A significant change occurred at the beginning of 2023 in regard to traffic tickets in Nevada.
Starting on January 1st, 2023, Nevada will stop criminalizing minor offenses when it comes to traffic tickets. What that really means is that if you are ever cited with a minor offense ticket due to a traffic issue then you will no longer serve jail time if you do not pay.
Nevada lawmakers also canceled out all warrants that were outstanding for people who did not pay their fines. Many people thought that the old rule caused more damage than it did for the state.
Although offering up jail time as an alternative to paying the traffic ticket fines would be an incentive for most people to pay, some people simply could not afford to pay the fine.
Regardless of the reason for not paying, if one did not pay then they were sent to jail and that could be very damaging for individuals and families.
Why this Change?
Recent trends have shown that prices are increasing in all aspects of life including transportation (car prices, gasoline, etc…) and also for housing. Home prices throughout the Las Vegas Valley have been appreciating greatly over the years and when that occurs, it typically means the same for rental prices.
Of course, food at your local grocery store (Smith’s, Albertsons, and Vons) has also seen prices go up across the board. Although the lawmakers in Nevada always wanted their money first, some people simply could not do it even if they wanted to.
The other aspect that may have helped turn the tide in changing this law was the COVID-19 pandemic. With businesses being shut down and people losing their jobs, the thought of paying a fine on a traffic ticket no doubt went to the bottom of the priority list for most people.
What caused so much devastation, though, is the jail time. Regardless of how long someone was incarcerated (whether it be for one day or an entire week), it could cause massive damage that would continue to snowball. If someone lost their job due to their quick stint in jail, that obviously snowballs into more missed bills and having to find another job.
The stress on the people involved is high and can even cause other issues such as relationship breakups or losing their housing. Most of those issues would also overlap with the state where they would take some responsibility (including welfare benefits, unemployment, etc…). So even though the state was getting its “payment” (by means of incarcerating someone), they were likely not coming out ahead in the long run.
It may come as a surprise to many but at the time of this law change in Nevada to decriminalize traffic tickets, it was estimated that more than 250,000 people had some type of active warrant out against them for these minor issues.
Minor traffic issues could be anywhere from driving a truck with too many passengers to having a broken headlight. The decriminalization only includes those violations for minor offenses and would not pertain to more egregious activities such as DUI’s or reckless driving charges.
Ticket Busters can help. If you had an outstanding warrant against you for a traffic issue or are not sure if you did then reach out to our office.
We can check the records in Nevada and find out your status. Even though you will not have to worry about going to jail thanks to this new law change, you still have to pay the fines that were levied against you at the time of the ticket. Sometimes a court appearance may also be required.
If you are not sure then call us today. Ticket Busters may also be able to appear in court on your behalf which will save you time and no doubt some aggravation.
Just because your outstanding warrant might be canceled out does not mean that it will necessarily be removed from your record. Be cognizant of that when completing job applications and other surveys. This is another reason to reach out to our office for help.
You definitely do not want to input false information on any type of application.
Now that we know how the past has been settled regarding these minor traffic violations we now need to understand how things will work moving forward.
NRS 484A.703 is the Nevada Revised Statute that changed when the year 2023 began. At that time, the lawmakers in northern Nevada stated that certain minor traffic violations within the state would become civil infractions. The infraction is the key word as before they were all considered misdemeanors.
What is a “Criminal Misdemeanor”?
This is a type of offense that has a punishment (typically) of no longer than 6 months in jail with a fine that can increase up to $1,000. It is defined in NRS 193.150.
This is how the traffic infractions were labeled prior to the law change.
What is a “Civil Infraction”?
The biggest thing to know about a civil infraction is to understand what it is not. It is not a criminal offense and that aspect is very significant. The monetary penalty for a civil infraction will usually not exceed $500 (some exceptions may apply).
Obviously, this is a big decrease from the misdemeanor charge, not only because of the lesser fines but mostly because there is no possibility of jail time. Also, these types of charges are not considered criminal.
What Happens if You Are Cited With a Civil Infraction Due to a Traffic Stop?
Just because the rules have become more lenient does not mean you are off the hook. You still have responsibilities and that should not come as a surprise.
Upon receiving a citation, you are required to respond within ninety calendar days of the issue date listed on the ticket. Note that you still have a responsibility to do this even if you lose your ticket.
You have a couple of options with the first one being the most straightforward and that is to simply pay the amount due to the Las Vegas Justice Court.
You can go online to their website and pay the fine and also have the option to do so in person at the Las Vegas Regional Justice Center. After arriving, you can go to the window and make a face-to-face transaction. This method is useful for those that are not technologically savvy or for those that would prefer to use cash instead of a credit card or e-check.
You do have a few options when paying your fine. If needed you can set up a payment plan as long as the payment is paid in full by the posted due date.
Most people will simply pay the fine in full but not everyone can afford to do that all at once. In lieu of paying the fine, you may be able to work out a deal to perform community service. These community service hours will vary depending on the amount of the ticket and may or may not be an option.
The other choice is to challenge the ticket and that sounds like a difficult process but it actually is quite simple.
Ticket Busters makes this process simple.
All you need to do is contact us after receiving a ticket and we will then get the details of what occurred. From there we can handle your case on your behalf. It is never a bad thing to challenge a ticket because sometimes there is not a lot of evidence that you actually violated a law.
Our legal staff can determine that and in any case, we will push your case forward with the intent to either get it reduced or possibly thrown out entirely. If you elect to fight the ticket yourself, then you can expect to have to attend a court hearing in person.
Most likely you will first have to get that hearing date by also arriving in person at an initial date. Fees may be required for you to pay that would be in the form of a bond that must be posted in order for you to contest the charges. If this all seems like a headache and too much for you to do (all the while working, having a social life, and spending time with your family) then call Ticket Busters and we can handle this for you.
In any case, you never want to ignore your ticket. Failing to respond to your ticket within ninety days will send your name and case number to collections.
The same goes for not paying your fine by the due date.
In addition to having your account at collections, you may also get your driver’s license suspended and anytime that happens in Nevada there are demerit points that will be posted against your account at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Things can spiral very quickly if you do not act appropriately after receiving a traffic ticket in Nevada and that is still true even after the decriminalization law.
As a rule of thumb, you really should seek legal help and Ticket Busters can assist.