckless Driving: 8 points
- Careless Driving: 6 points
- Tailgating: 4 points
- Right-of-Way Violation: 4 points
- Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian: 4 points
- Disregarding Traffic Lights or Stop Signs: 4 points
- Excessively Slow Driving: 2 points
- Speeding 10mph above limits: 1 point
- Speeding 11 to 15 mph above limits: 2 points
- 16 to 20 mph above limits: 3 points
- 21 mph or more, above limits: 4 points
- 1 to 15 mph above school zone limits: 4 points
- 16 mph or more above school zone limits: 6 points
- Demerit points do not stay permanently on a driver’s record. They usually stay on record for one year before being removed, or they can be automatically erased once the offending driver completes a road safety course that does not come as part of a plea bargain.
Warrants for Traffic Tickets
Traffic tickets may be minor for some cases, but ignoring them is not advisable. Once an offending driver is handed a traffic ticket by the apprehending officer, he or she is also notified of a court date that he has to attend. Failure to do so, either by willfully ignoring the date or forgetting about it, would mean that a Nevada judge will sign out a bench warrant for the offending driver, allowing law enforcement officers to arrest him or her. Dealing with a bench warrant with the help of a defense lawyer is a good alternative, if giving a valid reason for missing the court date is not possible.
The Traffic Court
Even if a driver is informed of a date when he or she must show up to a traffic court hearing, he or she does not need to appear personally, provided he is represented by a competent lawyer. They lawyer only has to show up on or before the appointed court date and provide his credentials, proving that he or she will represent the offending driver. A traffic court is like any other court. The defense attorney can call in witnesses to prove that the traffic violation charges are invalid, and he or she will do everything possible to prove his or her client’s innocence. In some cases, however, the lawyer will opt to negotiate a reduced sentence to protect the client from receiving a demerit.
Inter-State Traffic Tickets
Traffic tickets can be tricky to handle when the driver commits a traffic offense in a different state.
- If a non-local is handed a traffic ticket in Nevada, he or she can hire a local counsel to represent him or her in court. It is best to deal with the ticket immediately, as failing to address the problem can add out-of-state demerit points to the driving license.
- If a Nevada native is handed a traffic ticket out-of-state, they must hire a local defense attorney in that state and deal with the ticket issue. While they are not at risk of receiving demerit points, the traffic ticket will still reflect on their permanent driving record.
When Pulled Over by the Police…
Being flagged down by a local patrol unit is not a reason to panic. It is better to cooperate with law enforcement instead of choosing to run away, to avoid any serious problems.
- Slow down, put emergency lights on, and park in a designated parking slot or emergency shoulder
- Turn off everything in the vehicle, including auxiliary systems like electronics
- Never remove hands from the steering wheel. Avoid putting it in a pocket as this would make the officers think that a weapon is hidden
- No leaving the vehicle unless asked to by the officer
- Obey all requests by the officer
- Do not protest a citation being handed; the proper time to protest it will come in court. Consequently, avoid resisting arrest, invoke the right to remain silent, and contact a defense lawyer immediately.
Helping Out in a Vehicular Accident
There are some rare instances when a driver will figure in a road accident. In those rare cases, the driver is expected to assist any wounded individuals involved.
- Having an emergency kit can go a long way in being prepared for these situations. Aside from medical equipment, recommended items are a flare gun, traffic cones, a list of emergency numbers and a charged mobile phone.
- Try to move the vehicles out of oncoming traffic if the damage was minor.
- Keep a photo or video camera on the car at all times. It helps in recording events during and after the incident for future reference.
Las Vegas Traffic Ticket Violation Defense
Traffic tickets may be minor, but they can be a serious legal headache in the long run, ruining insurance policies and being a damper on new employment opportunities. Deal with the problem swiftly with the help of Defense Attorney Ross C. Goodman. An expert in Las Vegas traffic law, Attorney Goodman will ensure that his clients get the best result out of any traffic case. Seek out his legal expertise today!