When you see a ‘Stop Sign’ hanging up in someone’s garage do you ever wonder where it came from? Certainly the person would have never taken it off of a street, right?
Street signs are not readily available for people to purchase because adding or subtracting them from roads can be extremely dangerous. The danger and detriment for removing a street sign from a roadway is obvious but adding a sign that is not authorized is also dangerous. There is a Nevada Revised Statute that pertains to traffic signage and people fiddling with them.
It is NRS 484B.317 and it is titled:
NRS 484B.317 – Interference with official device for control of traffic or sign or signal for railroad prohibited; additional penalty for violation committed in work zone.
Ticket Busters has helped thousands of people in southern Nevada over the years and we can help you too.
Regardless of your situation, if you have been given a ticket by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) or other law enforcement agency then you should call us for help.
We are experts in the field of law in Nevada and can work your case with the intent to have your ticket thrown out completely or reduced.
Often times, fighting your ticket will get this result but doing so can be cumbersome for the normal person. We know how to strategize and fight your tickets and can do that work for you. Our office is aware that you have many other important things to do with your time.
What Nevada Law Says
The statute has two subpoints with the first one being very specific about what the law is. It specifically is written as:
1. A person shall not, without lawful authority, attempt to or alter, deface, injure, knock down or remove any official traffic-control device or any railroad sign or signal or any inscription, shield or insigne thereon, or any other part thereof.
We can dig into this one a little more to review specific examples of what the NRS is dictating.
Defacement of a Sign
The most popular way of someone defacing a traffic sign is using graffiti or “tagging” it.
This type of defacement could include a marker but most often is done with spray paint which can be easily transported by the assailant and hidden from view. Often times. The graffiti can be harmless and other times it could be gang related. Sometimes a person may tag a sign by making an obscene statement or drawing. In certain neighborhoods though, the tagging could be a gang sign depicting territory.
Regardless of the intent though, in either case, it is a crime and can cause great injury to drivers and pedestrians if the graffiti makes the sign illegible to the point where drivers ignore or miss the directive.
Adding a sticker to a sign to showcase a band, political issue or for any other reason is also considered defacement. The people conducting this behavior might think that it is harmless and that they are just being funny or promoting their favorite cause but it can cause trouble for drivers.
Damaging a Street Sign
Sometimes people find it funny to throw things at a sign. This can be especially true in colder climates that have snowfall. For whatever reason, the traffic signs serve as great targets for snowballs from people of all ages.
That scenario is more relevant in norther Nevada areas such as Reno, Tonopah and Elko so we don’t quite see that here in Las Vegas and Henderson. Many other things can be used here though such as beer bottles, rocks and other types of projectiles. Even a big dent in a sign can make it difficult to read for drivers. This can be especially true at different times of the day with various lighting or during inclement weather like downpours or even dust storms.
Another common way to damage a sign is to shoot at it. Anyone who has been outside of the city limits of southern Nevada and into the desert areas has certainly seen a street sign that is full of bullet holes. This can be any type of sign, a stop sign, deer crossing sign, railroad crossing or anything else.
This phenomenon is not unique to Nevada but is pretty much the theme in any rural area throughout the United States. With Las Vegas and southern Nevada being an urban area, we hope that no one is using a firearm in the city, especially as nonsensical to shoot at a traffic sign.
An alternative way to “damage” a sign is to remove one of the bolts holding it up. By removing the top bolt of say a Stop sign, the sign would be inverted and upside down and will be attached to the pole at a lower level then what drivers are accustomed to seeing. Any change in normal activities for Nevada drivers pose a problem because signage and rules are always uniform. Even if a driver misses a sign directive for only a millisecond it can cause an accident. So it really is important to not damage a street sign and to deter people from doing so.
Removing or Stealing a Traffic Sign
We mostly imagine this happening with a ‘Stop’ sign and the potential damage that could cause if one was missing or not visible for drivers. Stop signs are essential for controlling traffic and things can be lethal without them. The only way our traffic rules work is if everyone adheres to them. As soon as someone makes up their own rules or does whatever they would like on the road, then an accident is likely to happen.
Stop signs and other traffic signage do not just exist for the automobile facing them but complement other nearby streets and intersections. In other words, everything fits together like a puzzle and as soon as one piece of that puzzle is missing, bad things can happen.
We can imagine if traffic signs installed right before a train track crossing was missing how that could be extremely dangerous for drivers. If someone driving a car did not have the directives from the sign and continued through to the tracks and was hit by a train it would be a tragedy. Most likely the driver and all passengers would be killed. Here in the Las Vegas Valley, many families have to deal with death caused by auto accidents and it is awful for families. Having an incident occur like that due to someone taking a street sign would be devastating.
Penalties for Defacing, Damaging, or Removing a Traffic Sign
The second subpoint to this statue provides a vague description of what the penalty is and references another statute:
2. A person who violates any provision of this section may be subject to the additional penalty set forth in NRS 484B.130.
For your reference, NRS 484B.130 is titled:
NRS 484B.130 Double penalty for certain traffic violations committed in work zones; exception in certain temporary traffic control zones.
Basically, if you are driving in Nevada and are issued traffic tickets for specific situations while traveling through a school zone, labeled work area or other types of traffic zones then you can expect the fine on your ticket to be double the cost of what it normally would be.
Facing a Traffic Ticket?
If a traffic sign is missing and you are cited a ticket for violating the rule in which the sign would have directed you then you should fight that charge.
If a traffic ticket was issued to you by law enforcement for not making a full stop but the sign was missing, defaced or damaged, then you have an argument for your actions.
The police officer giving you the ticket is just doing their job but that does not mean you have no recourse. You can always fight a ticket yourself but that can be time consuming and a drain on your energy. Most people are not versed on how to navigate and get through the Nevada court and ticket system.
The good news though is that getting a legal representative is quick, easy and they can do this work for you. Ticket Busters is this type of firm. We can be reached quite easily with a simple phone call or email if you have been ticketed. We welcome walk ins to our office which is located in beautiful downtown Las Vegas.
Specifically, we can be found just off the intersection of South 4th Street and Hoover Ave. Our location is surrounded by the Arts District on Charleston Blvd., South Casino Center to the northwest and Las Vegas Blvd. to the east. The famed Fremont Street Experience can be found a few blocks to the north of our office.
Needless to say, our office is as visible as our transparency to our clients. We take great pride in our reputation and will keep you abreast of your ticket status throughout the process. If you ever need anything we urge you to not hesitate in reaching out to us.