NRS 484B.165 can be a bit misleading because it not only pertains to a driver texting while they drive an automobile but really covers any time a driver is handling their cell phone while operating a vehicle. So whether you are texting your friend, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, or creating a video on TikTok or Snapchat you will be given a ticket by law enforcement if you are caught.
The first violation for violating NRS 484B.165 is a civil penalty of $50. Remember that the law is based on handling a cell phone physically. If you are driving and using your Bluetooth to utilize your phone’s text messaging capability, then you are ok. The same goes for the internet and GPS via Bluetooth.
As you get cited for more of these types of violations, the fines will continue to increase. Not only do fines potentially increase but a second violation will also involve driving points. Four Nevada demerit points will be deducted from your record when being ticketed for handling a wireless device behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Please continue to read if you’d like to know more about this Nevada state law, especially how it pertains to the city of Las Vegas and Clark County. Keep in mind that this article is mostly about you being ticketed for this Nevada statute but also be aware that if you are injured in a car accident due to the other driver operating their phone you can file a case and may be eligible for a large cash settlement.
Is It Illegal to Text While Driving a Car in Nevada?
It is, of course, illegal to operate a cell phone while driving if using your hands (wireless is ok). This form of distracted driving includes using the phone for anything such as texting, surfing the internet or scrolling through the feed of your favorite social media. This also includes having the phone up to your ear as if you are in a conversation. Even reading a text message while driving falls under this law and will get you a ticket. The bottom line is don’t use your phone while driving. Not only is it dangerous but it also can cost you money between civil penalties (fines), court cases, law firm defense and points against your driving record.
There are some exceptions to the law which include:
- Emergency personnel – this can include volunteers as well. The exception is for first responders that are trained to provide emergency medical services. If they are using a wireless device for the scope of their emergency response role, then they would be exempt.
- Law Enforcement officers are also exempt if they too are using their cellular phones for the scope of his or her employment.
- Civilians may also be allowed to use their phones while driving under certain circumstances. One example of this is if someone is reporting criminal activity, a safety hazard, or some type of medical emergency.
- Assuming that parking the car or coming to a complete stop is not possible, a person may utilize their cell phone to report an emergency with the intent to prevent injury or damage to the person calling or someone else. Basically, if you are calling on behalf of the welfare of yourself or someone else you should not get a ticket.
- If someone is licensed under the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) as a radio operator (whether it be amateur or professional) and that person is operating their phone while driving to report an emergency it would be acceptable. This can be for a variety of reasons including a bad traffic accident, someone on a highway overpass trying to commit suicide, or pretty much any other imaginable disaster.
- Employees of public utility companies may also be exempt from NRS 484B.165. Wireless communication devices can be used while in their car to report relevant issues such as a power outage. Other emergencies may include power lines sagging down and posing a risk to traffic or a utility box that is damaged.
- Another exception that is becoming more and more viable is that pertaining to self-driving cars. If a person is behind the wheel of one of these types of forward-thinking automobiles, they are considered to be in the passenger seat. Because of that, they would be allowed to operate a cellular phone.
Is GPS Navigation Acceptable to Use While Driving?
The answer to this question is “yes” and “no”. Using GPS navigation on your cell phone is ok as long as the directions were programmed into your phone before you began driving. In order for this to be considered legal, the driver would have to enter all information regarding the address while the car is parked.
Even if the car is moving and you are driving, voice directions can be used regarding the GPS without violating the state law of Nevada. It’s very popular for rideshare drivers who utilize their GPS practically all the time to mount their phones on the dashboard. That is acceptable for those drivers not being paid to drive but the mount must not restrict the driver’s view and of course, the driver cannot operate the phone even if it is mounted (while driving).
If I Am Cited for Violating NRS 484B.165, How Do I Defend Myself?
If you hire an attorney to assist you with your defense, then they will most likely investigate the scene with the goal of finding as much evidence as possible to show that the driver was not operating their cell phone while driving.
A good defense lawyer will seek out eyewitnesses, sometimes even the other driver if there was an actual collision. Surveillance photos from traffic lights or other cameras can also be utilized to show that the phone was not being handled.
Phone records may also be pulled as the time and date could be matched up and would show if a text message or a phone call was being made at the same time as the accident or citation from law enforcement.
Defense attorneys are going to provide evidence so that the District Attorney will not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were guilty of using your phone while driving. If that is the case, then your citation would be dismissed in court.
If I Am Guilty of a Violation, What Are the Punishments?
As we mentioned before in this article, the first violation is a $50 fine. If another violation occurs within seven years of the first one then another civil penalty of $100 will be enacted. Additional violations will generate fines of $250. Driving points may also be deducted from your record. If any of your violations occur in pedestrian safety zones or work zones,then most likely the courts will double the penalty.
Other punishments to consider are how your car insurance rates would be impacted. In many cases, after being cited, your car insurance premiums will increase. Knowing this should give you even more incentive to hire a good attorney to defend you. It is possible (with evidence and good defense) to get your ticket reduced to a non-moving violation which typically would not impact your car insurance. As usual, getting a ticket reduced is really based on the evidence and the prosecution.
Demerit points are not given for the first violation but would be for subsequent tickets. Demerit points stick on your record for a year so getting multiple violations within 365 days can cause a lot of problems. If twelve or more points are accumulated on your record, your driver’s license would be suspended for six months.
Typically, traffic school is not part of the punishments for being ticketed for NRS 484B.165.
Violations of texting while driving is not deportable. With that said, if you are here illegally it is always best not be cited for any type of ticket or have negative interactions with law enforcement or the justice system.
How Does the Law Impact Those With a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?
Commercial Drivers pretty much have the same parameters as non-commercial. Aside from the fines and demerit points, Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) must also report their violation(s) to their employer within thirty days of being ticketed.
Can a CDL Be Suspended?
The answer is yes. Federal authorities consider it a “serious offense” to text while driving. If a CDL commits two of these types of offenses within three years, their commercial license could be suspended for sixty days. A 120-day suspension would occur if a third violation happens.
If a license is out of state, there could be different rules and regulations since NRS 484B.165 only applies to the state of Nevada. This would apply to commercial driver’s licenses and non-commercial.
What Happened to My Records?
A conviction in the state of Nevada can be sealed just one year after the case closes. Of course, if a charge is dismissed then there would be no waiting period.
How Will My Trial Work and Should I Defend My Ticket or Simply Pay It?
Although the citation for “texting while driving” is not significant it is easy to violate the law more and more. Most people peek at their phone while driving and subsequent violations carry harsher and harsher penalties. So, with that line of thinking, it makes sense to fight your ticket the first time. If you take your case to court, it will be tried as a bench trial. Most traffic cases are settled this way and would not be conducted with a jury trial.
Although you can defend yourself it makes much more sense to hire an experienced defense attorney like Ticket Busters that has knowledge of texting while driving cases. They know the ways of the court system, and can oftentimes generate better plea deals than the average person can. In many cases, they can also represent you in court and appear on your behalf, so you don’t have to miss work or waste additional time and costs (parking, opportunity cost of spending the day in court).