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What to Know About Reckless Driving
Our experienced criminal law legal team can help you if you’re facing reckless driving charges in Nevada. Nevada Revised Statutes 484B.653 is Nevada’s reckless driving law. Reckless driving is a serious criminal offense in the state of Nevada. Here’s what you should know about this crime from our criminal lawyers in Las Vegas:
What Is Reckless Driving in Nevada?
Reckless driving in Nevada is any driving that shows a deliberate disregard for the safety or property of others. Drag racing also counts as reckless driving in Nevada. Reckless driving is a violation of Nevada law 484B.653.
Reckless Driving Charges in Nevada
A reckless driving charge is a catch-all of any kind of purposefully dangerous driving. It’s a serious criminal charge that can result in jail time even if no one gets hurt. Nevada’s dangerous driving laws encourage people to drive carefully and cautiously. With about 1,200 vehicle accidents causing serious injuries in Nevada each year, reckless driving laws curb dangerous driving behaviors.
Elements of a Nevada Reckless Driving Charge
To prove a reckless driving charge in Nevada, the state must prove the following:
- The defendant drove a vehicle
- The defendant drove the vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others
- They were drag racing/having a speed contest
What Is a Willful or Wanton Disregard for the Safety of Others?
Willful or wanton means deliberate; it means not caring if something happens. Willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others doesn’t mean causing harm intentionally, but it means purposefully taking actions that a reasonable person should know are likely to result in harm. Another way to put it is that willful or wanton disregard is a conscious disregard of the safety of others.
What Are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in Nevada?
The penalties for reckless driving in Nevada are:
- Up to six months in jail
- Eight points on your license
- A fine of up to $1,000
If your reckless driving involves drag racing or a speed contest, the court may order you to perform community service. The court may issue an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. Court fines increase for a second and third reckless driving offense.
Felony Reckless Driving in Nevada
If reckless driving results in injury or death, the offense is a felony. The offender may serve up to six years in prison and pay a fine of up to $5,000. If reckless driving causes injury or death and results from evading a police officer, the maximum penalty is 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Examples of Reckless Driving in Nevada
Here are some examples of driving that may be reckless driving in Nevada:
- Driving at high speeds
- Weaving through traffic
- Passing on a gravel shoulder
- Road rage / cutting someone off aggressively and interfering with normal traffic flow
- Running red lights or disobeying traffic signs
- Cutting off other drivers
- Intentionally driving on the median or shoulder
- Driving for extended periods of time or driving with extreme sleep deprivation
Defenses to Reckless Driving Charges in Nevada
Defenses to reckless driving charges in Nevada include:
- The police are mistaken about your driving. The police may not observe your driving correctly. You can claim that you weren’t driving the speed that the police claim or that you didn’t weave in and out of traffic. It’s important to carefully investigate the specific allegations against you to determine if the police may be incorrect about their observations.
- The driving wasn’t reckless. Whether driving is reckless driving is a matter of opinion. You’re not guilty of reckless driving just because the police think so. You can make your case to the jury that you’re not guilty because your actions don’t show a willful and wanton disregard for persons or property.
- Mistaken identity. The police must prove that it’s you driving the vehicle. A case of mistaken identity can be a defense to reckless driving.
- Necessity. You can justify reckless driving if your actions prevent more severe harm like needing to rush someone to the hospital. Even though it’s challenging to win a reckless driving charge using a necessity defense, it may be a viable defense in some cases. Your attorney can help you understand if necessity is a good defense for your case.
Reckless Driving as a Plea to DUI / Drunk Driving
Reckless driving is a relatively common plea to a Nevada drunk driving charge. If you’re facing a drunk driving charge, reckless driving is a good plea option in some circumstances. With a reckless driving plea, you don’t have a drunk driving conviction on your record. Avoiding a drunk driving conviction helps you avoid the stigma of a DUI. If you plead guilty to reckless driving and get a DUI charge later, you won’t face enhanced penalties of a repeat offender.
Aggressive Driving in Nevada – NRS 484B.650
A related charge to reckless driving in Nevada is aggressive driving. Nevada law 484B.650 is Nevada’s aggressive driving law. Speeding in a school zone or work zone is automatically aggressive driving. In addition, any two of the following acts within a one-mile stretch of road amounts to aggressive driving:
- Passing on the pavement
- Disobeying a traffic light or sign
- Unsafe driving
- Following too close to the vehicle in front of you
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Creating an immediate hazard to another person
Aggressive driving is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. There are increased fines for repeat offenders. In addition, the court may order you to attend traffic safety school and may suspend your driver’s license for up to 30 days.
Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you’re facing a reckless driving charge in Las Vegas, you have the right to present an aggressive defense to the charges. You may testify in your own defense and call witnesses. Anyone facing a reckless driving charge has the right to the assistance of a reckless driving attorney to represent them.
The attorneys at Half Price Lawyers can help you fight charges of reckless driving. We provide professional and passionate legal representation aimed at helping you get the best possible result in your case. There’s no cost to talk to our team about your options and your rights. Call us today.