Hit and Run Laws in Las Vegas – Traffic Attorney Ross Goodman
Las Vegas has different penalties and approaches for hit-and-run cases. A hit & run case involving bodily injury or death is considered a felony. A hit & run case which caused property damage is a misdemeanor offense.
There is also a law that requires the people involved to stay in the scene, file an accident report and render aid until authority arrives. Leaving the hit and run scene is punishable by law
Depending on your case and situation, we can formulate an appropriate criminal defense procedure to lessen or dismiss your charges.
Nevada Revised Statutes 484E – Hit and Run Laws
1.) Duty to stop at scene of accident (NRS 484E.010 – 484E.020)
The driver involved in the accident SHALL immediately stop his/her car at the scene. The driver must also do the following:
- Stop the car without obstructing the traffic more than necessary (for cases involving serious bodily injury or death).
- If the parked car is causing traffic but can be moved safely, then move the vehicle to a location where it does not cause traffic. Move the car as close as possible to the scene.
- The offending driver must assist in aiding any injured individuals and must provide their complete information to the affected parties and/or law enforcement on the scene.
2.) Duty to give information and render aid (NRS 484E.030)
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death or any person or damage to any vehicle or other property that is driven or attended by any person shall give the following to the driver or occupants of the other motor vehicles and the police:
- Registration number of the vehicle involved in the accident
- License information
The offending driver is also required to do the following tasks as stipulated by law:
- Surrender his or her driver’s license to the investigating law enforcement officer on the scene, but only if it was specifically asked
- Provide any means of assistance to the injured, such as providing first aid or arranging transport to the nearest competent medical facility or physician
- Provide a detailed and accurate report of the accident to the nearest precinct, police outpost, or Highway Patrol office if no officer is present, but only after being able to exchange information with the other party and only after any injured have been safely sent to a medical facility for treatment
3.) Duty upon damaging unattended cars or other property (NRS 484E.040; NRS 484E.050)
Drivers who accidentally collide with unattended vehicles or other property (like fences or waiting sheds) are still required by law to:
- Attempt to locate the owner of the damaged car or property to exchange information, or, should this prove unsuccessful, attach full contact details on a conspicuous part of the damaged item to allow the owner to easily contact the offending driver
- Immediately report the incident to the nearest police precinct or Nevada Highway Patrol station
In the event that the driver of the offending vehicle was incapacitated by the incident, the tasks of exchanging information and informing authorities fall on any able-bodied passenger within the car, provided the offending driver was on the road with a companion.
4.) Vehicle seizure and impoundment after failure to provide license and registration (NRS 484E.060)
If the law enforcement officers investigating the scene of the collision would find out that the offending car has an expired license and registration, they are allowed by law to do the following:
- Issue a traffic citation to the offending driver relating to driving with an expired license and car registration
- Seize the offending vehicle without the need for a warrant and have it towed to an impound site, returning it only after the owner (1) presents proof of registration reinstatement by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, and (2) pays the towing and impound fees
Note that neither the officer nor his agency can be held liable for any damages incurred by the offending driver’s car during the transport and impounding of his or her vehicle.
5.) The drivers’ accident report (NRS 484E.070 to NRS 484E.100)
Providing an accident report to the Nevada DMV and/or the Nevada Department of Public Safety is accomplished by filling out duly-authorized forms.
- It is the task of both the DMV and DPS to formulate a uniform format for all crash report forms that they use throughout the state.
- It is also their task to provide these forms, in either electronic or printed form, to any offending driver.
The offending driver can only provide his or her accident report within ten days after the crash; otherwise he or she can be charged with hit-and-run. The report is accompanied by a total estimate of damages that must be paid, as well as insurance policies covering drivers, passengers, and cars involved. However, the offending driver need not file the report if:
- A report has already been filed by a law enforcement officer who was present at the scene of the incident, including segments for damages and insurance coverage
- The offending driver is under the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board; he or she, however, is required to file a report on the tenth day of the following month (for example, if the collision happened on January 1st, the report must be filed on or before February 10th, but not immediately 10 days after January 1st)
- The offending driver was incapacitated by the collision; the limit is waivered until the offending driver is physically capable of furnishing the report. However, if the driver of the offending vehicle is not its owner and he or she becomes incapacitated, the duty of reporting the accident within ten days falls on the actual owner
Note that the accident report filed is for the confidential use of the Department involved. However, certain details can be furnished by the Department for select situations, such as:
- The report was requested in relation to providing insurance payment; only the identity of involved individuals and cars, and the date and time of the accident are often provided here
- A certificate supporting the filing or not filing of an accident report is provided in lieu of the report itself, for use in the offending driver’s trial; note that the only information provided from the report itself include the cars involved, their drivers and owners plus possible passengers, the time and date of the crash, and officers on the scene
- The offending driver is being investigated for failing to file the report
A failure to report can be another serious problem for a driver apart from hit-and-run charges.
- Failing to report the collision can result in a year-long license suspension, unless the driver belatedly files the report or provides evidence that the failure to file was not intentional
- Willfully filing a false report can be considered a gross misdemeanor and is subject to appropriate penalties if proven true
A full report of deaths involved in any collision is provided by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics to the involved Department on the 10th of each month.
Repair shops involved in the refurbishment of vehicles involved with the collision are required by law to keep data vital to the case. These pieces of information include:
- Registration numbers
- Car identification numbers
- Car color before repairs
- Detailed report of repaired or replaced parts
- Total amount of damage
- Name and address of persons who requested the repairs
6.) The law enforcement officer’s accident report (NRS484E.0110 to NRS 484E.0130)
Law enforcement officers investigating the collisions are required to submit their reports within ten days of the accident. These reports are not confidential, and can be provided in full should it be requested through legal channels. The common process of filing a report by law enforcement follows this pattern:
- The investigating officer’s superior is required to make a copy of the report and file it himself or herself to the Department of Public Safety
- The Department of Public Safety must store the report in a secure central repository for ease of access and security
- The Department of Public Safety will then provide a copy of the report to the Department of Motor Vehicles
The DPS is the entity responsible with providing accident report forms used by law enforcement officers in relation to these collisions. These forms must include the need to identify the following:
- Cause of the collision
- Conditions existing during the incident (weather, visibility, etc.)
- Involved individuals and cars
- Names and addresses of insurance companies covering the individuals and their vehicles
- Number of policy and date of coverage
The DMV can request the reports compiled by the DPS if there is a need to clarify a report provided by the driver involved in the collision. Remember that the DMV’s forms are only provided to drivers involved in the incident, while the DPS’s forms can only be filled up by officers on the scene of the incident. All the data connected to the accident are then tabulated for an annual statistics report with connection to hit-and-run cases within Nevada.
Hit & Run and DUI
Many hit and run accidents that occur are often due to the offending drivers being intoxicated by alcohol or drugs at the time of the collision. By fleeing the scene of the crime, these drivers hope to weaken the case against them in the event that they get arrested, by making it more difficult for authorities to confirm that they were committing a DUI offense.
New Nevada laws filed in October 2015 have changed all that, drivers suspected to be drunk during the accident but choose to run will face anywhere between 2 and 20 years of jail time without probation, similar to a felony DUI conviction. In addition, separate charges can be made for every person who suffered bodily injury or death due to the driver’s DUI hit and run.
Penalties for Hit & Run Charges
The offending driver’s penalty is dependent on the damage caused, and/or the number of people injured or killed during the collision.
In the event that the collision only resulted in damage to property, the offending driver is penalized with:
- A maximum of six months in prison; and/or
- A fine of up to a maximum of $1,000
- Six demerit points to the offending driver’s license
A collision that results in death or injury of any individual involved automatically merits heftier penalties, including:
- Between 2 and 20 years in a state correctional facility (As of October 2015) with no probation.
- Between $2,000 and $5,000 in fines
- Possible license suspension and revocation, depending on the number of injuries and deaths during the incident