Options For Resolving A Las Vegas Traffic Ticket
The last thing you want to see in your rear-view mirror are flashing red and blue lights of a police car signaling for you to pull over due to your failure to obey the rules of the road. Whether it was an intentional or unintentional violation, when it happens, your first thought is likely going to be, “How much is this going to cost me?”
Depending on the offense, the average cost of a speeding ticket in Las Vegas, NV is around $150. However, the actual cost of getting a traffic ticket can be much higher. Hefty fines aren’t the only thing drivers should be concerned about. When you receive a ticket, you acquire demerits on your drivers license, which can ultimately cause loss of driving privileges and insurance rate increases.
The Nevada Demerit Point System
Nevada has what is referred to as a “demerit point system” which is used to keep track of how well licensed motorists are driving. Here is how it works:
- You receive a traffic ticket.
- The DMV receives a a notice of the violation.
- The violation is recorded on your driving record.
- You receive demerit points for the violation, resulting in a permanent driving record and potential lost driving priviliges and insurance premium increases.
Below are a few of the most common driving offenses and their respective demerits:
Getting Rid of Demerit Points
The more severe your offense, the more demerit points you will acquire. If you have acquired between 3-11 points, you can have up to 3 points removed by completing a Nevada DMV-approved traffic safety course, only if the course is not part of a plea-bargain agreement with the Nevada Court. However, you must be eligible in order to have this option. To be eligible:
- You must have only accumulated between 3 and 11 points.
- The course may not be part of a plea-bargain agreement with the court.
- The course must be approved by the DMV.
- You are only allowed to attend traffic school once within a 12-month period to get points taken off your record.
If you have acquired over 12 or more points in any 12-month period, your drivers license will be automatically suspended for 6 months.
* Major traffic offenses, such as a DUI, death or substantial bodily harm while driving are not assigned demerit points and result in automatic license revocation or suspension.
The good news? Demerit points aren’t permanent. After 12 months have passed from the date of your conviction, the points are removed from your driving record. However, it’s important to remember that even though the points will be removed, the convictions will remain on your permanent driving record.
Loss of Driving Privileges
In some instances, as mentioned above, you may face severe consequences. Your license will be automatically suspended for 6 months if you accumulate 12 or more points within a 12-month period. And if you are convicted of more serious traffic violations, like DUI, demerit points don’t even apply—your driver license will be automatically revoked or suspended.
What To Do After You’ve Received A Nevada Traffic Ticket
If you’ve received a Nevada traffic ticket, you have two options for resolution: you can either plead guilty to the offense and pay the ticket, or you can plead not guilty and fight the ticket. Below we have outlined the procedure for each option so that you know what to expect before making your decision.
Option 1: Plea “Guilty” and Pay Your Ticket
If you’ve received a Nevada ticket, the first and most important thing you need to be aware of is that you must settle your ticket with the court inside of the county or municipality where you received the ticket. This means that it might not necessarily be where you live. So, if you are a North Las Vegas, NV resident and you receive a traffic ticket while in Henderson, NV, you must settle the ticket with the Henderson Court.
Follow the Instructions Outlined On The Ticket
Your Nevada traffic ticket will have all the information you need on it for resolving the citation. Make sure you refer to this, as every county’s requirements vary. For example, depending on where you were cited, you may be able to pay your ticket:
- In person
- Via mail
- Via phone
What Happens After I Pay My Ticket?
- Depending on the violation, you will have demerit points added to your driving record.
- Your car insurance rate may go up if you’ve acquired too many points.
- Your driver license may be suspended if you’ve acquired too many points.
- You may have the option to take a Nevada DMV-approved traffic safety course to remove up to 3-points from your record.
Whether you’ve had points added to your record or you’ve taken a course to have them removed, you should always keep an eye on your driving record to make sure it’s correct. Mistakes do happen, and the last thing you want is to have unnecessary points added to your record, especially when it could cause your insurance premium to increase.
Option 2: Fight Your Ticket
If you believe that you were not guilty of the offense you were cited for, you have the option of contesting your ticket. The process for contesting varies depending on the jurisdiction of where you were cited, but in general, you’ll need to do the following:
- Notify your court: Usually, drivers are required to appear in court to enter a not guilty plea. You may have the option of submitting a plea by mail, but if you are unsure, you should check with the court.
- Consider hiring a traffic ticket attorney: A traffic ticket attorney is usually very affordable and can offer you the best legal advice when it comes to handling your citation. They can also appear for you in court and in many cases, get your ticket reduced or dismissed.
- Prepare for your trial: If you decided to hire a traffic ticket lawyer, he or she will handle this portion for you. Otherwise, you will need to collect all of the evidence you can, including contacting witnesses, requesting video footage (if there is any), and prepare to present this evience to a judge in court.
- Present your case in court: Once you’ve collected all evidence, you will plead your case in front of a judge who will then determine whether or not you are guilty of the violation. If you receive a not-guilty answer, you needn’t pay the ticket fine. If you are found guilty, you will be told what the next steps to take are.
Most importantly, regardless of which course of action you end up taking after you get a ticket, be sure you respond to your citation before the date listed on it. If you fail to do so, the penalites you face can be even more severe!
This article has been written by Attorney Brian M. Boyer of The Injury Firm. Voted Top Car Accident Lawyer in Las Vegas, if you or a loved one have been injured in a wreck, contact him at (702) 800-0988 24/7 for a free, no-obligation consultation. If he cannot help you, he will point you in the best direction for your specific needs.